How Failing to Hire an Experienced Lawyer Could Cost You Your Immigration Case

immigration lawyerUnfortunately for the American immigrant, immigration cases are never easy. Strict immigration laws can make it difficult to file for citizenship let alone to be accepted as an American citizen. In 2012, approximately 7% of American students K-12 had an undocumented parent. Therefore, making a mistake in court during your case isn’t just important to your citizenship, but also to your family.

How can you be sure that your immigration case has a chance in court? While no court case is guaranteed for success, there are a number of things you definitely shouldn’t do while immigrating to the United States. Today we’ll be talking about one in particular: failing to hire an experienced immigration lawyer.

Don’t DIY your immigration case
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is choosing not to hire a lawyer during litigation. It’s a bigger mistake not to hire an immigration lawyer during an immigration case. Because there are so many forms to fill out during the process of filing for American citizenship, the chance of making a mistake is surprisingly high.

Mistakes made on legal documents can slow down the entire citizenship process or may cost you your entire case. An immigration lawyer can help you fill out these documents quickly and accurately so that these mistakes don’t happen.

In addition to accuracy, an immigration lawyer can help the entire court process move along as quickly as possible. Immigration cases can take months. However, in some cases, an immigration attorney may be able to use their contacts and strategic planning to smooth the way. Even if they can’t make the process faster in the long run, their ability to notice obstacles and prepare for them will keep your case from being slowed down.

An immigration case can be extremely nerve-wracking. This is often because you yourself may be unaware of the rights that you have under the law. Immigration lawyers are skilled in what they do and will be able to protect your interests and rights.

Even if you have a criminal history, immigration attorneys can help defend you against unsanctioned questions. They are aware of the tactics that are involved in immigration cases.

Immigration cases are never easy, but you can choose to make yours less difficult. By hiring an immigration lawyer, you automatically take some of the weight off your shoulders. Don’t try to save money by doing things yourself. Without a lawyer, you could make a detrimental mistake that could cost you not only thousands of dollars, but your citizenship as well.

4 Essential Things You Should Do Before Filing For Divorce

lawyersDid you know that one divorce happens every 36 seconds in America? That’s approximately 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week, and 876,000 divorces each year. It’s an uncomfortable truth about the frequency of divorce in the United States.

For many couples, there comes a time when they must thing of the greater good. If you’re one of them, you have to be realistic about what’s to come in the future. Don’t be too discouraged if you’re ending your marriage and preparing go through a divorce. It is important, however, to know what you should do before the divorce.

Here are some essential steps you need to take.

Really think about what you’re doing
You need to spend a long time thinking about your relationship, your life, and your future before you file for divorce. Unfortunately, so many couples act on impulse and get divorced just because of a simple fight that could’ve been avoided. You’re going to need to be certain that you actually want to go through with a divorce and make this major life change.

Contact divorce lawyers
You should also interview a few divorce lawyers before you actually file for divorce so you can guarantee you’re making all the right moves. Make sure you discuss every aspect of your relationship with your lawyer so they are fully prepared for what’s to come. As long as you’re honest and are working with a licensed lawyer, you should be fine and ready to proceed with the divorce.

Organize all your important files
Together with your divorce lawyer, go through all your financial, legal, and personal documents you have and organize them in the best way possible. Gather all online records of shared finical accounts or anything that will be useful as you move forward in the divorce process.

Figure out your plans for when the divorce is final
One of the worst things you can do is go through with a stressful divorce and then be unsure of where to go or what to do afterwards. Figure out exactly what you’re going to do after the divorce is final. Determine where you’re going to stay or live, if you need to take any time off from work, and what the rest of your family will have to do.

Above all else, you shouldn’t hesitate to call a law firm and speak to a divorce lawyer. If you have any questions about this difficult time in your life, contact John Elledge today.

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney In Three Steps

what does a criminal defense lawyer doIn the United States, approximately 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes every year. It’s a criminal defense lawyer’s job to ensure that these people see justice in the court of law. Hiring the best criminal defense lawyer available to you is essential in order to keep from facing a serious criminal charge or penalty.

For those new to being an adult, finding a criminal defense attorney on your own may seem difficult. However, by following the guidelines below you can be sure to find the best criminal defense lawyer for you.

Determine The Defense You Need
Before you can begin to look for a criminal defense lawyer, you must first ask what does a criminal defense lawyer do?

A criminal defense lawyer has multiple jobs including, but not limited to, negotiating deals, arguing for a beneficial sentencing program should you be found guilty, explaining hidden costs, following important legal regulations, and following the unwritten rules of the legal system.

Additionally, it’s important to look at the specific kind of criminal defense lawyer you may need depending on your case. Some attorneys have a focus on violent crimes and others on DUIs. Look for lawyers that specialize in the type of case you’re being taken to court for.

Understand What Is Important To You
Unless you’re unable to afford a lawyer and are therefore receiving the assistance of an assigned public defender, the characteristics of your attorney may be important to you. Determine what qualities you find essential in a person and then look for those qualities during consultations.

While experience may not always be a determining factor to a lawyer’s skill, it doesn’t hurt to consider this as one of the key qualities to look for in your criminal defense lawyer. You want to be sure that you are receiving the best representation available to you.

Use Reputable Sources
Always look into previous clients of the lawyer you’re thinking about hiring before you determine they’re the best option for you. Reviews from real clients will tell you exactly what it’s like to work with the person you’re considering and you’ll be able to learn first hand whether or not they’re worth it.

