The Legal Insider

May 2015

Tips for Not Getting Arrested at Music Festivals

commercial-dronesMusic festivals can attract hundreds of thousands of people. In the midst of the chaos, it's easy to feel that you can get away with anything. But don't be fooled: it's not unusual to hear about people getting arrested at music festivals.

At a recent festival in Alabama, more than 100 people were arrested. These arrests were due to a wide range of crimes, including drunkenness, drug possession, disorderly conduct, theft, and even criminal littering.

Here are five tips so that you can have fun at festivals while staying out of the courthouse:

  1. Keep your clothes on in public places — Indecent exposure isn't always a crime, but it's easy to interpret such exposure as a means of sexual gratification, which will make it a crime. If you're convicted, you might be registered as a sex offender.
  2. Don't sleep with anyone who appears drunk or underage — A person who is intoxicated is a person who cannot legally give consent. Having sex with someone who cannot legally give consent is known as rape.
  3. Watch out for undercover police — Law enforcement can go undercover in festivals to keep order before anything violent begins. Since police are allowed to lie, it isn't a good idea to buy any drugs.
  4. Do not consent to a search — Evidence can be suppressed if they were obtained through an illegal search. However, all searches are legal if the defendant agreed to be searched. Law enforcement can show that the search was legal by establishing probable cause, but the burden is on the prosecution to show cause. Don't make their work easier by giving prosecutors an easy way to admit evidence.
  5. You have the right to remain silent — The police are supposed to read you your rights if they arrest and question you. However, any interaction with the police can be used against you and any questions should be answered with "Officer, I am choosing to remain silent. I want a lawyer."

Three Popular but Illegal Car Modifications

fight-a-traffice-ticketWorking on cars can be a great hobby. Although it's fairly common to put a personal touch to cars, almost all states have laws about how a car can be modified.

Below are the most common restrictions to car modifications:

1. Window Tinting

Dark window tinting seems really cool. It blocks out the sun and gives the riders more privacy on the road. In some states though, tinting that inhibits driving or prevents an officer from seeing into a vehicle may be illegal.

If the window tint makes it difficult to see the road, the tint should probably go. If you're pulled over and the officer can't tell if your hands are on the wheel or reaching for a gun, the window tint could result in a ticket.

2. Modified Engines

They sound cool, but loud engines can also result in a ticket. Most states have laws regulating the level of noise a vehicle can make in residential areas or the amount of noise after certain hours. Some states have explicit laws limiting the type of modifications that can be made to a car engine.

3. Radar Detectors

Radar detectors used to be illegal throughout the country, but some states have scaled back those laws after popular protest. As a result, laws regarding radar detectors will defer greatly from state to state.

Generally, if a radar detector is used to comply with speed checks and speed limits, they may be legal. If the device blocks or jams radar signals, the police will ticket, if not confiscate, the radar jammer. Such devices are also prohibited when entering military facilities.

How Lawyers Can Help Build Strong Family

popup-retail-storeWhen most people picture family lawyers, they imagine divorce and child custody. Although those are certainly a family lawyer's bread and butter cases, family law isn't just about tearing families apart. In fact, there are many situations where family lawyers help put families together.

If you find yourself in one of these positions, you might want to consider retaining a family lawyer:

  1. You're Getting Married — Not every couple wants or needs a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, but many couples will find such agreements beneficial. For instance, if you or your fiancée have children, an agreement will be reassuring for the children if the marriage goes sour. Likewise, if the couple has many assets or potential assets, such as a business, an inheritance, or if one spouse will be supporting the other through school, a formal marital agreement will save a lot of stress and money in the long-term.
  2. You're Having Children — If you're expecting children, estate planning might be in order. Every parent expects to attend their son's sports games or walk their daughter down the aisle, but life isn't always friendly. Life insurance might give your children a sack of money should the worst behalf you and your spouse, but if you have specific gifts in mind, you need a will or a trust.
  3. You're Adopting Children — There are many reasons parents choose to adopt a child. Whether you're a stepparent, unable to conceive on you're on, or you just have a big heart, a family lawyer will ensure that your adoption will go smoothly. If you're thinking about an international adoption, a family lawyer who is knowledgeable about immigration law is a crucial asset.
  4. You're in a Same-Sex Relationship and You Need Legal — Although homosexuality is more acceptable today than it was a decade ago, there are still states where the rights of same-sex couples are not fully protected. Whether you’re thinking about marriage, adoption, or obtaining a marital benefit, a family lawyer can be a powerful advocate if the legal institutions of your state refuse to recognize your relationship.

Should I Buy Fire Damage Insurance?

Buying a Fire Damage InsuranceWhen property is damaged by fire, owners have to figure out who caused it in order to receive payment for the damage. Figuring out who is legally responsible for the payment is known as fire damage liability.

If you caused a fire that damaged property, then you are required to pay for any costs associated with the fire. Many people buy fire insurance because they cannot afford to pay for repairs out of pocket.

Why Should I Buy Fire Insurance Coverage?

Many people purchase homeowner's insurance, but not fire insurance because they believe it is an unnecessary added expense. Although many believe fires are unlikely to happen to them, here are a few facts about fire damage:

  • In 2010, there were 360,000 residential fires.
  • Damage caused to these homes was an estimated $6.6 billion.
  • 26,000 of the fires were electrical malfunctions.
  • 46,000 were fireplace related accidents.
  • 166,000 were cooking related fires.

Fire damage cover may seem like an unnecessary expense, but being covered can protect you from unwanted legal troubles if you caused damage to another's property.

What Does Fire Insurance Cover?

Fire insurance can cover a variety of costs, but it depends on the plan you purchase. Typically, most fire insurance covers:

  • Costs associated with rebuilding your home
  • Living expenses, such as hotel costs and food
  • Replacement of damaged property

Although your insurance policy may cover many expenses, there are limits to fire insurance coverage. For example, you cannot file a fire insurance claim if someone in your household intentionally caused the fire.

What Should I Do If a Fire Damaged My Property?

Filing a fire insurance claim can be a stressful time in your life. Many people get overwhelmed and forget to take important steps when dealing with their insurance company. Here are a few things you should always do if your property has been damaged by a fire:

  • Ask your insurance company for an advance: you may ask your insurance for an advance in order to buy necessary living expenses if you are unable to stay in your home.
  • File your claim immediately: filing immediately works in your best interest, especially if the same fire damaged multiple properties. Acting quickly will mean that you are on the top of the priority list.
  • Document everything: keep track of your living expenses, all items lost or destroyed, injuries, the condition of the home, and other important and related information.
  • Keep all damaged property: simply writing down the items you lost in the fire may not be enough. Keeping the damaged item is proof that you had the property and that it was actually destroyed.
  • Take care and secure your property: your insurance will require you to mitigate and ensure that no further damage is caused to your property.

If your property has been damaged by fire, you may need to speak with an attorney. An attorney can provide legal advice and guidance, so that you can succeed in your fire insurance claim.

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