Earthquakes and House Damages

Earthquakes are some of the most hazardous natural disasters in existence. They can result into significant injuries and even deaths. But it is important to point out that natural disasters such as earthquakes pose a threat not just to life, but also to property, especially houses.

There are generally three factors that affect the level of damage a house may sustain, and they are the following:

·       The strength of the earthquake – a stronger earthquake usually translates to greater damages

·       The distance from the earthquake source – the closer the house is to the source of the earthquake or the earthquake itself, the stronger force it will sustain, so it is likely that it will also receive more damage

·       The condition of the soil under the house – different soils react differently to earthquakes, like how soils near bodies of water are more prone to liquefaction and cause more damage to your house

The most common house damage associated with earthquakes is structural, meaning that the very structure of the house is at risk. Structural damage usually manifests in the following:

·       Wall cracks and collapse – the sheer force of earthquakes can make walls crack and even collapse

·       Uneven floors – floors can pop up or sink in, and at their worst, they may even be out of level with the other parts of the house

·       Electrical and gas line damages – structures within your house, such as wiring and gas systems can sustain damage, and the damage may even be severe enough to cause fires and explosions and may warrant replacements

·       Misalignments – parts of the house that need to close or lock, such as doors and windows, do not do so, because they can become misaligned

·       Glass breaks – parts of the house made of glass, such as windows, can break

The website of the Texas property appraisers at K2 Consulting & Services, LLC mentions that it may be hard to appraise the value of your property and assess the value of damage. For this reason, it is important to enumerate the different structural damages above, so you can have an idea what to specifically look at when checking for damages.

You should also not overlook the damage earthquakes can do to appliances, furniture, and personal belongings, especially those that have been unsecured.

Read More

Don’t Let Emotions Get in the Way of Divorce

Don’t Let Emotions Get in the Way of Divorce

When you think about divorce, one of the first things that come to your mind is the stressful legal process, but this doesn’t change the fact that all divorces are emotional, whether the divorce is contested or not. The legal issues can be taken care of with the help of divorce attorneys, but the emotional issues are solely your responsibility. Below are some of the things you can do to not let your emotions get in the way of the divorce proceedings.

Don’t settle immediately

Divorce may involve a variety of legal issues, such as division of assets, child custody, and allocation of debts. Therefore, it is not surprising that you will find these issues too much of a hassle and just give in to the demands of your ex-partner just so you can get it over with. If you give in, remember that your life may make unnecessary compromises, and this can be particularly risky when it comes to finances and relationship with your children.

Don’t seek revenge

Divorce is filed because of many reasons, such as infidelity or domestic violence. Sometimes, these reasons make you overly emotional that it comes to the point that you will do measures to get back on your partner in the divorce process, like asking for more assets than you deserve. This is not just unnecessary, as it can also result into bigger legal expenses, coming in the form of more time in courts and more attorney fees.

Don’t rant on social media

Social media has been an outlet for us to share our lives with others, but sometimes, this sharing can also be detrimental, such as the case during divorce. Avoid posting about the divorce on social media, especially posts that give negative connotations about you, your partner, and your children.

Don’t drag your children into it

Divorce can involve your children, such as in determining child custody upon separation, but it doesn’t mean that you should make them feel that they are a significant part of the legal process. As much as possible, let them focus on other things, such as their education or recreational activities, because getting them too involved in the legalities may have negative impacts on them, and they may even feel that they are part of the reason behind the separation.

Read More

Child Endangerment in DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has severe consequences, such as fines, community services, license suspensions, and even jail times. The consequences become even more severe if the driver has an underage passenger. The reason for this is child endangerment.

Child endangerment refers to the act of putting an underage individual in danger. It is there to protect children from parents and guardians whose reckless and negligent behaviors can cause them harm. One of those reckless and negligent behaviors is driving under the influence, which puts the children at risk of unwarranted traffic accidents, injuries, or even death.

DUI in Tennessee
Driving under the influence has consequences, such as fines, license suspensions and revocations, and jail times, depending on the gravity of the offense.

