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UK Millionaire Acquitted of ‘Accidental’ Rape

A man who claimed he accidentally penetrated an 18-year-old woman when he fell on her was acquitted of rape charges by a British jury. After brief deliberations, millionaire Ehsan Abdulaziz was found not guilty, despite some very strange explanations of what happened, according to the New York Daily News. Money Can't Buy Me Love? Abdulaziz, 46, is a millionaire property developer with an apartment in London. He was apparently out drinking at an exclusive nightclub in August 2014 and invited two women to join him at his pricey private table. Then, he offered them a ride home in his Aston Martin. They ended up at his apartment for a drink instead. The two women -- one 24 and the other 18 -- stayed the night. The younger one slept on the sofa in the living room. Abdulaziz claimed in his defense that he had sex with the older woman and in the morning just fell on the younger one. He accidentally penetrated her when he just meant to ask if she needed a t-shirt or a taxi home. The considerate older gentleman said in his defense that the woman pulled him as he was making his offer and he fell. He admitted his penis may have poked through his underwear. "I'm fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened. Between me and this girl, nothing ever happened." As for evidence of semen? He said it was possible he had some on his hands after the sexual encounter with her friend. The young woman had an altogether different story. She said Abdulaziz raped her. She woke up in the early morning to find the man forcing himself on her as she slept on the sofa in his London apartment.What Are the Elements of Rape?In criminal law, the elements of rape are satisfied if there was 1) non-consensual sexual intercourse that was 2) committed by physical force, threat of injury, or other duress.According the the young woman's account, Ehsan Abdulaziz used physical force without her consent to commit the sexual act. By her account, rape would have occurred. However, the jury found differently ... Jury Deliberates Briefly The British newspaper, The Mirror, reported that the case took an unusual procedural turn. Twenty minutes of evidence were heard in private. The jury apparently did not spend long pondering the tale anyway, perhaps finding it tasteless. After only 30 minutes of deliberations, it rendered a verdict of not guilty. Abdulaziz was acquitted. Charged With a Crime? If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, speak to a lawyer. As this case makes plain, a creative defense can go a long way. Get help from a criminal defense attorney. Related Resources: Browse Criminal Defense Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) What Is the Role of a Jury in a Criminal Case? (FindLaw) Criminal Trial Overview (FindLaw)
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5 Reasons Travel Insurance Policies Are Invalidated

You are planning a holiday trip and looking forward to it. Everything is ready from your bags to your mini toiletries and travel insurance. So now you can just relax, right? Well, not quite. You can relax, but maybe not with a drink, and certainly not with any illegal drugs, and probably not if your plans include any extreme sports. Here is a list, adapted from the Consumer Insurance Guide, with the top five reasons that insurers give for invalidating travel insurance. Traveler Top Five 1. Failure to disclose. Although trip insurance is for a much shorter time period than your regular health insurance, you still must disclose your medical status. Pre-existing medical conditions, including mental, nervous, or emotional disorders, that are not disclosed can invalidate your insurance. 2. Failure to prepare. If you do not take your prescribed medication while traveling, or ignore a doctors' orders to avoid travel, that may invalidate trip insurance. It is also possible that any claims will be denied if you seek treatment resulting from a tropical disease for which there was a vaccine that you did not take. Similarly, claims resulting from sexually transmitted disease or self-inflicted injuries will likely end up denied. 3. Alcohol and Drug Use. Almost every insurance policy has a clause stating that there is no coverage from injuries resulting from use of illegal drugs or excessive drinking. Be particularly wary of these clauses and read the fine print on your trip insurance very carefully. You may not consider the amount of alcohol you consume "excessive" but you can probably bet that an insurer's standards are more strict than your own. As for drugs, even if a substance is legal in the locale you are visiting, it is possible and even likely that an insurer's policy will be used to invalidate a claim. 4. Extreme sports and general adventurousness. While extreme sports fans see their activities as thrilling, an insurer sees almost any adventurousness as risky. That means if you have plans to ride mopeds, jet ski or bungee jump, among other activities, you need to check that insurance will cover these in advance. If you plan to skydive, speak to a specialist, the Consumer Insurance Guide recommends. 5. Reckless or illegal behavior. This is a kind of catch-all category on almost every policy that allows an insurer to deny a claim with some ease. Even if your behavior does not end with you charged with a crime, an insurer can nonetheless invalidate your policy based on behavior it deems reckless. Need a Drink? If you find all those limitations on your insurance confusing and you need a drink now, do not despair. You are not alone. Insurance is very complicated and policies are often deliberately difficult to understand. Talk to a lawyer if you need a hand with your trip insurance or any other policy. Counsel can help ensure that you are covered to the full extent. Related Resources: Find a Lawyer (FindLaw Directory) Air Travel Rules FAQ (FindLaw) Hotel Questions and Answers (FindLaw)
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Diet Pepsi Dumps Aspartame: Cause for Concern?

