DUI: Snorting chocolate

Posted by William H. Sherman | Oct 09, 2017 | 0 Comments

Under Georgia law, you can be charged for and convicted of a DUI if you ingest any substance that makes you a less safe driver. This includes prescription medications, illegal drugs and, of course, alcohol. And if snorting chocolate causes someone to be a less safe driver, they can be charged with a DUI. Snorting chocolate is becoming increasingly popular. And it’s snorted, like cocaine, using fingernails, straws, or paper currency, among other methods. It’s being marketed as a dietary supplement and a major brand name is “Coco Loko.” As it gains popularity, there have been calls from politicians, including Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), for greater regulation.

QDRO: My ex-wife doesn't deserve my 401 (k)

Posted by William H. Sherman | Sep 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

If the divorce requires you to provide your wife with half of the amount of money in your 401 (k) plan, then you need to do so. If you do not, you can be held in contempt of court and face serious sanctions, including jail time. It really doesn’t matter that you think your former wife is undeserving of the funds in the account. We prepare QDROs for clients. A QDRO would be used to split a 401 (k) account. The retirement account can be divided in any manner that is required by the divorce. A QDRO is used to split not only 401 (k)’s, but also other types of retirement accounts like pensions.

DUI: My wife was diagnosed with bipolar disorder

Posted by William H. Sherman | Sep 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Bipolar disorder affects around 3.5 percent of the population. A characteristic of bipolar disorder is extreme mood swings. Moods can swing from euphoric to severely depressed. Studies have demonstrated that drinking alcohol can often amplify these mood swings. Indeed, people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to struggle with the symptoms of alcohol misuse. About 45 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have an alcohol use disorder. And if you drink in excess, your risk of relapsing into a manic or depressive episode increases. In cases where bipolar or other mental issues are involved, it can often help a legal outcome if the prosecutor and judge are told that the disorder exists and that it’s being treated.

What factors are important for parental visitation?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Sep 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Parenting plans vary between situations. Just as no situation is exactly like another, there is no “one size fits all” visitation schedule. Many factors are considered for visitation. Some of these factors are the child’s age; parental mental health; history of child abuse; domestic abuse; alcohol and drug abuse; whether or not the child has siblings who will accompany her or him on visits; prior parental involvement with the child; and co-parenting relationship between the two parents.

DUI: Can alcohol affect women and men differently?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Aug 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

That your wife is a petite woman can certainly influence her ability to absorb and tolerate alcohol. And it may very well account for her poor performance on the field sobriety tests and on the breathalyzer. The enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach is called dehydrogenase, and women have less of it than men. That can contribute to higher blood-alcohol concentrations in women than in men even if they have consumed the same amount of alcohol, or even if the man has consumed more alcohol than the woman. Another possible explanation is hormone levels, which affect the body’s ability to process alcohol. Because of this, many women will experience faster intoxication right before menstruation. Women also generally have a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of water. And the less a person weighs, the more they will be affected by a given amount of alcohol.

Divorce: Do you want to know the bad things my husband will say about me?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Aug 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

A good divorce attorney will find-out from you what bad things your spouse might say about you and what evidence, if any, your spouse has against you. We want to know what material can be used against you. It could be video, audio, texts, emails, pictures or social media posts on websites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s certainly important to inform your lawyer about anything that the opposing side could use against you. We never want to be surprised.

I got a DUI because I drank “some of the hair of the dog that bit me”

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jul 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

You may have reasonable defenses to the DUI charge. And it is possible that the charge can be reduced from DUI to Reckless Driving; or that something egregious was done by the Roswell police and the charges will be completely dismissed. But the defenses you ask about will not help you. The fact that it was not nighttime will not help. A DUI can occur in the morning, afternoon or night. That you were “buzzed” is not a good defense. You don’t have to be “drunk” to get a DUI. Under Georgia DUI law, if you were a “less safe driver” because you drank alcohol, you can be charged and convicted of DUI. We’re happy no one was injured in the accident. But just because no one was injured is not going to assist your case. The fact that you got into an accident gave the police a valid reason to question you and that led to your arrest.

