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Federal vs. State Crimes

Posted by on Jan 11, 2020 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

The American criminal justice system is, in a word, confusing. One of the most confusing aspects of the system is whether a criminal gets tried through the state or federal courts. While the majority of crimes are tried through the state court, there are certain crimes that are usually prosecuted on the federal level.

Understanding which crime goes where can be a dizzying task. I decided to whip up this blog post to outline the differences between state and federal crimes. If you’re curious, keep reading!

When is it Federal Jurisdiction?

As previously stated, the majority of crimes are crimes under state law. Thus, these criminals will be prosecuted in the state courts and sent to state prisons if convicted of a crime. 

The state has the power to legislate pretty much any crime, as long as the law written is constitutional. The federal government, however, is more limited and can only pass laws around crimes that are related to some federal or national interest. National interest is broadly defined to include:


  • Crimes on federal land or involving a federal officer. For example, the murder of an FBI agent would be eligible to be tried in the federal courts.
  • A crime where the criminal crosses state borders. An example of this would be when a kidnapping victim being moved from Texas to Arizona by the defendant.
  • Violations of immigration and customs law. A common example of this is the importation of child pornography.
  • Criminal conduct in multiple states. If a serial killer killed multiple people in several different states, the federal government could have jurisdiction. 


Differences in Prosecution

There are several differences between federal and state prosecution. In federal prosecution, the crime is investigated by FBI officers or DEA agents, and they are tried by an Assistant United States Attorney — a federal prosecutor. The case goes before a federal judge, who is appointed to a life-term by the president.

State crimes are investigated by police departments, sheriff offices, and any applicable state agencies. The cases are then tried by assistant district attorneys or city attorneys. Cases are tried in front of a judge like in federal prosecution, but judges do not serve for a life term. Some states have judicial elections and others have other systems like appointments.


In federal court, judges have advisory sentencing guidelines that suggest how to sentence a criminal convicted of a crime, and judges usually follow these guidelines. For the most part, federal sentences are longer than state sentences for the same crime. This is in part due to harsh mandatory sentencing rules on the federal level, particularly for drug crimes. 

What to Do

Whether you are charged with a federal or state crime, it is imperative that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It may seem tempting, but don’t attempt to save money on an attorney by representing yourself. A criminal defense attorney has the skills and experience necessary to help you avoid a harsh prison sentence and possible fines.

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Consider Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jun 12, 2019 in Business | 0 comments

Have you ever looked at your bank account and truly wondered how you would make it to the next payday? If not, then congrats! You are more fortunate than most Americans.

Thankfully, the rate of poverty has decreased in most communities in the past few decades. However, it is very easy to look around our economy and feel as if the system is set up against you, not in your best interests.

Some people turn to blame others. Throughout history, other groups have been blamed for the economic troubles of others. While politics can be complex, and the reasons for particular economic troubles surely cannot be addressed in one blog post, it can be said pretty simply that there is no single group responsible for all of your financial troubles.

Nor is it completely your fault! Often, it seems like discussing economics leads to an odd feedback loop in which your options are:

  • Blame all of your money problems on a group or issue (i.e. immigration)
  • If not this, then blame all of your money problems on your own actions; degrade and feel bad about yourself in the process

Well, I am here to discuss an option to get out of this cycle and to get out of this particular rut: bankruptcy.

Despite disagreements about finances being one of the biggest contributors to divorce in America, and despite the physical and emotional toll that stressing about money can contribute to your life, many people shy away from declaring bankruptcy.

Maybe bankruptcy has a bad reputation because it is associated with either failing businesses or truly broke people. However, more people claim bankruptcy than you would imagine. According to, just one US state (California) had over 200,000 bankruptcy filings in 2011!

Do not let the reputation of bankruptcy dissuade you from even exploring the financial tool as an option. I would never advise you to lie on financial documents, so you might be curious why bankruptcy could be an option for someone who is not on their very last dollar.

Well, according to the expert Central Texas Bankruptcy Attorney Erin Shank and her team, bankruptcy could be declared for lots of reasons. Do not wait until you are at your last $20 to begin exploring your options to get a helping hand and begin anew.

Many types of debts can be covered under bankruptcy. The one exception, famously, is student loan debt. However, being able to deal with different types of debt — including money you might owe for past medical treatments — could help you better deal with student loans.

