Personal injury attorney in Alabama

Are Personal Injury Settlements Considered Marital Property in an Auburn, AL Divorce?

If you expect a personal injury settlement award but you are also entangled in a divorce, you may understandably be concerned about your ex-partner’s entitlement to your settlement amount. You may be wondering, to what extent is a spouse entitled to claim personal injury settlement proceeds in a divorce in Auburn, AL? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer.

It is best to consult a skilled Auburn, AL divorce attorney if you are going through a divorce and you are simultaneously involved in a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can work with you to ensure that your rights are protected during your divorce and help you avoid parting with too much of your money.

Is a Personal Injury Settlement Award Marital Property in Auburn, AL?

If the award collected is considered compensation for pain and suffering in a personal injury settlement, it may not be classified as marital property. Only the recipient is entitled to this money as they alone experienced the discomfort after the incident.

If a part of the settlement is deemed compensation for lost wages or physical damage to property, it could be categorized as marital property since income and cars would be classified in this manner.

However, even a settlement for pain and suffering may be deemed marital property during divorce proceedings if the funds are co-mingled with other marital assets. The settlement may be considered a community asset if the funds collected from a personal injury damage award is used to purchase a vehicle or pay off a mortgage.

When the funds are paid out, seek legal counsel from an Auburn, AL divorce attorney. They will offer you options to prevent these funds from being classified as marital property.

Retaining the Personal Injury Settlement Award as Separate Property

The settlement awards may be considered marital property, but it is often possible to keep these funds as separate property. Suppose the recipient of the award believes that the marriage will potentially end in divorce. In that case, they can create a special trust or account outside the relationship to ensure that the award is seen as separate property.

Importantly, you must pursue this option before the divorce proceedings begin in court. During the divorce process, attempts to place the funds in a special trust or account may be seen by the court as hiding assets.

It is vital to consult an Auburn, AL divorce attorney to make sure that no laws are violated or that the divorce proceedings may continue problem-free when using this option as a means to save a settlement award from a successful personal injury case. Consulting an attorney can help you understand how to keep the compensation separate from marital property.

Marital Property in Auburn, AL

The law of “equitable distribution” applies in Alabama, which means that courts do not automatically split marital assets and liabilities in half. Rather, courts have the discretionary powers to award assets and debts based on what makes sense and what would be appropriate under specific circumstances. “Equitable” and “fair” are not to be confused. These are similar yet different concepts. The court will only subject to division the assets that belong to the marital estate.

Personal Injury Awards Classification in Auburn, AL

Compensation for various things, such as medical bills, lost wages, damages for disfigurement, or pain and suffering, is included in personal injury settlements in Auburn, AL. Therefore, how it is categorized will mainly depend on the reason for which the compensatory damages were awarded. The general guidelines for classifying personal injury awards are as follows:

Marital Assets:

  • Funds for lost income or wages
  • Funds for compensating medical costs
  • Loss of spousal support
  • Money for loss of consortium, affection, society, etc.

Non-Marital (Separate) Assets:

  • Compensatory award for pain and suffering
  • Compensatory damages for disfigurement or disability
  • Compensation for vocation retraining
  • Compensation for prosthetics or adaptive devices
  • Future medical bills, with possible exceptions

Legal Help with Your Property Division in an Auburn, AL Divorce Case

If you are involved in a divorce in Auburn, AL and believe that your ex-spouse will try to take a portion or all of your personal injury settlement money, you should promptly contact a family law attorney. On the other hand, if you feel that your ex-spouse is trying to conceal money, you should call a lawyer to understand your rights in these circumstances as well.

At Alsobrook Law Group, we have several years of experience representing individuals for divorce and all other types of family law matters in Auburn. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call today at (334) 737-3718.

Alsobrook Law Group Moving to Historic New Digs

Alsobrook Law Group, a local Opelika-based law firm, has outgrown its present space and is relocating to the building that was once the historic Greenhouse Restaurant at 114 N. 9th Street. The move will be completed on May 1.

