Georgia Long Term Care Background Check Program

Georgia Long Term Care Background Check Program

The State of Georgia is getting tough on elder abuse cases, which have continued to rise significantly across the state.  On March 15th, 2018, the House passed what will be known as the Georgia Long Term Care Background Check Program Bill.  This, also known as Senate Bill 406, will require that elder care providers undergo criminal background checks.  This has been a long time coming.

The background check will be a comprehensive, fingerprint based criminal background check.  The law will apply to the owners of personal care homes, assisted living facilities nursing homes, and more.  In addition, applicants for employment in these facilities will be required to pass the background check.  As well as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, this will also apply to employees of personal care homes, hospice care, home health, adult day care and skilled nursing facilities.  The new background check requirement will take effect on October. 1, 2019, for new applicants and at a later date for existing owners and employees.  Another key component of SB 406 is the central registry.  The Department of Community Health would establish and maintain a central registry so that a family member or legal guardian looking to hire a personal caregiver for an elderly person could access information on eligible and ineligible applicants and employers.

Elder abuse can take many forms.  It can be the withholding of medicine, physical abuse, mental abuse, or neglect.  Every patient has rights.  Here in Georgia, we utilize the following statutes:  O.C.G.A. §31-8-103 through §31-8-121, collectively known as the “Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities”.  These rights protect patients.  If you feel that your mother, father or other loved one is not being cared for properly in a nursing home or other care facility, do not wait to act.  Waiting can be fatal.  Contact our office so that David Crawford can work directly with you on the details.  David has the experience, the passion and the legal knowledge to work with you and guide you towards a solution for you and your family.

 

 

Things You Should Know About Tickets in Georgia

Things You Should Know About Tickets in Georgia

Each state has its own set of laws regarding rules of the highways.  The State of Georgia is no different in that respect.  Some of the laws in Georgia are stricter, while some are not.  All states have mandatory seat belt laws, speed restrictions and requirements on obtaining a driver’s license at a certain age.  What makes Georgia different?  What types of things can cause you to get a ticket on Georgia’s highways? Here are some things you should know about tickets in Georgia.

Speeding in Georgia

Speeding in Georgia is a big thing.  Georgia has what’s known as the Super Speeder Law.  Basically, the law provides a $200 additional fine for anyone who is convicted of driving over 85 miles per hour on any road or highway or 75 miles per hour on any two lane road or highway.  It is a misdemeanor, however, it can have far reaching ramifications on you as a driver.

Driving without Insurance in Georgia

Getting caught driving without insurance in Georgia will land you in serious trouble.  It results in going to court, possibly being fined and posing your license for a period of time.  Depending on the circumstance, you can find yourself in jail.

Why is it required to have auto insurance? This is to protect drivers in the event of an automobile accident or collision.  Let’s say you have a fender bender and you are determined to be at fault.  Your insurance company will be responsible for payment for damages to the vehicles as well as any medical bills incurred during the collision.  Now, let’s assume in that same fender bender, you are NOT the one at fault and the other driver has no insurance.  The estimates indicate that there is a large amount of damage done to your car because of the impact.  Turns out, it was more than a fender bender.  Who pays for this since the other driver has no insurance?

If Georgia did not require insurance, there would be no recourse, penalties or otherwise.  We would all have to pay for damages out of our pocket.  Requiring insurance keeps most of us with enough to pay for damages to the auto.

Can You Go To Jail for a Traffic Ticket in Georgia

This is a frequently asked question.  Technically, you can go to jail for any violation of the law if you refuse to obey the officers at the scene.  You can go to jail if you are intoxicated and refuse to take a roadside test, because they are going to take you in and have another test administered.  It is their job to keep someone who is impaired off the road.  It is also your right to refuse the test.  You can be taken to jail if you cause a scene during a traffic stop that creates a sense of danger for the officers or public.  It’s always best to provide what the officers ask for, do not offer any information, answer in Yes or No only and do not allow a search.  If you are detained or arrested, ask for an attorney and do not speak without your attorney present.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, contact us.  Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start.    Contact Us Today to get started.

