(844) 815-9632

factors

Will a Misdemeanor Conviction Affect My Immigration Status?

Immigration is a complicated and nuanced area of the law. Many different factors can have a significant impact on a person's immigration status. Possibly the most feared factors are criminal convictions. A criminal conviction can result in deportation and other consequences when it comes to a person's immigration status. Fortunately, not all criminal convictions will have a significant impact on a person's immigration status. But, whether or not a person is convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony is actually less significant when it comes to immigration status than the type of crime a person is convicted of. Serious Crimes and Aggravated Felonies Generally, serious crimes, like murder, drug trafficking, human trafficking, conspiracy, and others, will be grounds for deportation. However, starting in 1988, congress created a list of "aggravated felonies" which also can be grounds for deportation, and has expanded that list over time. It is worth noting that the list of aggravated felonies includes many crimes that are typically only charged as misdemeanors. The list initially only included serious offenses that one might expect to be grounds for deportation, but is continually being amended to include more minor violations, such as: Simple battery Theft Filing a fraudulent tax return Failure to appear in court In addition to the above crimes, any crime that is considered a crime of moral turpitude can also have grave impacts on a person's immigration status. Crimes of Moral Turpitude Crimes of moral turpitude generally include acts that infer a person has breached another person's or the public's trust. These can include both felonies and misdemeanors. While crimes like fraud, embezzlement, perjury, child abuse, and tax evasion are easy to understand as crimes where trust has been broken, small crimes like petty theft or shoplifting, which are typically misdemeanors, can also be considered as such. If a non-citizen is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, or an aggravated felony, they may not only be deported, but they may be ineligible to return to U.S. forever. Therefore, it is incredibly important for any non-citizen facing criminal charges to not only consult a criminal attorney and inform them of their immigration status, but to also consult an experienced immigration attorney, especially before agreeing to any plea bargain. Related Resources: Find Immigration Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) How to Fight Wrongful Deportation (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can ICE Agents Make Arrests at Courthouses? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can This New Chatbot Solve Refugee Legal Issues? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Can You Sue a Gym for Faulty Equipment?

Americans love the gym. Whether we miss the activity and exercise from recess and gym class in school or we're wistful for the waistline from our younger days, millions of us are spending millions of hours in the gym and millions of dollars on gym memberships. And we expect that gyms will show the same dedication to their equipment -- buying the best and maintaining equipment in the best condition. But what happens when that doesn't happen? Are gyms liable for injuries caused by faulty equipment? Waive Goodbye? Like any other business, gyms have a duty to keep their patrons safe. But, when it comes to lawsuits regarding a gym's equipment, that liability can be complicated by a couple of factors. The first hurdle to a lawsuit may be a liability waiver, if you signed one. Many, if not all gyms require members to waive injury liability, and whether that waiver will prevent you from filing an injury lawsuit will depend on the terms of the agreement. Some liability waivers only bar lawsuits based on gym or employee negligence, and are generally upheld in court. Other waivers attempt to provide total immunity for gyms, but can be found unenforceable if they're too broad. A gym's waiver may attempt to limit liability for equipment-related injuries, but may not cover instances where the gym failed to maintain the equipment properly, or knew the equipment was faulty and failed to fix it. Gym Defects Certain equipment, like treadmills, can be inherently dangerous. And some equipment may have been designed or manufactured poorly or lack adequate warnings regarding its proper use. Gym equipment manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe, and may be strictly liable if a person is injured using on their product. Product liability claims against gym equipment manufacturers can be based on: Defects in Design: The gym equipment's design is flawed making it unreasonably dangerous to users; Defects in Manufacturing: The equipment was improperly manufactured, dangerously departing from the intended design; or Defects in Warnings: The equipment lacks adequate instructions or warnings, rendering the product unreasonably dangerous. While equipment manufacturers can be liable for defects in their products, gyms may also be liable if they knew the equipment was dangerous and did not fix or remove it. If you've been injured at the gym and think a faulty piece of equipment was to blame, contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Top 5 Legal Tips for Gym Injuries (FindLaw's Injured) Treadmill Accident Leads to Brain Injury Lawsuit (FindLaw's Injured) Gym-aholics Be Warned: LA Fitness Wins Injury Lawsuit With Liability Waiver (FindLaw's Injured)
continue reading

Can a Child Decide to Live With the Noncustodial Parent?