“We have been dedicated to serving the community within Opelika, Auburn, and the surrounding communities for several years,” said attorney Zach D. Alsobrook, a senior partner in the firm. “But we have simply outgrown our existing space and needed to move to a larger space that would better accommodate our needs and the needs of our clients.”

Alsobrook Law Group practices criminal defense, family law, business law, personal injury, and several other areas. Attorney Alsobrook was born and raised in Opelika and he is a graduate of Auburn University. After he graduated from law school, he practiced for a while in Birmingham before returning to his roots and setting up his practice here in Opelika.

Over time, Alsobrook has established a successful track record both inside and outside the courtroom. He is a highly skilled negotiator who is very adept at crafting practical and innovative solutions to help his clients avoid costly and protracted litigation, and in the case of criminal defense, secure the most favorable outcome possible. He is also strong litigator who is ready and willing to bring a case to trial when necessary to serve the best interests of his clients.

The firm’s approach of providing strong legal representation with a personal touch has resulted in healthy growth over the years, largely through referrals from satisfied clients.

“I am privileged to work and serve in the community where I grew up,” Alsobrook continues. “And I believe our commitment to highly personalized service is one of the major reasons so many of our clients are referred to us from those we have represented in the past. And to help serve everyone better, we are excited to announce our move to what used to be the Greenhouse Restaurant on the corner of 2nd Avenue and North 9th Street.”

The Greenhouse Restaurant was a once beloved Opelika dining spot that opened in January of 1978. It was open for 14 years before falling victim to the recession of 1991 and being forced to close its doors. The historic property was built in 1900 and contains almost 5000 square feet, giving Alsobrook Law Group the space needed to effectively manage their continued growth.

“We know how much the Greenhouse Restaurant meant to the people of Opelika, and we are humbled to be occupying the building where this restaurant was once housed. From our new location, we will continue to serve the people of our community and work hard to help maintain the history and traditions that have made our community great.”

For more information on Alsobrook law group, go to https://www.alsolaw.com/

Preparing for an Independent Medical Exam - Alsobrook Law Group

How do I prepare for an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?

The outcome of your Independent Medical Exam will greatly impact the success of your workers’ compensation claim.

You have applied for workers’ compensation because you were injured on the job. 

You may have been injured by heavy equipment, or machinery, a crate may have fallen on you in a big box store, or you may have sprained your back moving inventory – all of these events might precede filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ compensation insurance is a benefit paid by your employer to give you time off to heal from your injury on-the-job. Most employers must pay into the insurance program, so that benefits will be available for injured workers. The benefits are underwritten by insurance companies or by state funds. 

How do I qualify for Worker’s Compensation?

First, your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance. 

In Alabama, if the company employs four or more workers, it is required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Always check when taking a job.

You need to have been injured on the job to qualify, but there is an exception. If you are an independent contractor, such as a consultant, or working freelance, you may not be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.

And your injury may not have been in the workplace.

For example, if you were running an errand for your boss, that would be considered job-related. Just walking to lunch may not be. The question will also be asked – were you acting recklessly in the workplace in a way that could cause injury? That would be a red flag concerning your coverage.

You Must Report Your On-the-Job Injury

There is a deadline to report the injury. In Alabama, you should report to your employer no longer than five days after the event. Failure to do so may mean you forfeit any compensation.

The form is a WC form 2 9/2006. Alabama law specifies compensatory, medical, or death benefits.

The benefits will depend on whether it is a temporary or partial injury.

A general guideline is that you can expect to earn two-thirds of your weekly earnings. The maximum weekly wage cannot exceed that as outlined by the state.

For death claims, the employee’s average weekly salary prior to the accident is divided in half, if the decedent has one dependent. It increases to 66 and two-thirds percent for two or more dependents. The death benefit can be received for up to 500 weeks. 

What is an IME?
An Independent Medical Exam is performed by a non-treating doctor who then issues a written report of findings. He or she will determine if you are ready to return to work. Either you or your boss may request the IME, but it is likely the employer wants to lower his costs, so be aware of any report that minimizes the extent of your injuries.