Does Georgia law favor the mother over the father in a child custody fight?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jul 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

Under the laws of Georgia, the court should do what is best for the child. Often, courts find that that children should have a relationship with both of their parents. Certain judges may prefer the children to be with their mother, but evidence may prove that the mother is unfit; therefore, the father would get custody. Georgia law states, “In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be no prima-facie right to the custody of the child in the father or mother. There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody, legal or physical, nor in favor of either parent…” O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3 (a) (1). So there is no preference under Georgia law for which gender receives custody. There are a lot of factors that the court considers when deciding custody.

Did I wait too long to get a QDRO?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jul 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (or QDRO) is the legal way to divide various retirement accounts, including pensions and 401 (k)’s, when a couple divorces. A QDRO is a legal document that a retirement account administrator requires to split the funds related to the retirement account. It is vital that the QDRO is drafted correctly or else it will be rejected. Just because you have put off getting the QDRO for a number of years doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be done. In fact, we have prepared many QDROs for people who, for various reasons, waited to get the QDRO. While it is certainly better to get them drafted as soon as possible, just because some time has passed doesn’t mean that you can’t do it now.

Divorce: My husband says he loves his life-like, silicone doll

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jul 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

As Georgia divorce lawyers we have actually had several cases where a man has opted to engage in a relationship with a doll and neglect his wife. Sadly, with advances in technology and robotics we expect this to become somewhat of a trend. This has been already noted by family and divorce attorneys in parts of Asia. As for your specific question, your husband’s relationship with the doll is technically not adultery under the laws of Georgia. As the law stands now, adultery is only between two human parties. So even his intimate relationship with “Kaori” would not fall under the legal definition of adultery.

I drove out of the city. But the cop followed me and I got a DUI.

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jul 02, 2017 | 0 Comments

Officers in the state of Georgia are routinely “cross-sworn” between jurisdictions so that if they are pursuing a car they don’t have to stop at the city line. So it is very common for police officers in neighboring jurisdictions to be granted the ability to engage in pursuit of a vehicle between cities. This is actually a rather common question for a DUI lawyer.

I need to learn about a QDRO

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (the QDRO) are the way that many retirement accounts and pensions are divided in a divorce. Many times, in a long-duration marriage like yours, a spouse is entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s pension. Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the share of the pension the spouse is entitled to. Of course, retirement accounts and pensions can be quite valuable and therefore they can be highly sought-after.

My fiance is dead: What about child support for our kids?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

If there is not a will, the estate will go through the administration process according to state laws. This means that the assets will be distributed according to state statutes. It’s possible that his wife could actually inherit a large portion of his estate. In general, spouses who are still legally married but living apart are treated as married for purposes of splitting an estate. Unfortunately, as the fiancé, you will be entitled, most of the time, to almost nothing. You won’t be able to do such things as close his accounts or transfer his titles to yourself. Since you never married, the Georgia Department of Driver Services or bank will not allow that. The children, however, could share in his estate. As for child support for the other child, his child support obligation ended at his death. Neither the child support or college costs will be taken out of his estate. However, this child and your children (as long as they are your fiancé’s children) could be entitled to a part of his estate.

Where should I do my community service for DUI?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Jun 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

Community service should be done at a legitimate charity, which is a not-for-profit. Only community service done at a charity is acceptable to the court, which will not accept any other community service. We’re glad you asked about volunteering at Goodwill. Goodwill is not accepted by the court because it is not a non-profit. To determine if a charity is non-profit and acceptable for the court, ask if the charity is a 501(c) (3), that’s the legal designation for a charitable organization. If it isn’t, find another place to perform community service.

