All posts by Sean Fallent

As a professional writer, I have the opportunity to explore numerous topics for clients. Just like when you read a good book and live the character’s life; I get to live a new career with each assignment. I’ve had the opportunity to write for well-known publications as a ghost writer and helped on several novels. I enjoy the challenge of the unknown; learning about scuba diving to hair restoration to health care to legal matters - it all interests me. I’m a seeker of knowledge and if you are too, I would like to connect with you on Google+.

Swimming Pools and Liability

Owning a swimming pool is a lot of fun. It’s great exercise and inviting guests to swim is another one of the perks of a pool. However, pool ownership exposes you to significant liability. You need to take certain steps to protect yourself. If you are a new pool owner, consider consulting with an experienced attorney so that you understand your responsibilities.

It’s easy to develop a sense of complacency about your pool, especially when it comes to children. Many people assume that if kids can swim, they aren’t susceptible to serious pool injury. However, unsupervised children can easily get into serious situations. Drownings can happen fast and other people may not notice the signs of a drowning person.

Supervision is the key to preventing accidents and reducing your liability. When anyone is using the pool, a sober adult who is trained in rescue and first aid should be present at all times. Purchase life-saving equipment and keep it near the pool. If there are more than three people in the pool, additional adults should be supervising the swimmers. Never let people who have been drinking alcohol swim. You are responsible for making the environment safe for all swimmers so it’s important to be vigilant. Take a first aid course before you allow others to swim in your pool.

It’s also important to take steps to protect neighbors to reduce liability. You are responsible for protecting your pool area. You must have a locking gate and fence surrounding the swimming pool. It should be at least four feet tall. The gates must self-close and the lock or latch should be placed high on the gate so that children can’t reach it. A secure pool cover will also help prevent accidents. You can purchase pool alarms that will alert you when the water is disturbed. This will prevent unsupervised use of the pool.

You need to have appropriate insurance to protect yourself due to your liability. Your homeowner’s policy should include coverage for pool-related accidents. Don’t get the minimum coverage. Purchase at least one million dollars’ worth of coverage. It is a good idea to get even more coverage to protect yourself since your liability is significant.

Dog Bites

Did you know that there are millions of dog bites every year? Sometimes dog bites result in serious injuries. If your dog bites someone, in most cases, the liability is yours. The bitten person may have a legal right to damages. It’s important to understand your responsibilities in the event that your dog bites someone. You should also take steps to avoid the likelihood of a bite.

small-dogIf your dog is aggressive, you can take simple steps to minimize your liability. Keep the dog away from people. Don’t walk the animal in public parks or in areas where there are likely to be crowds. You can also reduce the likelihood of a bite by putting a muzzle on the dog when others are near the animal. Never let the dog off a leash or let it run free. You can reduce your liability merely by avoiding situations where a bite is likely to occur. If there are visitors to your home, lock the dog up securely in another room or in a crate.

A good animal trainer can help you learn to control aggression in your dog. You should learn as much as possible about the animal’s breed. Some types of dogs are more likely to be aggressive than others. These types of dogs are best kept out of situations where they may be approached by children or other strangers. Children can easily frighten an animal which leads to a bite. The dog may become aggressive if it thinks you are threatened in any way. It’s natural for the animal to be protective of you, but it can be disastrous if a person is harmed.

You should purchase insurance to protect yourself in the case your dog bites someone. Your liability is significant if the animal hurts the person. Most people have liability policies for dogs that pay out a maximum of around $100,000. This may not be enough to cover the damages. There have been cases where dogs have seriously injured people. If someone sustains significant harm, you may need to turn to an umbrella policy to cover major damages. It’s a good idea to talk with an experienced insurance agent about your coverage in the event of a dog bite.

What is Vehicular Assault

The definition of vehicular assault is when another person is injured while you are driving a motor vehicle in a reckless or dangerous manner. The person who has sustained bodily harm can be a pedestrian or a passenger who is in another vehicle. Also, when another person is injured when you are driving a motor vehicle, you can be liable in civil court for any damage or injuries that occurred. You can too be charged with vehicular assault which is a criminal charge.

