Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tips To Help You Hire An Immigration Lawyer

Immigration law

Avail the services of an experienced                             immigration lawyer

The laws and policies regarding the immigration of citizens are defined as immigration laws. In addition, lawyers who are specialized in this field are called immigration lawyers. If you are wondering how you can obtain the services of immigration lawyers in Los Angeles, then here are a few points to help you out.

How to hire an immigration attorney

  • Immigration law has numerous branches that include employment visas, citizenship, removal proceedings and family immigration. So enquire and find out which section of immigration law you have to deal with as majority of the immigration lawyers deal with only one particular division of law.
  • Understand your case and get yourself familiar with the conditions that need to be satisfied. Before you get the help of someone, it is necessary that you make yourself familiar with your requirements.
  • Ask around within your social circles to find out good immigration lawyers in your locality. People undergoing a similar situation will be able to give useful recommendations. Also, check the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website to get help with locating an eminent lawyer.
  • Do some research about the background and specialties of the immigration lawyer that you are interested in. Most of them have their own website highlighting their experiences and also other information such as their pricing and a list of their successful cases and testimonials.
  • Schedule consultations with your top preferences. Consultation can be done either via mail, phone or even in person. Keep in mind that certain attorneys charge a nominal fee for consultation. As the immigration law is federal in nature, you do not necessarily require a local attorney except if local representation is necessary in your case.

    Immigration lawyers in Los Angeles

                       Hiring an immigration lawyer

  • During consultation, explain your situation to the attorney and then ask all questions that come in to your mind. Also, ask him for his recommendation on what your next step should be and how his firm would represent your case. Also, see whether he has experience dealing with cases similar to yours and get an idea about the fees charged.
  • Based on the consultations that you have made, go for a lawyer that fits your case the best. You will be required to sign a contract availing his services and you will be required to pay a part or all of the fees. Most immigration lawyers go for a flat rate instead of hourly rates.

Now you know how you can hire immigration lawyers in Los Angeles. Avail the services of an eminent and reputed attorney to resolve your immigration issues quickly.

Some Info About Pleading Rules In A Court Of Law

Alford plea vs no contest

                            Different Pleading rules

The two most commonly used types of pleas are the guilty plea and the not guilty plea. By pleading guilty, you admit to having committed the crime and that you are willing to accept any punishment that the court rules. However, by entering a not guilty plea, you are saying that you did not commit the crime and thus are prepared to fight against the prosecution. Even if you did commit the crime that you are charged with, you can go for the not guilty plea if you think there is not enough evidence to prosecute you as a this kind of plea comes with the burden of proof.

Alford plea vs no contest plea:

The Alford plea and the no contest pleas are two other pleas that a defendant may resort to when charged with some crime. By entering into a no contest plea, the defendant neither admits to a crime nor does he deny the charges against him. The difference between the Alford plea vs no contest plea is that in the former, even though the defendant refuses to admit guilt, he admits that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict him. An instance where the defendant has no memory of the circumstances surrounding a crime is an example when the Alford plea can be used.

Process:

When a defendant is charged or arrested with criminal charges, he/she is required to enter a plea in answer to the charges against him/her. The defendant has to appear before the judge during the prosecution where the judge reads to him the charges as detailed in the charge sheet filed by the prosecution. Following this, the defendant has to enter into either the guilty or not guilty or the Alford or the no contest plea.

Plea qualifications:

Evidence

Difference between Alford plea and                             no contest plea

Before entering a plea the defendant should consult his lawyer. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to make sure that defendant, his client is competent, that he fully understands the charges against him and that he also understands the consequences of his plea. The lawyer should also ensure that he understands English, has a sound mind, that he is not under the influence of any drugs and that he is not under any pressure while making his plea. The defendant may also be offered a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer made by the prosecution to the defendant to accept a lesser penalty for giving up others or to plead guilty to lesser charges.

These are some aspects of the various pleading rules and its procedures in a court of law. There are a few landmark cases that involve each of these plea being used by defendants and students of law are encouraged to study such cases well.