Despite being a great tool to use in desperate financial times, declaring bankruptcy shouldn’t be taken lightly. To begin the process, you have to sign important documents under the penalty of perjury. As a result, it is in your best interest to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer who can clarify any questions you might have about the process.

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Delayed Treatment? Here’s What to Do

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Delayed Treatment, Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

When you work as a doctor, your everyday decisions can impact your patients for the rest of their lives. Most professions allow for small slip-ups every once in a while when on the job, but this is not really true with doctors. If you went to the doctor’s office and they were unable to give you a correct diagnosis, this could impact you for the rest of your life. In the worst scenarios, it could even shorten it. I recently began to wonder what I would do if I found myself in a situation like that. My kids have to do physical exams with the doctor every year so they can play sports during the school year. I want the doctors to be on their A game and not miss anything that could cause an issue while they’re training. If they did mess up, I wanted to know what my plan of recourse would be. I found some good information on the website for McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm. They are Fort Smith delayed treatment lawyers, meaning that at their firm, they work with people who have been affected by misdiagnosis and delayed treatment in the Fort Smith area. For years they’ve been helping people take good legal recourse when a doctor has caused them harm. They know what’s relevant in deciding a delayed treatment case.

If you attempt to sue a doctor for wrongful diagnosis, it’s your job to show a judge or a jury that your doctor was negligent towards you. In order to be considered negligent, a doctor will have done something that is vastly different from how a normal, reasonable doctor would have acted. When you go in for an appointment, normal doctor protocol is that doctors should perform an initial evaluation of a patient and make a list of all the potential ailments. From this point on, doctors will perform tests in order to make that list more narrow. They may at this point send you to a specialist or diagnose you and begin treatment. Sometimes this process can extend for up to several weeks. If a doctor does not put the right diagnosis down, or if their tests do not lead to a correct diagnosis, this can delay treatment for weeks, even months. This may be due to a doctor being found negligent in court.

Sometimes, you can receive money even if your doctor did everything right. There are some situations that are simply unavoidable, even if there is no human error. Maybe a machine was malfunctioning while you were using it. Sometimes lab test results are not collected or analyzed correctly. In these situations, you can receive money on behalf of the hospital itself or maybe another healthcare professional. Although, in these cases, you will need to prove that a lab worker or lab machine was not working correctly.

Each of these situations can lead to a misdiagnosis that causes delayed treatment. Delayed treatment allows treatable diseases to fester and cause you more harm than they would had they been detected early. If I or a loved one is ever misdiagnosed, I’m certainly going to hire a lawyer!

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Why We Need To Talk More About Boats and Booze

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018 in Boat Accidents | 0 comments

Living as I do near the coast in South Carolina, I, of course, know a lot of people with boats. Now, despite the location, boats and water are not my thing (Im here for family and for my job, Im not particularly partial to that beach everyone goes on about). But as I say, I know a lot of people who love to spend the whole summer out in the water, which means I know some people who have had some trouble about their boats and their booze.

What Ive found is, we need to talk about boating and booze because a lot of people dont know anything about it, and thats a problem. I know some people who have gotten into trouble because they didnt really know there were any laws about drinking on a boat. After all, what is the classic image of going out on a boat? Its drinking and fishing. Thats why a lot of people get a boat in the first place. And with so much water, a lot of people just assume there are no rules about how much they drink and how much they boat. Its a little hard for some to grasp that, as the local law firm Truslow & Truslow point out, a BUI (boating while under the influence) is treated just as seriously as a DUI (driving while under the influence).

For those who do know, theres still a need for more education. After all, one mistake, and perhaps even a misunderstanding or misreading from the police, can lead to serious consequences if the boaters dont know their rights or when they should seek some extra help. A single BUI conviction can lead to jail time.

Think about that. Some guy who had too much on a holiday weekend while on his boat might end up in jail when theres nothing around but the ocean and the waves. It makes sense, of course, since it can lead to serious accidents, but on some level, it seems a bit too extreme.

So, we have to start talking about these things and educating boaters. They need to know what the limits are, what the punishments are, and what they should do if they get in trouble. Talking about it before they get the boat, before they get the license, and regularly afterwards, will help prevent too much drinking in the first place. It will also protect boaters if they make that one-time mistake and take on a little too much on that holiday weekend.