Preparing for an IME Exam

The primary thing you can to do prepare for an IME exam is to follow your doctor’s course of treatment. That may include physical therapy, a need to rest, and /or medication. A failure to do so may lead to a forfeiture of your benefits.

You do have the right to have your own physician present for the examination. Beforehand, all documentation should be sent to the doctor and you should review it to make sure it is complete.

Be careful what you say to the IME doctor. There is no expectation of doctor-patient confidentiality and anything you say can be used against you to deny your claim.

The IME physician will submit a written report on the extent of the injury and/or disability. If there is a dispute about the findings, the court may appoint a neutral physician to make a third exam.

As the injured worker, it is imperative that you challenge any misstatements in the IME report. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you file an appeal if your claim is denied for whatever reason.

At Alsobrook Law Group, we will work to make sure your workers’ compensation claim survives any challenges. Call our office today at 334-737-3718 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or send us a message through our web contact form.

witness testimony

How Reliable Are Witnesses to a Crime?

When you’ve been formally charged with a criminal offense, there is a lot at stake. Maybe someone mistakenly fingered you in a lineup or believes that they saw you take part in a criminal act. Unless you plead guilty to that crime, which we don’t normally recommend, it will be up to the state of Alabama to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

One of the ways that the state will attempt to prove guilt in a criminal case is through the testimony of witnesses. The fact that your fate may be in the hands of any number of witnesses is likely a terrifying prospect. So, how reliable are these witness testimonies? It turns out they are less reliable than the legal system would like you to believe.

The Basics of a Criminal Prosecution

As a criminal prosecution state, it is the responsibility of the prosecuting attorney to present enough evidence to a judge or jury that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The “reasonable doubt” threshold is the highest legal standard in the U.S. justice system, and many legal scholars and experts believe that a guilty verdict equates to a 99 percent or greater probability of the defendant’s guilt.

Not only does this mean that a lot of stock is placed on a guilty verdict in a criminal case, but also that the evidence used to reach that verdict is critical. When there is an error in the evidence or a tainted witness, there is a chance that an innocent party could be wrongly convicted.

When Witness Testimony is Presented at Trial?

There are several types of evidence that might be used in a criminal trial. The prosecution might present physical, documentary, demonstrative, and testimonial evidence. Testimonial evidence refers to having witnesses tell what they know, saw, or heard to support the prosecution’s case.

Regarding witness testimony, jurors are instructed to decide for themselves the believability of a witness. Eyewitnesses are not the same as experts who will testify about an area of specialty. Instead, these witnesses relay the facts as they experienced them when the crime took place.

How Reliable Are Witnesses to a Crime?

Jurors must decide whether they believe that a witness is reliable and credible, but there have been some studies that relate to the reliability of crime witnesses. In short, there can be some significant flaws in eyewitness testimony that could impact the outcome of a criminal case.

According to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations, more than 1,400 people convicted of serious crimes over the past 25 years have been proven innocent. In many of these cases, a significant factor that led to these false convictions was faulty eyewitness testimony.

The fact is that the testimony of eyewitnesses can be seriously flawed for several reasons including:

  • The presence of weapons at a crime that causes stress;
  • Other stresses at the crime scene or during the identification process;
  • The perpetrator’s use of a disguise during the crime;
  • Racial disparities between the accused and the witness, known as “cross-racial identification,” which makes remembering or distinguishing certain characteristics more difficult;
  • Brief times allotted for viewing witnesses in a lineup or during other procedures;
  • Darkness, distance, or extreme weather conditions when the crime took place that might obscure visibility;
  • Any subtle suggestions from law enforcement that prompt witnesses to choose one suspect over another; and
  • Characteristics of witnesses that make recall difficult such as age-related memory loss, not wearing prescribed glasses, or the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Any one or several of these factors could lead a witness to a crime to be unreliable. Even victims can make many of these same errors and accuse the wrong person of committing a crime. If you have been charged with a crime, even if there are witnesses, that does not mean that your conviction is a certainty.

