Do You Need a Separation Agreement?
Maryland divorce law requires some divorcing spouses to undergo 12 consecutive months of legal separation before an absolute divorce can be granted. When you talk to a divorce lawyer in Glen Burnie or Severn, you can find out whether you may have grounds to divorce sooner than this or if you need a separation agreement. A legal separation is not the same as a divorce; separated spouses are still legally married . However, the separation agreement is still a legally binding document that can resolve the same issues that arise during a divorce, such as a child custody and property division.
During the 12 consecutive months of separation, the spouses must maintain separate residences and abstain from sexual relations with each other. If these conditions are breached, then the period of separation must begin again if the spouses are still intent on divorcing. There is no requirement to finalize the divorce; a legal separation may end in reunification.
What Happens When You Fail a Sobriety Test?
Sobriety Test DUI Lawyers in Severn, MD
Being pulled over by a police officer and undergoing a sobriety test is never a pleasant experience. The Law Offices of William C. Trevillian represent clients who have failed a sobriety test in Severn, MD. Our DUI lawyers know that field sobriety tests and blood alcohol tests are very different. If an officer pulls you over in Maryland on suspicion of driving under the influence, they may ask you to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, stand on one foot while counting, or perform similar tasks. These field sobriety tests are designed to make people fail, and entirely sober people often fail them because they are nervous or not used to performing such tasks. Field sobriety tests are used to gather evidence to be used against you during DUI proceedings. The good news is that drivers can refuse to take field sobriety tests without fear of additional legal penalties or other consequences, and our attorneys represent clients who have been charged with failing a sobriety test. Learn more and get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Common Reasons for Failing a Field Sobriety Test
Because field sobriety tests are easy to fail even when you are sober, and there is no legal mandate that drivers consent to them, our DUI lawyers typically advise our clients against taking these tests. If you do consent to a field sobriety test and fail it, it will only serve as further evidence against you in court. Saying no to a field sobriety test will not result in a field sobriety test penalty. Police officers will perform field sobriety tests in accordance with the manual from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some of the many reasons you may perform poorly on a field sobriety test include:
- Physical disabilities
- Medical conditions
- Effects of prescription medication
What Happens if You Perform Poorly on a Field Sobriety Test?
You are innocent until proven guilty, and performing poorly on a sobriety test does not necessarily result in a guilty verdict. An experienced and aggressive DUI attorney from The Law Offices of William Trevillian can help you fight against your allegations. You might be able to show why you performed poorly due to a preexisting condition and attack the reliability of the tests.
Failing a Field Sobriety Test May Lead to a DUI Arrest
Police need probable cause to lawfully arrest you for a DUI. The evidence that the police need to prove you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating your vehicle is often a field sobriety test. There are three standardized tests that are said to be accurate predictors of a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) according to the NHTSA. Those tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk and turn, and one-leg stand. Failing one of these tests is supposed to indicate that you likely have a BAC of at least 0.1%, which makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle. Poor performance on an FST test can give an officer probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence.
How Failed Sobriety Tests Can Lead to DUI Convictions
As a driver, how you perform during a field sobriety test can become a factor at your DUI trial. In every state, including Maryland, drivers can be convicted for DUIs if they have a BAC above the legal limit or were impaired by drugs or alcohol. The prosecutors must prove your BAC or impairment at the DUI trial. The prosecution typically proves BAC by using blood or breath test results. While failed field sobriety tests can be relevant to providing a BAC level, they are commonly used in DUI trials when the prosecution is trying to prove actual driving impairment. The arresting officer may testify in court about how you as a driver performed on your tests. In other cases, the prosecutor can show the jurors a video of you performing your field sobriety tests.
Field Sobriety Tests in Maryland
Being pulled over driving in Severn or Anne Arundel County can be a scary situation. The state of Maryland has an implied consent law as it relates to undergoing preliminary breath tests if you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. However, there is no penalty if you refuse to submit to a field sobriety test. These tests are completely voluntary, and there will be no penalty against your license or in court.
Get Your Free DUI Consultation Today
The experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of William Trevillian are here to help if you’ve been charged with a DUI or failed a field sobriety test. Our criminal, family, and personal injury attorneys can represent you in many areas, including bankruptcy, DUI and DWI, car accident injuries, probate and estate, workers’ compensation, and more. Contact us today to request a free consultation so we can get started on your case.
What to Expect When You Attend an MVA Hearing?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in the Glen Burnie or Severn areas, you can expect your driver’s license to be suspended. You can also have your license suspended if you refuse to take a chemical test. When the police officer confiscates your driver’s license, he or she will issue a temporary license known as a DR-15 form. However, the temporary license will not remain valid for long. You’ll need to contact a DUI lawyer immediately. Your DUI attorney can request a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) hearing and provide legal representation.
