Clergy Sex Abuse | Legal Advice for Victims

Church congregants trust their church’s clergy to provide religious and spiritual guidance. Unfortunately, some clergy members exploit churchgoers’ trust by committing psychological and sexual abuse. The Roman Catholic Church has made headlines over the years for allegations of sex abuse along with failure to investigate the survivors’ claims, report instances of abuse to the authorities, and generally, keep its church members safe.

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have the right to file a civil lawsuit to claim compensation for the profound mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual damage endured as a result of the abuse. If you are a survivor of sex abuse at the hands of a clergy member, contact a clergy sex abuse lawyer today for guidance on the best way forward.

What is Clergy Sex Abuse?

Clergy sex abuse occurs when an individual in a ministerial role engages in sexual contact, including child sex abuse, molestation, child pornography, sexual assault, and rape, against a church member, a student, or an employee. Although The Roman Catholic Church has received the most scrutiny regarding clergy sex abuse, this type of abuse can transpire within any institution professing religious and/or spiritual guidance.

It is important to note that children are especially susceptible due to their impressionable age. Minors who experience abuse by a clergy member can take many years to understand and process the full extent of their trauma and seek help to recover from the abuse.

How Do Priests Groom Sex Abuse Survivors?

Priests or clergy members often initiate the abuse by grooming the survivor in order to establish trust and develop a bond. Grooming is a manipulation tactic that abusers use to build a relationship with their target individuals who feel compelled to participate in the abuse. Grooming is a deliberate, step-by-step process that includes:

  • Identifying potential victims: Many priests have strong bonds with parishioners. Abusive clergy members use these relationships to seek out people, such as vulnerable youth
  • Gaining the targeted parishioner’s and their family’s trust: The abuser tries to gain the individual’s trust in a number of different ways, including gifts, compliments, or special attention. The perpetrator seeks to eventually fill a void or become a role model for the target parishioner
  • Isolating the individual: Next, the abuser often exploits the target individual’s and/or their family’s trust by requesting time alone outside of regular church hours. This is done to gain access to the individual, sometimes under the pretense of spiritual guidance or counseling
  • Increased physical/sexual contact: The abuser’s objective is to lower the individual’s inhibitions and even desensitize them to touch and other forms of physical contact. This sexual contact typically escalates over time
  • Maintaining control: After the occurrence of sexual abuse, the perpetrator often uses tactics such as manipulation and threats in order to maintain control over the individual, as well as protect their identity and wrongdoings from being exposed

The Catholic Church & Sex Abuse

Reports of Catholic priest sex abuse have been documented in nearly every state and in many other countries. Although clergy sex abuse within The Roman Catholic Church has been occurring for centuries, a 2002 Boston Globe report brought substantial media attention to the issue. After a month-long investigation, the report revealed decades of sex abuse cases in Boston Catholic churches as well as the immense efforts taken to cover up the abuse. This led to a national outcry and spurred further investigations that unmasked tens of thousands of priest sex abuse reports in archdioceses across the U.S.

These investigations revealed that in several cases church leaders knew about the clergy sex abuse taking place and either ignored it or paid large sums of money to cover it up. A CNN report showed that during a one-year time period between June 2017 and June 2018, the U.S. Catholic Church spent over $300 million on costs related to clergy sex abuse, including $200 million in civil lawsuit settlements.

What Should I Do if I am a Survivor of Clergy Sex Abuse?

If you are a survivor of Clergy or Catholic priest sex abuse, you should know that you are not alone and you have legal options available to you to pursue justice. You should immediately report the abuse to a law enforcement agency as well as to the archdiocese where the abuse had occurred.

In most cases, survivors of sexual abuse have the right to file a clergy sex abuse lawsuit to recover compensation for the trauma endured. This is irrespective of whether or not they decide to pursue a criminal case as well. A clergy sex abuse lawyer will be able to guide you through the legal process and answer any questions you may have.

Is It Ever Ok to Have Sexual Contact with a Religious Leader?

According to the FaithTrust Institute, a global organization working to end sexual and domestic violence, clergy members can pursue relationships with of-age individuals outside of their congregation as long as manipulation and coercion are completely absent from the relationship. If a clergy member becomes interested in a romantic relationship with a congregant, they should remove themself from their ministerial role prior to pursuing a relationship. However, individuals in The Roman Catholic Church must take a vow of celibacy before becoming a priest.

Will Speak Out About the Abuse Hurt My Church?

Many survivors of clergy sex abuse are apprehensive about reporting the abuse out of misplaced fear, embarrassment, guilt, or shame. It is understandable for survivors to undergo post-traumatic reactions and even question their perception of reality after instances of psychological and sexual manipulation.

However, many states legally obligate clergy members to report suspected sex abuse and by failing to do so, they may be putting their congregation at risk. In any case, it is important for you to report the sex crimes committed against you, so you can at least help prevent others from experiencing what you went through.

When Should I Contact a Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyer?

If you have experienced clergy sex abuse, you should consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional in order to process the trauma. Once you are in a better frame of mind to be able to recount your experience, you may consult with a priest sex abuse lawyer to help you obtain financial compensation. While the amount of compensation secured in a successful case cannot change or minimize the impact of your trauma, it can allow you to access the care and support you need to begin healing.