Child custody disputes and court cases can be fraught with emotions. When one parent is granted physical custody by the court, or via an agreement, children sometimes express their desire to live with their other parent. Despite the obvious emotional challenge to the current custodial parent, there are a few potential legal obstacles that must be overcome. Depending on several factors, and your state’s laws, a child’s opinion may or may not matter when it comes to where they want to live. Typically, in addition to the noncustodial parent’s willingness to take on physical custody, the age and maturity level of a child will be taken into consideration.Apart from these initial considerations, a court will base the decision on what is in the best interest of the child. However, if there is no child custody agreement, nor child custody court order, depending on your state laws, so long as the parents are in agreement, a child can live with whichever parent they choose without the court’s interference. A Child’s Wishes Although children may be able to clearly state their desire to live with the noncustodial parent, courts generally will give this little weight unless the child appears to be mature enough to make the decision. In some states, all custody determinations require a court to conduct a best interests analysis. As such, a child’s desire may not convince the court that a change in custody will serve the child’s best interests. Courts frequently must be attuned to a teen that is just trying to live with the more lenient, “cool” parent. One issue courts are frequently tasked with identifying, particularly when younger children express a desire to live with the noncustodial parent, is custodial interference. Unfortunately, it is not too uncommon for a noncustodial parent to attempt to convince their child during visitation that the child should say they want to live with them.While there may be a tiny ethical grey area here, if a noncustodial parent provides any sort of incentive, it will likely run afoul of the laws that protect against custodial interference. Related Resources: Facing a custody dispute? Get a free case review now. (Consumer Injury - Family) How Child Custody Decisions Are Made (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Can You Get Emancipated From Only One Parent? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life) Child Custody Over the Summer: Dos and Don’ts (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

How to Find a Divorce Lawyer

When a married couple, or just one married person, wants to divorce, the first concern is finding the right divorce lawyer. While a person’s first instinct might be to hire their one lawyer friend, or the same lawyer that handled their injury case, or the cheapest lawyer they can find, unless those lawyers know divorce law, it’s a big risk. With the help of online lawyer directories, the simplest way to find a lawyer is by calling as many as you have time to call, and talking with as many potential lawyers as you can. Divorces can range in complexity from simple to impossible. When a married couple has no assets, no children, and both parties have their own equal incomes, the divorce may be as simple as just filing some documents that a court needs to approve. However, if there are children, a marital home, a shared car, a family business, and/or other assets, it is much more complicated. So how do you evaluate a potential divorce lawyer? Not Just Any Experience One of the most important factors any client should evaluate when hiring an attorney is that attorney’s experience in the type of law they will be asked to handle. For a divorce case, you may need an attorney who knows how to handle not only a simple divorce, but also child custody, and, if there was a family business, business transactions or dissolutions. Ask your prospective attorney about prior divorces they have handled, and probe them about how complex those divorces were. Even if an attorney has been practicing law for 20 years, if they have never handled a divorce with child custody at issue, and you have children, you may not want to be that attorney’s first. Comfort And Trust After Experience After you’ve found an attorney with the right experience, you should ask yourself whether you feel comfortable divulging private information to them. In order for your attorney to be effective, you will need to be able to discuss personal matters without hesitation. While your sex life, generally, is not something that needs to be discussed, in some states, infidelity matters during divorce. Your attorney doesn’t need to be your friend (and probably shouldn’t be), but should be someone that you feel comfortable, and trust, with discussing potentially embarrassing information. Related Resources: Dealing with a divorce? Get your case reviewed for free now. (Consumer Injury - Family) Why Is There a Divorce Waiting Period? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life) What Is Ex Parte Divorce? (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life) When to Get a Second Lawyer’s Opinion for Your Divorce (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