Speak with a Qualified Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of a criminal offense in Alabama, you need to speak with a qualified defense attorney about effective defense strategies for your case. At Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, we have experience representing clients throughout Auburn, Opelika, and Lee County in some of the most serious criminal cases. Contact our office now at 334-737-3718 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.

 

dangerous highways

The Most Dangerous Highways in Alabama

All highways have the potential to be dangerous. Indeed, anytime that a motor vehicle is traveling at high speeds, and certainly when reaching speeds of 65+ miles per hour, risk of a collision is increased. What’s more, not only does the risk of a crash increase the faster that a vehicle is traveling, but so does the risk of severe damages and injuries.

While an accident can happen anywhere, at anytime, and affect nearly anyone, some highways in Alabama have been deemed more dangerous than others. Here’s a look into some of the most dangerous highways in Alabama, tips for avoiding a crash, and what to do if you are harmed in a highway accident–

Where Driving in Alabama Is Most Dangerous

If there’s one place that’s especially dangerous to drive in the state of Alabama, it’s what’s called the state’s “Highway to Hell.” Dubbed as one of the most “unbelievably dangerous and spectacular roads in the world,” U.S. Highway 431–specifically the stretch that runs through the state of Alabama–isn’t a road worth driving. The road is particularly dangerous when compared with other highways due to:

  • Poor visibility;
  • Varying lane numbers (from two to four to back to two to one, etc.);
  • Curves and turns;
  • High speeds; and
  • The fact that it cuts through towns and cities and is therefore not always separated from local traffic.

While the Highway to Hell may be the most dangerous road in the state, it’s certainly not the only dangerous road. Another especially treacherous stretch is the section of Interstate 59 which runs through Birmingham. There are fatal crashes reported on I-59 each year, with rollovers, multiple-vehicle accidents, and single-vehicle accidents all common.

An article published by the Daily Beast names a number of other highways in Alabama on their list of “Deadliest Highways: Ranking the 100 Interstates Most Likely to Cause a Fatal Crash.” Included on the list at numbers 33, 34, 61, and 71, respectively, are I-10, I-85, I-65, and I-20.

Avoiding a Highway Accident

The idea of being involved in a collision on the highway is terrifying. However, while there is nothing that can be done to control the actions of other drivers, you can improve your chances of staying safe by always operating your vehicle while well-rested, sober, and distraction-free. When circumstances warrant it, slow your speed. Further, always pay attention to others around you, and make room for aggressive and speeding drivers; getting out of the way is always a better option that being involved in a crash. For extra safety, be sure to always wear your seatbelt and make sure that all passengers in your vehicle are properly secured.

What to Do If You Are Harmed in an Alabama Highway Accident

If you or a loved one is harmed in a highway accident in Alabama, it is important that you understand what your rights and options are. When injuries are severe, seeking damages and recovering the amount that you deserve may be essential for well-being, treatment, and supporting oneself moving into the future.

Because Alabama is an at-fault car accident state, the driver responsible for the collision is also responsible for paying for damages. To get the compensation award that you deserve, you will need to prove that the accident would not have occurred but for the actions of the at-fault party.

At the law offices of the Alsobrook Law Firm, our experienced Alabama highway accident attorneys can help. We open a thorough investigation into all accident cases we take on, and work with accident reconstruction experts who are crucial in piecing together what happened. Not only do we gather all evidence, but we also build and file your claim, and negotiate on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve. We are experienced litigators, and will go to court and litigate your case when a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.

To schedule your free consultation with our legal team after a highway accident, call us at 337-737-3718. You can also visit our Opelika office in person, or send us an email at your convenience.

Alimony Lawyer in Opelika, Alabama

Can an Expert Help my Injury Claim?

After suffering an injury due to the negligent actions of another, filing a personal injury claim may be the answer to recovering the financial compensation one both needs and deserves. But filing a successful personal injury claim takes more than just notifying an insurance adjuster of an injury; evidence must be presented that proves both the cause of the injury and the extent of damages suffered. One form of evidence that can make or break a claim is expert testimony.