Catholic Church Sex Abuse Settlements: Civil Justice for Survivors

According to the non-profit organization Bishop Accountability, the U.S. Catholic Church has paid over $3 billion in compensation to survivors of clergy sex abuse. Notable Catholic Church sex abuse settlements include:

  • California: In 2007, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million, one of the largest settlements by the Catholic Church, to over 500 clergy sex abuse claimants. In this case, each survivor was awarded approximately $1.3 million in damages
  • New Jersey: In April 2022, the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, agreed to pay $87.5 million to over 300 survivors of Catholic priest sex abuse. Each survivor received roughly $290,000 in the recovery of damages
  • New Mexico: The Archdiocese of Santa Fe agreed to pay over $121 million in settlements to over 300 New Mexico priest sex abuse survivors in May 2022

The statute of limitations, or the time you have to file a civil sex abuse lawsuit in state court, differs from state to state. However, President Biden recently enacted the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 to remove the statutory limitations on when one may file a federal civil lawsuit for child sexual abuse. The Act is not retroactive, and therefore does not apply in cases where the statute of limitations for filing a suit has already passed.

Resources for Sex Abuse Victims

  • RAINN: The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. It operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and provides sex abuse survivors with various resources, such as an online chat hotline
  • SNAP: The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is the largest and oldest support group for survivors of clergy sex abuse
  • Darkness to Light: Darkness to Light is a child sexual abuse prevention organization that offers resources to both child survivors of sex abuse as well as their parents

Talk to a Compassionate Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyer

Survivors of clergy sex abuse have the right to pursue justice for the crimes committed against them. By filing a civil lawsuit against an abuser and a third party that may have facilitated the crime, like The Roman Catholic Church, survivors can seek compensation to help rebuild their lives after the trauma. If you or someone you know is a survivor of Catholic church sex abuse, contact a clergy sex abuse law firm today to set up a free legal consultation.

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How to Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Gainesville GA

Getting a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville GA is important if you have been accused of a crime. There are several things you should consider before hiring an attorney, including cost, experience, and availability. You can find a highly experienced Gainesville criminal defense attorney in our directory or through the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines.

Getting a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a crucial step if you’re facing criminal charges. Despite the fact that the law requires that you have an attorney, the process of going to court can be frightening. Thankfully, Georgia has a number of top-notch attorneys who will help you fight your charges. A good Gainesville criminal defense attorney will know the law and your rights, and they won’t back down when the police or prosecutors violate your rights. In addition, they won’t pressure you into a plea deal if you don’t want to. They should also have a proven track record of success, including numerous trial victories in Georgia.

Criminal charges have serious consequences, and while some people don’t take them seriously, they often choose to represent themselves in court. Even minor crimes can result in jail time, fines, and the inability to secure future employment, housing, or education. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you. You can find a highly experienced Gainesville criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines.

Cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville

If you are charged with a crime in Gainesville, GA, you need to find a competent criminal defense attorney. An experienced Gainesville attorney will be familiar with Gainesville laws and will not back down from your rights. He will also be able to defend you from prosecutors and police officers who may try to intimidate you into a plea bargain.

The cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney in Gainville GA depends on the type of charge that you are facing. A typical misdemeanor charge can range from $1,500 to $3,500. If you are facing a felony charge, the fee could be as high as $10,000 or more. You should also factor in the trial fees, which may cost up to $20,000 or more.

You should not hire a criminal defense attorney based on a personal relationship or a friend’s recommendation. It’s best to research a lawyer’s experience and expertise. If you are charged with a violent crime, you may want to hire an attorney with experience in your specific case.

Common mistakes to avoid making in hiring a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville

It’s crucial to choose a criminal defense attorney based on their qualifications, skills, and reputation. It’s also important to avoid lawyers who guarantee a particular outcome. These claims are misleading and irresponsible. A good criminal defense attorney will carefully analyze the specific circumstances of your case, identifying its strengths and weaknesses. This will help you get a better idea of how the case will proceed.

You should also choose a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about Gainesville criminal law. Experienced lawyers know how to navigate the court system and will not back down if prosecutors or police violate your rights. They also won’t pressure you into a plea bargain. Furthermore, a good criminal defense attorney will have a proven track record of success and have won many trials in Georgia.

One of the most common mistakes is hiring a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in criminal law. Criminal laws are always evolving and you need a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville who stays up to date on new legal strategies. It’s also best to avoid attorneys who practice bankruptcy and personal injury.

Finding a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville

If you are charged with a crime, you should consider finding a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville. A good attorney will know the local laws and will not back down when prosecutors and police break your rights. In addition, they will not pressure you into accepting a plea bargain. Finally, they should have a good track record, with many successful trial victories in Georgia.

A good place to start your search for a lawyer is the LII Lawyer Directory, which features profiles of more than one million attorneys throughout the United States. There are also profiles of legal aid organizations, pro bono attorneys, and legal service organizations. By looking at the profiles of these organizations, you’ll be able to determine whether the firm you’re interested in represents clients who are in need of legal representation.