DUI and Immigration Status

The last thing you want to do if you are applying for citizenship is get a DUI. Even if you're in the country legally on a visa or green card, immigration officials may deport you or downgrade your status on the basis of a criminal conviction, especially for a felony. Here's what you need to know about a how a DUI conviction could affect your immigration status. DUI and Deportation If you are a foreign national, a DUI might not necessarily lead to deportation. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) generally considers a number of factors with regard to the penalties faced by an immigrant to the U.S., and deportation is generally reserved for aggravated felonies like battery, theft, filing a fraudulent tax return, and failure to appear in court. Of course, if your DUI is charged as a felony, you could run the risk of deportation. A DUI could become a felony if you have had prior DUI convictions, had an extremely elevated blood alcohol concentration, had children in the car, were driving on a suspended or revoked license, or caused death or injury in a car accident. Status Update Even if you do not get deported, your immigration status could be altered after a DUI conviction. If you're a legal permanent resident, you could be deported or detained during removal proceedings, or be barred from becoming a naturalized citizen in the future. Refugees and asylees could be deported after a criminal conviction, even if they would be in grave danger in their home country, and a conviction may result in the inability to obtain legal permanent resident status.Non-citizens with temporary lawful status (including individuals with nonimmigrant visas and those with temporary protected status) could lose that status and be removed from the country for any felony conviction or two or more misdemeanor convictions. And because undocumented immigrants are not authorized to be in the U.S., any criminal offense can result in deportation. In some legal proceedings, like immigration or deportation proceedings, even an expungement of a DUI may still be considered as proof of a prior conviction. To know for sure how a DUI will affect your immigration status, contact a local DUI attorney today. Related Resources: Don't face a DUI alone. Get your case reviewed by a lawyer for free now. (Consumer Injury) Can Your U.S. Citizenship Be Revoked? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) Can a Guilty Plea Affect My Immigration Status? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Which Crimes Can Get Legal Immigrants Deported? (FindLaw Blotter)
continue reading

Ending or Changing Alimony Payments After Retirement

If a court has ordered alimony payments as part of your divorce, whether you're receiving or paying, you might be wondering how long that alimony will last. While court orders or alimony agreements usually provide a timeframe, conditions, or procedure for modification or termination, typically courts will allow modification for changed circumstances. Retirement will usually qualify as a changed circumstance worthy of a modification of the order if certain conditions are met. Ending alimony payments, on the other hand, will generally only occur if financial or other circumstances have changed drastically, such as upon death (but even after death, in some cases, alimony can continue). Because alimony is generally viewed as a temporary support mechanism to allow a disadvantaged spouse to become self sufficient, ending alimony usually requires the supported spouse to no longer be in need. This can occur when they die, are no longer in need, become employed, remarried, or win the lottery. When the Payer Retires When the former spouse paying alimony retires, just like any other retiree, their income will likely be significantly reduced, depending on how their retirement is structured. Because alimony is generally decided based on the respective incomes of the parties, when an income changes involuntarily, that party is generally justified in requesting a reduction in their alimony obligation. Courts will normally look to the reasonableness of the changed circumstance. Among the most important factors a court will look to is whether the changed circumstance was voluntary or involuntary. For retirement to be considered involuntary, there must be a medical issue causing it, or the party must be able to show that it was a reasonable time to retire. Taking an early retirement may not be considered reasonable by the court, even if you were advised by your financial planner to do it. Additionally, even if Social Security benefits are the only source of retirement income, they are not exempt from calculating alimony payments. However, former spouses may be able to claim spousal benefits through Social Security, which can reduce their needs for alimony. When the Receiver Retires If the spouse receiving alimony has been working and was still receiving alimony, they will still be able to receive alimony when they choose to retire. Additionally, if their income is significantly reduced by retirement, they may be able to seek an increase in alimony payments. Typically though, the court will assess the reasonableness of this request like they would for the payer requesting a reduction in their support obligation. Laws regarding modification and termination of alimony vary from state to state. If you are considering retirement but are concerned about the alimony you receive or have to pay, you should contact an attorney in order to determine if you can potentially modify the alimony order or agreement. Related Resources: Need help with spousal support? Get your case reviewed by a family law attorney free. (Consumer Injury - Family) Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics (FindLaw's Learn About the Law) When to Get a Second Lawyer's Opinion for Your Divorce (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Is an Alimony Calculator? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Who Pays for Stolen Packages?