Types of Experts that May Be Useful in a Personal Injury Claim

There are four elements of a personal injury claim that must be established for the claim to be successful: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. Experts may be called upon to provide testimony and opinion for each. For example, types of experts that may be useful in the personal injury claim process include:

  • Accident reconstruction experts, who can lend insight as to how an accident occurred;
  • Design experts, who can testify to a defective design of a product or automobile, leading to failure and injury;
  • Medical experts, who can testify about a breach of the medical standard of care or/and provide testimony about the extent of injuries a plaintiff has suffered and what the future may look like;
  • Mental health and psychological experts, whose statements may be used to decide about the amount of pain and suffering experienced by a claimant;
  • Financial experts, whose professional opinions may be used in calculating the value of a claimant’s economic losses; and
  • Forensic experts, who can collect and analyze physical evidence to decide about how an accident occurred and who should be held liable for damages.

The above list is not inclusive; the experts that may be necessary in a personal injury claim can vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, an expert in childhood development may be necessary for a case involving a child, or an expert in animal behavior may be called upon in a case involving a dog bite.

Why Are Experts So Important in Injury Claims?

The role of an expert in an injury claim should not be understated. An expert’s opinion and testimony can truly make or break a case, providing unbiased, official, and specialized knowledge about how an accident occurred or the damages that a claimant has suffered. In some cases, such as a medical malpractice case, expert opinion is not only helpful, but required; a court cannot know if the medical standard of care has been breached without hearing from other doctors.

Who Pays for an Expert’s Opinion?

Hiring an expert to be involved in your case, from investigating what happened to providing testimony for an insurance adjuster or court, is not an inexpensive endeavor. In fact, some experts may charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for their time.

However, because experts are so important and can have such an influence on the outcome of a personal injury case, hiring an expert is often not optional, but necessary. This is one of the primary reasons why working with a law firm with the resources available to invest in experts for your case is a must. When you hire the right law firm, the law firm will front experts’ costs on your behalf. If your case is successful, you will pay the law firm from a percentage of your winnings, rather than paying out of pocket fees.

Call the Alsobrook Law Firm for Your Free Consultation Today

At the offices of Alsobrook Jackson, our talented Alabama personal injury attorneys have hired experts to help build cases and prove our clients’ claims numerous times of the years. We have the resources and connections your case demands, and we’re ready to start building your claim today. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, please send us a message, visit us in person, or call us at 334-737-3718 today.

Drug Paraphernalia laws in Alabama

What Are Alabama’s Laws on Drug Paraphernalia?

You may find yourself in serious trouble under Alabama’s drug laws, even if you don’t have actual drugs in your possession. The state’s criminal code makes it a crime to possess drug paraphernalia, which is generally defined as anything that can help a person use, store, sell, or produce drugs.

Alabama Drug Paraphernalia Laws

Alabama Code § 13A-12-260 states that it is illegal for any individual to possess, deliver, or sell drug paraphernalia with the knowledge that it is going to be used in connection with a controlled substance. The state defines drug paraphernalia as any products, materials, or equipment that are used or designed for use in smoking, injecting, growing, planting, manufacturing, producing, processing, storing, or packaging controlled substances.

Types of drug paraphernalia that are included under the law are:

  • Rolling papers
  • Pipes
  • Bongs
  • Needles
  • Capsules
  • Scales
  • Containers
  • Dilutants

When Alabama law enforcement chooses to arrest someone for violation of this law, they may cite several indicators to classify something as drug paraphernalia. Among those are:

  • Statements by the defendant detailing use of the objects
  • Drug residue on or in the object
  • The proximity of a controlled substance to the object in question
  • Whether or not the individual has prior drug-related convictions

Arrests for Common Items and Precursor Chemicals

Because Alabama’s law related to drug paraphernalia is so broad, there’s a chance that someone could be arrested for possessing normal household items such as buckets, garden tools, cooking equipment, tobacco pipes, and small containers.