While Im not the guy youll find on a boat or at the beach, I want that area to be safe for everyone, especially my friends and family. That means safer boating, and it also means more awareness of what should be done in the event too much drinking has taken place.

So, lets all start speaking up. We need to get this information out there. Lets keep each other safe, and lets look after each other when one of us makes a mistake.

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Wisconsin and medical malpractice

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

Medical Malpractice is one of the top three leading causes of death in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. There is a reason that the state of Wisconsin does not have the malpractice lawsuit statistic to match this leading cause of death. Wisconsin has strict laws regarding who is actually eligible to file a lawsuit after a malpractice death or injury. According to Wisconsin law, only the spouse, or minor child of the deceased is allowed to file a lawsuit on medical malpractice, which excludes a large party of people who do not fit those categories.

Knowing the rare nature of winning medical malpractices in Wisconsin, there have been two recent wins for these suits, which is astounding. The first win comes from Deshawn Gray who checked into the Wheaton Franciscan Hospital in 2012 at age 28, for a fractured knee after a motorcycle accident. Shortly after the surgery to repair Gray’s knee, he developed acute compartment syndrome, which means his tissue and muscles were swelling to the point that it cut off the blood supply, which caused the nerves to die, and for Gray to lose his leg.

Wisconsin has medical malpractice caps on rewards. Gray should have won $1.5 million to compensate for medical bills, pain and suffering, the loss of companionship of his 7-year-old son, and any future medical bills. However, in order to ensure he receives something, Gray agreed to get the $750,000, in order to not get the whole reward taken away.

Wisconsin law strikes again as Colleen Daniels dies due to medical malpractice, and no one can sue for her. Colleen came to the hospital in 2011 after a car accident, and as the doctors shoved a breathing tube down her throat, down the wrong pipe into her stomach, as she suffered and paramedics tried to take the tube out, and the doctor would not let them. Unfortunately for Daniels, she was divorced, and her kids were 18 and older, so the state of Wisconsin, would not let anyone sue on her behalf for medical malpractice.

To get around Wisconsin’s strict law, Daniels attorney opted for a pain and suffering suit on behalf of the estate, which let the case be settled outside of court. The doctor’s medical license was suspended, and the Daniels family received “low six figures” in compensation, mostly from the doctor’s insurance.  

With harsh laws facing the victims of medical malpractice in Wisconsin, it is important to know if you can file a lawsuit, and to a hire a lawyer to either help you get around these laws or help you win the compensation you deserve if you qualify. There are many things you can receive compensation for, including medical bills, ongoing rehabilitation/therapy costs, costs of missed work, and pain and suffering. Hiring a lawyer is the first step if you or a loved one has fallen victim to medical malpractice. There is no reason you should suffer financially as well as physically and emotionally.

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Types and Benefits of Bridges

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in Dental Care | 0 comments

According to the Babylon Dental Care clinic, “A bridge is a great solution for replacing missing teeth. It can be constructed from metal, all-porcelain, or a combination of metal and porcelain. You can either choose from a fixed bridge or a removable bridge. Once our trained dentists evaluate your teeth and gums, we will decide which type of bridge is best suited for your dental needs.

Your new smile will once again look aesthetically pleasing and natural looking, too! You can expect your bridge to last anywhere between 10-20 years, depending on your at-home oral hygiene care and your regular visits with our hygienists.”

Dental bridges are most beneficial to anyone who is missing a tooth or several teeth. Dental bridges, which are also known as pontics, are actually false teeth that are fused between a couple of porcelain crowns, to fill in toothless areas. Besides this, dental bridges also help lessen threats of gum disease; these also help to improve speech.

A bridge may be done directly in a patient’s mouth or out-of-the mouth. It is made to fit a patient’s mouth naturally, casting an appearance of a complete set of teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) says that there are four types of dental bridges that a dentist may recommend:

  1. Traditional Dental Bridges. This most popular kind of bridge consists of one or more pontics or fake teeth. These are held in place by dental crowns, also called abutments, which are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Traditional bridges, however, can only be used if the teeth on both sides of the gap are natural. Their strength though makes it possible to replace even molars.
  1. Cantilever Bridges. These are very similar to traditional bridges, except for the fact that the pontic is supported by an abutment on only one side. This type of bridge makes it possible if there’s only one natural tooth next to the gap.Since the support is only on one side, however, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that this type of bridge may eventually lead to complications, such as loosened crowns or fractured teeth.
  1. Maryland Bridges. An alternative to traditional bridges, Maryland bridges consist of a pontic held in place by a metal or porcelain framework that is bonded on the backs of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. The adjacent teeth need not to be filed (as in the case of traditional bridges) since this type of bridge is not held in place by crowns, but by resin.
  1. Implant-Supported Bridges. This type of bridge is the option if there is more than one tooth missing. Dental implants, instead of crowns or frameworks, are used to support Implant-Supported bridges. One implant is usually placed for every missing tooth; thus, the bridge is held in place by a series of implants.

