Know your rights.
You have the right to remain silent – The most well known but seldom used right. You are not required to speak to law enforcement officials about the facts of the case, yet most persons investigated or accused of a crime do. The majority of the cases prosecuted involve incriminating statements made by the Defendant. Many Defendants would not be convicted had they remained silent.
Consent Searches - You are not required to consent (say “Yes”) when a police officer asks you if he can search your person, your vehicle, your house or other property. If you do not give consent, the police officers must have enough evidence to obtain a warrant before they search. If they search without a warrant (sometimes permitted), do not resist; you may be able to challenge any incriminating evidence found. Many clients give consent and the search results in the discovery of evidence used to convict them. In many of those cases, the police could not have conducted a search. As a result, the consent lead directly to a conviction.
DUI Testing – There are generally two types of tests police give when investigating a DUI. The first type of tests (field sobriety tests) are meant to observe and measure coordination and are given at your car. The next tests are given after arrest at the police station and are meant to determine your blood alcohol level. Most convictions result from alleged poor performance on these tests. You have the right to just say no to both tests*, although refusal to consent to breath, blood and urine testing can result in a license suspension. You should be advised that if you test over the legal limit, you are automatically guilty of the crime charged. If you do not test, there is a good chance that you can successfully defend against such a charge.
*Ohio law has recently changed. If you have two or more convictions, you can be compelled to submit to blood alcohol testing.
Dads have rights too: In a divorce or dissolution, both parents have equal rights when it comes to parenting and raising children. A father's right is not limited to simply child visitation. A mother’s right is not superior to a father's, under the law. Fathers should not simply give up custody of a child; rather they should seek shared parenting so that they can have an ongoing and active role in the child’s life and be an equal partner in deciding major issues that affect the child. A father is entitled to so much more than merely child visitation.
Property rights: In a divorce or dissolution, the Court must divide all property acquired during the marriage. A Court will divide the property equally unless circumstances indicate such a division is unfair. Marital infidelity or misconduct will not be considered. A property division includes Pensions and Retirement accounts and Social Security benefits. These assets are often overlooked, yet they can be one of the largest assets acquired during a marriage and the failure to obtain your fair share can significantly impact you later in life.
Spousal Support / Alimony: The term alimony is no longer used. It has been replaced by the term spousal support. Many clients, in an effort to quickly get out of a marriage, will offer to give up spousal support / alimony. This is a mistake, as the support award can amount to significant money over a period of time. Spousal support / alimony is not mandatory, but is awarded based on the sound discretion of the court. The court will consider many factors including age, health, income of each party, duration of marriage, employability and a number of other factors.
Child Support: is awarded except in rare circumstances. The award is made to the residential parent. Child support is based on the income of the parties and the number of children born to them. Child support includes the cost of health insurance and daycare. Health insurance must be obtained if it is available at a reasonable cost.
Mortgage debt: In a divorce, sometimes one spouse will give the marital home to the other spouse. If the home is mortgaged, be careful. If your name is on the mortgage, you are still responsible to pay the debt even though you no longer own the house. If your former spouse fails to pay, the bank will seek payment from you. To protect yourself, be sure that the divorce paperwork requires your former spouse to refinance the home and payoff the mortgage with your name on it.
Report your injury immediately. If you are injured on the job, you should report your injury immediately to your supervisor and fill out an accident report. You should also seek medical attention immediately or upon the end of your shift. Failure to report the injury or seek prompt medical attention often results in a denial of a claim because it makes it possible for the employer to persuasively argue that the injury did not occur in the workplace but rather, occurred on non-working hours.
For advice on other matters, please call (330.434.2113) or e-mail and I will be happy to help you.