Category: Uncategorized

Should You Hire an Attorney for a Deposition?

Although it is common to focus on a jury, judge, and a trial as a whole in a case on television or the news, there are actually a lot of other steps that make up a court proceeding. The pre trial testimonies, which are also known as depositions, are when an expert or witness testifies under oath for the case. It usually takes place in a lawyer’s office or a conference room that the press cannot get into, and are transcribed by a court reporting company New Jersey trusts. A deposition can be beneficial and a bad thing at the same time because they can commit you to a certain position through the entirety of the trial, but can also bring up settlement conversation.

Pre trial depositions are considered to be legal proceedings, so if you are involved in one you will be asked if you would like an attorney present. Whether you are involved as a defendant or plaintiff in a lawsuit, you may have to go through the pre trial deposition. You are allowed to represent yourself in a lawsuit, but it is advised that you do not because  your deposition testimony will be most likely be used at trial and any form of inconsistency in your statement can have a very bad impact on your trial’s outcome. During your deposition, the opposing counsel also has a lot more freedom in what they are allowed to ask you. Having a lawyer present can help because they will coach you through your testimony beforehand and offer up practice questions.

Deposition Testimony For a Witness

If you have been summoned as a witness to a case, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney to represent you. It is not a matter of if you are involved directly with the case, it is simply to protect your rights. The outcome of not having a lawyer present can affect your family, yourself, or even your employer. You must testify under oath when present at the deposition, and many questions can be tricky and intended for you to fumble your words. Anything you say can be used against you, so hiring a lawyer to help you through this process can be of great help.

Employer Can Pay For Legal Counsel

Being called to testify at a deposition can be intimidating. If you have been summoned to court to act as a witness on the part of your employer, you can ask your employer to pay for legal counsel. Your employer may comply because it is in their best interest, since you are testifying for their company’s benefit. They may directly pay for an attorney or reimburse you after you have done so.

VeritextThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions.

Most Common Reasons People Get Divorced

 

 

Husband and wife may choose to stay in their relationship together for a variety of reasons regardless of the long term difficulties they may be facing. Often, couples choose to stay together for their children or until they have grown. There may come a time, when a couple decides to divorce because they are unable to resolve their differences. Some couples may make the decision to divorce very suddenly, while for others, it may take them some time to come to terms with ending their relationship.  

 

 

  • An Empty Nest

 

    • It is common for couples to stay together until their children have grown.
    • Children can sometimes keep couples together for much longer than they may have intended.
    • Often, people stay together until their children are grown and have moved out. In situations like this, it is more likely for couples to move through their divorce peacefully.

 

 

  • Financial Hardship

 

    • Financial issues can impact important aspects of your life together as a couple.
    • They can be the result of legal issues, medical problems, and career changes.
    • When one person in the relationship spends too much money or is constantly mismanaging the finances- the other partner may decide that they would rather end the relationship than struggle through financial hardship.

 

 

  • Infidelity

 

    • Cheating almost always leads to divorce.
    • In some cases, the couple may choose to attempt to repair their relationship and rebuild trust.
    • Some spouses continue to cheat and may reach a point where the couple has to decide if they should move forward with an open marriage as a result.
    • If repairing the relationship or pursuing an open marriage do not work, the couple may choose to end their relationship.

 

 

  • Domestic Violence & Physical Abuse

 

    • Domestic violence or family violence may put the family or spouse in severe danger.
    • One way that a victim may attempt to keep themselves safe is through a protective order. This does not always work.
    • When someone stays in an abusive relationship, they forget what is considered to be healthy human interactions.

 

 

  • Substance Abuse
  • Addiction can take a toll on a relationship.
  • If someone in the relationship is suffering from addiction the impact can be momentous.
  • Trust issues may develop as a result of the person abusing substances and  lying to their spouse to cover up their addiction.
  • The damage done from addiction in a relationship over time may be so great that the relationship is unable to sustain.  

 

 

A family law attorney can help a person who has decided to divorce their spouse figure out the right way to move forward. Acquiring a divorce attorney such as the divorce lawyers Peoria IL locals trust that you can trust and feels like the right fit can help during such a difficult time. Always be sure to gather information about the attorney you are considering to determine if they are the right fit for you.

Smith and Weer Attorneys at Law Thanks to authors at Smith & Weer P.C. for their insight into Family law.

