Drug Addiction In Nevada

Drug addiction is growing by the day and has affected the lives of countless people who once led a normal, healthy life. Almost 24% men while 16% percent of women in America have admitted to abusing at least one type of drug if not all and the number of teenagers abusing drugs is on the rise. The drug situation in Nevada is grim and the imported and locally produced meth leads the list of drugs that concern Nevada. In the urban parts of the state, cocaine especially crack cocaine is being abused on a large scale while clubs drugs have become a regular feature of number of nightclubs out there. Its close proximity to California makes it an important transshipment point for smuggling drugs, which is why drugs are available in abundance in Nevada.

Almost all addicts love to believe that they can easily control their addiction however this is not true, as they suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms when they give up or reduce the frequency of drug use. Addiction causes substantial changes in the brain that remain for a long time even when a person stops abusing drugs. As a result, addicts need much more than will power to overcome their addiction. For complete recovery, addicts not only need to fight the cravings, but also learn to resist all those stimulants from the past that can take them back to where they started. Nevada has number of state-of-the-art rehab centers that help addicts combat their addictive behaviors and lead a life of dignity and respect in the society. These treatment centers offer wide range of treatment options to suit individual needs and it’s important that the choice is made by the patient himself for successful recovery. In patient residential treatment may be the right choice for people who have made a series of unsuccessful attempts to end their addiction. On the other hand, those who have a recent history of drug abuse and seriously want to put an end to their addictive behaviors may go for out patient treatment or counseling.

The number of drug arrests in Nevada is steadily rising and while the number of arrests in the year 2001 was 180, year 2005 statistics indicate that this number went up to 207. In spite of having stringent laws to curtail drug addiction in the state, the fact remains that drug addiction is on the rise.

The nightlife in Nevada can also be blamed for providing opportunities to drug traffickers who make a lot of money providing all kinds of drugs to teenagers in rave parties and nightclubs. In an effort to curb drug related criminal activities in Nevada, DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams have been established. They identify high trafficking areas in Nevada to combat the meth problem that has been bothering the state for quite some time now. With persistent efforts, the state of Nevada will surely succeed in suppressing drug related crimes and the rapidly increasing drug abuse among younger generations across the United States.

Internet Gambling Laws in the US Will Soon Take a Dramatic Turn

The U.K. introduced sweeping changes to its internet gambling laws with the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005. The stated purposes of the act were very noble: to prevent gambling from being a source of crime and disorder; to ensure gambling would be conducted in a fair and open manner; and to protect children from being harmed by enforcing the legal gambling age of 18 years. In practice, of course, the act led to a surge in on site operators moving to the country and a corresponding increase in tax revenues as a result.

In the U.S., the situation is much different. Gambling is legal under Federal law but prohibited in many states, with some local exceptions. Legal gambling states include Nevada and New Jersey, although many states have passed laws that legalize gambling in certain municipalities as well as on Native American lands. Internet gambling laws, on the other hand, have effectively prohibited operators from doing business within the states.

In 2006 Congress approved an act that dramatically affected the internet gambling laws and effectively proclaimed the industry illegal. That act threw the industry into turmoil, and drove virtually all of the U.S. based operations out of the country. Sites operated out of the U.K. and the Bahamas now garner a majority of this profitable business. But numerous faults in the 2006 legislation and the feeling that Congress has more important things to worry about have now pushed the country to the brink of legalizing the industry.

If the U.S. is to proceed with the legalization of gambling over the internet, congress must first do away with its awkward attempt at making it illegal under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (more easily referred to as UIGEA). The purpose of that act was fairly simple: make it illegal for banks, credit card companies, and other payment processors to transfer funds from gamblers to online casinos and from those online casinos back to the gamblers.

You must understand, however, that the preference of lawmakers has always been to prohibit online gambling. But concerns about the constitutionality of such a prohibition as well as the mind boggling problems associated with enforcing the ban have consistently killed any possible actions along those lines. So Congress chose instead to try to attack the problem by preventing the flow of capital between the gamblers and the casinos under the UIGEA.