Traffic Stop in Georgia

Traffic Stop in Georgia

Seeing blue lights behind you often brings on feelings of panic even when you have done nothing wrong.  This shouldn’t be the case but we have conditioned ourselves to the thought that if the police are pulling us over, we must have done something wrong.  A traffic stop in Georgia is often misunderstood.  The media has played a big part of this as well as a general misunderstanding of how our rights work in traffic stops.  Most people believe that during a traffic stop, we have no rights and are doomed from the start.  That’s simply not true.  Here are some tips to help during a traffic stop in Georgia.

Avoid a Stop

First, try to avoid getting stopped by the police in the first place.  Now, that doesn’t mean that if you see the police, try to avoid them or outrun them.  Driving the speed limit, stopping at lights and stop signs and otherwise obeying traffic laws will reduce the chance of being pulled over.   Here are a few other things that will help you avoid a stop.

  • School zones – be careful to watch the speed limit.  These usually have heavier police presence
  • Construction zones – more likely to be pulled over if you are above the speed limit
  • HOV lanes – in Georgia, you will likely be pulled over if you are travelling in the High Occupancy Lane with only 1 person
  • Changing lanes – hopping from one lane to another will often get you pulled over
  • Faulty equipment – many stops are for break lights or headlights that are not functional.  Make sure you check these before traveling
  • Always keep an eye on your speed.  Georgia has a super speeder law.  You can learn more about that in this article.

The Blue Lights

If you see blue lights coming up fast behind you, pull over to the right as soon as it is safely possible to do so.  If it’s not you he is pulling over, it’s still the law that you pull over out of the way to give him room to pass.  If he is pulling you over, the following will help.

  • Be courteous with the police officer – no attitude
  • Always have your insurance and driver’s license ready to show if asked
  • Roll down your window – Do not get out of your vehicle unless asked to do so
  • Do NOT offer information.  Wait until you are asked and then only answer the questions you are asked
  • Do not ask questions and do not begin a dialogue
  • Keep your hands where the officer can see them
  • Keep calm and do not be jumping around

Here is an example: “Hi John. You were going a bit fast tonight. Do you know how fast you were going?” John: “No sir.” “John you were going 90. License and registration please” John hands it over to the officer with no further conversation.

It can be tempting to defend yourself, especially if you feel the information you are provided is wrong.  However, it is unwise to argue with a police officer.  Keep your answers short, stay calm and be friendly.  He is just doing his job.

Right to Say No

There are certain times you have a right to say “no”.  Sometimes during a stop the officer will conduct a search of you or your car.  The police have a right to know they are safe and that you have no weapons on you.  This is a pat down.  If they ask if they can search your car, say no.  Don’t ask questions.  Just say No.  If they ask why, say, “it’s my right..  But don’t be rude about it.  Just stay calm and say no.

What often happens is that they will give you a ticket and then say “can I ask you a few questions”.  Tell them “no” that you are already running behind.  Tell him Goodbye and proceed to your car.  If you are ordered to stop – Stop.  You have to stop if he orders you to stop.  But you do NOT have to answer questions. Do not engage in any dialogue with him other than politely stating that you are not answering questions.

Arrest/Suspension of License

If you find yourself arrested or your license is suspended after a traffic stop, don’t try to fight it alone.  Even traffic citations and DUIs have potential serious consequences. They can cost you your license, a job and more. David Crawford knows how speeding tickets can affect your life and your livelihood.  Before you act, contact David to find out your legal options.  Contact us today by completing our online form.

 

 

Georgia’s Super Speeder Law

Georgia’s Super Speeder Law

Imagine you are driving your regular business route from Alabama to South Carolina.  It’s a beautiful day as you travel along I-75 through Atlanta, Georgia. As you sing along to songs from the radio, traffic is light and you are making excellent time for a mid-Monday morning trip.  Suddenly you see blue lights in your rear view mirror and look down to see that you are going nearly 90 miles per hour.  You panic as you pull over to the side of the road knowing this is going to be hard to explain to your boss.  You are in your company truck,  on company time, on a business trip.  Your troubles are just beginning as you learn that your ticket is going to be extra costly due to Georgia’s Super Speeder Law.

What is Georgia’s Super Speeder Law?