Salary Details Of An Immigration Attorney

Immigration lawyers in Los Angeles

Average salary of an immigration lawyer

As the name implies, immigration attorneys are those who attend and argue immigration cases. These attorneys can work for the government or they can focus on family based cases or employment based immigration where they work with the employers to attain legal status for foreign employees. There are a number of factors on which an immigration attorney’s salary depends on such as location, experience and legal practice.

Federal:

Immigration is a department which comes under the federal law and not the state law. The General Schedule (GS) Grade acts as a basis for determining the salary for federal attorneys. For instance, as of 2009, an attorney with less than a year’s experience can earn an annual salary of $50,000 to $60,000. Immigration lawyers in Los Angeles who have a minimum of 2 and a half years experience can make around $83,000 to $108,000.

Defense:

Defendants in removal proceedings or in deportation will not be represented by court appointed attorneys as is the norm in criminal cases. Defendants can either represent themselves or hire an attorney of their own. Attorneys who opt for private practice have significantly different rates. Depending on the umber of cases received and fee per case, the average salary for a defense attorney can vary between $60,000 and $100,000 per annum.

Non-profit:

Low income or disadvantaged people can seek the services of non-profit organizations for representing them in immigration court and assistance with family sponsored petitions. An attorney offering his services for non-profit organizations can expect an average salary only under $50,000 annually and attorneys with no experience receive less than $40,000.

Solo practitioner:

A solo practitioner is an attorney who practices law without the assistance of other attorneys, or in other words, an attorney who works independently. However, they may be assisted by several support staff and they may have their own office or share office with other solo practitioners. There are a number of factors that influence the salary of solo immigration lawyers in Los Angeles. On an average, s solo practitioner can make around $30,000 to $100,000 annually.

Immigration attorneys

Experienced Immigration lawyers

Employment:

Employment based immigration attorneys may either choose to work in mid- to large-sized firms or they can also work in-house. Major businesses generally have their own legal departments where they hire attorneys as employees. Such lawyers handling employment based immigration cases can make well over $100,000 annually.

The above are certain aspects regarding the salary details of immigration attorneys working in several fields. With experience, attorneys in this field can gain respect and fortune too.

Legal Definitions Of The Various Pleas

Alford plea vs no contest

   Difference between pleading guilty and no contest

When charged with a criminal case, there are various pleas that a defendant can enter into. A defendant may plead guilty, not guilty, the nolo contendere or even the Alford plea.

By pleading guilty, a defendant acknowledges that the charges made against him are true, that he cannot defend his actions and is willing to accept any punishments levied against him. If a defendant makes a guilty plea, the court first ensures that he/she voluntarily made such a plea and that there is sufficient reason to believe that it is an honest plea. Even in such a case, the prosecution is required to present before the court all the evidence that would have been introduced in the event of a not guilty plea. This is done to ensure that the defendant is telling the truth indeed as there are instances where parents plead guilty in order to protect their child from prosecution.

By pleading no contest or nolo contendere, a defendant does not actually admit guilt to the crime but the court can go ahead and determine the punishment. The judge will have a discussion with the defendant so as to make sure that he/she understands the various aspects of making such a plea and the likely punishment. Such a discussion gives the defendant an opportunity to state the reasons or circumstances due to which he is making a no contest plea instead of guilty or not guilty. This also enables the judge to get a better perspective of the state of affairs. By pleading nolo contendere, there is a slight possibility that the defendant might be awarded a lighter sentence than might be handed down after a jury trial.

No contest plea

                               Nolo contendere plea

The difference between the Alford plea vs no contest is that the court will most likely reject a nolo contendere plea if the defendant at the same time voices his innocence in front of the media. Such a situation would be known as an Alford plea. Alford plea vs no contest is similar in the sense as it both eliminates the entire criminal trial process as the defendant accepts all consequences of a guilty verdict without admitting to the crime initially. Neither the Alford plea nor the nolo contendere plea will be permitted to be used as evidence against the defendant in a civil action.

