Bar Tab & DUI Fines

A DUI is an expensive bar tab.  Fines for DUI convictions start at $500 and run into thousands of dollars, depending on how many times you have been convicted, your blood alcohol level, and if you had a minor in the car with you.  Those are just the penalty expenses, which do not include court costs, legal fees, insurance increases, and possible labor hours lost due to incarceration and/or community service, and/or DUI education. A DUI is a serious charge.  Treat it seriously.  A DUI charge is an arrest, finger printing, and a criminal record…not to mention the financial inconvenience (and possible injury or loss of life).  Any time you are facing heavy fines or jail time, make sure the penalty fits the crime.  Do not accept the maximum penalty just because you do not know better.  Seek competent legal counsel to work with prosecutors for a correct resolution. There are a lot of things you can do with $500 plus.  Paying for a DUI might not be the top of your list.  The best choice is prevention—do not drive while intoxicated and get stuck with a bar tab you cannot afford. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. […] Read More

Department of Discipline

When I was growing up, my parents made me sand and stain a paddle, and drill twenty-six holes in it.  Inscribed on the paddle were these words:  “When love and talking doesn’t work, then love and I will.”  While the paddle was made for me, it never touched my butt.  (Got all my brothers and sisters, though.)  I talked myself out of more spankings…maybe that is why I became a lawyer. You do not have to live with your parents.  The Justice System will feed you. What you fail to learn at home you can get in court:  discipline and something to do with your time.  Judges can find a little public service for you to do or some nights locked up away from home. My mom was good at making sure kids had something to do.  She kept us busy to keep us out of trouble.  Her strategy worked for the most part.  Being a lawyer does not keep me out of jail, but it does keep me busy…and, no, I am not an overnight guest at the jail. Happy Mother’s Day!   Read More

Happy Holidays

Have safe and happy holidays! Read More

Thanksgiving

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Read More

Preamble to the Constitution

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Happy Birthday USA! Read More

Memorial Day

Thanks to those who have given their lives in the past so that “We The People” may carry forward the freedom and justice our country enjoys. Have a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day.   Read More

Mothers & Law

“When love and talking doesn’t work, then love and I will.”  Those were the words handwritten on the paddle when I was growing up.  What you fail to learn at home you can get in court:  discipline and something to do with your time. You do not have to live with your parents.  The Justice System will feed you. “You may outgrow your responsibility to listen to your parents, but you will never outgrow your responsibility to obey the law.”  That is a quote from Judge Alexander and Judge Wolfe.  They go on to point out that if you fail to obey the law, you may put a stranger “in charge of telling you everything from where you can go and what you can do, all the way down to what you can wear, and what you can eat.” “The best way to remain in charge of your own life is to know the law and obey it.” –Judge Alexander and Judge Wolfe. Happy Mother’s Day!   Read More

Law Day – May 1

Law Day is an annual event, officially started in 1961 to mark a commitment to the rule of law in our nation.   This year’s theme is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law:  Why Every Vote Matters” celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act this year, and next year’s golden anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  While a voters’ registration is great for participating in political elections, it is also vital for the fair administration of justice. A voters’ registration is not just good for election season, it also lets you help decide the fate of people in your community.  As a registered voter, you can make a difference in the legislative branch of government at the local, state, and national levels, and you can make a difference in the judicial branch by sitting on a jury for your peers.  A registered voter can change the outcome of a trial, but your jury vote does not count if you are not there to cast it. Most people would rather be fishing than to be in court, especially facing legal action against them—that is when they need their peers.  You have the power to help uphold the […] Read More

Today Is Be Kind to Lawyers Day

Today is National Be Kind to Lawyers Day.  Tucked between April Fool’s and the Federal Income Tax filing deadline, the second Tuesday of April is set aside to be kind to lawyers.  That leaves the remaining 364 days of the year to be mean. Lawyers are a special class.  Legal work often falls between death and taxes, aligning lawyers with the inevitable and overpriced—it takes only one lawyer to screw in a light bulb and ninety-nine to bill for it.  However, when you are in trouble, whether it is civil or criminal, you want the best weasel or shark or blood sucking attorney you can find to obtain the best result possible under the circumstances. I enjoy being an attorney.  I enjoy helping people, and I am glad to have the education and knowledge to do so.  Law School has not made me so much a lawyer as it has helped me see things I could not see before.   Read More

Tips for Extra Credit on a House

So maybe you did not do so well last semester on your credit report.  Getting good credit is not an easy A, but if you can talk, text, and chew gum, you can fix your credit.  Some of the basics include pay your bills on time, pay down outstanding balances, and stay away from new debt (not to mention avoiding foreclosure and bankruptcy).  For more tips on do-it-yourself credit repair (for free), visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov. And if you are looking to buy a house (even if you have just lost a house to foreclosure), there are local credit counseling programs available that review the problems on your credit report and will help you make a plan to fix those issues.  Visit the St. Johns County Housing and Community Services website at http://www.sjcfl.us (click on “Housing & Community Services”) and the St. Johns Housing Partnership website at http://sjhp.org for more information. Happy New Year!   Read More