Will a personal injury award be considered marital property in a divorce?

 

The answer to this question, like most other legal question is “It depends.” The answer will also require that we define our terms here.

Marital Property – Assets that belong to both spouses and each is entitled to their marital portion.

Separate Property – Assets that belong to only one spouse because of its intensely personal nature, or because it was owned prior to the marriage, or inherited.

First and foremost, the answer depends on where you live. Is your state a “Community Property” State or an ‘Equitable Division” State? In a Community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.) the court will divide all marital property down the middle, meaning your personal injury award could be divided 50/50 between you and your spouse. This is an Equal division.

An equitable division is not necessarily equal. It allows for more of an argument about what is fair to be divided between the spouses. In an equitable division state, your spouse’s attorney may argue that certain parts of the personal injury award is owed to a non-injured spouse. But they would likely be limited in their claim to only the monetary and measurable awards such as for lost wages, medical bill reimbursement, expenses associated with the injury etc. A non-injured spouse likely would not prevail in their argument that they were entitled to a portion of the payout for a lost limb for instance since that is a harm that only the injured spouse endured, and will continue to endure after the marriage is ended, and therefore, if we are being fair and equitable, only the injured spouse should receive the benefit for.

Another option for the non-injured spouse is to not seek a division of the personal injury award at all. Why? Because if there is a spousal support award, the court can treat that settlement money as income to try to raise that alimony amount. The same logic would be applied to a child support calculation as well. This tactic would largely depend on whether or not there was a lump sum payout or if it is a structured settlement that is paid out over time.

The big takeaway is you don’t know what you don’t know and that is why it is essential to have an advocate who can negotiate these complicated discussions for you such as the Family Lawyer Worthington OH locals trust. Another good idea is to consult your tax advisor to determine what kind of tax consequences will happen as a result of any kind of monetary settlement.

Law Firm of Doty & Obenour Thanks to Authors at Doty & Obenour LLC for their insight into Family Law and Personal Injury.

Will a Criminal Record Affect My Child Custody Agreement?

 

Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes can come back to haunt us. That’s a concern for individuals involved in a child custody battle who also have a criminal conviction on their record. Even though they have already paid for their crimes, they may suddenly fear that their record will influence how custody of their child is determined.

 

How Does a Criminal Record Affect Child Custody?

As it happens, a criminal history does affect how judges view child custody cases. Because the judge must make the child’s welfare the primary concern, a parent’s criminal past is considered relevant information. It helps the judge determine behavior patterns and get a good idea about the individual’s character, which all plays a part in determining if the parent is suitable for custody.

Judges are given broad discretion in doing what is in the best interests of the children involved, so a record doesn’t automatically bar a parent from getting custody. The judge will look at the details of the conviction(s), including the type of offense, the victim’s details, the age the parent was at the time the parent committed the offense, and the sentence received. He or she will also look at the number of offenses committed.

 

Past Offenses

Problems may arise, if the judge finds that the parent’s past offenses involved inflicting emotional or psychological harm on his or her own child. In these circumstances, the judge may limit custody, or restrict the parent to supervised visitation. In the event that the parent caused extreme physical harm or committed sexual abuse on the child, custody and visitation will probably be rescinded altogether. The reasoning for this is that these types of parents will likely hurt their children again.

 

What Crimes Were Committed?

Assuming the crimes were not committed against the parent’s own children, the judge will want to take a closer look at the nature of the individual crimes. Violent crimes, especially those involving domestic abuse, indicate anger management issues and cause concern in child custody cases. Any circumstances that might give the court reason to suspect future abuse against the child will not bode well for that parent.

Similarly, a history of alcohol abuse and drug addiction will make the judge wary of sending a child into that environment. Drug users will usually be ordered to submit to frequent drug testing and the parent will lose the right to joint custody. Instead, he or she will have to submit to supervised visits to ensure the child isn’t placed in harm’s way. Similarly, a drunk driving conviction suggests the parent is prone to risky behavior, suggesting the parent will put the child in dangerous situations.

 

Exceptions to the Rule

There is good news for some parents in these situations. If there was just one criminal act, for example, and it occurred several years ago, the judge may take a closer look at the person’s more recent life. If the parent can show that he or she has turned around and tried to become a better person, that may work in the individual’s favor. If there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the crime, that also may give the judge a reason to consider better custody options for that parent.

