Expungement orders can be obtained through the court clerk, either general sessions or criminal depending on where the case was dismissed. These orders must be signed by the judge and returned to the court clerk for filing and eventual expungement. Our team is able to counsel you on what types of cases are expungable and go through the required steps to get your record cleared.
A bail amount is set by a magistrate or judge. This amount varies but factors they consider are the likelihood of a person returning for their case, their prior record of missing court in the past, and the seriousness of the charge(s). There will be a bail amount set for each case that is pending. The bail amount can be paid in full in cash that would be returned upon closing the case, or through a bail bondsman that would only require a percentage of the total bail amount. Usually these percentages range from 5%-10% and will sometimes require one or more co-signers.
Bail is the amount of money that a person in jail has to pay in order to be released from jail while their case is pending. As long as you are out on bond, you must abide by all conditions set by the court, or you could be subject to having your bond revoked and losing any bail money spent on your case.
Civil violations are typically cases where a resolution would not result in jail time. There are some exceptions to this, such as missing court or violating an order, but usually these cases conclude in payment of money to the city or county (e.g. traffic tickets), orders to stay away from an individual (protection/restraining orders), or an order to clean up a property (environmental court).
Felonies are criminal cases where the sentence ranges from 1 year to life sentences. Felonies range from E to A (with the exception of First-Degree Murder, which is its own category), with E being the least serious felony. Felonies are sentenced based on your “range,” which is your criminal record of past felonies, or lack thereof.
Misdemeanors are criminal cases where the maximum sentence is no more than 11 months and 29 days in jail. These are typically cases such as Reckless Driving, Theft under $1000, or Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance. There are many different types of misdemeanors, these are just a few examples.
Upon arrest, law enforcement will want to question you. Beyond answering general questions such as your name, date of birth, etc., it is in your best interest to immediately let the law enforcement officer know that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you will not be answering questions without a lawyer. This is also imperative in cases where you feel that you are innocent.
While important, hiring a private attorney can be expensive. Fortunately, the courts will provide a Public Defender for you at no charge. Although they are often overworked and can seem overwhelmed, these attorneys have graduated law school, passed the bar, and are experienced enough to handle your criminal matter should you need them to.
Typically, lawyers will set prices based on the seriousness of the crime as well as the anticipated amount of work that will have to be completed in order to ensure that you get the best outcome. You can expect prices to range from as low as $700 up to $1,500 for misdemeanors and upwards of $20,000 for more serious felonies. However, it is best to have a free consultation with one of our attorneys to get the most accurate quote for your specific situation.
When faced with definite or possible criminal charges, hiring an attorney is the first and most important step. Having an attorney at the very beginning helps to keep your rights protected and starts your defense on the best possible footing.
Unfortunately, our court system is not perfect and thousands of people each year are imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. We have experience handling numerous cases, which gives us what we need to collect evidence, negotiate with prosecutors, appear before judges, and work to prove your innocence in today’s broken-down system.
Navigating a criminal case can be scary and intimidating. Without a lawyer, you would not be able to ensure that your rights are being upheld which could lead to your freedom being taken away from you. Our team will work to make sure you understand every step of the process and that you are given a fair shot at the best outcome for your situation.
If you have ever been involved in a car or 18-wheeler accident and filed a claim against the at-fault party, you know it can be a lengthy process. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate that process by assisting you in getting the compensation you deserve. A personal injury attorney knows all the ins and outs of the games and tricks insurance companies and adjusters play to try to get you to settle at less than what your claim is worth. You should NOT be handling your claim alone.
Yes, you will have to testify in court. You will want to tell your version of how the accident occurred and how it has affected your life.
A deposition is considered part of discovery mentioned above. Basically, a deposition is a sworn out-of-court question-and-answer session to gather information and facts from parties and witnesses. Information gathered in hopes to help a client’s position in a case or hurt the adversary’s position.
Again, deposition questions may help to reveal relevant documents or other evidence, called “discovery.” There are very few limits on what types of questions may be asked at a deposition. However, the process can either promote a settlement, so the case never goes to trial, or narrow down the issues that should be brought out in court. So, depositions can be a turning point in litigation.
