The Legal Insider

April 2015

Get Ready for Commercial Drones

commercial-dronesDrones are still banned from commercial use, but this may be about to change. The new rules have been sent to the White House for review and Congress wants final regulations from the FAA by September 2015.

Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), drones are small flying aircrafts. The most common are rotary drones. Companies like Amazon want to use these drones to expedite business services.

What Can Drones Be Used For?

Drones have been tested for a variety of tasks and the fact that they are unmanned is appealing for companies and individuals alike. In the future, drones may be used for the following purposes:

  • Delivery: Using drones, Amazon aims to deliver packages at a faster rate and without the use of truck drivers.
  • News: News organizations can use drones instead of expensive helicopters to report on events. They can also fly lower and get to smaller areas compared to helicopters.
  • Photography and Video: With drones, aerial shots and video are easy to get and inexpensive.
  • Public Service: During search and rescue missions, drones are being used in dangerous circumstances instead of manned vehicles or aircrafts.
  • Internet Service: Drones are small and are easy to fly, which make them great for wireless access points. Many rural and poorer areas around the world could have better access to the Internet with the use of drones.
  • Agriculture: Farmers can use drones to monitor crop growth and even stray pesticides.

Who Regulates the Use of Commercial Drones?

The FAA is the government agency that regulates the use of drones. So far, the FAA has approved the drones for private use. This means that anyone can own their own drone and use it as they like as long as they do not violate existing laws.

The FAA is currently reviewing its regulations for commercial use of drones. The proposed new rules may include the following requirements:

  • Drone pilots must be licensed
  • Drones may only be used during daylight hours
  • Drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet
  • Drones must stay within eyesight of the person controlling the aircraft at all times

The new rules have been sent to the White House for review and Congress wants final regulations from the FAA by September 2015.

Privacy Concerns and Drones

Drones are an innovative technology, but many want regulation due to concerns about privacy. Drones are aircrafts that are capable of recording and photographing people and property. Many fear that the technology will be used for sinister reasons, such as spying.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket

How to Fight a Traffic TicketThe process of fighting a traffic ticket will vary depending upon the speeding laws that apply to your case. In general, the first step is to contest the speeding ticket. Contesting the ticket is done by entering a not guilty plea. The next step is to prove that the ticket is false.

Depending on the court, you can request the hearing to be by mail or in court.

There are three type of speeding limits:

  • Absolute speeding limit
  • Basic speeding limit
  • Presumed speeding limit

1. Absolute Speeding Limit

The absolute speeding limit is the rule of law in most states. A driver is in violation of the limit if he goes over the maximum limit.

Defenses to absolute speeding limit violations include:

  • Attack the officer's method of determining speed limit like laser, radar, or pacing.
  • Claim the officer mistook the driver’s vehicle for a speeding vehicle.
  • Admit fault. It was out of necessity to avoid serious injury to self and others.

2. Basic Speeding Limit

A basic speed prohibits a driver from operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed. The speed can be below or higher than the limit. An officer could determine that an unsafe condition was created by the driver's driving, weather conditions, traffic conditions, or road conditions.

Defenses to basic speeding limit violations include:

  • The accident was the other driver's fault.
  • A defective sign on the highway caused the driver to drive slower or faster than required.
  • A freak occurrence happened to cause the accident, not the driver.

3. Presumed Speeding Limit

Presumed speeding limit means the driver was operating at an unsafe speed for road conditions.

Defenses to presumed speeding limit violations include:

  • The driver was speeding, but driving safe for the traffic, weather, or road conditions.
  • The driver was not speeding.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about How to Fight a Traffic Ticket?

If you are cited for speeding, speak to a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer can inform you of your rights and defenses and can represent you in traffic court.

Pros and Cons of Opening a Pop-Up Retail Store

popup-retail-storeStarting a business can be difficult and scary to new entrepreneurs, but luckily there are many models to choose from when creating a business.

A popular small business model is the pop-up store. Pop-up stores are temporary shops that remain open for a short period of time. The most common in the United States are stores that sell Halloween, Christmas, and fireworks merchandise.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Opening a Pop-Up Store?