You can start by comparing the background of the attorneys in Gainesville. The city of Gainesville is home to nearly 39,000 people. The city is known as the “Poultry Capital of the World,” as many people are employed in the poultry industry. Despite its small size, it has a higher crime rate than many other U.S. cities. In fact, many of the attorneys in Gainesville work with clients charged with crimes that include murder, assault, drug possession, and theft.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

What is Securities Fraud?

Otherwise known as stock or investment fraud, securities fraud is a serious white-collar crime that takes many forms and involves misrepresenting the information that investors use to make investment decisions. Whistleblowers who report undisclosed information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding securities fraud are granted protection from employer retaliation and may receive a portion of any financial recovery made by the SEC. If you have inside information regarding violations of federal securities laws, it may be in your best interests to contact a securities fraud lawyer to speak in private about the evidence you have.

Defining Securities Fraud

Securities fraud refers to a broad range of illegal and unethical activity that involves investment markets and the misrepresentation of information that investors use to make decisions. Individuals committing securities fraud may provide false information, offer bad advice, withhold important information, and act on or offer inside information in order to manipulate investors and financial markets for their own benefit.

Securities fraud harms investors and the integrity of our country’s financial markets and economy. Securities fraud can be committed by groups or organizations like brokerages, as well as by individuals such as stockbrokers. Common examples of illegal activity in securities fraud lawsuits include:

  • Ponzi and pyramid schemes: A Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme is a scam that generated money from new investors for previous investors. Characteristics of a Ponzi scheme include high returns and little risk, as well as consistent return flow regardless of market conditions.
  • Hedge fund fraud: Hedge fund fraud refers to any type of financial misconduct committed by or for a hedge fund. Types of hedge fund fraud scams include false guarantees of high returns, advanced fee schemes, embezzlement, and the operation of Ponzi schemes.
  • Advance fee schemes: In advanced fee schemes, investors are asked to pay an up-front fee. Scammers may describe it as a deposit, administrative fee, processing fee, underwriting fee, or tax. Be aware of any unsolicited investment offers, because it could be an advanced fee scheme.
  • Broker embezzlement: Broker embezzlement is a form of stock broker fraud and occurs when a broker obtains an investor’s assets legally and then uses the assets for unintended, unauthorized, undisclosed, or personal purposes. Types of broker embezzlement include outright theft, unauthorized trading, and excessive trading.
  • Late-day trading: Late-day trading refers to the illegal practice of recording trades that are made after the market closes as having happened before a mutual fund’s daily net asset value (NAV) calculation. Late-day trading is an illegal practice that is most often performed by hedge funds but differs from after-hours trading.
  • Foreign currency fraud: Foreign currency scams, also known as forex scams, occur when scammers seek to defraud traders by promising high returns by trading in the foreign exchange market. Signs of a foreign currency scam include promises of unrealistically high returns, unnecessarily complex jargon, and pushy brokers.

Securities Fraud Warning Signs

Securities fraud can be hard to detect without access to inside information, so the SEC counts on whistleblowers to help stop fraud that hurts investors. Because securities fraud takes many forms, the warning signs may differ between different types of scams. Common warning signs that an individual or organization may be involved in securities fraud include:

  • Unsolicited investment offers: Unsolicited investment offers or sales pitches, including cold calls, emails, or in-person offers, are frequently seen in fraudulent investment schemes. Unsolicited investment offers can come from strangers or someone you know, such as a coworker or friend.
  • Seller inquires about personal information: Salespeople or stockbrokers who request personal information, including bank account information, are often a sign of an investment fraud scheme. Additionally, never send a check by mail to an alleged stockbroker or salesperson.
  • High-pressure sales tactics: Fraudulent investment schemes often employ pushy salespeople and use high-pressure sales tactics to manipulate investors into making quick decisions. Legitimate stockbrokers understand that clients need time to think over investments prior to making a decision.
  • Offers that sound too good to be true: Promises of high rates of returns and quick profits are among the most common signs of a securities fraud scam. In general, investments that offer high returns are inherently high risk. Most of the time, when promises are made about investments. it is likely to be too good to be true and should be regarded as a red flag.

The SEC Whistleblower Program

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted to help protect consumers from predatory financial practices. Referred to as the Dodd-Frank Act, this bill established the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, which offers whistleblowers who provide valuable information regarding securities fraud a portion of any financial recovery. The SEC whistleblower program also offers protections against employer retaliation and allows whistleblowers to remain anonymous when filing a securities fraud claim.

The SEC encourages potential whistleblowers to report instances of security fraud that have already happened, are currently happening, or which are going to happen. When a whistleblower reports information regarding securities fraud that leads to the government making a financial recovery, the whistleblower is entitled to a reward of between 10 and 30 percent of the total amount recovered.

Remain Anonymous when Reporting Security Fraud

Potential whistleblowers are often apprehensive about reporting illegal activity like securities fraud for fear of employer retaliation. Unlike other government programs that reward whistleblowers for their information, the SEC allows securities fraud whistleblowers to submit a claim anonymously if they have retained an attorney.

Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act protects whistleblowers from employer retaliation. The SEC states that employers cannot fire, demote, suspend, harass, or discriminate against an employee in any way for taking whistleblower actions.

Learn More about Securities Fraud from a Lawyer

SEC whistleblowers who provide valuable information regarding violations of securities law could receive a significant whistleblower reward if the information they provide leads to a successful financial recovery. Multiple securities fraud whistleblowers have been rewarded with SEC whistleblower awards of over $100 million.

If you are considering becoming a securities fraud whistleblower, an SEC whistleblower attorney can guide you through the legal process and assist you by helping you draft and file an anonymous claim, communicate with SEC lawyers on your behalf, and help you file for an SEC whistleblower reward for your bravery and contributions.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

What Constitutes a Legal Arrest in the US?

There is an arrest in the US every three seconds. The most common reasons are impaired driving, traffic offenses, petty theft, financial fraud or drug abuse. There were more than 7.63 million arrests for all offenses in 2020 alone. But the justice system has been repeatedly disapproved by Americans since they believe it is fundamentally rotten to the core. There are cases of overcriminalization with near-zero accountability for police.

For instance, natives of a liberal democracy can protest peacefully. The US Supreme Court only allows the government to stop demonstrations that present a danger. Yet forces have been used against the passive protestors, time and again, in the form of tear gas or canisters to disperse them. Also, none can be arrested and murdered as in the case of George Perry Floyd in 2020 where he was only ‘claimed’ to be awfully drunk and not in control of himself. He was wrongfully treated by the Minneapolis police which led to his death.

Responsible citizens now actively demand answers for unlawful invasions. This is especially vital for communities of color to avoid feeling confused and disoriented. Good knowledge of the local customs and legal system can help them stay better informed. Here’s a look.

What is Legal Arrest?

The estimated rate of arrest in the US in 2019 was 3,011 per 100,000 inhabitants. These are generally made with an arrest warrant that can deprive the suspected person of freedom of movement. A warrant is issued by the judge to take a perpetrator into custody. Reasonable belief of the police officer in the suspect’s guilt based on facts can be the foundation of the probable cause of arrest.

Exceptions to a Legal Arrest
A warrantless arrest can be legitimate in situations where the police believe that the person has either committed the crime or to prevent escape or preserve the evidence. Yet there are a few things that are ‘legally’ required for police to put on the handcuffs and conduct criminal proceedings in your name.

  • The officer must have observed the crime personally. They will then have the right to arrest the individual right there.
  • A strong suspicion that a crime is about to be committed or attempted without immediate evidence.

No one can be arrested if police approached in public and ask if the person will answer a few questions. For example, if a person is stopped on the road and asked if they saw the robbery that took place a few minutes back, no arrest is taking place here. They either choose to answer or leave in silence.

What To Do After a Legal Arrest?

Being arrested can be traumatizing. The key to getting through is to stay calm, protect your rights by refusing to discuss anything without a lawyer and follow other instructions of the police. Treat them with respect and hopefully expect the same. You can be booked and asked to cooperate for fingerprints, photographs and basic information. Check and sign on an inventory stating a list of belongings you had at the time of arrest and nothing more. As trials begin, charges against you can be dropped or changed after gathering more proof.

Once arrested, the arrestee is not free to move. Else it can involve the physical application of pressure and submission to the officer. Knowing these basics beforehand can help you save embarrassment and harassment. You can also come out of the criminal justice system in the form of ‘release’ without getting incriminated if you are truly innocent.

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When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Fort Worth, TX?

Getting in trouble with the police may be terrifying, especially if you face severe accusations like drug possession. While you may be concerned about jail time and the grave repercussions of your acts, you should also consider hiring a defense attorney, mainly if any of the following occur.

You’ve Been Arrested

If you have been arrested or are being investigated for a felony such as a DUI, it is important that you speak with an aggravated assault lawyer right away.

It is possible to face serious consequences if you are convicted of this offense, including jail time, the loss of your driving privileges, and fines. It is possible that even if you are advised that legal involvement isn’t necessary for the early stages, it may be. If you’re facing federal or state criminal charges, your lawyer can help defend your constitutional rights.

Want An Expert Witness?

An expert witness is a specialist in a particular field who might throw doubt on your guilt or innocence. Consider hiring a lawyer who can locate expert witnesses for your case to get the best potential outcome. It’s worth mentioning that many DUI cases include an expert witness to substantiate the allegations against you, so it’s not a bad idea to do the same for yourself.

You’re Being Tried In Court

Depending on your accusations, you may find it beneficial to have a lawyer defend you throughout your criminal trial. For example, if you’re charged with a sex crime, you may engage a sex crime lawyer or a DVPO lawyer for a breach. They can utilize their knowledge of the legal system to achieve the best possible outcome, including a reduced sentence or the charges being withdrawn.

Something Doesn’t Add Up

Criminal defense lawyers may be needed if they consider that anything is unjust enough to warrant filing a motion. Your attorney can file a petition to suppress evidence if the sole evidence linking your name to a crime was collected by force alone. As evidence suppression in major crimes often includes cross-examining the arresting police officer, this isn’t something you can generally handle on your own.

