Criminal defense law consists of the legal protections afforded to people who have been accused of committing a crime. Law enforcement agencies and government prosecutors have extensive resources at their disposal. Without adequate protections for the accused, the balance of power within the justice system would become skewed in favor of the government. As it is, fair treatment for criminal defendants often depends as much upon the skill of their defense attorney as it does the substantive protections contained in the law. ;

The Constitution provides many more protections that apply to the field of criminal defense law. Someone who has been tried and acquitted of a crime cannot again be charged with that office, as mandated by the “double jeopardy” provision of the Fifth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to a public trial, and in many cases, the right to have their guilt or innocence decided by a jury. It also affords the right to confront adverse witnesses, and to use the court’s subpoena power to compel the appearance of favorable witnesses.

ASSAULT / MURDER

Assault is a tort and occurs when one person intentionally places another in a state of fear. There are three types of assault: simple assault, assault and battery and aggravated assault. Each type of assault is intended to instill fear and may even involve physical pain against another person.


CREDIT CARD FRAUD

Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized taking of another’s credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. Federal law limits cardholders’ liability to $50 in the event of credit card theft, but most banks will waive this amount if the cardholder signs an affidavit explaining the theft. Credit card fraud schemes generally fall into one of two categories of fraud: application fraud and account takeover. Application fraud refers to the unauthorized opening of credit card accounts in another person’s name. This may occur if a perpetrator can obtain enough personal information about the victim to completely fill out the credit card application, or is able to create convincing counterfeit documents. Application fraud schemes are serious because a victim may learn about the fraud too late, if ever.


DRUNK DRIVING DUI / OWI

Drunk driving laws are driven by each individual state. The legal limit for drinking and driving in each state is .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Aside from that fact, the name of the offense and other specifics in each state differ.

If two people were arrested in two different states for driving with a .08 BAC, chances are, their charges would have different names.

Family law is a practice area concerned with legal issues involving family relationships, such as adoption, divorce, and child custody. Attorneys practicing family law typically handle divorce, child custody, child support, and other related legal matters. Some family law attorneys specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters usually not related to divorce. States have the right to determine “reasonable formal requirements” for marriage, including age and legal capacity, and the majority of states do not permit same-sex couples to marry (but this is a rapidly changing area of law). Likewise, state laws govern the various rules and procedures for divorce and other family law matters.

Family law (also called matrimonial law) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations, including: marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships; adoption and surrogacy. child abuse and child abduction.

Divorce and Separation

A “separation” is when a couple decides to live apart from each other because the relationship has broken down. The couple may be married, or they may be unmarried but living together like a married couple in a common-law relationship.

A “divorce” is when a court officially ends a marriage. Only legally married couples can divorce.

In a legal separation, the parties are still married, versus a divorce where the marriage is ended. A legal separation is a court order that mandates the rights and duties of a couple while they are still married, but living apart. In a divorce, the spouses are no longer married. Legal separations are not too common, but can be helpful to a situation where the spouses work through any personal or financial issues affecting the marriage.


CUSTODY

The legal right to take care of a child (such as a child whose parents are divorced).


CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY

Child support is payment to help raise young children. The custodial parent who is set to spend more time with the kids generally receives child support because they will spend more money on childcare. These payments typically end when the children reach a certain age, usually 18 or 21. Unlike alimony, there is no tax deduction for child support. The person receiving child support also does not need to pay income tax for receiving this money.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, consists of payments that one spouse makes to the other person after their divorce is final to maintain the same standard of living after the divorce. A divorce agreement usually involves alimony when one person makes more than the other; the higher earning spouse pays out alimony. The person paying alimony is typically able to claim the alimony as a tax deduction, while the person receiving alimony needs to report the payments as income.

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