Any plea should be stated only after consulting with a lawyer. The implications of such pleas are many and may not even be predictable.

Mayhem Crimes: Punishments And Penalties

Aggravated mayhem

                 Aggravated mayhem punishments

Mayhem can be described as a violent act by a person, resulting in the loss of a body member of another person. Unlawful and malicious attacks by a person on another, which leaves the other person disabled or disfigured, are also considered as a case of mayhem. There are serious laws in place to fight such crimes, and the punishments for these crimes can range from mild to severe, depending upon the circumstances they’re committed under.

Aggravated mayhem, on the other hand, refers to the extreme or reckless disregard for the physical or psychological well-being of another person. It is considered as a case of aggravated mayhem if a person holds down another while causing disfigurement of a body part, or if he or she taunts the victim after injuring him or her.

Convicted for mayhem charges

Once convicted of mayhem the defendant can then face a formal probation, a maximum fine of $10,000 or a prison sentence of two, four or eight years in the California State Prison.

Enhancements to the sentences

Additional sentences can be given to the defendant if the court deems so. There are two sentence enhancements that the California judge can impose on the defendants. The judge can impose either or both of them according to the hearing. The first sentence enhancement is related to the victim of the mayhem. If the victim satisfies any of the following criteria, then the judge has the power to impose sentence enhancements. The criteria are given below:

  • Victim is under 14 years of age
  • Victim is 65 years of older
  • Victim is blind, deaf, or developmentally disabled
  • Victim is a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

The second sentence enhancement is related to the extent of the injury suffered by the victim. If the victim was subjected to immense bodily harm by the defendant then the judge can sentence the defendant to a three to six year sentence enhancement. If the defendant was to be convicted of torture, then the penalty is life imprisonment in the California State prison.

Death to the victim

California felony murder

                       Aggravated mayhem penalties

Mayhem can often result in the death of the victim, which might be purely accidental. However, if there is enough evidence to suggest that the violent act by a person lead to the death, then the California felony murder rule makes the defendant liable to charges of murder in the first degree.

These are some important points regarding the various punishments given to those criminals who perpetrate violent acts of mayhem. Further information on this can be availed at online legal resources.

How Should I Consult An Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration lawyers in Los Angeles

                      Solve your Immigration issues

Every day, a large number of people from all over the world come to the United States for many different reasons. The reasons for coming here may be either because one has got married, or one is engaged to someone currently living in the U.S. or because one has a working visa. Whatever may be the reason, seek the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you deal with the immigration procedure and the laws that govern it. They are also the ones to approach if you are facing green card issues or if you are facing deportation or in case you are seeking political asylum.

How to consult with an immigration lawyer?

For all the reasons mentioned above and many other immigration issues as well, consult a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. Here is how you can do the same-

  1. To obtain information about immigration lawyers in Los Angeles, contact your local bar association. There are bar associations in states as well as in a majority of the counties within states that offer legal services to the general public. One such service that is available is the attorney referral program that will help people who require legal help by providing them with contact information of attorneys. Contact the bar association within your state and describe in brief the issues that you are facing with the immigration law. The association will supply you with the contact details of an attorney who has experience handling your particular type of immigration problems.
  2. Collect all legal documents relevant to the issue. An issue with the immigration law will need various documents including passports, green cards, visa applications and documents andcorrespondence from the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Gather all these documents and take them with you before going to meet an immigration lawyer.

    Immigration attorney

             Get the assistance of an immigration lawyer

  3. Schedule a meeting with an immigration attorney. Take with you all significant documents for inspection and as proof. Explain all your concerns to your attorney and answer any questions that he/she may have. Discuss your issue to find out the course of action that will be best.

Follow these steps to receive information on immigration lawyers in Los Angeles as well as to schedule meetings with them. Alternatively, you can also check online lawyer directories in order to find an immigration attorney closest to where you live.