In April, Pepsi announced it would remove aspartame from its formula for Diet Pepsi, which led many to wonder if the move was due to health risks associated with the artificial sweetener. But Pepsi also said Diet Pepsi with aspartame would remain available online, and Diet Coke will continue using aspartame. So, are aspartame and other natural sweeteners dangerous to consumers? Or is Pepsi just bowing to Internet rumors and public (mis)perception? Aspartame Safety Thus far, there have been no proven links between aspartame and many of the negative health risks with which it is associated. As David Hattan, Acting Director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, points out, aspartame has been studied continuously since 1978: "The legitimate attempts that have been made to confirm and replicate allegations of adverse reactions from aspartame ingestion have not been successful and the USFDA continues to consider this to a be among the most thoroughly tested of food additives and that this information continues to confirm the safety of aspartame." The lawsuits filed involving aspartame have been confined to price fixing cases, so as of now, there don't seem to be increased health risks associated with aspartame specifically (although drinking too much diet soda may not be good for you, generally speaking). Products Liability Claims If aspartame were dangerous, or if someone felt they were harmed by aspartame ingestion, the likeliest recourse would be a product liability claim. Product liability lawsuits are based on the legal premise that companies have a duty to protect consumers from potential health and safety hazards. Since manufacturers generally have more insight and knowledge about their products, courts have found it falls to them to assume financial responsibility for any injuries or damage caused by their products. There are several legal theories used to prove fault in a product liability case, and the law surrounding products liability can be complicated. If you think you've been injured by a defective or dangerous product, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Related Resources: Hurt by a product or accident? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Legal Basis for Liability in Product Cases (FindLaw) Defective Products and Products Liability (FindLaw's Injured) Injuries and Product Liability: Do You Have a Case? (FindLaw's Injured)
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How to Sleep It Off in Your Car Without Getting a DUI

No one wants to get a DUI. But sometimes we don't realize how intoxicated we are until sitting down behind the wheel. If you have that moment of clarity, can you just pull over and try and sleep it off? Or can you get charged with DUI, even if you weren't driving at the time? Take Extra Precautions for the Best Chance at Avoiding a DUI Even though you tried to do the right thing and not drive, you may have to take a few extra steps to make sure you hopefully don't get arrested. For the best chance at avoiding a DUI, make it clear that you're actually sleeping, and not taking a driving break.For example, don't sleep in the driver's seat; instead, move to the back seats or at least the passenger seat. Also, don't have your keys on your person. If you place the keys in the trunk, you may be in a better position to convince a police officer that you had no intention of driving. Out of Luck in Some States Unfortunately, "drinking and parking" may simply be illegal. While state DUI laws can vary, most states allow for DUI convictions so long as you are "in control of the vehicle." So the "D" in DUI stands for either "Driving" or "could possibly Drive." Courts have upheld DUI convictions for drivers asleep at the wheel with the car running, asleep across the front seat with their head near the passenger door, and asleep in the front seat with their keys in their pocket. How Do Courts Determine If You Have Been Driving? Whether you can be charged with DUI for trying to sleep it off will depend on the DUI laws in your state, but most courts look at a set of factors when trying to determine if you've been driving your car: The location of your vehicle (whether you're on or off the road) Your location (where in your vehicle you're sleeping) The location of the keys in your vehicle (whether they're in or out of the ignition) The operability of your vehicle (whether your vehicle could be driven) Obviously, the best option is not to get behind the wheel after drinking in the first place. And while it's commendable that you've decided driving while drunk is a bad idea, you may want to take extra precautions (like calling a friend or a cab) to make sure your good intentions aren't met with a DUI conviction. If your effort to sleep it off didn't work, or you otherwise have been charged with a DUI, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney near you.Editor's Note: This article has been updated on 7/14/15 to clarify the precautions that should be taken to avoid a DUI. Related Resources: Browse DUI / DWI Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) Sleeping Man in Elf Suit Arrested for DWI (FindLaw Blotter) Not All DUI Arrests Are Legal: 5 Notable Cases (FindLaw Blotter) State-by-State DUI Penalties (FindLaw)
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ASU Back-to-School Alcohol Crackdown Nets 392 Arrests