Discovery is the formal process of exchanging information between the parties in a civil lawsuit Discovery allows the parties to find out information or legal evidence and facts about the case from the opposing party or parties and witnesses before trial. It enables the parties to know before the trial begins what evidence may be presented. Discovery includes interrogatories (or written questions and answers sent to the other side), requests for documents (such as photographs or medical records), and depositions (session where lawyers ask questions of the parties involved in the accident, witnesses, treating doctors, etc).
A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a car or 18-wheeler accident have to file a lawsuit. Basically, you have only so long to make a claim after being involved in the accident.
A lawsuit can be a lengthy process in and of itself. Again, you go through the discovery phase, which can take some time. You may mediate the case and it does not resolve. Your attorney will then consult with the other attorney and judge to get the actual trial placed on the docket at a date and time that is agreeable to all involved. The actual trial may last one or two days. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, however, a trial could last much longer. The trial itself is usually not the time-consuming part of the case. A decision in the case should come relatively quickly after the trial has concluded.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the case goes into the discovery phase. Discovery is where each party exchanges information to discover evidence or facts about the case (See more under “What is discovery?”). After the exchange of information phase is complete, the parties usually try and resolve the matter through mediation prior to the start of trial.
Mediation is a dispute resolution process where a neutral party promotes the voluntary settlement of the case before trial. That neutral party, the mediator, will facilitate a meaningful discussion between the parties, however the mediator has no power to order a settlement. Fortunately, most lawsuits headed to trial resolve during a mediation.
In the event mediation is unsuccessful, the case will proceed to trial. At trial the injured person pretty much has the burden of proving that the other driver was negligent. After you, the defendant, witnesses, police officers, doctors, and any other witnesses testify, the jury is required to deliberate. After the jury reaches its decision, the results are announced in court.
If we are unable to settle your claim, then we file a lawsuit. Settlements are often more preferable than going to trial for several reasons. Settlements guarantee you receive money, and you are able to access it sooner. Going to trial is a lengthy process. Going to trial often yields unpredictable outcomes. On the other hand, there may be several reasons why you don’t accept a settlement offer and must go to trial. It is ultimately up to you whether you want to settle your claim or want to file a lawsuit.
First and foremost, you should never rush the process. Although you may be tempted to accept a settlement offer early on, you will want to take into consideration whether or not the settlement offer covers your necessary medical expenses, is an unreasonably low settlement offer, whether the settlement offer provides for future costs if needed, or if the settlement offer is a better option than a lengthy trial process.
Please keep in mind that while settling a case may be right for one person, it may not be the option for another. The insurance company and defendant ultimately control your settlement options. Either they will make a meaningful offer or refuse to do so, and you may end up in court.
Well, it depends! Every case is different. Here are a few factors that contribute to the value of your case.
There is no average time for a car accident settlement. There are many factors that come into play when valuing an accident claim because every car accident is different. The amount of time it takes to resolve a car accident case varies based on the details and facts of the case.
It may take anywhere from a couple of months to several years for a car accident claim to settle. Depending on the severity of the accident such as bodily injuries and property damage, the settlement process could be rather lengthy.
If you stop treatment early on, you may be jeopardizing your accident claim. Insurance companies are always finding reasons to deny or devalue injury claims. If you refused medical treatment after your accident claim or even stopped the treatment recommended by the doctor, this may give the insurance company the reason they’re looking for to deny or devalue your claim.
The insurance adjuster’s assessment of your injuries is based almost entirely on your medical records. Gaps in treatment may cause the adjuster to “devalue” your claim. It is best to complete all treatment recommended by the doctor, especially to maximize your settlement.
Damages are the amount of compensation that the plaintiff will receive from the defendant after settling an accident claim or following a lawsuit. Damages may be economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to compensation for verifiable monetary losses such as past and future medical expenses (medical bills and estimates for surgery), loss of past and future earnings (days missed from work because of the accident), loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement, the economic value of domestic services, and loss of employment or business opportunities.
Noneconomic damages may include pain and suffering as well as scarring and disfigurement, mental trauma, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, the spouse of an accident victim may bring a claim for loss of society and companionship.