Whatever type of bridge you choose, you are sure to enjoy the following: restoration of your smile; restoration of your ability to properly chew and speak; and, you will maintain the shape of your face.


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Divorce Mediation – an Alternative Dispute Resolution that has worked well for many Couples

Posted by on Apr 29, 2017 in Divorce & Family | 0 comments

Divorce Mediation – an Alternative Dispute Resolution that has worked well for many Couples

According to the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, in the state of Texas, “Alternative Dispute resolution is authorized through Title 7 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. A court may, on its own motion or on the motion of a party, refer a pending dispute for resolution by an alternative dispute procedure (either Mediation or Collaborative law).

Mediation uses a trained neutral mediator to attempt to resolve the dispute, while collaborative law is a hybrid process that involves each client bringing a trained lawyer to the table to negotiate the divorce. Either of these options could help you to retain control during your divorce proceedings. If you are considering either of these options to settle your divorce, consider seeking help form a knowledgeable alternative dispute resolution attorney for a peaceful, faster, controlled and less costly divorce.”

Many divorcing couples can now choose from the many alternative dispute resolutions available. Unlike in the past when divorces were settled in courts, requiring spouses to spend so much money, bear with the length of the process which may take a couple of years, sometimes even more, especially if it is a high-profile divorce (depending on the issues that need to be settled and how fast the spouses agree with each other over such issues – child custody and visitation rights, child support, spousal support or alimony, and division of properties, assets and debts) and end up hating each other, today’s alternative resolutions allow the spouses themselves (not a judge) to decide on the issues; these also cost cheaper that a court-litigated divorce, are faster to settle and leave the spouses friends to each other despite the need to end their union.

One type of alternative dispute resolution is mediated divorce or mediation. Mediated divorce is a private process and does not require the presence of a lawyer (though any of the partners may be assisted by one if he/she wishes). Through the help of a mediator, who is chosen by the couple and who makes suggestions regarding what may be the best options (to settle divorce and all other issues) based on the couple’s circumstances, the couple makes the decisions on how everything will be settled.

There are other benefits that make the mediation process more advantageous than a court procedure, some of these include:

  • Confidentiality: while the spouses have a free hand in making decisions that will work best for both of them, their personal lives and interest are also kept from becoming public news and gossip. In the mediation process, whatever transpires is kept between the couple (and their lawyers, if they each have one) and their mediator.
  • Cost: a court settlement can take weeks, months or even a year to finish, while a mediation process may take only hours or days, saving the couple from incurring off time from work and costly court fees.
  • Compliance: since the issues were decided by the couple, making sure that each party abides by the decision is more ensured.

The mediation process is gaining greater popularity in settling divorce and other related issues as it also makes the process less stressful for the divorcing parties. The process also builds an air of respect and friendship that may determine the couple’s attitude towards each other, even long after the divorce has been settled.

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Types of Corporation

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Business | 0 comments

A Corporation is a type or business entity wherein a group of shareholders assumes an existence that is independent of the individual shareholders, making this group’s powers and liabilities, therefore, distinct from those of its members.

A corporation limits the liability of shareholders; thus, even if is held liable for damages in a civil suit, the most shareholders can lose would be their investment in the stock. Personal properties and assets of shareholder are not on the line for corporate liabilities.

A corporation has four main types: C Corporation; S Corporation; Limited Liability Company (LLC); and, Nonprofit Organization.

