Posts tagged ‘law’

March 9, 2011

DUI and the Consequences

Arizona law enforcement agencies made over 3,500 DUI arrests from November 25th to January 1st. Most of those people charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated have no experience with the legal system nor have any idea about what their options are. Instead their minds are probably filled with questions about possible jail time, the fines and fees involved, license suspension, and treatment program or community service involvement.

In Arizona there is a drunk driving law that prohibits a person from driving when they have a concentration of 0.08 percent of alcohol in their blood system, and this is the standard measurement used in all states. (If the person is a commercial driver, the limit is 0.04.) If convicted there are fees, fines, possible jail time, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. For a first time offense this could range from $600-several thousand dollars, 24 hours up to 180 days of jail time, 90 days to 1 year license suspension, the cost of the ignition interlock device to the offender, and possible community service. These penalties increase with the 2nd and 3rd offense. In addition to the above, being convicted of a standard DUI in Arizona is a Misdemeanor Criminal Conviction. However, this could rise to the level of a Felony Conviction in certain circumstances, such as if this was the 2nd or more DUI convictions, there was a minor in the vehicle, the driver was on a suspended or revoked license, or there was serious injury or death.

You can see that the Arizona penalties for DUI are harsh but diverse. The need for obtaining a good lawyer early is crucial. Having an attorney whom you have selected is better than having a court ordered attorney or signing a waiver that gives up your right to an attorney. You are then on your own and likely lack the needed understanding of the law. You should know that you have given your consent to a chemical test (blood, breath, urine) just by getting behind the wheel in Arizona. A good attorney is there to answer your questions, to give you good advice, perhaps to challenge the blood alcohol testing and its reliability, and to prove that you were not impaired while driving. Know that The Carroll Law Firm is there to represent you when faced with a DUI arrest or conviction. We are only a phone call away.

February 22, 2011

Community and Separate Property

Though February may be an “interesting” choice to post two articles concerning divorce, The New York Post reports that there is a 40 percent spike in divorce rates around this time of year. For this reason, we’ve opted to continue on with the topic of our last post and focus on an issue that is nearly universal to all divorces; community property.

Arizona is a community property state, which means the law presumes that all property acquired during the course of a marriage is community property. On the other hand, all property that is acquired before marriage, or after the divorce papers are served, is considered to be separate property.

If an item is classified as community property then both you and your spouse have an equal ownership in that item. This property includes most assets acquired during the marriage, as well as any income generated by either you or your spouse.

Separate property belongs solely to either yourself or your spouse. Typically, separate property is anything that you brought into the marriage, or acquired as a gift or through inheritance to you personally. These items will generally remain your separate property throughout the course of the marriage, as long as you keep them separate, but there are certain actions or events that may grant your spouse an interest in your separate property, or even change it to community property entirely (such as depositing money into a joint account used for the good of the community).

The presumption that everything acquired during marriage is community property is very broad, but there are ways to defeat it. Certain exceptions exist that allow some items or earnings can to be viewed by the courts as separate property, though the method of proving these exceptions is often complex, and usually necessitates the use of an attorney.

Along with child custody and spousal maintenance, concerns about the fate of assets gained both during and after the marriage lead to some of the most common questions asked in divorce proceedings. If you find that you and your spouse seem to be spiraling out of love rather than relishing the romance this Valentine’s Day, feel free to speak to any of our attorneys who will be happy to help answer all of your questions.

February 17, 2011

Child Support

A divorce is a legal proceeding wherein one or both spouses are seeking to end their marriage.  As a part of the divorce proceeding, the Court will issue orders pertaining to custody of the parties’ child/children.  The court may also grant temporary orders during the divorce proceedings before a final decree is issued. These orders include the payment of child support and visitation rights / parenting time with the children.

The Arizona Revised Statutes dictate how much child support will be calculated. There are Child Support Guidelines set by the Arizona Supreme Court, which establish a uniform standard used to determining a child support obligation. There is also a child support calculator (available online) that allows a person to plug in certain numbers such as income, health insurance, day care payments, etc. in order to show how much a spouse can expect to pay in child support. Child support cases take into consideration the financial situation of both parties, therefore good documentation is imperative. This documentation may include: tax returns, credit reports, car payments, pension statements, real estate records, credit card balances, and investment statements. The Arizona Child Support Calculator usually provides an accurate assessment of the level of support that will be required, but in some situations deviations from this amount are granted. An attorney can take the time to go through these possible situations with you if you are facing this issue.