Whenever possible, courts like to keep families together, but, at the same time, the child’s welfare has to be the focus of any custody hearing. As long as a parent doesn’t have a violent history and can show a changed lifestyle, judges will be less prone to restrict custody. In the end, it’s up to the judge to make his best guess as to the quality of an individual as a parent.

 

Ideally, a family law attorney such as the child custody lawyers Pekin IL locals trust can represents you can represent the best interests of both you and your child. Talk to one today and request a free and confidential consultation.

Smith and Weer Attorneys at LawThanks to authors at Smith & Weer P.C.  for their insight into Family Law.

You Slipped and Fell, Now What?

 

            We’ve all been there: walking down the aisle of the local store, unaware of any hazard on the floor, and then, the next instant you are landing hard on the floor with your foot underneath you. Even if you aren’t immediately thinking about filing a lawsuit, there are some things to take notice of in the immediate aftermath to ensure that if you do end up filing suit, you will have enough background information to at least bolster your case when you bring it to an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL relies on, for evaluation.

First, get medical treatment if you need it. This is particularly true if your head hits the floor or ground, if you have existing injuries that could have been exacerbated by the fall, and if you have pain in unusual places which could denote internal injuries. Not only does this ensure that your medical needs are taken care of, particularly if there are head injuries or broken bones, but it also provides solid documentation of the medical details of your injury in the immediate aftermath.

Second, inspect the area where you fell. It is rare that someone slips on a floor without some other catalyst such as a carpet snag, freshly waxed floors, prior liquid spill, or even water other people have brought in from outside during a rainstorm. Prepare a written version of the accident including descriptions of the area where you fell and the conditions that could have precipitated the fall. Photographs are always useful in this regard.

Third, find your witnesses. Chances are if you slip and fall in public, there will be at least one person who witnessed the accident from a uniquely different vantage point. Make a point of reaching out to this person if you can at the store or location of the fall to get their contact information and name. It is also helpful to find witnesses who saw you in the area before the fall who can attest to your ability to ambulate before the accident. These witnesses may become particularly helpful in the event the owner of the property disputes your version of the events.

Fourth, follow the required procedures. If you fall in a store, a public building, or some other quasi-public place, the landowner may have some protocol that you will need to follow in order to be able to have your claim considered. For example, a store may require you to fill out an incident report detailing the accident and its surrounding circumstances. At a bare minimum, make certain that a manager or director is notified of the incident so that they can activate their protocols for this kind of incident. Be cognizant of what information you are given by the manager at the time, particularly statements regarding the hazardous nature of this particular area or claims of recent prior falls.

Finally, as soon as you have gathered your information, photographs, and incident reports, find a reputable personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine what remedies, if any, you may have.

Eric H. Luckman Board Certified Trial LawyerThanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into personal injury and slip and fall cases.

What is the Process For Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

While a personal injury lawsuit varies depending on the circumstances of the accident, there are common elements in every case. Before a lawsuit is filed, there must be proof of injuries. Furthermore, your lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Loveland CO can count on, will evaluate your case to determine fault and whether or not you have a valid claim. If your case is viable, then you can expect to go through the following stages during the lawsuit process.

 

Filing a Complaint

The complaint is the first document in a personal injury lawsuit. It lays out in detail what you claim the defendant did.

  • After filing the complaint, your attorney is required to locate the accused party and serve the complaint on them.
  • The complaint should be physically delivered to the defendant in a manner that can be proved later that it was in fact delivered.
  • The complaint will inform the defendant about the date they are required to appear in court.
  • The defendant will have a month to hire a lawyer and appear in court.

 

Discovery

After the first court appearance, the next stage in a personal injury lawsuit is the discovery phase. This process allows both parties in the lawsuit to gather facts from each other. This process is conducted to reduce unexpected surprises during trial and allows both sides to prepare for the case. The three main methods used in the discovery process are written discovery, production of documents, and depositions.