Requesting the Hearing
After being issued an Order of Suspension of your driver’s license, you must request an MVA hearing within 10 days or your driver’s license will be suspended. Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. Your DUI lawyer can prepare this request and file it, along with the filing fee. MVA hearings are scheduled about four to six weeks after the date of the request. You will receive a notification in the mail of your scheduled hearing. Be sure to immediately let your attorney know when you’ve received this notification.
Appearing at the Hearing
The MVA hearing is not like a typical hearing at a courtroom. It is held at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) before an administrative law judge. You, your attorney, and the judge will be present, but the MVA does not send a representative. Although these administrative hearings are far less formal than court proceedings, it’s still important to conduct yourself with respect and to dress in a professional manner. Many defendants make the mistake of approaching these hearings in a manner that is far too informal. The hearing will cover the paper documentation submitted by the MVA. Then, your attorney may contest the evidence submitted by the MVA and argue in favor of your ability to retain your driving privileges.
Receiving the Decision
You will receive a copy of the administrative law judge’s decision. If your license is suspended, you must surrender it to the judge or to an MVA branch office. You do have the option of appealing the decision if it is not in your favor.
Car Accident Injuries: Traumatic Brain Injuries
Tips for Preparing for Your Consultation with Your DUI Attorney
Understanding Catastrophic Injuries and Car Accident Lawsuits
Moving forward from a car accident is always difficult. The car accident survivor’s health is the top priority, but other obstacles include the damage inflicted on the car and the lost wages the survivor is likely to suffer. When a survivor’s injuries are catastrophic, recovering from a wreck is particularly challenging. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with catastrophic injuries, you should consult a car accident lawyer in Glen Burnie or Severn immediately for legal guidance.
Defining Catastrophic Injuries
All car accident injuries are undesirable, but catastrophic injuries are on a different level. They are broadly defined as severe injuries that inflict long-term or permanent bodily impairment or disfigurement. Catastrophic injuries will typically involve a lengthy period of recovery and extensive medical treatment, such as multiple surgeries. Some people with catastrophic injuries require a lifetime of medical and personal care. Some examples of catastrophic injuries that a car accident may inflict include traumatic amputations, permanent loss of vision, severe and extensive scarring, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries in particular can be devastating because they often involve a degree of paralysis, which is irreversible.
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, the attorney must identify and calculate the plaintiff’s damages or losses. These calculations will inform the amount of money that the lawsuit specifies. It may not be possible to develop an accurate estimate of a plaintiff’s damages right after the accident. The plaintiff may first undergo extensive medical treatment and try to recover to the maximum extent that is possible. Then, the attorney can add up all of the plaintiff’s economic damages, which include medical bills, medication costs, and similar expenses. The attorney will also develop an estimate of the medical costs the plaintiff can expect to incur over his or her lifetime. Then, the attorney can calculate the plaintiff’s non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
In any personal injury lawsuit, it’s necessary for the attorney to gather evidence and argue the plaintiff’s case in court. In a catastrophic injury case, the attorney must not only prove that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, but also prove the extent of the injuries. It may be necessary to have an expert witness testify as to the future medical and personal needs of the plaintiff.
Should You File for Divorce?
Sometimes, the decision to file for divorce comes easily. A spouse may have committed an unforgiveable act of infidelity or perhaps even been incarcerated. There are many fast-developing situations that can prompt the other spouse to consult a divorce lawyer in Glen Burnie or Severn. But in many cases, the decision to file for divorce comes after hours of painstaking consideration and emotional upheaval. Often, spouses simply grow apart or fall out of love. If the thought of divorce is already in your mind, then chances are pretty good that there’s at least one major problem with the marriage.
Many people consider unfaithfulness to be unforgiveable. Even when a spouse tries to forgive the other person, it can be very difficult to truly move on and rebuild the marriage. Sometimes, even the mere suspicion of infidelity is enough for a spouse to consider filing for divorce. If you suspect that your spouse has not been faithful to you, it’s time to consider whether the marriage is truly salvageable.
A long marriage—or even a short one—can witness many changes in both spouses. It’s likely that neither of you is exactly the same as when the relationship first started. Changes in personality, lifestyle preferences, life goals, and other traits may encourage emotional disconnection in a marriage. Sometimes, couples simply grow bored with each other. If you look forward to your time alone more than your time with your spouse, this could be an indicator that the two of you have drifted apart over the years.
Communication is everything in a marriage. When spouses can no longer communicate openly with each other, they grow frustrated and even resentful. Simple discussions can frequently lead to passionate arguments, which may be unlikely to resolve with genuine apologies. Sometimes, a marriage counselor can help couples restore the ability to communicate. In many cases, the marriage heads toward divorce.