A stolen package at Christmas time is a terrible thing. Whether it was a gift for your child, or something valuable sent from someone you care about -- you are going to be mad. And you are going to want some compensation. Can you look to the delivery company for a little payback?Whether a delivery company will reimburse you for a stolen or lost package depends on a number of different factors, most importantly your contract. Yes, when you send a package you enter into a contract. The terms of that deal govern the extent to which you can seek reimbursement for a delivery that never arrives. Factors That Matter Factors that will impact your ability to seek reimbursement include what delivery service you use, whether and how much the package was insured, and where it was stolen, among others. Packages stolen off a front porch are less likely to be reimbursed than those taken from a delivery truck. Terms of receipt are also very important, perhaps the most important contract term in this context. So let's take a look at what you can do to ensure that presents don't all get swiped from your doorstep. Require a Signature To ensure that you receive what you ordered and that your gifts reach the intended recipients, require a signature when packages are delivered. Requiring a signature makes proof of delivery to an appropriate party an element of your deal, or contract. When you do not require a signature, you are agreeing that the extent of your deal with the delivery company is that they get the package to a particular address. In other words, you are not requiring that the package reach a specified individual, or even that just any person at the address may accept the package. You are asking only that the package reach its destination and certifying that the company's responsibility ends with dropping the package at the door. If you require no signature, then it is also much easier for a package that actually disappeared en route to be classified as a package stolen later. So although it can be very convenient to order goods online and find them waiting in a pile on your porch, it's probably worth the effort to ensure that deliveries only occur when you are available to receive them. Related Resources: Criminal Consequences of Stealing Packages (FindLaw Blotter) US Code Section 1708: Theft or Receipt of Stolen Mail Generally (FindLaw) Shoppers, Beware Christmas Counterfeits (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

‘Tis the Season for Slip and Falls — Who’s Liable?

Who’s liable for your injury after a slip and fall accident? That depends on a number of factors, most importantly where you fell, whether it’s public property, a business, or a residence. Premises liability law makes home and business owners responsible for injuries that occur on their property. If you fall in a store or some area the business manages, like the parking lot, then the store may be liable for your injury if it was caused through its negligence. Similarly, if you are a guest in someone’s home and you get hurt as a result of a failure on the owner’s part, the homeowner may be liable. Proving Your Claim To win a slip and fall case, you must show that there was a dangerous condition that was known or should have been known to the property owner or holder. The failure to address the dangerous condition caused you harm and it was foreseeable that someone could get hurt from it. In other words, there must be a negligent party. If you just slip and fall for no apparent reason and you happen to be visiting a friend with a mansion and deep pockets, don’t bother filing a lawsuit. Accidents do happen and there is not always someone to blame when things go awry. Who to Name in a Suit Who you will name in your suit depends on the details of your slip and fall. If you were hurt at the mall, there may be multiple parties to target — mall management, the cleaning company that management hires, maybe a store, or security company, and perhaps even other entities. Similarly, if you fall in the mall’s snow-covered outdoor parking lot, then you may also name a company responsible for snow clearing there. When you fall in a residential property, the proper party to name is usually the property owner. But if you get hurt in a rental and the tenant was responsible for repair, that person may be a more appropriate target for a lawsuit. People also fall on municipal property, in subway stations, on sidewalks and in parks. It can be a difficult world to navigate, and sometimes there is someone to blame for it — maybe even the city or state. Consult With Counsel If you have fallen and are hurt, or were otherwise injured, speak to a lawyer. Consulting with an injury lawyer costs nothing and you can learn whether you have a claim. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Shopping Injuries Overview (FindLaw) Slip and Fall FAQ (FindLaw)
continue reading

How Much Do I Have to Steal to Be Charged With a Felony?