Child Visitation: But he drinks, does drugs and has a criminal record

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

It is actually rare for visitation to be denied totally. Even for people who have battled alcohol and/or drugs and gotten into trouble with the law, a complete denial of visitation is rare. However, the court may order that visitation be supervised by a third-party or that it is in a public place. That is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. In some cases, a professional “supervisor” must be used for visitation. The supervisor is there to make sure that everything stays calm during the visit and that the child is protected. It is up to the court to determine visitation if the parties can’t come to an agreement. The court will weigh the evidence presented and determine the parameters of visitation, just like it is up to a judge to award custody.

Marriage Counseling, Therapy & Divorce

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

Taking any action to better yourself is essentially taking action to better your marriage. This will not make you look bad to the judge. You are taking responsibility and improving yourself. Taking any action to better yourself is essentially taking action to better your marriage. This will not make you look bad to the judge. You are taking responsibility and improving yourself. Also, having a mental illness does not make you an unfit partner or father. Not handling and treating your mental illness can make it hard to be good partner, however. Many people believe that judges will think there is something “wrong” with them if they are attending counselling, but the truth is, there is nothing “wrong” with getting counselling. Counselling is a very effective way to mend relationships and work out personal issues. In fact, it is a useful tool for many people facing challenges or for those who are dealing with major life events and experiencing martial problems. Also, having a mental illness does not make you an unfit partner or father. Not handling and treating your mental illness can make it hard to be good partner, however. Many people believe that judges will think there is something “wrong” with them if they are attending counselling, but the truth is, there is nothing “wrong” with getting counselling. Counselling is a very effective way to mend relationships and work out personal issues. In fact, it is a useful tool for many people facing challenges or for those who are dealing with major life events and experiencing martial problems.

I'm a "weekend warrior" and I got a DUI

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

We’ve handled many DUI cases for weekend warriors, the type of person who might not drink at all during the week, but on weekends they let loose, and that could mean consuming alcohol and possibly doing drugs. Unfortunately, the judge and prosecutor do not care if you think being weekend warrior is “cool.” They do not care if you only drink on the weekend. In fact, I recently saw a police advertising billboard on GA400 that has little but the quote, “I only did it for the weekend,” on it. This is a statement police officers and judges hear often. They hear it so much that hearing it can make them become annoyed and believe you are not taking responsibility for your actions.

DUI: I didn't think it had alcohol

Posted by William H. Sherman | May 04, 2017 | 0 Comments

Saying that you thought what you drank didn’t contain alcohol is not a good legal defense. Under Georgia law, it does not matter what you thought you drank or how much you drank. The law provides that if you are a “less safe driver” due to the ingestion of any substance, including alcohol and drugs, you can be convicted of DUI. So even if a person doesn’t realize that they drank alcohol, it doesn’t matter under the law. In your case, with a high blood-alcohol concentration (.176 and .172 are both over twice the legal limit), your explanation is unlikely to work because it is unlikely to be believed. It might be different, however, if your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) was lower. In that case, if presented by a Forsyth County DUI lawyer in a proper context, a prosecutor and judge may have some sympathy for your situation.

Alimony: I had an affair

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Under Georgia law, having an extramarital relationship can prevent alimony from being paid. This is a long-standing fact of Georgia law. If a man can prove that his wife had an affair, that can prevent the payment of alimony, even in a very long marriage. But remember, it has to be proven that the other party had an affair. That is not necessarily so easy to do. But of course, it can be done. The proof can be from text messages, emails, pictures or Facebook messages. There are actually numerous ways to demonstrate an affair. We have hired private detectives to prove infidelity. And sometimes the proof is obvious. We’ve seen a party to a divorce move in with a boyfriend and have a baby. That’s obvious infidelity. But just because someone has had an affair does not mean they won’t get some sort of alimony. We’ve had cases where cheating could be proven easily, but the other party, for various reasons, was fine paying some amount of alimony. He could have said no to any alimony, but he wanted his ex-wife to get some financial support. As a Cumming divorce lawyer, I can tell you each case is different.