Various Aspects Of Being A Criminal Lawyer

Criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles

                         Criminal defense attorney

The criminal justice system has always been an enticing field and now more than ever, youngsters are all for joining the legal community. This may be because a criminal lawyer has a wide plethora of career options available to him. They can choose to either be a prosecutor or a defense attorney. The difference between the two is that a prosecutor is a one who represents the government in criminal cases; whereas a defense attorney is an individual who represents a person or entity accused of offenses against the state. A criminal lawyer who offers his services as a defense attorney can either work for a private firm or he may work for the government as a public defender. A defense attorney can also specialize in a variety of criminal law fields such as sexual harassment, embezzlement, immigration, homicide, drug related crimes, cyber crime, money laundering or any other financial crimes.

Job Outlook:

The requirement for lawyers is about as fast as the world average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS). This implies that the job opportunities for lawyers will continue to grow at the rate of 7-13% in the next few years. Although this does not differentiate between criminal lawyers the other lawyers, criminal law has a better career prospect as compared to the others. This is because criminal lawyers will always be in demand as long as there is crime and fortunately or unfortunately, that figure is pretty much constant. The BLS also says points out that the competition for criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles will be extremely fierce.

Salary details:

Legal community

                                Criminal justice system

There are several factors that will determine the salary for a criminal attorney. Some of these factors include experience, specialization, geographic location, firm size, public or private sector and so on. According to a recent survey, the average salary for a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago falls in the range of $110,000 to $126,000 annually. On the other hand, the average yearly salary in smaller cities such as Ohio, Columbus, Kentucky and Louisville ranges between $74,000 and $83,000. As compared to criminal lawyers, public defender or a prosecutor is pretty less. A prosecutor just fresh into his career can expect only around $36,000 to $47,000 annually. Of course, the most sought-after lawyers don’t come cheap anyway

These are some aspects that might be of interest to you if you are looking forward to a career in the legal community. These jobs come with a lot of respect and social status apart from the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful.

How Does A Prosecutor Prove That The Defendant Is Guilty Of Mayhem?

Aggravated mayhem, Prosecutor

Laws for mayhem

Mayhem is a very serious crime that could result in severe punishments. According to Penal Code 203 PC, a person is said to be guilty of mayhem if he maliciously deprives individuals of body part or disfigures, disables or renders it useless.

In order to convict a person charged with aggravated mayhem, the prosecutor should be able to prove three facts or what is known as three ‘elements’ of the crime-

  • That he used physical force unlawfully
  • That it caused any of the above injuries
  • That the force was inflicted maliciously

To understand this better, here is a closer look at some terms used while dealing with mayhem-

Disables:

Every ‘disability’ does not always equate to mayhem. In order for someone to be charged of mayhem for ‘disabling’ some part of a person’s body, the person should do something more than disable a body part temporarily. For instance, if a person breaks the ankle of another and since the ankle takes a considerable amount of time to heal, then it can be considered as disability.

Disfigure:

If the injury is permanent, then it can be considered as a case of disfigurement. However a permanent injury is subject to whether or not the doctors can improve or repair the injury. A cut lip that requires stitches does not qualify as permanent injury as it would ultimately heal on its own without serious scarring. However if a part of the lip is bitten off, then the defendant will not be relieved of mayhem charges despite the fact that surgeons could possibly reattach the lip. Forced tattoos, burned scars, permanent blindness etc are all examples of permanent disfigurement.

Aggravated mayhem, Prosecutor

Prove defendant guilty of mayhem

What is a malicious act?

Now you may wonder what a malicious act is. This is very important as in law every act needs to be appraised. If an individual acts unlawfully with total disregard to the physical and mental implications it may have on the victim and with the intent to injure the person, then it can be termed as a malicious act.

These are the facts that a prosecutor should prove in order to convict a defendant of aggravated mayhem and some of the terms related to this crime. As should be obvious by now, the advocate who is prosecuting or defending should be well aware of the many nuances of law that deals with mayhem. This calls for a lot of experience in the field of criminal law.