 

  1. Written discovery consists of requests for admission and interrogatories. Requests for admission simply ask a person to either deny or admit certain facts associated with the case. Interrogatories are questions that require you to give your version of facts and your claims. There are limits to how many requests for admission and interrogatories that each side can ask.
  2. Document production is where each party asks the other party to present documents that are relevant to the case. Some of the documents requested include medical and business records. The courts may also allow computer files in the document discovery phase.
  3. A deposition is another crucial discovery tool. During a deposition, a person answers an attorney’s questions under oath and a court reporter transcribes the proceedings of the deposition. The main reasons an attorney may insist on a deposition include; locking a person into their story, reviewing the other side’s statements, and gauging how a witness will conduct themselves in a court trial.

 

Settlement

Many cases are settled before trial. Though parties can settle at any point, it’s typical to reach a settlement before the discovery process is over. This is especially true if the evidence establishing damages or liability is inconclusive.

 

Trial

If a settlement is not forth-coming, a judge or jury will examine the evidence and decide whether or not to hold the defendant legally responsible for injuries sustained by the plaintiff. During the trial, you have the opportunity to prove your case in the hope of getting a judgment in your favor. Also, the defendant will have a chance to refute your claims. A typical trial consists of the following stages:

  • Selection of a jury
  • Opening statements from both sides
  • Testimony of witnesses and cross-examination
  • Presentation of other evidence such as medical records and physical evidence from the accident scene
  • Closing statements from both sides
  • The judge gives instructions to the jury
  • Jury deliberation
  • The final verdict

If you have been involved in an accident which was not your fault, your first impulse should be to consider filing a claim against the at-fault party. Consult an attorney for in-depth information and counsel about the particulars of your personal injury case.

Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt, LLC.Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon, Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt for their insight into filing personal injury lawsuits

Life Changing Events and Will Revision

In the event of your passing, estate planning is important in order to have your wishes followed, while also protecting your loved ones. Having all legal paperwork in place is essential regardless of your financial standing, age, or marital status. Estate planning is a vital part to financial planning for the future.

There are 5 major life events that should prompt you to revise your estate plan as they could have an impact on your estate if left untouched.

  1. Personal Injury Settlement: This type of settlement is often distinguished from other assets and should be outlined in legal documents. When a victim is awarded a personal injury settlement, it is important to determine how remaining payments (if any) should be provided to your estate. Utilizing an Sacramento estate lawyer can help to handle this life changing event in particular.
  2. Inheritance: If someone passes away leaving you the beneficiary of their assets, you will need to make a plan in terms of how those assets will be distributed in the event of your death.
  3. Marriage or Divorce: Marital status has a heavy impact on estate planning. Regardless of whether or not you are recently married or divorced, your Will should be reviewed and amended.
  4. Birth or Adoption of a Child: You will want your child to be included in your estate plan to ensure that they are taken care of after you pass away. Adding them to your estate plan can help to alleviate this concern and ensure that your children are taken care of should you pass away. This should also be revisited when your child gets married.
  5. Death of a Beneficiary: If the person you identified to either be executor of your estate or, as a beneficiary of assets passes away, you should immediately update you will.

There is more to estate planning than planning for beneficiaries and assets. Estate planning also requires updating if you are impacted by any of the above five life changing events.

Everyone is encouraged to speak with an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible to create the legal documents necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones in the future.

Yee Law Group Sacramento Probate Attorneys and Estate PlanningThanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into wills and estate planning.

Does Running a Family Business Constitute Voluntary Underemployment When Calculating Child Support? 

 

While the standard calculations for child support in Florida are fairly straightforward, parties engaged in a contentious divorce often find issues to raise with the amount of child support awarded–and, of course, divorces can easily become contentious when children are involved. For example, claims of voluntary under- or unemployment by one party can lead to serious questions about the appropriate amount of child support.

The heart of the issue is determining what constitutes voluntary under- or unemployment. In general, Florida statute allows the trial court to take into consideration foregone income when calculating child support due if one party is determined to be under- or unemployed–but what do courts consider when weighing this issue?

The case of Gillette v. Gillette examines the matter closely. Joseph and Andrea Gillette were formerly married. During the course of their marriage, Joseph left his $90,000-a-year job in order to start his own business. Andrea supported her then-husband in this endeavor. However, while Joseph’s business provided the family with certain advantages including scheduling flexibility that allowed him to take care of their son, his income dropped dramatically; he never made more than $13,000 annually in the nine years between the business’ inception and the divorce.

Andrea Gillette claimed that her former spouse should be considered voluntarily underemployed for the purposes of calculating child support. The trial court disagreed, and the Fourth District Court of Appeal sided with the trial court.