It’s also a crime in Alabama to possess anhydrous ammonia and certain other products or chemicals that could be considered ingredients (or precursors) to controlled substances. Among these items are:

  • Drain cleaners
  • Paint thinner
  • Rat poison
  • Propane fuel
  • Acetone
  • Cold medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine

It’s important to state that possession of these items isn’t illegal. It would be against Alabama law if the person possessing the chemicals intended to use them to manufacture a controlled substance. In these cases, charges are treated as a Class B felony, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Consequences of a Drug Paraphernalia Charge

If you’ve been arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, you may be tempted to treat the matter lightly. Don’t. The state of Alabama classifies these crimes as a Class A misdemeanor, which could have some dire consequences. The penalties should you be convicted can include fines of up to $6,000 and jail time of up to one year.

A subsequent drug paraphernalia charge in Alabama is treated as a Class C misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and between 1 to 15 years in prison. If a person provides drug paraphernalia to a minor (under 18) and that person is at least three years older than the minor, they could be charged with a Class B felony, which carries penalties of a maximum $30,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

There is much more at stake than just the legal penalties. If you don’t fight these charges, you will end up with a conviction on your record. This could impact your future ability to get a job, find a place to live, and even receive financial aid for school. Your best course of action is to consult with an Alabama drug crimes attorney who can speak with you about your options.

If You Are Facing Drug Paraphernalia Charges

Drug paraphernalia charges can be dubious depending on the circumstances and evidence. These arrests are often a last-ditch effort to trap someone who law enforcement believes is guilty of other crimes but has no real proof of the offenses. If you are asked to submit to a voluntary search or interrogation, it’s in your best interests to refuse.

Your criminal defense attorney will review your case and look for any weaknesses, including possible violations of your rights. In some cases, the charges against you could be dropped or substantially reduced, depending on the nature of the evidence.

Speak with a Qualified Alabama Drug Crimes Attorney

As with all criminal charges in Alabama, you have the right to due process. At the law offices of Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, our experienced drug crimes attorneys understand this state’s criminal justice system and have years of experience helping clients who find themselves charged with erroneous drug crimes.

If you are facing drug charges, don’t leave your freedom and future to chance. Contact our Auburn office now at 334.737.3718 or online to schedule your free consultation.

restraining order in alabama

What if My Spouse Violates a Restraining Order?

If you have experienced abuse or harassment at the hands of your current or former spouse or common-law spouse, Alabama law allows you to file for legal protection. This orders the other party to stay away from your home and place of employment as well as refrain from calling, texting, emailing, sending postal mail, or contacting you in any way through social media. He or she also cannot enlist other people to contact you indirectly.

The restraining order, also known as a protective order, also places several other restrictions on your spouse, including the following:

  • Orders the defendant to leave the home the two of you shared, regardless of who legally owns it
  • Prohibits him or her from selling, destroying, hiding, or disposing of joint personal property or mortgaging a jointly owned home or land
  • Awards custody of minor children to the person seeking relief through a protective order

While it is good to have these protections in place, it doesn’t always mean the subject of a protective order will adhere to the restrictions. If you’re concerned that your spouse may violate the protective order or already has, it’s important to understand your rights as an abuse victim in Alabama. Keep in mind that Alabama will also enforce protection orders from other states. However, the out-of-state warrant must include the following:

  • The full names of both parties
  • Date of issue
  • Name of the issuing out-of-state court and signature of a judicial officer
  • Contains specific terms
  • Defendant has received a notice of the order and has had the opportunity to respond to it

Whether your protective order is in-state or out-of-state, Alabama authorities won’t enforce it if it is expired.

Enforcement of a Protective Order

Any current order of protection issued by an Alabama court is enforceable under state law. If your spouse willingly violates the terms of the order, he or she has committed a Class A misdemeanor. You should contact your local police immediately if you see your spouse near your home or work or if he or she has tried to contact or harass you in some other way. Alabama law allows police officers to arrest the offending spouse without a warrant if you can demonstrate probable cause that he or she willfully disregarded any terms in the order.

Unfortunately, the responding officer may not arrive in enough time to catch your spouse in the act of trying to abuse or harass you. In this situation, you should provide the police office with as much information as possible so he or she can attempt to locate and arrest your spouse. This should include a physical description that includes clothing as well as a description of the vehicle if your spouse arrived by car. You should also request a criminal warrant for your spouse’s arrest from the local magistrate.

