Ross Berry

Protecting Your Rights in Criminal Cases

Protecting Your Rights in Criminal Cases

It doesn’t matter whether you have a criminal record or not you still have rights.  Knowing your rights can help protect you if you find yourself in a situation involving the police.  The police are interested in making arrests not in protecting your rights in criminal cases, the onus is going to be on you or your attorney.  Here are some important tips to help you protect yourself.

  1. You have the right to refuse to allow police to search your home or office. However if they do have a warrant from the courts then you must let them in to do their jobs.  If they do not have a warrant then you should close your door firmly and contact an attorney.
  2. While you have the right to refuse a sobriety test if you have been pulled over doing so is not without consequences. You will be arrested on the spot and lose your license.  Most states maintain that if you have a driver’s license that automatically means you consent to a breathalyzer test at any time.
  3. Never be confrontational when dealing with law enforcement. While you can assert your rights, doing so in a courteous and respectful manner will make the situation go smoother.  Being polite and well-spoken will get you further and it may help you not end up in jail.
  4. Violating probation or parole is a serious offense and you can end up serving the rest of your sentence in custody along with additional time. If you commit another crime you can expect to spend significant time in jail.  Here is what you should do if you violate your probation.

  1. Do not ever waive your right to have an attorney present when being questioned, nor should you ever take on the job of representing yourself. This is a sure fire way to get the worst sentence possible, attorneys are there to advocate on your behalf and make sure you don’t have to go to jail any longer than necessary.
  2. Be very wary of what you post on social media it can and will be brought up in court if it serves the opposing side. This is particularly important in divorce cases but it can be used in other situations as well.  Text messages can also be used against you.  Make no mistake, law enforcement can identify your IP address and prove that posts came from your phone or computer.
  3. If it has been years since you got into any trouble then you may be able to have your record expunged. This means that any future employer or landlord will not be able to see if you have been previously charged with an offense.
Protecting Your Children When it comes to Custody

Protecting Your Children When it comes to Custody

Our children are the most important things in our world, they are our highest achievements and they represent our future.  Protecting your children comes as second nature, you want them to be healthy, happy, get a good education and have a promising future.  But when it comes to divorce the decisions you are forced to make aren’t always easy ones.  Protecting your children when it comes to custody is difficult but here are some tips that can help.

Listen to What Your Children Have to Say

Any mental health professional will tell you that children need to feel that they are being heard and it is your job to listen to what they have to say.  You need to talk to your children about what is going on and listen for what they need.  Even younger kids are capable of expressing their desires or insecurities.  Older kids in some state are allowed input as to where they want to live and their feelings on custody or visitation.

Parent Together

You and your spouse may not be married anymore but you will always be the parents of these children and will need to work together to make decisions.  You should have a parenting plan that will include things like custody, both legal and physical along with visitation.  If you can’t come to an agreement then before you seek legal action you can work with a mediator to help you come to an agreement in a way that is supportive rather than hostile.

Paying Child Support

Child support is the law and if you can’t come to an agreement then the court will do it for you.  Most states have a guideline based on income that they follow and should you fail to pay child support you can face legal action.  Failure to pay child support can result in the suspension of your passport or driver’s license along with jail time if you fall too far in arrears.

Also bear in mind that for the parent receiving the child support that the money is not federally taxed as income.  If you are the parent in receipt of the child support payments you need to make sure that the payments are designated as child support and not alimony.  Your attorney should make that clear in your divorce agreement.

Getting a divorce is an emotional time, but it is also the time where you need to set aside your differences and work towards the best interests of your children.  They are your most important priority.