HB160 became known as the Super Speeder Law aimed to slow down drivers in Georgia.  The law provides a $200 additional fine for anyone who is convicted of driving over 85 miles per hour on any road or highway or 75 miles per hour on any two lane road or highway.  Here’s how it works,

  • You receive a ticket for going 85 on a highway.
  • You are convicted upon your payment of the speeding ticket because you are pleading guilty to the charge.
  • After you pay, you are sent a bill for an additional $200 because you are then designated as a Super Speeder.
  • You have 120 days to pay this.
  • Failure to pay the fine can result in suspension of your license.

Is Super Speeder a Felony?

A Super Speeder ticket is a misdemeanor. Super Speeder is simply a designation the State of Georgia gives certain speeding offenses. It is an additional financial penalty levied by the state. Although it is only another financial penalty, it should be taken seriously since it can lead to a lose of license if not handled correctly.

How Many Points Can You Get On Your License For a Super Speeder?

The Georgia point system is the same for all speeding convictions—super speeder or not. If you get 15 points in 24 months, your license will be suspended. Each offense carries a penalty between two to six points according to the breakdown provided by Georgia Department of Driver Services .

Speeding:
15 to 18 mph over speed limit 2 Points
19 to 23 mph over speed limit 3 Points
24 to 33 mph over speed limit 4 Points
34 mph or more over speed limit 6 Points

It should be noted that each state handles the license point system differently.  However most states do recognize out of state tickets and will assign some points on the driving record for violations that result in convictions.

Fighting The Ticket / Saving Your License

Do not just pay the ticket.  It’s important that you speak to an attorney first.  Learn your options.  Paying that ticket means admitting guilt.  An attorney may be able to negotiate the ticket before you pay it so that it will no longer meets the requirements of a Super Speeder.

Contact Us for Solutions

David Crawford knows how speeding tickets can affect your life and your livelihood.  Before you act, contact David to find out your legal options.  Contact us today by completing our online form.

Hands Free Driving Law

Hands Free Driving Law

We all know how frustrating it can be driving behind someone who is distracted by talking on their cell phone.  Studies show that it’s not only distracting, but it’s unsafe as well.  Because of the increased injuries and fatalities related to unsafe cell phone usage and distracted driving, one city in Georgia has decided to take action and become the first city in Georgia with a law on the books banning the use of hands free cell phone use.  It’s become Georgia’s first hands free driving law.

The move was made by the City Council in Smyrna, Georgia as an attempt to force the State to enact the same such measures.  Smyrna is not the only city to consider this type of law.  What does this mean for drivers?

The State Law

Currently State law prohibits all texting while driving.  Only bus drivers and drivers under 18 are prohibited from using the cell phone while driving.  It is unclear whether Smyrna’s new law will provoke the State to take a stronger stance.  However, it is clear that the intent of Smryna’s new law was to provoke the State into going further with the existing law by adding the following as a few notable points about their ordinance:

  • the law will go into effect April 2 after the Georgia General Assembly concludes to see if the lawmakers make any changes.
  • no points will count against insurance policies for violations.
  • a $150 maximum fine.
  • maybe traffic court for $75.
  • one-touch rule allowed to turn on the hands-free device.
  • a two-year limit when the law will be reevaluated.

Read More About Smyrna’s New Law Here

The Bottom Line

It’s coming.  Whether this law comes from the State this year or another, it’s coming.  Other cities are currently in process of similar ordinances.  Research shows a link between distracted driving related to hand held phones and accidents.  According to the CDC, “Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph.” (See https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html) This raises insurance, causes arrests and kills people.  The reality is this: with so many new options in technology, there are ways to use the phone without holding it, if you must absolutely use the phone.

Bluetooth

Many cars have a method to connect phones directly through the speaker system.  If you have never used it and your car or truck is 2004 or newer, you may have the ability.  Research it, have a friend show you or take it to a car shop.  Once you learn how to connect it, it’s very simple to use.

Hands Free Mode

Most phones have an In Car or Hands Free Mode.  This allows you to touch one button and everything goes to voice activated.  It’s very simple to use.  Depending on your model of phone, you can provide verbal commands such as “call David Crawford” and it will dial his office.