Even if you’ve been convicted of anything in the past, you still deserve to be treated fairly. You may be eligible to have a past conviction dismissed to receive less penalty. Again, an expert attorney’s assistance may be required in this situation.

You’re Stuck, And You Don’t Know What to Do

If you’ve never been in trouble with the police before, it’s only normal that you’re nervous, terrified, and unclear of what to do. The police may persuade you that you do not need a lawyer, but they may also get you to make statements that could be used as evidence against you. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the higher your chances of getting the desired result. The knowledge they can give you will help you figure out the best course of action.

The best time to seek a criminal defense attorney is as soon as possible. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the faster you will be supported and led through the somewhat intimidating legal system.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

What happens if I don’t hire a criminal defense lawyer?

Few things are riskier than choosing a bad lawyer for your criminal case. However, choosing to forego a lawyer altogether and represent yourself, is one of them.

There are a lot of pitfalls that could lead to life-changing consequences when you choose to defend yourself in court. This is not just about jail time and fines. Having a criminal record can significantly impact your future in terms of employment and future housing opportunities.

To help you understand what’s at risk when you choose to self-represent, let’s look at five things that are likely to happen when you choose to not hire a criminal defense lawyer.

Five things that might happen if you choose not to hire a criminal defense lawyer

1. Your rights are not protected and may be violated

The constitution offers important rights to protect defendants and suspects before and after arrest. However, if you’ve dealt with legal matters before, you know the law is rarely straightforward.

Your rights could get violated intentionally or unintentionally by police officers and prosecutors.

Unfortunately, without a qualified criminal lawyer, you might not be aware of the protections that you are afforded by the law. Therefore, a violation of your rights can lead to a conviction.

2. You might not know what defenses to assert

Similar to failing to protect your rights, failing to assert the right defenses can lead to a conviction when facing a criminal charge.

For example, if you are charged with drug possession in New Jersey, saying “I never knew it was illegal” even though it’s true, is not an advisable defense for your case. In fact, you could end up admitting to your guilt in a misguided attempt at defending yourself.  In this case, hiring a reputable criminal lawyer in NJ is the right call.

  3. You might not know what to say

How you speak in court can make all the difference between incarceration and liberty. Using the wrong tone, for example, can be perceived as weak, combative, careless, hateful, or even a sign of mental instability.

Lawyers, drawing from their experience, know exactly what to say and how to present themselves in an orderly manner before a judge. Your lawyer knows;

  • Which motions to file and when
  • Understands how juries are selected
  • Knows when to approach the prosecutor’s office to suggest a plea bargain, depending on how your case is going

You do not have the experience and skills to know these, and many other court processes and procedures.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you might make a bad impression in court when you say something that’s wrong or inappropriate. Worse, you might lose your case simply because you failed to speak and assert your defenses correctly.

4. You might accept an unfavorable plea deal

Most criminal cases in the United States don’t end up in trial, but with a plea deal. A plea deal or bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant where the prosecutor promises to lower the sentencing or drop some charges if you plead guilty.

If you are facing a criminal charge, the prosecutor might reach out to you with a plea deal to get you to plead guilty. However, whether you should take the plea deal or not largely depends on the details of your case.

Without the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you might not know whether you are getting a good deal or not and, therefore, you might accept a deal that is not in your best interest.

A criminal defense lawyer attorney can help you determine whether the plea deal offered is favorable and if the need arises, negotiate a better one on your behalf.

5. Your emotions will cloud your judgment

When facing serious accusations, it is important that you remain calm and level-headed, otherwise you cannot fight the charges effectively.

If you are representing yourself in court, you may find it difficult to keep calm when the evidence is upsetting, false, or offensive. You are likely to get nervous, angry, defensive, and in an attempt to talk your way out of trouble, make emotional arguments. This may affect the jury or judge’s decision in a negative way and in turn, hurt your case.

Final thoughts on why you should a criminal defense lawyer

Unlike in a video game, life doesn’t always offer second chances. You only get one chance to fight off criminal charges, and if you don’t put up your best defense in court, it might be the last time you are enjoying your liberty for a while.

Unless you are charged with a simple misdemeanor such as a parking ticket or maybe a trespassing citation, hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you with your case.

So, next time you are wondering whether hiring an attorney is worth it, think about the bigger picture: your future.

Steve Harris is a freelance writer and digital marketing specialist. He works closely with aielloharris.com as a content creator helping them build their online presence through friendly, engaging, and shareable web content. When not hunched over his computer thinking loudly, you can find him playing pop music with his band, reading horror novels, or traveling.

What Happens When You Get Caught with Prescription Drugs

Many people suffer from severe addictions to prescription drugs or otherwise abuse these drugs. Ohio law does not allow people to obtain, possess, or use prescription drugs that have not been prescribed or obtained by legal means, such as medical professionals and pharmacies. Thus, if you are caught with prescription drugs and do not have a legal prescription, you can face criminal charges.

A Columbus prescription drug attorney knows how serious it is when you get caught with prescription drugs in Ohio, and they want to help you understand your legal rights and what kind of legal issues you can run into when you are caught with illegal prescription drugs.