Police in Tempe, Arizona arrested 392 people as part of an alcohol-crime-focused task force last weekend, which not coincidentally kicked off the first weekend of the fall semester for Arizona State University. The "Safe and Sober" campaign, according to the Tempe Police Department, is a collaborative effort between 18 law-enforcement agencies and is scheduled to last until September 6. The Phoenix New Times reports that of the hundreds arrested, approximately one in three were arrested for DUI. What can we learn from this ASU alcohol crackdown? Some 'Arresting' Statistics While the number of arrests may lead one to believe that this program is something new and unexpected, this is actually the second year of the "Safe and Sober" enforcement campaign. Last year's inaugural instance of the program netted 309 DUI arrests and 1367 arrests in total, spanning three weekends at the beginning of ASU's Fall 2013 semester. This is far more than the 392 total arrested thus far in this year's "Safe and Sober" campaign, but we remind readers that the 2014 run still has two weekends to go. The New Times reported that comparing this past weekend with that same weekend in 2013, there were actually 21 more arrests in 2014. It's unclear that this suggests that alcohol-related arrests are increasing, and more may become clear once the campaign is concluded. Arizona's Governor's Office of Highway Safety actually reported fewer DUIs in 2013 than in 2012, suggesting that drivers may be wising up. Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a drunken driving offense? Get in touch with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in your area today. Whatever the trend, the arrests last weekend included: 146 DUI arrests, 112 arrests for minors consuming alcohol, 35 arrests for minors possessing alcohol, and 99 arrests for "other offenses." Hopefully any increase in alcohol-related arrests also corresponds to increased safety for Arizona's drivers and minors. Back-to-College Booze Tips Since ASU's students seem largely clueless to the legal ramification of underage drinking and DUI, despite a combined 18 law-enforcement agencies watching them like hawks, here are some easy-to-remember back-to-college alcohol tips: Even if your campus has a lax alcohol policy, know that it is illegal for minors to consume alcohol (unless it's with their parents); States like Arizona have extreme and aggravated DUI penalties for drunken driving offenses with minors in the vehicle; and Most college campuses have free shuttles or "safe ride" services, so use them. Try to start this semester without having to call a DUI lawyer. Related Resources: Tempe apartment residents throw beer bottles at police (The Arizona Republic) MIP: 3 Things to do After a Minor in Possession (FindLaw's Blotter (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Ways Hazing Can Get You Arrested (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Things a DUI Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Blotter)
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Frat House Accident: Girl Impaled in Neck by Golf Club