For the appellate court, two issues were at the heart of their determination. First, while Andrea brought in expert testimony regarding Joseph’s earning potential, the expert didn’t take into consideration technological changes in Joseph’s industry since he left outside employment; this was key as Joseph had been out of his former fast-changing industry for more than a decade. Second–and perhaps more importantly–the spouses were in agreement while still married that Joseph should maintain his business rather than seeking formal employment.

In short, while voluntary underemployment can affect child support decisions in Florida, the fact that one former spouse could potentially earn more by leaving their business for a formal job isn’t enough to prove the issue. Consult with an experienced attorney such as the family attorney Tampa FL locals trust.

McKinney Law GroupThanks to authors at Mckinney Law Group for their insight into Family Law.

Dividing pension and retirement accounts in divorce | Lorona Mead

 

Pensions and various retirement accounts are valued and divided in divorce. Just as the income you and your spouse earned during the marriage is part of the divisible marital estate, so are the retirement and pension account values vested at the time of the divorce. While family law rules impose rights to shares of retirement assets, the parties in a divorce can use their rights to offset other property or asset division. In a settlement agreement, the parties may want to agree that one spouse keeps their full retirement account and pension interests and the other may be allowed to keep the home, free and clear, for example.

However pension and retirement assets are to be divided, it is important to properly value and follow applicable law on retirement and pension division. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney such as the family law attorney Plano TX locals trust.

Pension Accounts

When dividing marital assets in divorce, vested pensions and future payments are valued, divided and assigned to each spouse in settlement of by the court’s order. If the parties agree that one spouse should keep their full and undivided pensions, the bargain for exchange should be written in the divorce settlement agreement. When pension accounts are to be divided, the court’s order will set forth the required payments or shares to divided among the parties. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is required by law and is a separate order which identifies a date for payment, parties to pay, and a lump sum or monthly percentage of pension payments.

Qualified Retirement Accounts

Like pensions, retirement accounts such as 401(k) accounts are joint marital assets and require a QDRO for division in divorce. The order states a specific amount or lump sum payment instructions. Note that not all retirement plans are subject to the QDRO requirement, which applies only to qualified retirement plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Individual Retirement and SEP Assets

If you have an IRA account, it may be treated like any other investment account asset and there is no additional requirement that a QDRO be used to divide it. This is a perceived benefit of an IRA when the limits of transferability are concerned. A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA, commonly found in small and solo employee businesses, is not a pension plan within the meaning of ERISA which imposes the QDRO requirement.

When dividing pension and retirement accounts, every pension and retirement account plan administrator may have their own rules and procedures in complying with court-ordered divisions in divorce cases. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney experienced in all areas of divorce including pension and retirement account division.

Scroggins Family LawThanks to authors at Scroggins Law for their insight into Family and Divorce Law.

What happens when health care professionals illegally obtain prescription drugs for their own use?

 

Health care professionals (doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, etc.) are people too.  They have health problems just like their patients.  The difference is that a patient needs to go to a doctor to get a prescription drug, but a doctor can prescribe it himself, and other health care professionals either have access to the drugs without first obtaining a prescription, or can access prescription forms (paper or on-line) and forge a prescription.

When a health care professional writes a prescription to a fictitious person and gets the medications for himself, or writes a prescription to a real person but diverts the medications to himself, this is known as “prescription drug fraud.”  The elements of this crime are set forth in VA Code §18.2-258.1:  Obtaining drugs, procuring administration of controlled substances, etc., by fraud, deceit or forgery. 

            Below, I have reprinted the Code section for the reader’s review and have put in bold the portions I believe are relevant to most of the health care provider prescription drug charge cases that I have handled.  In summary, to prove guilt of Prescription Drug Fraud, the Commonwealth (the Prosecutor) must show, beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) That the defendant obtained a prescription drug (e.g. Percocets, Oxycodone) by either (i) Fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, embezzlement, or (ii) by representing himself to be the person authorized to write the prescription.