The grounds for vehicular assault may be different from state to state, but the grounds all center around causing injury when you are:

  • Driving recklessly or when you are driving carelessly
  • If you’re driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If you’re driving when you have a suspended license or if your license was revoked

underage-drinkingIn some states if you injure someone while driving under the influence you can be charged with vehicular assault and causing serious bodily injury to another person. These could be considered by the state you’re in as two separate crimes, and you would be charged accordingly (find details at If you are driving while under the above circumstances and a death occurs, then the charges may change to Vehicular Manslaughter under criminal law.

If you drive recklessly or in a dangerous manner and you recognize it as such and have an accident or cause injury, you can be charged (here is more information on the subject). Your behavior was risky, and you acted in spite of and regardless of the risk. Also if you drive negligently, then that is defined as driving without exercising reasonable care or “careless driving”.

Also in some states you can be charges with vehicular assault if you are driving with a suspended license or if it’s revoked and then have a collision which can cause injury to another person. Even if you had the accident and weren’t driving carelessly or didn’t have drugs or alcohol in your system, because you were driving on a suspended or revoked license, you would be charged.

The punishment for vehicular assault can range from five or more years in prison if convicted of a felony. If it’s a misdemeanor the sentence can range from one to two years. The sentence at conviction is based on how many people were injured and how seriously, how old the person was and if you already have a criminal record.

How to Appeal a Speeding Ticket

You and a friend were playing your favorite song and singing along to the lyrics; not paying attention to how fast you were going. When you glanced down at the speedometer though, you realize you were about 10 miles over the speed limit and slowed down. After a few minutes, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror though. Oh no, you’re busted! The officer was polite; but firm, and he wrote you a ticket for speeding. You’re embarrassed because this was the first time you ever had a ticket for speeding, and you don’t know a thing about criminal law or court (find out more at DUI in Maui). So now what do you do, especially if you need a good driving record for a job.

speeding-ticketThe first thing you do is document all the facts. Write down how fast you were going when you noticed, what the weather was like and what the speed was where you were stopped. Write it down as soon as you can while it’s still fresh in your mind. Ask your friend if she noticed if there were any cars going the same speed as you were too or if you were passing them. If there were any witnesses, contact them and ask the same questions.

Next ask for a copy of what evidence the prosecutor has. The file which has the evidence may have in it the notes from the arresting officer, a drawing of what happened at the scene or even a video. Then send the officer who gave you the ticket a letter explaining why not having the violation on your record is important. You may hit a soft spot with the officer, and it will help you to petition the ticket.

On the speeding ticket is the date of the arraignment; make sure you show up. Plead “not guilty” to appeal the ticket and then a trial date will be issued. Try to delay your trial as long as possible in hopes the officer won’t remember the case. If the officer can’t remember the details very well, then prosecution may not be successful. When the court date arrives, dress conservatively and arrive on time also and bring along any notes that you took.

When the trial begins, be respectful but confident when pointing out any discrepancies and take notes on any points you disagree on what the prosecutor says. Bring your witnesses to testify in your defense which may help. Ask that your case be dismissed. If the officer who wrote the ticket doesn’t appear, the case can be dismissed then. You can also ask the prosecutor if you could go a traffic school before the trial and get no points. If things get really dicey you can also contact and attorney to help you, any traffic attorney could help you even Eberstein Witherite LLP truck accident attorneys for example. Be careful though, never admit guilt before the deal is done and remember what you say can be used against you.

Wait for the verdict, if you’re guilty, pay the fine; if you are found not guilty then you won’t have to pay the fine.

Classes of Misdemeanors in Arizona

A misdemeanor is a crime. It isn’t as severe as a felony, but can still carry significant penalties such as community service, fines and even jail time. The types of misdemeanors vary by state so it’s important to understand how they are classified in Arizona.

There are three classes of misdemeanors in Arizona: Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3. Each class has maximum punishment which may consist of a fine and jail time. People who are first time offenders typically receive less severe punishment than people who have prior convictions. When it comes to any misdemeanor, people who have prior petty offense convictions or prior misdemeanor convictions will be charged differently than people who have a clean record. They may be charged with a higher misdemeanor level even though they would be charged with a lower misdemeanor level if they had no prior convictions.