Consequences Your Spouse Could Face for Violating a Protective Order

If proven guilty of committing a Class A misdemeanor by violating a protective order, your spouse may have to spend up to one year in jail or pay a fine of up to $6,000. For a second offense, he or she would face an additional 48 hours imprisonment at a minimum. This increases to additional 30 days of jail time for a third offense.

If your spouse commits an act of abuse, which state law defines as assault, sexual abuse, stalking, harassment, trespassing, theft, or child abuse, he or she would face the same consequences for a first offense. A second offense would mean a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a third offense would bring a 120-day jail sentence.

Work with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

You and your children have the right to a life free from abuse. If you’re considering filing for an order of protection and subsequently filing for divorce, we encourage you to contact Alsobrook & Jackson, Attorneys at Law at 334-737-3718 to obtain experienced legal counsel. We can also assist you with working with the local magistrate if your spouse violates a protective order. Your first consultation is at no charge.

DUI in Auburn AL

DUI and the Holidays

The holidays are meant to be a season of joy, but they can also bring tremendous pain when people make bad decisions. Drunk driving is a continuing problem during the holiday season that begins during Thanksgiving week and extends through New Year’s Day.

DUI Dangers During the Holidays

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drivers who are impaired, which is a 12% increase over the rest of the month of December.  Predictably, driving during the Christmas and New Year holidays is more dangerous because more people are attending events where alcohol is served, and it’s a festive time when people tend to feel entitled to relax and have a few.

There were nearly 9,500 DUI citations in Alabama in 2015. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, approximately 30 people lose their lives in DUI-related crashes on Alabama’s roads. While the state runs ad campaigns during the holidays and increases DUI checkpoints to discourage impaired driving, DUI-related accidents and fatalities are still higher during this time of year.

How to Avoid a DUI During the Holidays

Not only are there more celebrations involving alcohol between Thanksgiving and the new year, but some areas may also be more congested due to visitors and drivers unfamiliar with the area. A combination of factors makes driving after having just one drink during this festive time of year an unsafe choice. Since we’re in the heart of the holiday season and police are more vigilant, here are several ways to avoid a DUI on Alabama’s roads during the holidays:

  • Don’t drink and drive. The best way to avoid a DUI is to never drink and drive. Simply don’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve consumed any alcoholic beverages. The risk is just too great.
  • Stay under the legal limit. If you’re still going to drive, be smart about your choices. Eat a full meal while you’re out and limit yourself to just one to two drinks over an extended period.
  • Use a designated driver. A safer choice is to use a designated driver. Either ask someone in your group to refrain from drinking for the evening or make other transportation arrangements. You can call a cab or ridesharing service to get you to and from your destination safely.
  • Find a place to stay nearby. If everyone in your group wants to drink and celebrate, find a place to stay that is close to your destination. If you can walk to and from your party, you won’t have to worry about potentially getting a DUI.
  • Know your state’s laws. Know and understand the DUI laws in Alabama. You should not only understand your rights, but also the potential consequences for a DUI arrest and conviction.

Penalties for a DUI in Alabama

Being arrested for a DUI in Alabama can change your life in an instant. What was supposed to be a holiday celebration has transformed into a potential nightmare. Alabama law deems a person legally drunk if they have a blood alcohol level that is 0.08% or higher. Should you be a minor or work in the transportation of children, that threshold is just 0.02% and, it is 0.04% for CDL holders.

Upon arrest, there is a good chance that you will lose your driver’s license instantly. If you need a car to work or take care of your family, as most do, your attorney has just ten days to request a special hearing to halt the suspension of your driver’s license.

DUI penalties in Alabama can be swift and harsh if you are convicted. They can range from up to one year in jail, a 90-day license suspension, and $2,100 in fines for a first offense to ten years in prison, license revocation, and a $10,100 fine for a fourth offense that is elevated to felony status.