In a frat house accident last week, an 18-year-old girl was impaled in the neck by a broken golf club. Natalie Jo Eaton, a student at Arkansas State University, was hospitalized after "rush" activities at the Kappa Alpha frat house. According to Little Rock's KARK-TV, students were using the golf club as a bat to hit a tossed football when the shaft broke, sending the broken end sailing 30 feet before it lodged itself in Eaton's neck. How serious were Eaton's injuries, and who might be held legally responsible? Injured? Exercise your legal rights. Get in touch with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area today. Teenager Remains Hospitalized It's been very touch-and-go since Eaton was hospitalized on Tuesday, with the golf club potentially injuring her spinal cord. Eaton's friend told KARK that doctors had initially given her the impression "it was probably paralysis," though the teen now has feeling on both sides of her body. ASU released a statement on Wednesday noting that Eaton, although barely a freshman, was "part of the Red Wolves family" and extended the university community's prayers. This probably wasn't how Eaton had envisioned her first weeks of college, but with any luck, she may recover. Frat's Potential Liability The Kappa Alpha house wouldn't be the first frat house to be sued over a serious injury or death. But Eaton's impalement seems to be simply bad luck. While hitting a football with a golf club is certainly not the proper use for either of those sporting implements, it isn't an inherently dangerous activity -- like shooting a bottle rocket from your buttocks. In the golf club incident, a negligence suit against the frat house or the two students involved would have to surmount a potential legal hurdle -- namely, who could have reasonably foreseen that Eaton would be impaled in the neck from a little golf-club-on-football fun? That could eventually be a question for a jury to decide. But without this element of a negligence case, it may be difficult for Eaton or her family to sue the partiers, the frat house, or even ASU. Club Manufacturer's Liability? If the frat isn't deemed liable for Eaton's impalement, then perhaps her family will be able to seek compensation from the golf club's manufacturer. However, in product liability cases, strict liability for injuries caused by defects must come from using a product the way it was intended. Since the club was designed to hit golf balls, not footballs, this may leave little legal room for future suits.An ASU vice chancellor told KARK he does not expect anyone to face criminal charges over the incident. Related Resources: More details released about ASU student impaled by golf club at fraternity house (Jonesboro, Arkansas' KAIT-TV) Frat Party Brain Injury Lawsuit Dismissed (FindLaw's Injured) 86 Yale Frat Members Sued Over Tailgating Death (FindLaw's Injured) Injured at College House Party? Can You Sue? (FindLaw's Injured)
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Top 5 Legal Tips for Your Bachelorette Party

Many a bride-to-be, celebrating her final days as a single lady, want to let loose at a bachelorette party. Whether it's a low-key dinner with friends, a pub crawl, or something a bit more -- how shall we put it? -- memorable, you want everyone to be having a good time. But before you head out to drink colorful shooters out of test tubes with your bridesmaids, make a vow to remember these five legal tips: Provide a hazard-free environment. If the bachelorette party is being hosted at your house, make sure the area is free of blatant hazards that could injure your guests. Under premises liability laws, property owners are responsible for maintaining a relatively safe environment. For example, if you and your friends decide to take dip in the pool later in the evening, you might want to consider putting rubber mats by the pool to prevent slip-and-fall injuries. You don't want your maid of honor on crutches the day of your wedding, right? The legal drinking age still applies at house parties. Although the bride-to-be should get to call the shots, she certainly shouldn't be serving shots to bridesmaids under the age of 21. If you have bridesmaids who are underage and you decide to serve them some alcohol, you could potentially get arrested: Adults who knowingly furnish alcohol to teens or should have known they were drinking while under their care can get in trouble with the law. What happens at a bachelorette party should stay at a bachelorette party. Yes, bachelorette parties are full of memories and scrapbook-worthy moments, but you should probably keep those photos off of social networks. Publicly posted party fouls could cost people their jobs or even get them arrested. Drunken injuries can result in lawsuits. While you may have immunity from your future spouse to do whatever you want on your girls' night out, bachelorette parties aren't immune to personal injury lawsuits if someone gets injured. For example, one man celebrating his impending marriage ruptured his bladder when a stripper slid down the pole and onto his abdomen. The man sued the strip club for his injuries. Don't forget about your neighbors. One final legal tip for your party is to keep the noise down. Whether it's loud music or voices, you'll want to avoid throwing a party that'll bother the neighbors. Loud bachelorette parties can get you cited by the cops. Bachelorette parties are known to get a little crazy sometimes. If something does go wrong, don't freak out. Instead, contact an experienced local attorney about your legal problem, so your status as a bride-to-be doesn't turn into defendant-to-be. Related Resources: Bachelorette Party Leaves Bride Paralyzed (FindLaw's Injured) Gay Bar Owner Insists Bachelorette Party Ban Not Discriminatory (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Destination Weddings: Legal Issues to Remember (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Getting Married? A FindLaw Legal Checklist (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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