Now, thanks in no small part to the national financial meltdown, Congress is poised to reverse its approach to internet gambling laws and scrub the problem-plagued UIGEA. Under a couple of proposed House bills including one sponsored by Barney Franks and Ron Paul, Congress now appears poised to legalize and regulate the industry.

Whenever Congress actually considers such a sensible approach you can assume that there are potential tax revenues to be gained. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that one of the major benefits of legalized gambling is additional revenue for the government. Recent studies have indicated that the tax revenues the government stands to reap from a legalized online gambling industry could reach more than $50 billion over the next 10 years.

Hopefully, based on current sentiment in Congress regarding internet gambling laws, U.S. based online gambling fans will soon be able to enjoy their sport legally through U.S. based operations that will be under the scrutiny, and taxing power, of the Federal government.

What is a GDL Law?

The GDL or Graduated Driver Licensing is a means to grant new drivers privileges for driving while setting a certain set of restrictions based on driver age and experience. Eventually, through time and testing the driver’s skill, they are slowly allowed to “graduate” into full driving privileges.

So what’s the difference? – Learner’s Permit

In the state of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Michigan, potential drivers from the age of 14 (with some states requiring 14 1/2 to almost-15) are allowed to apply for a learner’s permit. All of the above states mentioned also make it mandatory for new drivers to have a holding period of at least 6 months until they get an intermediate license. Except for Kansas, which requires 12 months and South Dakota requires 3 months holding if you have completed Drivers Education.

In the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado (with Driver’s Ed), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming require potential drivers to be of the age 15 and up to be allowed to apply for a learner’s permit. In Delaware, with Drivers Education you can apply at 15years 10 months. All of these states require a holding period ranging from 10 days to 9 months, with the exception of New Hampshire which has none.

Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island require their drivers to be at least 16 before they get a learner’s permit. With all of them requiring a holding period of 6 months, except for Connecticut which shortens that holding period to 4 months, if the driver completed Driver’s Ed.

All of these states have a different required number of supervised driving hours (average 30 to 60 hours), which include nighttime driving. Almost all learners’ permit holders are not allowed to travel between states. Should they break this rule, they are punished under the laws of the state they will be caught in.

So what’s the difference? – Intermediate License

Only New Jersey requires drivers to be at least 17 to be eligible for an intermediate license, while North Dakota does not currently have an intermediate stage. All the rest require drivers to be at least 16, with their learner’s permit holding period fulfilled and their driving skills assessed to get an intermediate license.

When it comes to nighttime driving restrictions, only North Dakota and Vermont do not have them. All the other states vary their restrictions from either sunset to sunrise or late at night to early morning for intermediate license holders.

South Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa and Florida currently do not have restrictions when it comes to passengers. To be on the safe side, the ruling for most states is having no more than 1 or 2 passengers who are under the age of 21, or not having passengers at all for the first few months of the intermediate license.

So what’s the difference? – Full, Unrestricted License

Until a driver goes through having a learner’s permit and an intermediate license, the idea is, they have done enough supervised driving to increase their skills and learn the rules of the road to be allowed the full unrestricted license by age 18. Restrictions still vary between states, but laws are being discussed so that 18 is the age required to be allowed to drive without the nighttime and passenger restrictions.

Won’t this make getting a license take longer?

All states, with the exception of North Dakota have the three stages of the GDL and all states that have enforced graduated driver’s licensing have reported drops in fatal crashes. With new laws and the revisions to current ones being approved, the future may see a stricter implementation of GDL laws, along with better-skilled and better-qualified drivers.

What is a GDL Law?

The GDL or Graduated Driver Licensing is a means to grant new drivers privileges for driving while setting a certain set of restrictions based on driver age and experience. Eventually, through time and testing the driver’s skill, they are slowly allowed to “graduate” into full driving privileges.