What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested for DUI in Alabama

The good news is that a DUI arrest is not the same as a DUI conviction. Arrests are terrifying and discouraging, but it’s vital that you take every means necessary to protect your rights and freedom. Attempting to handle a DUI case alone is often a mistake as these are complex legal matters.

The Alabama DUI defense attorneys at The Alsobrook Jackson Law Firm have the resources and experience on hand to passionately and skillfully defend your rights. Contact us now at (334) 737-3718 or online to discuss the ways that we can help you achieve the most favorable result possible in your DUI case.

Suffering an injury in an Alabama State Park - Alsobrook Jackson

Accidents in Alabama State Parks – How Do I Recover Damages?

Fall in Alabama is a wonderful time of year. Alabamians visit state parks to hike, let their children play on the playground, participate in recreational activities, and just relax with family and friends. The last thing on anyone’s mind is that a member of their party may sustain a serious injury. Unfortunately, this happens all too often and the injured person or his or her family don’t know where to turn. That is because filing a personal injury claim against the state is much more complex than it would be with a private individual or business.

How a Claim Against the State Differs from Private Claims

You have just one year to bring a claim against state government as opposed to two years with other personal injury cases. Additionally, people injured on public property need to work with the Alabama Board of Adjustment and not a private insurance company. You stand the greatest chance of success with your case if you can prove that state workers knew about safety hazards but either ignored or inadequately addressed them. Finally, you may be limited to damages of $100,000 when suing the state in a personal injury lawsuit.

State Tort Liability and Sovereign Immunity

Prior to 1946, state and federal government had almost complete immunity from lawsuits filed against them or their individual employees. That year, the federal government passed the Federal Tort Claims Act that required the federal government to accept some liability in injury cases when appropriate. Numerous state governments followed suit by enacting legislation of their own that defined immunity limits in lawsuits against them or their employees.

Filing a Claim with the Alabama Board of Adjustment

Alabama requires claimants to include very specific information when filing a personal injury claim with its Board of Adjustment. You can obtain a copy of the form here. Please note that you must include your full name and social security number or federal employment identification number (FEIN) if filing on behalf of a business. You must also ensure that you file the claim within the one-year statute of limitations. Other information you need to include on your Claim for Personal Injury/Property Damage includes:

  • Facts of claim: This section should detail the date of the accident, where the injury occurred, and what happened to cause you to sustain injuries. You should attach an incident or accident report if you have one.
  • Healthcare providers and pharmacies: Here you should list the name and contact details for any healthcare professional who treated you for this injury as well as pharmacies that dispensed medication.
  • Permanent disability and lost wage information, if applicable: Complete these sections if they apply to your situation. Be prepared to answer whether you have applied for workers’ compensation or any other type of disability and your pay rate at work.
  • Expenses: This should only include costs you accrued in direct relation to the accident. The Alabama Board of Adjustment will not pay any amount already covered or expected to be covered by private insurance. Please include the name and contact information of your insurance provider along with your identification number.
  • Supporting Documentation: This can include uninsured medical expenses, proof of accident report, lost wages while recovering from your injury, vacation or sick time used for your recovery period, miscellaneous expenses such as mileage and parking costs to obtain medical treatment, and any damage to personal property that you also wish to claim.

Once you have completed the claim form, you need to sign it in the presence of a notary public. Alabama’s Board of Adjustment will not accept it otherwise, which could delay your claim past the statute of limitations. This can be an extremely complicated and unforgiving process. You should always consult with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney before taking on the state of Alabama.

Get Qualified Legal Help to Bring a Case Against the State

Alabama places the entire burden of proof on the injured person to explain why he or she is entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, you can expect aggressive challenges to your responses no matter how much detail you provide.

Some people feel so intimidated by this process that they drop their claim altogether. At Alsobrook Jackson Attorneys at Law, we don’t want to see that happen to you. If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of the State of Alabama, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Please contact our Alabama personal injury attorneys at our Opelika office to request a free and confidential review of your personal injury case against the state for negligent management of one of its parks. If you retain our services, we will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. We can be reached at (334) 737-3718 or online through our website contact form.