All Posts by Michel Lopez

Family Law

How Much Do You Know About Family Law?

Family law deals with domestic issues, and although the specifics of the law can differ from situation to situation, the overall aim is to protect the rights of each person in the context of the family. There are numerous areas that family law covers such as marriage, divorce and alimony, parental liability, child custody and child support. Divorce law deals with the division of property between a husband and a wife and financial support, but child custody law deals with children’s best interests and safety when its parents separate. When it comes to child support or child custody, the best thing would be for the parents to settle the matters out of court in a friendly manner. If this is not possible, the issue will be resolved in a Family Court or with the help of a mediator. It is a person who helps the couples solve their problems without going through the court procedure.

Child Custody

Child custody is a sensitive issue when parents decide that they will no longer be together. It means that a child would have to live with one parent, a mother or a father. Courts usually want the parents to make an agreement outside the court or with the help of a mediator. But there are situations when this is not possible, and they have to resolve the issue in court. The family law focuses on what is best for the child such as safety and stable home.

Child CustodyChild Support

Child support is one of the issues that family law deals with. The law makes sure that the both parents financially support their child and that the child has everything he or she needs for a comfortable life. A court takes into consideration the number of children, parents’ income, and financial potential. Child support should be used for child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, education, clothes, etc.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is also commonly known as alimony, and it involves financial support by one spouse to another in a case of divorce. If one spouse makes more money than the other, then he or she will have to pay spousal support. Spousal support can be permanent or temporary, and this depends on the duration of the marriage and the financial potential of the husband and wife. A court can order one of the spouses to pay spousal support once the marriage is over but during the separation, paying support is not obligatory.

Criminal Law

The Basics Of Criminal Law

Criminal law is a type of law that deals with crime and crime offenders. When a person commits a crime, he or she breaks the law and must be punished. Criminal law penalties include money damages, imprisonment, and forfeiture of one’s rights. Misdemeanors and felonies are two types of criminal laws. A misdemeanor is a less serious offense which involves a penalty of one year or less such as traffic offenses, minor assaults or petty thefts. However, a felony includes more serious offenses such as murder, rape, robbery, manslaughter, etc. These offenses include a penalty of one year or more. A highly qualified attorney is the most important thing when it comes to serious criminal offenses. Some of the penalties for anyone who commits crimes include fines, imprisonment, community service, or sometimes death.

Preliminary Hearing

Criminal DiscoveryPreliminary hearing is the first step that has to be taken in criminal cases. It is a way of determining if there is or not probable cause that an offender committed a criminal offense and whether he should be up for trial. A defendant should seriously consider advantages and drawbacks of a preliminary hearing before filing for one. Witnesses in a preliminary hearing can be police officers, victims or eye-witnesses.

Criminal Discovery

Criminal discovery is the process of receiving information about the evidence for and against the defendant. Defendants are not allowed to obtain criminal discovery before filing a motion or making a request. There are various items of criminal discovery from documents and data to weapons and vehicles. A defendant can inspect these items with his defense attorney or file a motion to the court to retest the items.

Plea Bargain

A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor where the defendant confesses he is guilty of a crime to lessen a charge or to avoid going to trial. The prosecutor decides whether to offer a plea bargain or not, and the defendant can request one. The defendant has to confess to committing a crime in court, but a judge can dismiss the plea bargain for numerous reasons.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain. One of the advantages of the plea bargain is lesser penalties than the maximum possible penalties. What is considered as a disadvantage of a plea bargain is losing some of the constitutional rights such as the right to a jury trial, the right to face one’s accuser or the right not to incriminate oneself?

No Contest Plea

A no contest plea is a plea where the defendant neither confesses nor denies committing the crime. The defendant has an immediate right to no contest plea, and it cannot be used as evidence at a later stage. Some other benefits of a no contest plea include no attorney fees, a lighter sentence, taking the blame for someone else to protect them, etc. However, there are some disadvantages of this plea such as treating a no contest plea the same way as the confession of guilt.