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Ridgeland Legal Blog

Can you challenge your Breathalyzer results?

It is easy to feel completely trapped and without options when you fail a Breathalyzer test and receive DUI charges. In films and television, Breathalyzers often seem like infallible devices that produce reliable results each and every time an officer administers a test with one. However, these devices do have some weaknesses, and in certain circumstances, you may have grounds to challenge Breathalyzer results and possibly see the charges against you dismissed.

A Breathalyzer device can only deliver dependable results when it is properly calibrated, maintained and operated. If the device is not properly calibrated, it may produce inaccurate readings that unjustly result DUI charges. Likewise, if the device is not properly maintained on a regular basis, it may malfunction and produce similar inaccurate results. It is also easy to see how operator error can produce inaccurate readings. If you find grounds to challenge the accuracy or validity of the results of your Breathalyzer test, a court or jury may choose to toss out these results or even dismiss the charges altogether.

New tax laws affect spousal support

Divorce is rarely easy, especially when it involves ongoing spousal support. In many cases, individuals who divorce would prefer to not engage with each other after the divorce finalizes, but spousal support is an important part of the American divorce system, especially when one spouse enjoys a significantly higher income than the other.

Until recently, the tax law allowed individuals who pay support to an ex-spouse to deduct these payments from their tax returns and counted these payments as part of the receiving individual's gross income. However, the new tax law significantly changes the way that spousal support gets taxed.

Struggling couples may benefit from legal separation

Every marriage features its own special configuration of strengths and weaknesses, and not all couples who face serious struggles may actually need a divorce. However, some couples who may not need to divorce may still benefit from some legal guidance to help them re-assess the basis of their relationship and the way the marriage functions. Other couples may find that divorce is the best fit for them, but they simply need time to prepare carefully without remaining in each other's space creating conflict.

For some couples like these, a legal separation is often a useful legal tool. Legal separation is not the same as a divorce, but operates in much the same way. Like a divorce, legal separation features court orders that dictate how a couple should divide up some or all of their property, how a couple should address any child custody, visitation and support issues and may even provide spousal support during the separation.

Who says Mississippi goes easy on drunk drivers?

If you have had too much to drink and you decide to drive home anyway, you'd better hope you're not in Mississippi. Law enforcement in this state may be trying to improve its reputation for leniency on drunk drivers, and you just may be the example they are looking for.

However, leniency is relative when it comes to drunk driving laws. It certainly does not mean you will get off easy if police charge you with DUI. In fact, there may be circumstances that result in legal consequences beyond those for a simple DUI conviction.

Missed your visa deadline? What happens now?

Living in the United States on a temporary visa has likely provided you with many positive opportunities. You may have come here to work or study with the understanding that your stay in the U.S. would eventually come to an end. However, when the deadline approached for your visa to expire, for whatever reason, you did not return to your native country. Now your status in the U.S. is "unlawfully present."

While overstaying your visa can present many complications for you, there may be valid reasons for missing the deadline of your departure from this country. If this is the case, seeking legal assistance may help you avoid further penalties. However, even if you do qualify for any of these exceptions, the longer you stay in the country without taking the appropriate steps, the more far-reaching the consequences.

Understanding open and closed adoptions

If you hope to adopt a child, you will eventually need to decide which style of adoption you wish to use as you grow your family. In general, parents may use either an open adoption, which allows parents greater flexibility to keep a birth family accessible to an adopted child, or a closed adoption, which provides greater privacy to families who do not wish to keep those lines of relationship open.

Most modern adoptions in America are open adoptions. This means that the birth parent of a child may remain in contact with the adoptive family, and may even remain in contact with the adoptive child at various points in the child's upbringing. Some parents see this as a healthy way to encourage the child to understand his or her own history and use it as an opportunity to self-discovery.

Need protection from your spouse’s debt in divorce?

Divorce is often much more complicated than couples realize, especially in comparison to the relatively sparse process a couple must go through to get married. While two people can get married with a few simple forms properly filed, divorce is not remotely as simple, even in a best case scenario.

The law requires that spouses divide up their property to obtain divorce, like when dissolving a business relationship. Marital property includes both assets and liabilities, which may mean that one spouse agrees to take on some of the other spouse's debt to reach a fair property division agreement.

Are you considering adopting a stepchild?

These days, families take many shapes and sizes, and often families may form in surprising ways. One form of family becoming increasingly common is adoption of a child by a stepparent. Regardless of what leads a stepparent to pursue legal adoption, the good news is that stepparent adoption is generally simpler and more straightforward than other types of adoption.

If you and your partner are discussing stepparent adoption, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the legal process and the potential setbacks you may face. Even in ideal scenarios, achieving a stepparent adoption requires unavoidable waiting periods during which regulatory figures assess the prospective home of the adoptive parents.

Beware hidden assets in divorce

As soon as one spouse in a couple suspects that divorce is on the table, he or she may attempt to keep an unfair portion of the couple's marital assets by hiding some assets. Not only is this unwise and unethical, it is actually illegal. Although spouses who hide assets from one another rarely see jail time for these offenses, it may seriously affect the perspective of the judge who hears such a divorce case.

This is especially true in divorces where the couple has significant assets. Mississippi uses equitable division guidelines to govern how spouses divide their assets during divorce. Unlike community property states, which require that spouses divide assets evenly, equitable division guidelines allow spouses to negotiate terms that they both agree are fair, even if they are unequal. Of course, if one spouse hides assets from the other, fair asset division is simply not possible.

DUI can hit your family and your wallet, hard

The night Mississippi police put handcuffs on your wrists and drove you to the county jail in the back of a squad car may still seem like a bad dream. However, the fact that you had to call your spouse and come up with money to post bail quickly brought home the reality of your situation. The officer who arrested you may have mentioned that your tires drifted over the yellow line before he or she stopped you.

From there, your mind may have filled with all sorts of worries as events unfolded and, perhaps, forever-changed your life. DUI charges can affect all areas of your life. If you are keenly aware of your personal rights and know where to seek support when needed, you may be able to mitigate your circumstances and minimize the long-term negative consequences of an unfortunate situation.


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