Many prescription drugs can help people’s lives and increase their health and well-being, but when prescription drugs are used without a prescription, you are in danger of facing various drug offenses. Drug addiction can be painful and life-threatening, and addiction is the number one killer of all mental health conditions. Therefore, it’s imperative that solid and useful information is shared about these issues, including the legal ramifications.

Common Prescription Drugs People Abuse

Most drugs can be abused in some way, but there are certain drugs that people are most likely to abuse because of their properties. Unfortunately, many of these drugs are prescription drugs, and many of them are highly addictive. Opioids, for example, have been labeled an epidemic by the U.S. Department of health and human services because over eleven million people abuse this classification of drugs. Other drugs that people may abuse include various types of painkillers, depressants, anti-psychotics, and stimulants. Any drug that must be prescribed and has been illegally obtained can fall under this category. Some of these drugs will have more severe consequences than others.

In Ohio, some of the most common illegal prescription drugs people have are:

  • Oxycodone
  • Ativan
  • Xanax
  • Lortab
  • Hydrocodone
  • Vicodin
  • Valium
  • Morphine
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet

Many people who abuse these drugs begin taking the drugs legally for pain or mental health management, but these drugs can become habit-forming and lead to addiction, which can cause people to seek out these drugs illegally.

Drug Schedules

In Ohio, and across the United States, drug schedules help determine what consequences will result from drug crimes and whether crimes are felonies or misdemeanors, and at what level. There are five schedules, five being the least severe and one being the most severe. These drugs are classified based on a couple factors: legal uses and the ability to be abused.

  • Schedule 1: Drugs in this classification do not have accepted medical purposes and have a high potential for abuse and dependency. Drugs in this class include LSD, Ecstasy, heroin, and Marijuana.
  • Schedule 2: Schedule II drugs do have accepted medical uses, but they have a high potential for dependency and abuse. These drugs include methamphetamines like Adderall, cocaine, oxycodone, high-grade morphine, and opium.
  • Schedule 3: These drugs are less abused than the schedule I and II drugs, but they can result in some physical dependency and higher psychological dependency. These drugs have some medical uses. Includes some Codeine blends, anabolic steroids, low-grade morphine, and ketamine.
  • Schedule 4: These drugs are abused less than schedule III drugs; however, they are associated with some risk for dependence. These drugs also have medical uses. Includes Ativan, Xanax, Dacron, Darvocet, and Rohypnol.
  • Schedule 5: Drugs in this group are less abused than schedule IV drugs. These drugs have medical uses, and they have a low risk of psychological or physical dependence. Includes Motofen, cough syrup (in low quantities), and Lyrica.

Some of the classifications of drugs have been challenged; for example, many groups suggest that marijuana should be removed from schedule I because it has started to be used medicinally and is not as dangerous as the other drugs on the list. This idea is often reflected in the legal system, and marijuana-related crimes often get lower sentences than other schedule I drugs. This discrepancy stems from the fact that the DEA is a federal body that still lists marijuana as a schedule I drugs, but some states have legalized marijuana. In Ohio, marijuana has been decriminalized in small amounts and has legalized marijuana in some instances, and legislation of marijuana laws continues to be a salient issue in Ohio).

Consequences for Prescription Drug Crimes

The consequences of a prescription drug crime can vary based on the severity and magnitude of the crime. For example, consequences become more severe when someone involves a minor in the crime, or people who have criminal histories will face higher consequences. Many people who are merely in possession of illegal prescription drugs in low quantities will face misdemeanor charges or less serious felony charges. Punishments for these crimes can include fines, imprisonment, addiction treatment, driver’s license restrictions or suspension, and a criminal record.

Generally, most people who don’t have previous drug offenses and possess prescription drugs can expect to be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which entails up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail. Those who have previous drug charges can expect to be charged with a fifth-degree felony, which comes with up to $2,500 in fines and a maximum of one year in jail.

Having more than the bulk amount of drugs but less than five times that amount, you will be charged with a higher crime of aggravated possession of a controlled substance, and this charge is a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies may result in up to five years in jail and a max of $10,000 in fines. IF you have more than five times the bulk of a drug but less than fifty times the bulk, your charge is bumped up to a second-degree felony, which is associated with up to eight years in jail and $15,000 in fines. Fifty times bulk or more is a first-degree felony that comes with up to ten years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines; this is a major drug offense.

Beyond just the legal consequences, people who have drug offenses face social, career, and personal consequences. Drug charges can influence your ability to work the job you want, and it can carry a social stigma as well.

How Lawyers Defend Drug Cases

There are many ways that a drug crimes attorney can fight for your interests and get the best possible legal outcomes for your case. No matter the details of your case, there are ways that a lawyer can help defend their client and seek improved outcomes. Using the Ohio law and precedents as a guide, a legal team will help you create the best strategy for your individual case.

Some things your legal team will explore when they take on your case:

  • Piecing together a series of events for your case
  • Finding any mitigating circumstances
  • If the search that led to the discovery of the drugs was legal
  • Searching for any error with warrants
  • Determining if illegal surveillance was used
  • Checking that your fourth-amendment rights were upheld
  • Verifying that you were read your Miranda Rights
  • Ensuring the legality of all evidence that was obtained
  • Making sure there were no lab errors or mishandlings

By taking these steps, your legal team can help you defend yourself and put your best foot forward during the legal proceedings. Drug cases are often intimidating and have a lot of factors involved, but a good legal term will help you better understand your case and what needs to be done.