I got a DUI after playing beer pong

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Since a charge of DUI does not require any intent under Georgia law, your explanation that you were not trying to become intoxicated, merely win a game of beer pong, is not a valid legal defense. Beer pong is a very popular drinking game and we have had a number of clients who were arrested for drunk driving after playing. The fact that someone became intoxicated playing a game, watching a movie or T.V. or while enjoying a meal or at a party are not defenses. Indeed, the only thing that Georgia law is concerned with is if a motorist is a less safe driver because he or she consumed alcohol or took drugs (and that includes prescription drugs).

Divorce: My Husband won't treat his mental illness

Posted by William H. Sherman | Apr 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

When people fail to take their prescription medications, there can be behavioral problems that, in many cases, cause the deterioration of a marriage. So we have certainly dealt with your problem before. And as more Americans utilize prescription meds, there will be even more cases like yours. Common issues in a divorce include child custody, child support and alimony. If your husband is not fit to be around the children when he isn’t taking his meds, that can definitely influence child custody. A judge wants to do what’s in the best interest of the child, and if your husband is making derogatory comments to your kids, then a judge would base a custody decision, at least in part, on his nasty and hurtful statements. Someone making the statements you describe should not necessarily be around impressionable young people. As for his pension and 401 (k), those are often sources of negotiation in a divorce. Sometimes retirement accounts can have a lot of money, other times they have only a little. They can be split in many ways and we try to negotiate the best deal we can for our clients. To split many retirement accounts, you would need a QDRO. A QDRO (a Qualified Domestic Relations Order) needs to be drafted precisely and correctly or else it is not enforceable. We draft QDROs for clients when they are necessary.

Forsyth County DUI: I did the field sobriety tests

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

You were probably being videotaped because just about every Forsyth County patrol car is equipped with a video camera. “Looking bad” on a video of a DUI stop is something that can be addressed in several different ways. In your case, a recent traffic accident can cause physical issues that can make performing well on the field sobriety tests challenging. Of course, if you have physical limitations, completing the tests can be quite difficult. Your DUI lawyer needs to tell the prosecutor about the car accident. Besides injuries, other things, like the conditions of the ground upon which the tests are conducted can influence performance. If the tests are done on an incline, if the ground has holes or if the weather conditions are bad (it might have been raining, or it was very cold) then the results of the field sobriety tests could be called into questions.

QDRO: How pensions are divided in a divorce

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

In a divorce, a pension is divided using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, known as a QDRO. To split a pension you would need to have a QDRO in place. And it is very important that the QDRO is properly drafted. If it is not, there can be major problems in the future. Pensions are assets and are thus often the subjects of negotiation in divorces. Sometimes pensions can involve a large amount of money, other times they are only a small percentage of an individual’s assets. We have seen many situations where pensions are the subject of negotiations between divorcing spouses.

Can I have a jury trial for my DUI in the Sandy Springs Municipal Court?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 05, 2017 | 0 Comments

A person charged with a DUI in Georgia can elect to have a trial. They can have either a jury trial or a “bench trial,” which is a trial in front of a judge. With a jury trial, a jury determines guilt or innocence. With a bench trial, guilt or innocence is determined solely by a judge. You cannot have a jury trial in Sandy Springs. Sandy Springs has a municipal court, and jury trials are not available in municipal courts. Jury trials are only available to a defendant in state court or superior court. In your case, you can elect to have a jury trial, and that trial would be held at the Fulton County State Court in Atlanta. To have a jury trial, you would have to “bind-over” your case from the Sandy Springs Municipal Court to the Fulton County State Court.

Do I have to pay child support even if we were not married?

Posted by William H. Sherman | Mar 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

It does not matter that you were not married to the woman; you still have to pay child support for your child under Georgia law. It also does not matter that your relationship was very brief. The length of a relationship is not relevant. If you are the father of a child, you have to pay child support. To determine your child support obligation, we would need to complete the “child support worksheet.” The child support worksheet, which is created by the Georgia Child Support Commission, incorporates the guidelines used to determine child support in Georgia. The guidelines involve issues like gross income, the cost of children’s health insurance, childcare expenses and extracurricular activities, among others. You certainly need a Georgia child support lawyer who works with these guidelines regularly to help determine what your obligation could be.

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