The fifty states all define crimes slightly differently, so there is not a single blanket answer for when a theft graduates from a misdemeanor to a felony. The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the severity of the crime involved, or in the case of a theft, the value of what was stolen. But there is more to it. Three factors impact a theft charge: what was stolen, how much was stolen, and the alleged thief's prior record. Petit or Grand? Perhaps you have heard of the expression petit theft (sometimes also called petty theft). Petit means small in French and petit thefts are small crimes, or misdemeanors. Some states limit petit theft to up to $500 or $1,000, charging a defendant with a felony if the item stolen is worth more than the statutory amount. But some states may charge differently depending on the type of item stolen, perhaps distinguishing between livestock and labor or services. Depending on the state there may also be a separate crime for a particular type of theft. Theft applies to almost anything stolen, including goods, money, livestock, or the value of labor and services. General or Specific? Depending on the state, the theft will either fall under the small or large category, petit or grand. But some types of theft get separate categories all their own. Obviously, stealing a car is a big deal. So much so that grand theft auto is its own, separate, felony charge. Grand means big in French and grand theft is simply a big steal. Prior Convictions Again it depends on the state, but a prosecutor can generally charge someone more severely when they have prior convictions for the same type of crime. Theft is a crime of moral turpitude, legally speaking, and it does tend to be punished more severely the more the defendant is accused. Depending on how the state statute is written, it is possible to steal something of minimal value -- like a candy bar -- and still trigger a felony conviction resulting in an extensive prison sentence. At that point, the charge is not based on what was stolen or what it was worth but on the defendant's own record in combination with the theft. It is also important to note that theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude for immigration purposes and even a conviction for the most minimal theft can impact an application. Got Caught? If you or someone you know has been charged with theft or anything else, do not delay. Speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. Criminal convictions can have serious consequences in all areas of a person's life. Get help defending yourself. Related Resources: Browse Criminal Defense Lawyers by Location (FindLaw Directory) Larceny Penalties and Sentencing (FindLaw) What Is the Statute of Limitations for Theft? (FindLaw Blotter)
continue reading

Top 10 Divorce Questions a Family Lawyer Can Answer

Going through a divorce is hard. And it's even harder to go through it alone without any legal help. There are many reasons why you'll want to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you with your divorce. One of them is an attorney's ability to accurately answer any and all questions you'll have about the divorce process generally, and your divorce specifically. Here are the top 10 divorce questions to ask a family lawyer: 10. How Long Will My Divorce Take? Although it occupies the 10 spot, this question may be one of the most important you have. Every divorce case is different, but you need to know what to expect and that your attorney has a good sense of how your case will go. A good family attorney should be able to provide a timeline of your divorce from initial filings to completion. This will also give your attorney a chance to give you a step-by-step overview of the divorce process in your state, as well as cue you into any deadlines or waiting periods. 9. What Is Your Experience With Divorce Cases? As part of demonstrating his or her familiarity with the process, your attorney should give you a rundown of their resume. Family lawyers might be experienced in various types of family disputes, without having many divorces under their belts. You should ask your attorney how many divorce cases he or she has handled, or what percentage of the firm's time is devoted to divorces. This gives your attorney a chance to discuss his or her legal experience -- hopefully in a way that inspires confidence. 8. What Can I Reasonably Expect From My Divorce? This is a broad question, but along with the timeline, you need to ask your attorney, if you hire him or her, what you can reasonably expect out of litigating or mediating your divorce. Your attorney should be able to paint you a range of likely outcomes based on your case, giving you a good basis for what to expect. 7. What Documents Will I Need for My Divorce? Depending on your shared assets and debts, you might need to provide quite a bit of documentation to back up your divorce filings. You may need to bring everything from pay stubs and tax returns to prenups and birth certificates to a consultation with a divorce attorney. And a good lawyer will be able to tell you how best to prepare for a divorce. So know what you'll need before you start you divorce. 6. How Will the Divorce Affect My Business? If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, your first question might be how to protect your business assets during a divorce. Ask your attorney about which legal structure can best insulate your business from divorce proceedings and whether placing your business in a living trust could help protect it, and its assets, from your spouse. An attorney can also help you create an enforceable postnuptial agreement regarding the business (if you don't already have a prenup) and advise you on the effect of community property laws on small businesses. 5. How Will Our Property Be Separated? Who gets what in a divorce can become a major battle, and you'll want to know where you stand before the first shots are fired. But if not, you may need to divide everything from the furniture to the financial assets. There are two main factors to deciding property issues: (1) whether you live in a community property state or not, and (2) whether the property is separate or marital property. Your attorney should be able to tell you which marital property laws apply, and how those laws will apply in your case. 4. How Will Custody and Visitation Be Determined? More important than sorting out the kitchenware is sorting out the kids. ...
continue reading
12