Why Hire a Drug Defense Lawyer in Ohio?

The law is not easy to understand, and drug law can become quite complicated, which is why it is so important that you seek the help of a qualified lawyer if you are facing drug charges of any kind. A lawyer is your best option if you want to get the best outcomes for your case.

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How Filing a Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Can Help Survivors Obtain Justice

Sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual activity and can result in a lifetime of trauma, with conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety lingering long after the abuse occurred. By filing a civil sexual abuse lawsuit, survivors may be able to obtain justice and closure by holding their abuser and any potentially negligent third parties accountable.

While a lawsuit cannot change what happened or eliminate the trauma an individual endured, it can hold the responsible party or parties responsible and provide financial compensation. Because sex abuse is both a state crime and a civil tort, victims of sex abuse have the option to seek justice through a criminal sex abuse lawsuit, a civil sex abuse lawsuit, or both. Contact a sex abuse lawyer to learn more about your options.

What is Considered Sexual Abuse?

According to the American Psychology Association, sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual contact involving the use of force by the perpetrator. Examples of sexual abuse include:

  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Groping or unwanted sexual touching
  • Sexual battery
  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexual harassment

What is the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

One of the biggest differences between the two forms of legal recourse is the potential outcomes. In a criminal case, the charges are brought by the state and not the victim. If a criminal case against a sexual abuser results in a guilty verdict, it may result in a prison sentence. In civil cases, the case is brought by the victim against the predator or an organization or business that may have played a role in the abuse. If successful, a lawsuit will result in financial compensation.

In a criminal case, the victim is considered a witness and is often asked to testify, which means recounting their traumatic experience in front of a jury. The jury must decide if the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” meaning the evidence must show that the defendant committed the crime without a doubt. Additionally, the victim has no say in the outcome or sentence the defendant receives. In a civil case, the victim has more control over proceedings and the final outcome.

Why Are the Benefits of Filing a Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

In general, civil sex abuse lawsuits center more around the survivor’s needs instead of the perpetrator’s punishment. The benefits of filing a civil sex abuse lawsuit include:

  • More control over the case: In most cases, the survivor has no say in the sentencing the defendant receives. In a civil case, they have more authority over the proceedings of the case and will make the decision regarding settling the case or going to trial as well as actively participate in the terms of the settlement.
  • Financial compensation: A civil sex abuse lawsuit allows survivors to seek compensation for damages incurred as a result of the abuse, including loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, therapy or counseling costs, and more.
  • The burden of proof: In civil sex abuse lawsuits, the abuser must only be found “more likely than not” liable, instead of “beyond reasonable doubt” in criminal cases.
  • Third-party liability: In a civil case, the survivor has the ability to bring a case against the perpetrator as well as against any other third party who may have contributed to the abuse in some way.

Filing a Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against a Third Party

A third party may refer to a school, a youth organization, a religious institution, a corporation, or a business (a hotel, spa, cruise line, etc.) whose negligence contributed to the sexual abuse that took place. In a civil sex assault lawsuit, a third party may be found liable for abuse through many different actions or inactions, including:

  • Inadequate hiring practices
  • Lack of training or supervision
  • Failure to conduct background checks
  • Failure to provide adequate security
  • Failure to report or investigate instances of abuse
  • Covering up instances or accusations of abuse

In a criminal case sex abuse case, the state only prosecutes those directly involved in the crime that took place. A criminal case does not prosecute the institutions or individuals that may have made it easier for the abuse to take place, like a school covering up allegations of a staff member’s abuse. A civil sex abuse lawsuit can hold the organizations whose negligence may have opened the doors for abuse to happen responsible and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Do I Need a Civil Sexual Abuse Lawyer?

When considering filing a sexual abuse lawsuit, it is advisable to consult with an experienced sexual abuse lawyer who can guide you through the legal process. Things to keep in mind when choosing a sex abuse attorney include:

  • Experience: Ensure the law firm you hire has ample experience handling sex abuse lawsuits by asking about the number of similar cases its attorneys have handled and what the final outcomes were.
  • Expertise: It may be preferable to choose a law firm that specializes in sex abuse law as opposed to one that handles a large number of other types of cases. A law firm with ample experience and knowledge of sex abuse law will understand how to navigate the difficult nature of these types of cases.

Additionally, a qualified sex abuse lawyer should be empathetic and aggressive in handling sex abuse lawsuits. A capable sex abuse law firm will be able to guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and advocate on your behalf to secure the maximum potential financial compensation for the abuse that occurred. Contact a sex abuse lawyer today to learn more.

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Why You Need an Experienced Drug Possession Lawyer in Lubbock, TX?

The charges against you have a huge impact on your future. While you might be tempted to take matters into your own hands, you should know that you are not the only one facing these charges. Drug possession of a controlled substance, such as marijuana, is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Even if you are only charged with misdemeanor charges, you could still be facing additional time in jail and a hefty fine.