VA Code § 18.2-258.1. Obtaining drugs, procuring administration of controlled substances, etc., by fraud, deceit or forgery.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to obtain or attempt to obtain any drug or procure or attempt to procure the administration of any controlled substance or marijuana: (i) by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, embezzlement, or subterfuge; (ii) by the forgery or alteration of a prescription or of any written order; (iii) by the concealment of a material fact; or (iv) by the use of a false name or the giving of a false address.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person to furnish false or fraudulent information in or omit any information from, or willfully make a false statement in, any prescription, order, report, record, or other document required by Chapter 34 (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.) of Title 54.1.
  3. It shall be unlawful for any person to use in the course of the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or marijuana a license number which is fictitious, revoked, suspended, or issued to another person.
  4. It shall be unlawful for any person, for the purpose of obtaining any controlled substance or marijuana to falsely assume the title of, or represent himself to be, a manufacturer, wholesaler, pharmacist, physician, dentist, veterinarian or other authorized person.
  5. It shall be unlawful for any person to make or utter any false or forged prescription or false or forged written order.
  6. It shall be unlawful for any person to affix any false or forged label to a package or receptacle containing any controlled substance.
  7. This section shall not apply to officers and employees of the United States, of this Commonwealth or of a political subdivision of this Commonwealth acting in the course of their employment, …

The statute goes on to say that the punishment is a Class 6 Felony.  This is the smallest felony and is punishable by

For Class 6 felonies, a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

Also, embedded into §18.2-258.1, is a very helpful paragraph H.  It has an alternate punishment of a Class 1 Misdemeanor for those who plead guilty and complete a drug program.

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, any person who shall violate any provision herein shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under this article or under any statute of the United States or of any state relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs, or has not previously had a proceeding against him for violation of such an offense dismissed, or reduced as provided in this section, pleads guilty to or enters a plea of not guilty to the court for violating this section, upon such plea if the facts found by the court would justify a finding of guilt, the court may place him on probation upon terms and conditions.

As a term or condition, the court shall require the accused to be evaluated and enter a treatment and/or education program, if available, such as, in the opinion of the court, may be best suited to the needs of the accused. This program may be located in the judicial circuit in which the charge is brought or in any other judicial circuit as the court may provide. The services shall be provided by a program certified or licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. The court shall require the person entering such program under the provisions of this section to pay all or part of the costs of the program, including the costs of the screening, evaluation, testing and education, based upon the person’s ability to pay unless the person is determined by the court to be indigent.

As a condition of supervised probation, the court shall require the accused to remain drug free during the period of probation and submit to such tests during that period as may be necessary and appropriate to determine if the accused is drug free. Such testing may be conducted by the personnel of any screening, evaluation, and education program to which the person is referred or by the supervising agency.

Unless the accused was fingerprinted at the time of arrest, the court shall order the accused to report to the original arresting law-enforcement agency to submit to fingerprinting.

Upon violation of a term or condition, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt upon the felony and proceed as otherwise provided. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of probation, the court shall find the defendant guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The #1 goal of any criminal defense attorney who is doing his/her job is to get the charge dismissed.  If you want a dismissal, there are only two ways to get that.  1.  Get the Prosecutor to drop the charge.  This is called a “nolle prossequi” which is Latin for “Not Prosecute,” or  2.  Go to trial and win.

If dismissal is not possible, then having the Prosecutor drop the charge to a Misdemeanor or getting the Judge to do so using subsection H are great outcomes.  While having a Misdemeanor on your record is not desirable, and can cause loss or suspension of a health care state license, it is much much better than having a Felony.  A Felony can have catastrophic consequences to job searches and can cause loss of certain government benefits.  Also, a Felony causes, among other things, the loss of the right to vote and loss of the right to possess a firearm.

An experienced attorney such as the criminal defense attorney Fairfax VA

locals trust should be a paramount concern of a health care provider charged with prescription fraud.  Many inexperienced lawyers don’t even know about subsection H.  In addition, if you want a Prosecutor to drop the charge or to offer a Misdemeanor, then your attorney needs to show the Prosecutor that he may lose the case.  Remember, a “Plea Bargain” has the word “bargain” in it.  That means each side gets something.  If a Prosecutor thinks he is going to win, then he is unlikely to drop the case or even offer to amend it to a Misdemeanor.  Your experienced attorney needs to show the Prosecutor the weaknesses in the case in order to get the Prosecutor to “bargain.”

Albo & Oblon Attorney and counselors at lawA special thanks to our authors at Albo & Oblon, LLP for their insight into Criminal Law.