CALL THE POLICE. Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important. The officer will prepare a police report in connection with the crash. Make sure to get the name and badge number of the officer and the police agency that the officer represents so you can get a copy of the accident report after it’s written. Also get the report number if it’s available. Speak only with the officer about the specifics of your accident. Provide the information that the officer requests but be careful what you say even to the officer. Remember, any statement you make could end up in the police report.
TAKE PHOTOS OF THE CRASH. Taking photos to document your car accident can help protect your rights and provide crucial evidence to support your car accident claim. Take photos of the damage that your own vehicle sustained. Take close-up and away photos to get better detail. Also, take photos of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident and the damage. Take photos of any skid marks on the road as these can indicate when a person applied the brakes, as well as the approximate speed he or she was traveling.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. It’s best to seek medical attention immediately after being involved in a car accident. If you are unable to seek immediate medical attention, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you feel only minor pain after an accident, you should still seek medical attention.
If you don’t seek medical attention after the accident, the insurance company may try to use this to their advantage and claim that you did not actually sustain injuries in the accident.
If your social security disability application is denied by the SSA, you should request an appeal immediately, within the 60-day deadline. In some cases, you should do this yourself personally even if you plan to hire legal representation.
If you do not appeal your decision timely, you may lose out on your backpay or retro disability payments and you may lose the year of time that passed that would have counted toward your entitlement to Medicare benefits.
Yes, if you are awarded SSDI benefits, your payments can be garnished to pay back taxes, child support and alimony as well as student loans. Additionally, SSDI payments can be garnished to pay court-ordered restitution to a crime victim and non-tax debt owed to a federal agency, such as some federally funded home loans.
SSI cannot be garnished for federal loans, alimony or child support, back taxes or for any other private, public or federal loan.
These are benefits payable to disabled widows’ or widowers’ of a fully insured spouse at the time of death. Eligibility requirements for disabled widows’ or widowers’ benefits are:
These are benefits payable to a disabled adult child based on your qualifying parent’s Social Security earnings. You may be eligible for disabled adult child (DAC) benefits if you meet the following criteria:
If you qualify as a disabled adult child, you will be eligible to receive monthly payments through the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI). Even though you must be over the age of 18 to qualify, the SSA will consider you a disabled adult “child” because you will be collecting SSDI based on your qualifying parent’s Social Security earnings. (Social Security benefits that are based on a parent’s earnings record are called auxiliary benefits, or dependents benefits.)
Yes, you can receive both Workers’ Compensation and your SSDI benefits. However, if both are received for the same disability, the amount of workers’ compensation can reduce your SSDI benefits. That’s true whether you are getting workers’ comp in installments or as a lump-sum settlement.
Your monthly SSDI benefits, including benefits payable to your family members, are added together with your workers’ compensation. If the total amount of these benefits exceeds 80% of your average current earnings, the excess amount is deducted from your Social Security benefit.
If you are approved for SSDI, you must wait five months before you can receive your first SSDI benefit payment. The purpose of the waiting period is to ensure that you have a long-term disability before SSA begins paying any benefits to you. This means, you would receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the date SSA finds you disabled.
Date Last Insured means the date your Social Security Disability insurance lapsed.
SSDI works like an insurance plan. When you stop paying your premiums, your insurance lapses. When you stop working, your Social Security Disability insurance lapses.
To meet the insured status, you must have:
Social Security lawyers are typically paid $6,000.00 or 25% of your backpay, whichever is less. If Social Security approves the fee agreement, it will pay your attorney for you directly out of your backpay. The limit on fees is a part of Social Security law, and in most cases, an attorney cannot charge more than the amount above.
Unfortunately, the wait can be on average, about 1 to 2 months, sometimes longer to receive your first disability check after your social security disability claim is approved. Backpay or retro benefit payments, usually arrive much later. SSI payments, on the other hand, can begin right away.
In order to be found disabled according to SSA:
SSDI is a program for workers whereby benefits are paid out of the Social Security trust fund for those who are no longer able to work or engage in SGA because of any medical condition, whether physical and/or mental.
SSI is a needs-based program for the disabled, blind, and aged (or those over age 65). To meet all the requirements to receive SSI, you must
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of “disability” is the inability to do any work or more specifically, engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), because of any medical condition, whether physical and/or mental, which can be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or longer or can be expected to result in death.