If you have been arrested for a drug-related offense, you need a lawyer who can help you fight your charges. You should also know that there are several types of drug possession charges. There are also defenses that an experienced drug possession lawyer can help you with.

Types of Drug Possession

Drug possession is a serious crime in the United States. Drug Possession is defined as knowingly taking a prohibited drug from a person’s possession with the purpose to deliver or sell it or use it. It can result in a variety of penalties, depending on what type of drug you were charged with possessing. A drug felon is guilty of a felony crime if she or he possesses a drug that is not prescribed to them.

The most common types of drug possession charges are:

  • Possession of marijuana
  • Possession of cocaine
  • Possession of heroin

If you were arrested for a drug-related offense, you might face additional charges. These charges can include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of a firearm without a license

In some cases, you might be able to get a drug possession charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If you have been arrested for drug possession, you should ensure that your attorney can help you fight these charges. Be sure he has experience in drug possession cases. They should also know about the different types of charges you could face.

How Can A Drug Possession Lawyer Help?

A drug possession lawyer can help you fight your charges. The lawyer can help you understand what your rights are and what evidence you need to present. This can help you get the best possible result by helping you get a reduced sentence, if you are charged with a felony drug charge.

The lawyer can also help you determine whether you have a defense. You might be able to argue that the charges are not true or that the drug charges are an overreach on the part of the police. If you are facing a felony drug possession charge, You could face a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine. A drug possession lawyer can help you fight these charges. He can also help you understand the sentencing guidelines and the potential for probation and other sentencing options.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are many types of drug possession cases. You need to know that you have a defense if you are charged with a drug charge.

You should realize that the prosecutor can make allegations against you that are false. They can be made to try to convict you.

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Can a paralegal give legal advice?

Paralegals are professionals who assist criminal defence lawyers with tasks such as legal research, investigation, and drafting documents. While they can provide support to attorneys in various ways, it can be hard to discern if they have the authority to give legal advice. Read on to see if these law professionals can provide legal insight or not.

Paralegals’ Duties

Legal Research

One of the most common tasks paralegals perform is legal research. When an attorney is working on a case, they may need to review laws, court decisions, and other legal materials to build their argument. Paralegals can help with this process by conducting research and compiling information for the attorney. Legal research involves using print and electronic resources, including law libraries, search engines, and databases. Legal research aims to find information that will support the attorney’s argument.

Drafting Documents

Paralegals also draft a variety of legal documents. These documents can include letters, pleadings, contracts, and wills. In some cases, paralegals may also be responsible for filing these documents with the court or other government agencies. Drafting documents requires a strong understanding of legal terminology and the rules of procedure.

Case Investigation

Another important role that paralegals play is case investigation. Paralegals will often work directly with clients to gather information about their cases. It may involve collecting witness statements, taking photographs, and interviewing witnesses. Case investigation is an important part of preparing for trial and allows the attorney to build a strong case on behalf of their client.

Assist in Closing & Trials

Part of what paralegals can do is assist attorneys in closing arguments and trials. Paralegals may help prepare exhibits and other materials used during the trial. They also may take notes during the trial and organize any paperwork introduced as evidence. At the end of the trial, paralegals may help the attorney prepare for their closing argument.

Help with Administrative Tasks

In addition to their legal duties, paralegals also perform several administrative tasks. These tasks can include answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining files. Paralegals may also be responsible for billing and invoicing clients. These administrative tasks can be just as important as the legal work performed and allow the attorney to focus on their case.

Work with Clients

In some cases, paralegals may also help to manage client relationships. It often involves answering questions from clients or referring them to an attorney when necessary. Paralegals will usually have a strong understanding of the legal process and can provide valuable support to clients.

Help with Lawyer Professional Development

Paralegals may also be responsible for helping attorneys develop professionally. It can involve organizing continuing education seminars or arranging meetings with other legal professionals. Paralegals may also help attorneys prepare for trials by reviewing cases and developing trial strategies.

Are Paralegals Able to Give Legal Advice?

If you are facing charges of assault, DUI, or any other crime, you need to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer will be able to review your case and advise you of your legal rights. Getting a good attorney is one of the most important things you can do if facing criminal charges. Why Do You Need a Criminal Defence Lawyer

When choosing an attorney, you should look for someone who has experience handling cases like yours. You should also make sure that you feel comfortable with the attorney and that you can trust them. If you are not sure whether or not an attorney is right for you, you should ask for a consultation. It is a meeting between you and the attorney where you can ask questions and get to know each other.

It would be best not to attempt to represent yourself in court. If you do, you will be at a severe disadvantage. The prosecutor will have an experienced attorney on their side, and you will not. It would be best if you had an attorney on your side who could fight for you and protect your legal rights.

Paralegals cannot give legal advice, but they play an important role in the legal process. Paralegals often work directly with clients to gather information about their cases. They also draft various legal documents and may assist attorneys in closing arguments and trials. Paralegals also perform several administrative tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining files. In some cases, paralegals may also help manage client relationships. If you need legal advice, it is important to speak with a criminal defense lawyer instead of a paralegal. A good attorney can help you understand your legal rights and protect them in court.

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