The first and most serious kind of misdemeanor is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,500 or a penalty of up to six months in jail. There are a wide variety of Class 1 misdemeanors. Some examples include prostitution, issuing a bad check, disorderly conduct and some types of cruelty to animals.

The second most serious type is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for these types of misdemeanors includes fines of up to $750 and up to four months in jail.  Examples of Class 2 misdemeanors include some alcoholic beverage violations, dog license violations and contempt of court.

A Class 3 misdemeanor is the least serious type. They can involve a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in jail. A common Class 3 misdemeanor charge is when someone asks a person to buy or give them alcohol when they are under the age of 21.

It’s important to work with an attorney in any type of case so that you fully understand your options. An attorney can fully explain what your charges mean. You may be offered a plea bargain which means you can plead guilty to a lesser charge and receive less severe charges and penalties. It’s important to understand your options before you make a decision in this type of case.

Protecting your Company from Unemployment Claims

Unemployment claims can be extremely expensive for your company. In some cases, former employees attempt to file claims that are unjustified. Some employers don’t fight these claims because they don’t realize how expensive these can be for their businesses. There are many steps you can take to prevent unemployment claims, especially unjustified claims, against your company.

You’re required to pay unemployment taxes on qualifying employees. When an employee files an unemployment claim and it is successful, your unemployment taxes will increase. That’s why an important part of labor law is learning how to avoid successful unemployment claims against them.

new-jobAny time an employee leaves your company, you’ll have to deal with the issue of unemployment benefits. It’s a good idea to work with an attorney to come up with a plan for managing employment so that you won’t have unexpected problems. If an employee quits in Arizona, he or she is not eligible for unemployment. The only exception is if the person quits for an excellent reason such as a hostile work environment or a health or safety threat.

Business law attorneys will advise you to document an employee’s behavior carefully before you terminate his or her employment. Be careful not to make the work situation hostile or overly difficult for the employee or you may make yourself vulnerable to a future claim or lawsuit. There are federal laws that protect employees against hostile work environments.

Instead, document performance problems with a system of warnings followed by termination. Your attorney can give you advice on how to structure a good warning system. Always follow the system unless the situation is very serious. In that case, contact your attorney. That way you have documented the cause for firing the employee. In some cases, an employee fired for cause may still be able to collect benefits, but through proper documentation, you have significantly lowered the chances.

If you lay off employees, they will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits after any severance pay you have provided has expired. Many companies provide laid off employees with job search services so that they are able to quickly find employment. This lowers the chances that they will file for unemployment benefits.

Custody Rights Under Family Law

One of the main issues during a divorce is usually who the children will live with under the divorce decree. If an agreement can’t be worked out, then it’s left to the courts to decide what is in the child or children’s best interest as far which parent has custodial rights.

custody-battleThe types of custodial rights
There are several different types of custodial rights which can be awarded through the courts.

  • Physical and legal custody: The parent who is awarded both of these has the sole right to make decisions which deal with the wellbeing of the child or children. That parent is also the person who the child or children will live with the majority of the time. If the legal custodial participation is shared between the two parents; however, the non-custodial parent too has the legal right to makes decisions about what affects the child or children’s welfare.
  • Joint custody: In this arrangement, the child or children spend the same amount of time with both parents. This is worked out by the child going back and forth from one household to the other. The parents have to be in total cooperation dealing with the child’s or children’s best interests in order for this method to be successful though.
  • Split custody: This option is less favored by the courts because it splits up the children where one or more children live with one parent and then the remaining child or children live with the other parent.
  • Unmarried parents: Most states will award sole custodial rights of the child or children, if the parents are unmarried, to the mother. The father can sue for custodial rights, but if the mother is a good parent, it’s rare that he wins this type of suit.

What factors do the courts consider when making the custodial decisions?

The courts take many factors into consideration when making this decision. The child’s best interest is always put first. Plus one of the other main factors here is who is the child or children’s primary caretaker. Also if the child is of an age to make his or her wishes known, the court will take that into consideration.

Although some parents can settle custodial issues without an attorney, to make sure your rights as a parent are handled properly, hiring a family law attorney is really the best choice.