Wait

If you are about to engage in a heated discussion, it is best to wait until you are not driving.  Even with a hands free device, distracted driving can be caused by anything that takes your focus off of the road.  If you have a conversation with a person who owes you money, for example, but is refusing to pay you, you may become upset enough that it affects your driving.  It only takes a second for an accident to happen.

As always, if you find that you have been arrested or need representation for a traffic ticket, please contact our office.  David Crawford has the experience you need to help you.  He will take the time to understand your concerns and help protect your record.

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Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer (rather than represent yourself)

Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer (rather than represent yourself)

Lawyers are often asked about whether someone should represent themselves.  This type of question comes up at parties, reunions and even family dinners.  It goes something like this:  “I have a friend (it’s ALWAYS a friend), who was arrested, given a ticket, is being sued, or wants to sue someone.”  The person then provides an abbreviated version of the facts followed by “This shouldn’t be too tough of a case, right?  Couldn’t she represent herself in Court?”  Depending on the nature of the case, it’s probably not going to be a good idea to represent yourself.  Although there are a number of reasons to hire an lawyer, here are ten reasons to hire a lawyer rather than represent yourself.

  • A lawyer is educated in the law.  Lawyers spend 3 years dedicated to studying law, how to apply the law, adhering to legal procedures and learning the language of a lawyer.  Laws are complex and often misinterpreted by those who are not trained.  In fact, most lawyers who have been practicing a few years, have “court” experience as well as general legal knowledge.
  • It may be more complicated than you think.   Sometimes a case is more complex than it appears.  Do you know where to file your case? How about where you would file an answer to a complaint? Suppose you want to sue someone for a civil matter, do you know the time constraints on filing that type of case? Lawyers know how to determine all of this.  It will save you precious time and money from learning what they already know or can fine out quickly.
  • Not hiring an attorney can actually cost you more.  This is very often the case.  Think about what’s at stake in the situation.  Hefty fines, loss of a job, jail time?  There may be more at stake if you lose without the assistance of an attorney.  Courts will treat you as if you have a knowledge of the law upon representing yourself.  In other words, there is no special treatment.

 

  • A lawyer knows the court etiquette.  An attorney knows what to address and when to address it in Court.  This is extremely important and can be overlooked when trying to save money.  A detailed understanding of how evidence works and the rules of evidence is critical to a case.  An understanding of when to address the Court or how to address the Court is also key.

 

  • There are a lot of deadlines.  Those in the legal profession understand the deadlines for filing motions, appealing Court orders, serving opposing parties, etc.  One missed deadline can be fatal to your case before it ever makes it to Court.

 

  • It may be time to plea or settle.  An experienced attorney can communicate with the opposing party and determine the weight of the evidence that will be presented against you.  Depending on your specific circumstances, a plea agreement may be the best option for you.  To know when it’s time to plead, you need to know the strength of the other side as well as your own.  This is one of the things that is learned by years of practicing law because there is no formula for this.

 

  • It may be worth the fight.  Just as an attorney may advise you to accept a plea agreement, it may also be in your best interest to fight the charge.  Again, an attorney knows how to weigh the evidence, argue in Court to have certain things suppressed (thrown out) and when it’s best to fight.  Not every case is worthy of a plea agreement and not every case should go to Court.

 

  • You don’t know any expert witnesses or private investigators. Lawyers know how and when to bring in the experts.  Whether it’s someone specializing in accident reconstruction, medical injuries, or investigations, lawyers have a network and an experienced attorney knows WHO and WHEN to bring someone in for the case.

 

  • The other party has legal representation.  Non-lawyers are often at a disadvantage when the other side has an attorney.  As stated above, lawyers know the rules of the Court.  If the other party has an attorney and you are trying to do this yourself, you may miss deadlines, make the wrong argument or miss an opportunity for a settlement in your favor.

 

  • You are worth it and we know that.  Regardless of whether you are fighting a case against you or looking to initiate a lawsuit, you should have good representation.  Attorney David Crawford has the experience, the compassion and the legal training to provide you with the options you need.  David, and his team, will review the facts of your situation so that he has a complete understanding.   After all, aren’t you worth it?

 

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, sued by another party or wants to pursue a case against someone else, contact us.  Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start.  If the initial facts warrant further legal investigation, David and his team will gather information necessary so that he has a complete understanding of your case.  Contact Us Today to get started.