Once the divorce is finalized and the court has determined the child support and visitation rules, both parties are legally obligated to follow the court order-and to follow it correctly. In the event a spouse violates a court order granting child support, there are several remedies available to the other spouse including the garnishment of wages, bank account and asset seizure, and in extreme cases, criminal penalties such as imprisonment. Although divorce decrees are final, the court is allowed to revisit issues such as child support and custody in certain cases. If circumstances regarding child support change that would result in an outcome that differs by 15% or more (such as a parent losing a job or getting a substantial raise), the court may revisit the original orders and change the amounts due.

You can see that there are very specific laws regarding divorce and child custody. An attorney can help you understand the differences between terms such as an absent parent, a custodial parent/person, and a non-custodial parent; or what the age of majority is, or the difference between an alleged father and a legal father.  Going through a divorce is hard enough without worrying about understanding all of the laws and your legal rights. It is important that you find a qualified law firm to help you with this process. We believe our lawyers at The Carroll Law Firm are the perfect choice in helping you through this difficult time of important decision making.

January 11, 2011

Resolution: Be Prepared

In today’s world, what age is considered “elderly’?  A person’s real age continues to climb as people live longer, life styles have more options, and new opportunities for both work and recreation come along.  The stereotype of the elderly with white hair, staying at home, becoming easily confused, and having trouble getting around may not fit any more.  However, regardless of age, anyone can become sick, be injured, or die unexpectedly.

This raises the question of what a person –of any age-needs to do to prepare for these possible events?  We should be asking ourselves what legal documents are necessary.  Do I need to have a lawyer to prepare these documents or can I do it myself?  With a slow economy, what are the costs for doing all of this?  Can a document really protect my assets?  And what is all of this talk about Long Term Care?

We make New Year’s resolutions to exercise more or to make better food choices.  We decide to get our house “in order” physically, but what about getting our life in order for our future and that of our family. This year make your resolution to have the proper documents prepared to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.  This means that you will want to learn the difference between a will and a trust.  Plus while you are mentally competent, you will want to state your instructions for the way you want your estate to be handled-not the courts!  Also you do need to think about appointing someone to have Power of Attorney for both your health care and your financial decisions.

The Carroll Law Firm is skilled in helping people plan for their future.  Thinking about all of the things that are really important in your life, what is more crucial than taking the time to plan for your wishes to be put into legal binding documents?  Taking care of your body and becoming fit this year is a good goal; but an even better one is to make an appointment now to discuss with a professional your options for planning for your future not only for yourself but for your family.  This can ensure you a Happy New Year and happy years to come.

December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!

As we reflect upon this holiday season, we are proud to be The Anthem Law Firm. We’ve grown not only as a firm, expanding from a solo practice to a full-service law firm with five attorneys and two law clerks, but also as a member of this community.
This year our attorneys have participated in many of the Anthem community events, such as Anthem Days and Autumnfest. We have also helped with some pro-bono charity work for churches and schools in Anthem.

Despite our growth this season, we’ve learned to live within our means as a firm. We have worked hard to keep our overhead low so that we can offer low rates while providing great value of our quality services to our clients. The economic climate may still be grim, as evidenced by the number of bankruptcies filed this year, but we work hard to help our clients to the best of our ability. In light of our economy, we are also working hard to focus on what is important this holiday season: our family, friends, and those less fortunate. One of our attorneys, Kristin Wurr, left this year to pursue an executive position at a charity she holds close to hear heart, Hope 4 Kids, International. While we were sad to see Kristin go, she continues to work with us in an of-counsel capacity, and we are happy to announce that we are donating 10% of the proceeds from our wills, living wills, and powers of attorney to support the charity this holiday season.

To our friends and families, we’d like to extend a holiday thank you for patience and understanding during the times when it was necessary to work nights and/or weekends.
To our business colleagues, we appreciate the referrals you have sent to our firm as well as the services you have provided for us throughout the year.

And, most importantly, to our clients: Thank you for the trust that you have invested in The Carroll Law Firm to protect your rights and guide you through difficult legal matters. We are always humbled when we meet new clients who have been referred by former clients, as it is a sign that a former client was happy with our services and trusts us to help their friend or family member. We hope to continue to provide quality services for all of your legal needs in the New Year!