Difference Between Alford Plea And Nolo Contendere

Alford plea vs No Contest, concept of “No contest”

Alford plea vs No Contest

A plea is a term very often connected with legal procedures. Here, it is a statement made by a defendant in response to a complaint filed by the plaintiff. The defendant has the full right to make a plea statement in order to defend against the charges held against him/her. There are two main plea statements  that we’ll discuss here: the Alford plea and the  Nolo Contendere plea.

The Nolo Contendere plea is also known as the “No Contest” plea. This article compare the two, and find the differences while considering Alford plea vs No Contest plea. Most people go in for making one of these pleas when accused of a crime, and when the “no guilty” plea isn’t a viable option.

Alford plea vs No Contest plea

In an Alford plea the offender accepts only that the prosecution would be able to prove the charges, and not that he is guilty of them. For example, imagine a situation in which the  defendant has gone through a physical or mental illness that resulted in temporary memory loss. In such a situation the defendant can come up with an Alford plea. The defendant can partially or fully  attack charges made against him/her, on the grounds that the particular event did not take place, or that he/she cannot recollect the same. In most practical scenarios, Alford pleas are made to prove the “innocence” of the offender, so as to get him away with minimum punishment. If the evidences provided by the prosecution are not strong enough, this can favor the  defendant. It is not necessary that the court should accept each and every Alford plea made by the defendant. The rejection or the approval of the same is left to the discretion of the court.

Alford plea vs No Contest, concept of “No contest”

Alford plea and No Contest scenarios

No Contest plea

The concept of “No contest” plea is quite plain, because the defendant may accept the punishment awarded to him/her without accepting the charges held. Here, the true scenario of the crime will not be evident, as the offender may not admit the charges, or admit to the crime. The defendant will go through all the normal  legal formalities associated with a  normal conviction. But the legal formalities connected with “No Contest” plea can become complicated.The “No contest” plea is not valid in certain states of America. A perfect example is the state of Minnesota.

These are the minor differences between the Alford and Nolo Contendere pleas. Hope you have benefited from the same.

Aggravated Assault Laws In Texas

Aggravated mayhem

Aggravated assault Laws

A prosecutor in Texas can charge an individual with misdemeanor or felony, depending on the seriousness of the crime committed. What makes an aggravated assault different from a simple assault, is that it involves causing bodily harm to, or physically attacking, the victim. For an assault to be considered as an aggravated mayhem, the victim should be deprived of any body part, or have one rendered useless by the assault.

Aggravated assault:

In Texas, aggravated assault is said to take place when an individual either commits severe injury to another person, or when they threaten an assault using a deadly weapon. Thus, it is different from aggravated mayhem, because a person does not have to actually harm another to be charged of second degree aggravated assault. So, by this definition, under Texas law you can be charged for aggravated assault, if you cause serious bodily harm to another person, or even if you simply threaten them at gun point and assault them physically.

Penalty:

The penalty for a second degree felony of aggravated assault varies from case to case. Sentences may be from 2 up to 20 years. The defendant can also be asked to pay up to $10,000 as fine. Depending on each case, the penalty may either be a fine alone or it can be charged in addition to the prison sentence.

First degree vs. Second degree:

Whether or not, an aggravated assault charge can be considered to be a first degree felony will depend on the role of the plaintiff. First degree aggravated assault is charged if the crime is committed during a domestic violence dispute and more intense charges if the victim is a witness to the crime, an informant, a public official or a security guard. If found guilty of first degree aggravated assault, the defendant can face a five year sentence.

Considerations:

Affirmative defense

Second degree felony aggravated assault

A defendant can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest when charged with second degree felony aggravated assault. However the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. The state permits you to use affirmative defenses if you did commit the crime. If you assaulted the victim as self defense, or in order to prevent them from stealing your property, then you can use an affirmative defense. You will be required to admit to committing the crime while availing an affirmative defense.

These are some aspects of the laws against aggravated assault in Texas. Go through advanced legal resources to know more about this topic.