  • C Corporation. Under the U.S. federal income tax law, a C corporation is a type of corporate business entity that is taxed separately from its owners. The number of shareholders in a C corporation, whether foreign or domestic, is never limited.
  • S Corporation. An S corporation is a special type of corporate business format that was formed through an IRS tax election. Under the S corporation set up, company income, deductions, and tax credits flow through to shareholder, thus, income is taxed at the level of the shareholder instead of at the corporate level. While an S corporation limits the financial liability of a shareholder, this may not apply in litigations due to workplace incident.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC). An LLC combines the elements of a partnership and a corporation. While the company’s existence is separate from its members, allowing it to exist even if one or more members withdraw, all business profits and losses are reported on members’ personal tax return. LLC members also enjoy limited liability in the event that the company incurs huge debts or goes bankrupt. This means that members’ properties and assets of are protected from being taken by creditors in payment of company debts.
  • Nonprofit Organization. This type of corporate business entity uses surplus revenues in achieving its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.

As the firm, Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., explains in the website, establishing a new company is an exciting move, however all decisions can have a substantial impact on the future of the business. From a legal standpoint, there are a range of different choices that must be made which can profoundly influence the course of a company’s development and progress. Advice from a qualified legal professional can prove invaluable, especially for entrepreneurs.

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The Most Dangerous Breeds of Dogs

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Family Safety | 0 comments

On January 3, 2016, a 9-year old boy was brutally killed by his half-sister’s three pit bulls after he was left alone with the dogs. The three animals, a mother and two offsprings, were raised by the owner herself, who also said that she has no idea what made the animals do what they did to her brother.

On February 7 of the same year, a 3-day old male infant was bitten on the head by their family dog, a male labrador-shepherd mix. Prior to the accident, the infant’s 21-year old mother placed him in a plastic laundry basket and laid the basket on the floor beside the couch where she fell asleep. It appeared that the basket was used by the dog as bed. Finding an infant where he was supposed to sleep, the dog was said to have tried to pick the baby up. The autopsy report said that the infant died after the dog’s teeth pierced his skull which caused brain injuries.

There are hundreds more of stories that tell about the scary reality of babies, children, senior citizens and people in different age brackets getting attacked or bitten by dogs. According to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4.5 million dog bites are reported in the United State every year. In 2012, more than 27,000 people necessitated reconstructive surgery due to dog bites, while in 2015, there were 34 dog bite-related fatalities.

Though many different breeds of dogs have been known to cause injuries and/or death, the top two breeds that cause the most harm are Rottweilers (second) and Pit Bulls (first in the list of most dangerous dog breeds). A 1982-2014 compilation of dog attack deaths and injuries show that Rottweilers harmed 538-5 individuals and killed 85 others; Pit Bulls injured 3,397 people and caused 295 fatal attacks.

According to The Benton Law Firm, in a number of states, like in Texas, for example, owners of dogs which happen to cause injury to someone can be held liable (and may even be criminally charged). If a dog, however, kills someone, then its owner may even be charged with a second-degree felony and may face up to 20 years in prison. A civil lawsuit,on the other hand, can help the victim claim compensation that would cover medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

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Possible information sources after a truck accident

Posted by on Mar 6, 2016 in Truck Accidents | 0 comments

Aside from obtaining information from the police and media outfits after a truck accident, victims of such incidents or their families may also want to get studies conducted by government agencies or data from the vehicle’s computer tracking systems. Information gathering is important in supporting your claim for you to possibly get compensations you need for recovery.

Agents from the federal and state agencies also respond in truck accidents to conduct their investigations. A police report often does not include other factors of a truck accident, like driver errors, road conditions, mechanical failures or driver errors. Government agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) thoroughly investigate other factors that may cause trucking accidents. Results of investigations are used in studies to make laws to promote road safety. Examining truck accident studies is important mostly if you suspect that a negligent truck driver is liable to your injuries. The FMCSA and the Georgia Department of Public Safety have rulings that truck drivers are well rested for a number of hours before driving huge commercial trucks. Using such information may strengthen your claim mostly if you found out that the truck driver violated his or her “hours of service.” Truck drivers who chose to work beyond the required hours set by law are often involved in accidents.

Truck accident victims may also want to get information from the high tech devices installed in monitoring commercial trucks. Many of the commercial trucks nowadays utilize electronic devices like global positioning systems (GPS), and other on-board computing devices to monitor real time trucking activities. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you may want to immediately obtain the truck’s computer-generated information to determine if the truck driver became negligent before the accident happened.

It’s important to hold those responsible for trucking accidents accountable, as these mistakes can have serious consequences on peoples’ lives. The risk of injury or long-term disability is high with trucking accidents.

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