Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What can Lawyers do to Help Victims of Domestic Violence? A lot.

Victims of domestic violence often feel helpless, trapped and alone. They may stay with an abuser due to of a lack of resources, issues of custody or fear of retribution if they leave. Enlisting the counsel of an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system can help you break the cycle of violence and be an advocate for you and your family.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime.

A domestic violence attorney can assess your case and help you determine the best course of action to take. Before your consultation, sit down and write a list of things you’d like to discuss and questions to ask. If possible, it may also help to write down all incidences of violence, the circumstances and dates that they occurred. Be open and honest with your lawyer. Your attorney is there to advocate for you and needs to know the facts of the case to make strategic decisions, such as specific evidence to present or selecting witnesses to testify on your behalf.

A domestic violence attorney can help in many ways, including:

Get a  temporary or permanent protective order in place. In Pennsylvania, victims of domestic violence can seek a protection from abuse order that may prohibit the abuser from making contact or coming within a certain distance of the victim. In certain situations, a protective order can also require that the abuser move out of a home shared with the victim. Each county has its own filing procedure, so having an attorney who is familiar with the local courtscan be a lifesaver.

File a domestic violence lawsuit. Your lawyer can file a civil lawsuit that allows you to recover any medical expenses, financial loss, or pain and suffering caused by your abuser..

File for divorce. If the perpetrator is a spouse, a family law attorney can assist you through the divorce process, including seeking spousal support and receiving your share of marital assets.

Get custody of your children. If the abuser is also a parent of your children, an attorney can help you get custody as well as child support from the other parent.

Represent you in court. A domestic violence attorney will file required documents and be your advocate in court.

Communicate with the defendant (or his or her attorney). Your lawyer will also communicate and negotiate with the defendant throughout the legal process so you do not have to deal with any more abuse or conflict.

Suffering abuse at the hands of a loved one is a  traumatic and life-changing experience. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys located in West Chester will be there to support you every step of the way, fight for your rights and help you protect your family.

If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Thursday, September 7, 2017

You Just received a Traffic Ticket. Now What?

Although a speeding ticket or other traffic violation may seem harmless, they can result in costly fines, points on your driving record, higher insurance premiums and  suspension or loss of your driver’s license. A criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in Pennsylvania traffic laws can advise you on the best course of action to take, and may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed.

What can you Expect when you Receive a Traffic Ticket

The severity of your violation determines the dollar amount of fines and the number of points that will be added to your driving record. If you accumulate six or more points, your insurance rates will most likely increase, and you may even risk having your license suspended or revoked. Serious traffic violations may include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to stop for a school bus with flashing lights
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • DUI

If you receive a traffic ticket for violating state motor vehicle laws, you must resolve the issue by the date displayed on the citation. You can resolve it one of two ways: either pay the ticket and admit guilt, or submit a “not guilty” plea to the court processing your traffic ticket.

The process of submitting a plea varies by jurisdiction. A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid further fines and penalties by submitting your plea in a timely manner in the proper jurisdiction. Your attorney will closely examine your ticket to check for any inaccuracies and analyze every aspect of the evidence against you.

On the day of your traffic violation trial, you will have the opportunity to present your defense. If you fail to appear in court on the scheduled date, the judge will hold the trial in your absence. If you are found guilty, the conviction will be reported on your driving record.

Your attorney may use the following defense strategies to get charges reduced or dismissed:

Human error–There are many different scenarios in which human error plays a part when calculating the speed of a vehicle. A police officer who is following you to determine your speed could be distracted or may not have followed you for a long enough distance to get an accurate reading.

Other factors such as darkness at night and curves in the road can also call into question the accuracy of determining your speed. If your car was being tracked by aircraft, a police officer looking down at the controls could easily lose sight of your car or confuse it with another that is similar in color and style.

Faulty calibration of equipment—Automated systems such as VASCAR measure speed by dividing distance traveled by the time it took to travel the distance. In Pennsylvania, VASCAR equipment must be calibrated every 60 days, and radar guns and police car speedometers must be calibrated at least once a year. If these devices were not calibrated within the proper time period, they will not produce reliable results that will stand up in court.

Motor vehicle laws are complex, and an attorney who is familiar with handling traffic cases in the municipality where you received your ticket will have a better understanding of how to proceed with your case. Carosella & Associates’ skilled defense attorneys are knowledgeable about state and local traffic law, and will fight to protect your rights and help you win your case.