Substance abuse is a complicated problem that often drives families apart. The person who is abusing drugs may no longer be seem to be the same person to his or her spouse. Substance abuse often involves deceit, broken promises, and financial ruin-all of which can destroy a marriage.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
If you and your spouse are considering splitting up, you may have considered meeting with divorce lawyers in Severn and Glen Burnie to discuss a legal separation . While a separation agreement is often a precursor to divorce, you may still decide to reconcile after you separate.
As your divorce lawyers will explain, a separation agreement does not dissolve a marriage. However, it is a legally binding document in family law. When your family law attorney draws up a separation agreement, that document outlines legal results and responsibilities of living separately from your spouse. Separation agreements may include child custody and child support arrangements. Some legal separations will also divide marital property. Once signed, a separation agreement is legal and binding. However, child support and child custody issues may be adjusted by a court later on. Once you and your former spouse have been legally separated for 12 months, you may either seek a no fault divorce or elect to remain married. If you and your spouse are not sure of your options when it comes to legal separation, divorce, and family law, you should meet separately with divorce lawyers.
Are You Eligible for Alimony?
During a divorce, alimony may be awarded to one spouse to help him or her transition financially to life after marriage. To be eligible for alimony, your divorce lawyer in Severn must request it before the divorce is finalized. You cannot go back and request alimony after the divorce case has ended. Should your divorce lawyer request alimony on your behalf? Here are some of the factors divorce courts consider when making decisions about alimony payments.
Ability to Self-Support
The court will consider your ability to support yourself after the divorce. To determine if you are able to sufficiently support yourself, your divorce lawyer will present evidence about your education and work history, particularly if you did not work during the marriage and have been out of your field for an extended period of time. If you need further education to be able to support yourself, the court may award rehabilitative alimony to provide support for the period of time it takes you to complete your education. After you are done, the alimony payments will end.
Length of Marriage
Courts seldom award alimony for short marriages, but it is more of a consideration in longer marriages. Long-term couples are likely to have developed a certain lifestyle through cooperation and collaboration over the course of their marriages, and the court may wish to ensure that both couples continue to enjoy these benefits after severing their relationship. Couples in long marriages are also likely to be older, which can impact their earning potential, making alimony a potential solution.
Physical and Mental Health
The physical and mental health of both spouses will be considered by the court when awarding alimony. If a physical or mental health issue prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive alimony payments from your spouse. This is called indefinite alimony and has no pre-set ending point. However, this alimony may be stopped if your ability to support yourself changes or you remarry. Your family lawyer must present evidence of your health problem to earn this kind of alimony.
What Can and Can’t Be Part of a Prenuptial Agreement?
Over the past few decades, divorce lawyers in Severn have increasingly been asked to arrange prenuptial agreements before a couple legally weds. A prenuptial agreement is a contract drawn up by a family law attorney that agrees to divide property and assets in a specific way if spouses divorce. A prenuptial agreement generally lists each person’s property and debts and specifies his or her property rights after the marriage. Continue reading to find out why family property, individual debts can be included, while child custody and personal matters must be left out.
Family property, including future inheritances, can be included in a prenuptial arrangement. For example, some couples have individual children from previous marriages to whom they prefer to leave their property.
A prenuptial agreement can mandate that each spouse is protected from the other’s debts in case of divorce. For example, if one spouse runs up excessive credit card debt, the other will not be jointly responsible after the couple splits. As your divorce lawyer will warn, failing to include such a provision means you may be liable for any debts your spouse incurs, even if you decide to divorce.
No matter how good your family law attorney is, he or she is prohibited from including child custody terms in any potential prenup. The court has the final say in determining issues of child support and child custody. If a couple divorces, a judge weighs several factors to determine the child’s best interest. As the court reasons, unfit parents could otherwise unfairly bind their children to their choices, even if the child would be better served with a different guardian.
Divorce attorneys are sometimes asked if a prenuptial agreement can divide chores, specify where to spend holidays, or mandate that one spouse takes the others name. Prenuptial agreements are designed to address purely financial issues. When judges see private matters in contracts, they tend to view such provisions as frivolous—and non-binding.
Should You Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements can protect both parties in a marriage. Consider talking to a prenup lawyer near Glen Burnie, regardless of whether your assets are substantial or not. Divorce lawyers can draft premarital agreements in a way that protects both spouses from liability for the other party’s debts. You can also use a prenup to determine how property will be passed on when either spouse dies. This is particularly important if you have children. Divorce lawyers can use your prenup to ensure that certain property will be passed on to children from a previous marriage.
As your divorce lawyer can explain to you, family law also allows you to use a prenuptial agreement to establish the financial rights and responsibilities of both parties after marriage. In the event of divorce, having a prenup can shorten and simplify the process. It may also help both parties avoid arguments over property rights. If you do not have a divorce lawyer draft a prenup, then in the event of divorce, your property may be subject to division in accordance with state law.