Another good tip is to contact your friends and family members. Good lawyers are often found within small community networking and you’ll be able to get a personalized account of whether or not they may be right for you and your case.

If you can, ask past clients or family members questions about the attorney in order to gather further information. What does a criminal defense lawyer do if a client is facing charges for severe violence? Does the attorney have experience in cases involving underage drinking? What does a criminal defense lawyer do in the case of illegal evidence? These kinds of questions will help you determine what kind of experience the attorney has and if they are well-suited for your case.

Finding a criminal defense lawyer with experience and good qualities doesn’t have to be difficult. Determine the specialization you need, what characteristics matter to you, and seek out reputable sources for a lawyer’s reputation and you will be able to find the best criminal defense attorney for your case.

What Are The Potential Consequences Of Underage Drinking?

attorneyCollege is a time of exploration, education, and entertainment. However, because half of the student body is made up of students over the age of 21, alcohol is widely available to underage students at virtually every college in the country. Underage drinking is a major problem in the United States and is linked to various health and safety concerns due to phenomenons such as binge drinking and reckless drinking.

Because the law does not allow Americans to drink until they are 21-years-old, teenagers and college students can and will be charged with underage drinking should they be caught with alcohol. Most states have PAULA laws, possession of alcohol under the legal age, which are also known as MIP laws, or minors in possession.

Legal Consequences of Underage Drinking

While in some states, underage drinking is allowed if it’s done under a parent or guardian’s supervision, the majority of states do not allow it. In fact, parents may even be held accountable for their child’s drinking.

The consequences of underage drinking can be anywhere between minor misdemeanors to serious felonies. In comparison to other juvenile crimes, underage drinking is often strictly punished due to the fact that many of those who break the law are over the age of 18 and are therefore adults.

Some consequences of underage drinking charges include:

  • Community service
  • Required counseling classes
  • Fines
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Jail time

A college may have differing or additional punishments for their students should they be caught with alcohol including counseling classes, AA meetings, classes on alcohol consumption and its dangers, and in some cases expulsion.

Are Parents Held Accountable For Their Child’s Drinking Under the Law?

Depending on the state, the parents may not be held liable for their child’s underage drinking if it’s technically legal for them to drink under their supervision. However, in most states parents and other adults can be imposed with a criminal charge of selling or serving alcohol to minors. The criminal charge becomes worse if the adult knowingly allows the minor to consume alcohol while on their property or if the minor becomes injured as a result of drinking alcohol on their property.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you’ve been charged with underage drinking, underage possession of alcohol, or drunk driving, it’s essential for you to hire an attorney as soon as possible. According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, public defenders often handle impossible caseloads. A typical public defender would need 3,035 work hours, or about 1.5 years, to complete a year’s worth of work. As a result, hiring criminal defense attorneys is a prudent decision after any criminal charge.

This is especially true if you’re facing consequences for underage drinking, which could impact your education and career before they even begin. With repeat offenses, the consequences may be even more severe. Therefore, seeking a defense attorney from a criminal law firm may do you significant good. A criminal charge does not have to derail your life, and you deserve the best legal representation you can find.

For legal aid in the case of underage drinking in Harrisonburg, VA, contact the law offices of John Elledge.

What To Do When You’ve Been Arrested At College

defense attorneyIn 2012, law enforcement made an estimated total of 12,196,959 arrests nationwide. Among those arrests were 29,800 criminal incidents involving college students. College often feels like a different plane of existence because the education system and dormitory housing disguises the reality of colleges being places of business. Therefore, when a young college student performs a criminal act such as getting into a fight or drinking underage, they’re often surprised when the result is an arrest rather than a visit to the dean’s office as the case would often be in high school.

As a college student, you should be aware of what is illegal to do on campus as well as in general and the consequences that result from your actions. However, in the event that you have been arrested while in school, here is what will happen and what you can do to defend yourself in the court of law.

Don’t try to persuade your way out of arrest
“The right to remain silent” is meant to be a beneficial right on your behalf. Anything you say to a police officer can be used against you during your trial, so you should remain silent during the process. Don’t answer any questions save for basic identification questions such as your name without your lawyer present. Your defense attorney will be able to determine whether or not the questions you are asked or the answers you might provide would be used to criminalize you.

Call your defense attorney
After you have called a family member or friend to potentially bail you out of jail, contact a defense attorney to assist you during your questioning and trial. Whether you choose to use private attorneys or a public defense lawyer, a defense attorney can’t be anything but beneficial, especially when you know you’re guilty of a crime.

A defense attorney understands the justice system, the paperwork, the due dates, and whether or not something said or done is legal. Additionally, a defense attorney can potentially help you in getting a deal in the event that your case may lose in court.

Understand the consequences within your University
After the criminal justice process has finished, you may be met with additional reprimands or expulsion from your college. Oftentimes, college students will appear before a board of faculty members where they will be judged as they would otherwise be in the court of law. However, the difference is that college courts are not legal courts and therefore if found guilty you may be facing anything between a reprimand that becomes a notation on your file or an expulsion from the university itself.

In any case, it is the college’s decision over all whether or not you can continue to attend the school. College may be a place of young adults, but it is also a place of business, and the students who attend are to be treated as adults. Therefore, if you have been arrested while on campus, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible and understand the potential consequences that may result should you return to your university after trial.