Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Think Twice Before Modifying Your Car

Most people are aware that many modifications to cars are illegal: a louder exhaust, different headlights, license plate covers, etc.  However, most people are also willing to risk that minor traffic ticket to have their car look a certain way.  There may be more serious consequences to those "minor" modifications. 

In the past, we have certainly advocated that you prevent all possible circumstances in which you would drive after drinking (if you haven't seen those posts, here's a good start for you:  More Than Just A DUI).  What we have not yet addressed is how some DUI arrests come about. 

Aside from some exceptions (such as DUI checkpoints), the police officer must have reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause (depending on the situation) to pull you over while you are driving.  They cannot randomly target you to pull you over to see if you have been drinking (again, there are some exceptions to this).  So here is how the scenario plays out: you decided you wanted a modified exhaust for your car and this exhaust happens to be an illegal modification.  A few weeks, months, etc. later you go to happy hour with co-workers after a long day and have a couple beers.  You've paced yourself and feel fine to drive so you get in your car to drive home. 

Let's stop here for a moment for a brief note.  You should realize you may FEEL fine to drive and may not actually be fine to drive.  Most people do not get into a car after happy hour thinking they should not be driving and decide to drive anyways. 

Now, back to our scenario.  You are driving home and are not swerving or showing any other signs that you are intoxicated or have had a couple of drinks.  You don't go through a checkpoint.  You do, however, pass a police officer, who happens to suspect that your exhaust is an illegal modification to your car.  That police officer then pulls you over to ticket you for your illegal exhaust (this is the minor ticket you decided was worth risking for having your car the way you like).  During this minor traffic stop, the police officer notices a smell of alcohol on your breath.  From here, it all of the sudden turns from a minor traffic stop to a DUI investigation in which you may be subjected to field sobriety tests, breathalyzers and potentially arrested for a DUI. 

The point of this post is to bring awareness to you that minor modifications to vehicles may have more long term, serious consequences that you should seriously consider before making those modifications.  Our bigger message, however, is to continue to raise awareness to you and the community that having a couple of drinks and then driving is a bad idea all around. 

If you have any questions about this post, have been charged with a minor traffic offense or a DUI and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or clbaudean@baudeanlaw.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3 Things to Know Before You Meet with a Divorce Attorney

Many of my clients come to me and are nervous about meeting with me, a divorce attorney.  This tends to come from not being sure what to expect from meeting with a divorce attorney.  As I've said before, it is important you at least meet with a divorce attorney very early on in the process (or better yet, BEFORE you begin the process).  Find out more about that, here

If you are considering divorce, here's a few things to know before you meet with an attorney and what to expect from that meeting.  Keep in mind, however, each attorney operates slightly differently and each case is unique so you're initial meeting may vary to some degree.

1.  Be ready to tell your story.
When I first meet with a potential client, it is important that I gather as much information as possible.  Don't worry about having every detail down pat but do go into the meeting knowing the basics of how you came into the marriage and how the marriage has changed, what has caused you to consider divorce, etc.

2.  Bring some questions.
We, attorneys as a whole, want to be helpful.  Bring some questions that you have to your initial meeting. Make a list of questions you have about the process, the attorney and your specific situation.  We will typically do our best to answer your questions that you bring to us.  However, you should know that each divorce case is different, unique and in some way complicated.  As a result of that, some of the answers to your questions may not be clear at the initial meeting; the attorney may need to research the law or may need some additional information from you before being able to provide you a complete answer.

3.  Remember confidentiality. 
Some people are nervous about meeting with an attorney because they are providing that attorney very personal, intimate information about their lives.  Remember that your meeting with the attorney, even if you decide not to retain that attorney, is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else at any time.  Also remember that divorce attorneys handle a lot of divorce cases.  We are in the business of protecting you, not judging you.  After considering these things, if you still do not feel comfortable being honest and providing that information to an attorney, that attorney may not be the right fit for you.  

At the conclusion of your initial consultation, the decision rests in your hands.  If you do not feel comfortable or for any reason are hesitant about retaining that attorney, you are under no obligation to hire them.  Even if you are comfortable and feel positively about the meeting, you may still want to meet with other attorneys to determine which attorney is the best fit. 

If you are contemplating divorce or are currently involved in a divorce or custody case and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or clbaudean@baudeanlaw.com.