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Criminal Law

White Law Office, Co. > Criminal Law

Social Media and the Law

We are in a social media-driven day and age. On average, internet users spend about 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networking platforms. Saima Salim, How much time do you spend on social media? Research says 142 minutes per day. With such a significant amount of time spent on these sites, it is wise to be aware of some of the legal issues you could face. There are many aspects where social media and the law collide. Privacy First of all, consider the privacy of the information you post online (or the lack thereof). How often do you put something online and consider whether you would want a judge or prosecutor to view the evidence? Courts are seeing social media used in cases more and more often, especially in divorce cases. If you post something online, it is very possible that it can be used against you in court. Social media sites are built to collect data from you. That is one of their primary goals. They are fueled by companies who advertise to your specific needs and wants. They use a multitude of tricks to get you to give them information, and anyone – including the government – can be collecting this data from you. As the ABA eloquently put it, "In Europe, Canada, and other countries across the world, protection of each citizen's private information is considered to be a human right, secured by statute and enforced by the government and private causes of action. In...

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Finding the Right Fit When Searching for a Lawyer

Lawyers have solutions that can be close to “one size fits all” for simple matters, those solutions are only for the most basic of situations.Every nuance and detail of your situation, no matter how small you might think it is, can cause the recommended solution for your problem to change.This, among other reasons, is why it is so hard to compare attorneys based on price point. Some attorneys will attempt to shoehorn you into a solution that may not be the best for your situation, but it is “low cost.”We have witnessed this when so-called “Trust Mills” come through town.They charge a set price, and they have never met anyone who doesn’t need a Trust.The thing is, we have met plenty of people that didn’t need a Trust.The Trust was overkill for their situation, not set up correctly, and in the end a waste of their money. Legal services should be like a good pair of shoes.They should fit well and last a long time, or at least until your situation changes and you need a different pair.One size fits all solutions in legal services are like one size fits all clothing—they are made in bulk, out of the cheapest material, all to benefit the manufacturer.Yes, it is cheap, but it wasn’t made with you in mind.Having a custom-tailored solution takes time and getting to know you as a person.Sure, at the end of the day, it may be more expensive, but it fits you and won’t wear out too quickly. So if...

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5 Questions to Ask When Looking for an Attorney

Finding an attorney adds stress to an already stressful situation. So, when you realize you need an attorney how can you be sure that you find the right one? 1. Does the attorney have a reputation for being able to handle your kind of matter? The single greatest factor in most people’s search for an attorney is personal recommendations. Ask your friends, family, neighbors, pastor, or other service providers who they recommend. Then ask them why they recommend that attorney. Is it because they got the job done quickly? Did the attorney keep them informed? What exactly was it that made them recommend that attorney to you. After looking for personal recommendations, search out the attorney on the internet and on social media. What are other people saying about the attorney? Do they advertise the kind of work you need? Have they written articles on the work you need? Using a combination of personal recommendations and online reviews can help lead you to an attorney that may fit your needs. 2. Does the attorney listen to your situation before recommending a solution? Once you are found an attorney you need to meet with them. This is usually in person, but it can also be done over the phone or via video chat. When you are meeting with the attorney the first time, who is doing most of the talking? That first meeting should start with you doing most of the talking and the attorney asking questions. Every situation is unique, and if the attorney doesn’t take time to...

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Protecting the Family [Tree] Farm: Part 2 (For Future Generations)

My last post mentioned some ways to protect your tree farm from misuse or abuse when logging or selling the timber off your property. But what will become of your tree farm in the future? What if you want to preserve it as a tree farm for future generations? If you have family that will carry on the legacy, a simple Will could be sufficient to keep the property in the family. If, however, you don't have family who wants to preserve the property, or you want to make sure property remains forested long after you and your family are gone, you may be interested in a conservation easement. A conservation easement basically preserves the land as it's being used, whether for typical agricultural products (corn, wheat, soy, etc.) or as a tree farm. You would be giving an organization, such as a land trust or conservancy, the right to permanently enforce the easement on the land – to use the property only for the stated purposes. In Ohio, if you want to receive compensation for having a conservation easement on your land, you could do this through a grant from the Clean Ohio Fund's Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). In that case, your land would have to meet certain requirements, such as having a minimum of 40 acres, it must contain a restriction against subdividing parcels in the future, and for forested land, it has to have a written Forest Management Plan in place. If you aren't concerned with...

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Embezzlement: How to Catch A Thief (Part 1)

If you are a business owner, how do you know if the person in charge of the books is not skimming off the top? What checks and balances do you have in place to ensure more than one person is looking at the financials? It should be an area that business owners review regularly but often times it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of the business. Things like the bank reconciliation statements and cash flow statements get put on the back burner for review at a later date. So what exactly is embezzlement? Embezzlement is the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud. It's an employee who has taken it upon themselves to dictate how company money is spent and who feels a sense of entitlement. It's an abuse of power and the trust that the employee has been given. Let's start looking at ways to mitigate the chances of an employee embezzling money and look at potential red-flags. There are various studies done on an annual basis to determine the effects of embezzlement. One of the main things business owners can do to prevent embezzlement is getting to know their employees and looking for different characteristics as described below. The 2018 Hiscox Embezzlement Study states that...

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Giving Testimony: High Anxiety Part 2 – The Number One Mistake

Welcome to Part Two of my series of observations on the high anxiety of giving testimony. In this part, the number one mistake made by witnesses. Giving testimony is really a fairly simple procedure. Attorneys ask questions and witnesses give answers. Most questions are about something the witness has experienced. So, a good pattern of questions is similar to a journalist conducting an interview: who, what, when, where, how and why? Simple, right? Not so much. Especially with the "why" question, witnesses often commit the number one mistake in testifying: they guess. Whenever a witness says: "I guess," "I would imagine," "I'm pretty sure," "I suppose," or "from what everyone has told me," you know the witness is heading for trouble. Most of the time the last answer "what everyone has told me" is not allowed by the hearsay rule, but if you are an attorney whose witness is guessing, any objection you make in effect says "Sorry, Your Honor, my witness is an idiot and doesn't know what they are talking about." This is not a good position to be in when it is your witness testifying, much less if it is your client testifying. Why is guessing an answer the number one mistake in testifying? Because most of the time you will guess wrong! It never fails. Most guesses given under oath are just plain wrong. Trust me on this. I have had almost 40 years' experience of listening to bad guesses. Good trial attorneys know that. This is why if it is...

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Giving Testimony: High Anxiety Part 1

As a lawyer and judge, I have been around people giving testimony for about 40 years. Every time I reach the end of a trial or a round of depositions (before trial testimony given in lawyers' offices), I promise myself to write about the experience that I have seen so many go through (and occasionally gone through myself). Here are some of my observations about testifying for good or ill. The anxiety begins with the Oath or Affirmation. Anxiety, often high anxiety, is built into the process of testifying. Giving any testimony requires that you raise your right hand and swear or affirm, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Swearing an oath to testify truthfully is in the form of, "Do you solemnly swear the that your testimony shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" to which the witness responds, "I do." The purpose of the oath is to impress the witness with the solemnity of the trial and summons thoughts of divine retribution for lying under oath (which is also a seldom prosecuted crime called perjury). While I have never seen bolts from the sky strike down a perjurer, I have from time to time moved my chair to put greater distance between me and a witness that I highly suspected was lying. You know, just in case. As an alternative to taking an oath, a witness may "affirm the tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...

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