According to a DUI article from the website of Horst Law, the first three offenses of DUI have fines of up to $10,000, license revocations of up to 10 years, and varying jail times that can be longer than 120 days. The fourth and subsequent offenses have worse consequences, as they are considered Class E felonies. The fines go up to $15,000, license revocations up to 8 years, and times in state prison of a minimum of 1 year.

Child endangerment
The base charge for DUI can just be misdemeanors, but they can be elevated to Class D felonies when a child is involved, especially if the child has sustained serious injuries because of the offense. If the child has been killed, the felony is further elevated to Class B, making the consequences more severe. Take note that the child here is anyone under the age of 18. The mere presence of such a person in the intoxicated driver’s vehicle is enough grounds for child endangerment.

The severity of the consequences has various factors, such as the age of the driver and the child passenger, severity of the passenger’s injury, and the number of DUI-related offenses the driver has. In conjunction with the DUI penalties that have been mentioned above, the driver may suffer from a combination of other consequences, such as additional fines, license revocation years, and jail times.

Read More

Penalties And Consequences For Drug Possession

Drug possession is a serious crime that can have a wide range of consequences. Controlled substances are heavily regulated by the law. Illegally possessing, cultivating, distributing, or trafficking them is a violation of the law and can result to criminal consequences. Getting charged with drug possession can have life-altering consequences. The effects of drug possession may vary from one state to another.

Drug possession carries with it a wide range of penalties during sentencing. In 1986, Federal lawmakers passed mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for drug charges. Penalties and sentences are dependent on the type of drug, weight of the drug, and the number of previous convictions. Drug charges are prosecuted in either state or federal courts. The penalties will depend on the kind and amount of drug that was found.

Each state also has its own drug laws and they are quite different from Federal laws in the severity of the consequences. For state laws, simple possession may be charged as misdemeanor and may include probation in the sentence. Federal laws, on the other hand, usually have harsher punishments and longer sentences.

When convicted for possession, the court may require the defendant to attend a drug diversionary program before getting probation. For severe cases, they may be sentenced to serve jail time in a Federal or state prison. There are various factors that can affect the sentence that will be handed down on the defendant. The judge may look at the aggravating or mitigating circumstances such as the past record of the defendant and the type of drug involved.

Finally, it is also up to the judge to determine the sentence they will impose on the defendant. The court will look at the facts and merits of the case. The penalties will depend on the state where the case was filed.

Read More

Police Misconduct: Examples of the Unlawful Abuse of Power

Police officers hold a lot of power as enforcers of the law. They are expected to wield this power responsibly, setting aside any personal biases and prejudice when performing their duties. This point, in particular, is becoming an important topic of discourse considering the large-scale, nationwide protests against police misconduct.

In May 2015, The Washington Post came out with data sourced from interviews, police reports, and local news account regarding occurrences of police misconduct all over the country. Based on their findings, it was found that there had been 385 fatal shootings by police at the time of the survey. One in every six of these fatalities involved individuals that were either unarmed or where carrying a toy gun. In the same report, The Washington Post established that, in terms of race, black Americans were killed at thrice the rate of fatalities for whites and other minorities. Similarly, it was found that a quarter of the shooting fatalities were known to be mentally ill.

These fatal shootings involving unarmed individuals are an example of police brutality, which is just one of the many kinds of illegal and unethical practices that some officers take part in. Police brutality encompasses the use of intimidation and verbal abuse, as well as the use of excessive force. That certain minorities are more likely to fall victim to these instances of police brutality is another example of officer misconduct. Police discrimination includes racial profiling.

Other common cases of police misconduct include sexual harassment, wrongful arrests and detention, and denying suspects from receiving emergency medical care. According to Evans Moore, LLC, all these instances are recognized by the law as explicit violations of civil rights and liberties. Committing acts of police misconduct can leave officers vulnerable to disciplinary action, as well as both civil and criminal legal action.

Read More