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Ridgeland Legal Blog

How does the government define "child" for immigration purposes?

Every parent wants a better life for his or her child. As a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may file a petition to bring your child into the country. Even a child age 21 or older may gain entry and permanent residency under certain circumstances.

Of course, certain rules and regulations exist, governing the entry of a child who does not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Before you file a petition, however, you need to make sure that the family member meets U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' definition of "child."

Why word choice is so important during a traffic stop

You may be among those in Mississippi who consider themselves men or women of few words, meaning you tend to be on the quiet side and perhaps, only speak when spoken to. On the other hand, you might be in a category that includes adults who have gotten in trouble for their most of their lives for talking too much or for saying the wrong things at the wrong time.

Most people's lives include moments where choosing words carefully is critical to obtaining a positive outcome whether they're a seasoned conversationalist or on the introverted side. One such time would be during a traffic stop. What you say to the officer overseeing the situation can greatly affect the result. It's a good idea to think of this type of potential situation ahead of time, to make sure you know your rights and learn what to do or not do when an officer detains you.

What turns a traffic stop into a DUI arrest?

Like every other state, Mississippi has a legal limit at which authorities would consider you impaired. When it comes to alcohol, the legal limit generally means a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. However, an officer could place you under arrest on suspicion of DUI with a BAC lower than .08 depending on the circumstances.

You could also face charges for DUI for using drugs that impair your ability to drive, which includes prescription medications. The question that you and many other people ask is: what turns a traffic stop into an arrest for driving under the influence?

Facing deportation after felony charges

If you are in the United States under a visa or green card, you probably spent many months or even years working to obtain that status. Being in Mississippi may have reunited you with family, offered you new opportunities for work or study, or granted you protection and safety you did not have in your home country.

With the hard work and time you spent reaching your goal of being lawfully present in the U.S., the last thing you want to do is to jeopardize your status. At some point in your immigration process, you may have heard of the factors that could threaten your status in this country. One of the surest ways to place yourself at risk of deportation is to commit a criminal act.

Is asylum your only hope of avoiding harm in your native country?

Though you may have felt a great sense of pride for your native country, you may have always known that its borders did not act as a safe harbor. You and your family may have had the ability to remain off the radar of any real danger for a time, but some incident led to you and your loved ones becoming a target.

In order to protect yourself and your family, you may have decided that fleeing your native country was the only way to avoid harm. As a result, your next steps may have involved trying to obtain asylum in the United States, which you likely knew would not come easy.

Prenuptial agreements may not determine child custody

A well-crafted prenuptial agreement can not only provide a streamlined divorce without needless complications, it can even strengthen your marriage and keep it strong by protecting both spouses from difficult financial pressures that often sink the union. However, even an otherwise strong prenuptial agreement is vulnerable to challenges if it includes invalid provisions. Some of the most commonly included invalid provisions that may threaten an agreement address child custody and child support.

When parents divorce, the court hearing the matter prefers for the parents to present a parenting plan they both approve to the court, but it only gives them so much flexibility to determine the arrangement. The chief concern of the court is the best interests of the child, and it may amend or outright reject a parenting and custody agreement that places parent's preference over those interests.

What documentation do I need to get a work visa?

Coming to the United States to begin a new job can be exciting and frightening. In addition to starting new employment, you will be entering a new culture with many unfamiliar practices and customs. Nevertheless, you may be looking forward to the challenges, and perhaps obtaining your visa to work in the U.S. is something you have wanted to do for a long time.

A limited number of work visas are available each year, and your prospective employer may have made arrangements for you to begin your new position in Mississippi as soon as possible. One of the most frustrating things that can happen during the process of attempting to obtain a work visa is to learn that you have not included the correct documentation with your application. Failing to include all documents the National Visa Center requests, completed thoroughly and accurately, may mean delays in your visa process.

Stepchild adoption and gaining consent

Forming a family in the modern world may require a little creativity and sacrifice. In some cases, members of separate families may want to legally bind together, which is often permissible, but complicated. Commonly, a stepparent may wish to adopt a stepchild, which requires some careful planning and execution.

All stepparent adoptions must consider the wishes of the birth parent who is giving up parental rights to the child. In fact, all stepparent adoptions must include the birth parent's permission for the adoption to go through, unless the birth parent has already forfeited their rights in some other way. If, for instance, a birth parent loses his or her parental rights because of abandonment, then it is probably not necessary to secure that parent's permission to adopt.

Know your rights when speaking with law enforcement

Speaking to the police, no matter what the circumstances, always involves some level of risk. A police officer's primary concern is upholding the law, and if a person speaking with a police officer says something that the officer believes indicates that the person potentially committed a crime, the officer may take action to detain or question him or her. Before you speak with police in any circumstance, it is important to understand your rights.

First, you must understand that literally anything that you say to a police officer is potential evidence against you, even if you do not believe you are under investigation or accused of a crime. You always have the right to remain silent, other than giving a police officer your name, although this is not always the best choice in every circumstance.

When must police read Miranda rights?

At this point in American history, most people have at least a passing understanding of their Miranda rights because of how frequently television and movies portray a police officer arresting a suspect and issuing a Miranda warning. However, may people still do not understand when their Miranda rights apply and when a police officer must read a suspect his or her rights.

In general, anything that a person says to a police officer may count as evidence against that person. While a person may have the legal right to remain silent other than giving an officer his or her name and identification, many people give officers more information than they have to, simply because they assume the officer is only casually speaking with them and not gathering information.

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