Many retailers and entrepreneurs like the idea of pop-up stores because it allows them to create interest and exposure. Here are a few reasons why an entrepreneur would want to open up a pop-up store:

  • Low costs: a pop-up store usually takes up little space, so the costs can be as low as $50/day.
  • Sales: the short time frame creates an urgency that may get people into your store to buy your products.
  • Test locations: pop-up stores are easy to set up and take down, which is great for businesses that want to try out new locations and storefronts.
  • Special products or seasons: pop-up stores can be beneficial if you sell special or seasonal merchandise because you can target specific customers.
  • Build awareness: selling new products can be difficult, but using pop-up stores can help you create a unique atmosphere and experience.

Pop-ups may not be for everyone, however, for the following reasons:

  • Expense: to create a unique experience you may have to spend more money than you have. Also, remaining open for a short period of time may not make you enough profits to stay in the green.
  • Lack of brand recognition: pop-ups typically work best for businesses that already have brand recognition.

What Should I Do Before Opening a Pop-Up Store?

Before opening up a pop-up store, you should do some research and use the following steps:

  • Start planning early: Figure out a budget and create a timeline for your business. Also, figure out how many temporary employees you intend on having.
  • Create an experience: You do not want your store to seem temporary, even though it will be. Think outside the box and use or create your own vacant space, such as shipping containers. You want to give a lasting impression to make sure that customers remember you.
  • Find the right location: This depends on how long you intend to keep the pop-up store open. Talk to the landlord you plan on renting from and whether they are okay with a short-term lease.
  • Get the details right: You should figure out all the logistics of your business and how you want the store to operate on a daily basis. For example, decide how you want to accept customer payment.
  • Advertise: Use all media outlets to advertise and spread the word about your pop-up store. Use traditional means, such as flyers, to social media to get the word out.
  • Follow up: Before you close you pop-up store, get email addresses from customers to build a relationship. You can also get free feedback on what worked and what did not work in your pop-up store.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

Yes. Starting a business can be tricky and there are many legal issues to consider. A business attorney can help you through the process and inform you about your rights.

5 Most Ridiculous Fast Food Lawsuits

fastfood-lawsuitsEvery year we hear stories about customers suing fast food chains for something extra found in their food. These stories have become cliché due to the infamous McDonald's coffee lawsuit from the 90's. Although many lawsuits are valid and shocking, some are just too ridiculous to even merit a lawsuit. Here’s a list of some of the more absurd lawsuits:

1. Woman Sued Burger King over Soda Price

In New York, a woman sued Burger King because the closest one to her home was selling a large soda for 20 cents more than the other franchises in her area. Without showing up in court, Burger won the lawsuit.

2. Man Sued White Castle over the Size of Its Booths

Martin Kessman, of New York, regularly visited the fast food chain. In 2009, he sued White Castle over the size of its booths. Mr. Kessman claimed that the chain violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He eventually dropped the lawsuit because the White Castle in question renovated and added accommodating seats.

3. Woman Sued Wendy’s a Finger Found in Chili

In 2005, Anna Ayala claimed to have found a fingertip in her Wendy's chili. She took the fingertip to the authorities and sued the fast food chain. Ayala and her husband dropped the suit, however, once an investigation started. It was revealed that Ayala and her husband used an associate's finger and planted it in the chili. Ayala was charged with grand larceny and sentenced to nine years in prison.

4. Lawsuits against Fast Food Chains for Causing Obesity

Everyone knows that eating fast food isn't great for your health, but Caesar Barber wants to sue Wendy's, Burger King, McDonald's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken for his obesity. In 2002, he filed a class action suit against these chains for his two heart attacks and diabetes diagnosis. The lawsuit has since been dropped. Although Mr. Barber was unsuccessful, many more have sued fast food chains for the same reason. None of these plaintiffs have been successful in their legal pursuits.

5.Officer Sued Burger King for Spit Found in his Burger

"Does that look like spit to you?" This is a phrase many hope they never have to utter when talking about their food, but for Deputy Sheriff Edward Bylsma there was no ambiguity that someone had spit in his burger. As of 2012, the policeman’s case was brought to the Washington State Supreme Court.

Find a Lawyer Now