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What Happens If You Falsify Divorce Documents?

You don't always have to tell the truth. And you generally can't be sued for little white lies, like telling your spouse you'd do the dishes without following through, or saying you're "just going out for some cigarettes." But court is one of those places where lying will get you into serious trouble. And even if you're not appearing in court, filing false documents or claims with the court can be just as bad. As tempting as you might be to embellish or exaggerate your situation, especially in a divorce case, telling the truth in court, and in court documents, is the only way to go. Perjury We normally think of perjury as lying on the witness stand, but it can include signing any legal document you know to be false or misleading. Most perjury laws include documents, records, recordings, or other materials a person knows to contain a false material declaration, and apply to ancillary court proceedings like affidavits and depositions. In the context of divorce documents, perjury statutes could apply to the divorce filing itself (if it contains misstatements regarding the parties, the length of the marriage, or the reasons for separation) or any of the supporting documents. Lies about marital property when deciding who gets what, misrepresentations about income when deciding alimony, or false accusations in child custody determinations can all be considered perjury if they are contained in documents filed with the court and the person filing them knows they are false. Penalties Perjury is considered a crime against justice, and courts take it very seriously. Falsifying legal documents undermines the credibility of courts, and compromises the authority of their decisions. There are both state and federal statutes criminalizing perjury, many that include prison time. Beyond losing your divorce case, you could lose your freedom and your livelihood. To avoid any needless false statements or misleading documents in your divorce case, work with an experienced attorney. Related Resources: Find Divorce Lawyers Near You (FindLaw Directory) What Happens If You Don't Respond to Divorce Papers? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Serve Divorce Papers Myself? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Seal My Divorce Filings? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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How Do You Prove Soft Tissue Injury?

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Soft tissue injuries are like feelings — they’re real and they hurt but they can be invisible and not everyone believes in them. For these reasons, proving this kind of injury can be difficult, or more difficult than a more obvious type of harm, like a broken leg. Still, people do recover legal remedies for soft tissue injuries every day, so it is not at all impossible to get compensation for your damages after an accident. Let’s look at proving negligence in the context of this type of claim. Soft Tissue Injury Soft tissue injury refers to damage to soft areas of the body, like ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A hard tissue injury, by contrast, refers to a broken bone or damage to a hard area of the body. While a soft tissue injury can seem less traumatic on the surface — who wouldn’t prefer a strain to a break? — this kind of harm can last a long time and cause discomfort and make everyday duties difficult. Sprains, strains, and contusions in soft tissue do not always manifest immediately after an accident but the pain can last for years, which is why people seek to recover damages for their invisible injuries. Proving Negligence In brief, negligence is proven by showing that a person who owed you a duty of care fell below the standard required and breached that duty. If this breach is the cause of your injury and you suffer compensable damages, then you can recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. But how do you prove you are truly sore if your injury is invisible? You will need to show medical records, evidence of having sought treatment and received a diagnosis. You can also support the claim with testimony, or affidavits. You may ask people who know you to speak about your limited mobility since the accident. You may also seek expert testimony to support your claim and explain to jurors the significance of your injury. A medical expert may testify about soft tissue injuries at trial, so that the jury better understands the harm in the way the medical community does. Although proving soft tissue injury may be more difficult than proving a broken leg, these types of claims are very common after car accidents. The force a vehicle exerts during a crash can cause a lot of damage to the human body, some of which may not register immediately. Whiplash The most common soft tissue injury is whiplash, officially known as cervical strain or sprain, or hyper-extension injury. As the official names indicate, whiplash happens when the body is strained or overextended in some way, causing damage. Whiplash is interesting because it illustrates the mysterious nature of soft tissue injury, and how dangerous this damage can be. Sometimes whiplash isn’t felt immediately after the accident but over time can manifest in stiffness, neck pain, back problems, and most alarmingly, cognitive issues. Injured? If you have been in a car accident and experienced an injury of any kind, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Types of Brain Injury (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Can I Get Compensation for Whiplash? (FindLaw’s Injured) Types of Car Accident Injuries (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
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What Evidence Is Needed for a Search Warrant?

When it comes to obtaining a search warrant, what evidence do law-enforcement agents need? In general, search warrants are governed by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That means there must be probable cause to issue the warrant, based on an affidavit that describes the persons or things to be searched and seized. So what is probable cause and what goes in a search warrant affidavit? Probable Cause for a Search Warrant Probable cause means that law enforcement must have a legitimate and reasonable reason to search or seize someone's property or to make an arrest. An officer who's seeking a warrant must specify his reasons for believing that: A crime was committed at the place to be searched, and/or Evidence of the crime is located there. However, police don't need to be 100 percent certain that a crime was actually committed at the place to be searched in order to have sufficient probable cause for a search warrant. Those uncertain issues can be brought up later at trial. For example, if a reliable informant told police that a house was being used to manufacture and sell drugs, and officers notice lots of foot traffic at all hours, they may have enough probable cause to ask a judge for a warrant -- even if they aren't totally certain that drug deals are occurring in the home. Search Warrant Affidavits The circumstances giving rise to the probable cause must be stated in an affidavit before a judge will grant a search warrant. An affidavit is a written statement of facts that is made under oath. The key here is that the law-enforcement officer is swearing to the court that his facts supporting probable cause are accurate to best of his knowledge. The person making the affidavit can be guilty of perjury if he knows the information he's giving is inaccurate, but proceeds anyway. An affidavit can include: An officer's own observations of criminal or suspicious activity, and/or Information from a third-party informant who may or may not be identified by name. Because this can be considered hearsay, a judge will also consider the veracity (or truthfulness) of the informant along with the informant's basis of knowledge. Based on the facts given in the affidavit, the judge will determine if there's enough probable cause to issue a search warrant. Although search warrants are needed before searching a home in most cases, police may not need one if there are exigent circumstances that require them to search the property immediately. And as mentioned above, search warrants can also be challenged in court; if a warrant is found to be invalid, all evidence collected pursuant to the warrant can potentially be thrown out. If you have questions about how a search warrant was issued in your particular case, you'll want to discuss it with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Related Resources: Valid Search Warrant? 3 Things to Look For (FindLaw's Blotter) When Can Police Search Your Home? (FindLaw's Blotter) Drug Dogs Can't Sniff Homes Without Warrant (FindLaw's Blotter) Ask a Question About Investigations, Arrests, and Trials in Our Community Forum (FindLaw Answers)
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