So what’s the difference? – Learner’s Permit

In the state of Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Michigan, potential drivers from the age of 14 (with some states requiring 14 1/2 to almost-15) are allowed to apply for a learner’s permit. All of the above states mentioned also make it mandatory for new drivers to have a holding period of at least 6 months until they get an intermediate license. Except for Kansas, which requires 12 months and South Dakota requires 3 months holding if you have completed Drivers Education.

In the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado (with Driver’s Ed), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming require potential drivers to be of the age 15 and up to be allowed to apply for a learner’s permit. In Delaware, with Drivers Education you can apply at 15years 10 months. All of these states require a holding period ranging from 10 days to 9 months, with the exception of New Hampshire which has none.

Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island require their drivers to be at least 16 before they get a learner’s permit. With all of them requiring a holding period of 6 months, except for Connecticut which shortens that holding period to 4 months, if the driver completed Driver’s Ed.

All of these states have a different required number of supervised driving hours (average 30 to 60 hours), which include nighttime driving. Almost all learners’ permit holders are not allowed to travel between states. Should they break this rule, they are punished under the laws of the state they will be caught in.

So what’s the difference? – Intermediate License

Only New Jersey requires drivers to be at least 17 to be eligible for an intermediate license, while North Dakota does not currently have an intermediate stage. All the rest require drivers to be at least 16, with their learner’s permit holding period fulfilled and their driving skills assessed to get an intermediate license.

When it comes to nighttime driving restrictions, only North Dakota and Vermont do not have them. All the other states vary their restrictions from either sunset to sunrise or late at night to early morning for intermediate license holders.

South Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa and Florida currently do not have restrictions when it comes to passengers. To be on the safe side, the ruling for most states is having no more than 1 or 2 passengers who are under the age of 21, or not having passengers at all for the first few months of the intermediate license.

So what’s the difference? – Full, Unrestricted License

Until a driver goes through having a learner’s permit and an intermediate license, the idea is, they have done enough supervised driving to increase their skills and learn the rules of the road to be allowed the full unrestricted license by age 18. Restrictions still vary between states, but laws are being discussed so that 18 is the age required to be allowed to drive without the nighttime and passenger restrictions.

Won’t this make getting a license take longer?

All states, with the exception of North Dakota have the three stages of the GDL and all states that have enforced graduated driver’s licensing have reported drops in fatal crashes. With new laws and the revisions to current ones being approved, the future may see a stricter implementation of GDL laws, along with better-skilled and better-qualified drivers.

Truckers And Chain Law!

Winter often means snow-covered and icy roads. Experienced truckers know that the lighter the load, the less traction the tires have. But even trucks hauling heavy loads can lose traction in the snow and ice. That’s why many states will put chain law into effect. Chain law requires truckers to put tire chains on their tires in order to gain more traction. Usually, when chains are required for trucks, cars are also required to use chains or snow tires.

Chain law is publicized by road signs and state road condition portals- websites, road condition hotlines, and the like. You’ll usually only see chain law go into effect on mountain passes, but states can require chains on any roadway that encounters dangerous winter travel conditions.

Some states require that truckers carry the minimum required chains through the winter months, even if they aren’t planning to chain up. Many states may allow cables instead of chains, but most will require truckers to carry chains. Cables are generally frowned on for being less effective.

California Chain Law

Road Conditions: 800-427-7623 (in state) or 916-445-7623(out of state)
Cal-Trans: 916-654-5741

California does not require truckers to carry chains during certain times of the year. However, when trucks enter a posted “chains required” area, they must be carrying chains. And when chain law is in effect, truckers cannot proceed without chains on their tires. Cal-Trans will set up “truck screening” areas when chains are required to make sure that truckers are carrying the minimum required chains, so that if they need to use chains, they will be able to install them.

Generally, California requires 5-axle trucks to have chains on all tires on the main drive axle, two tires on the other drive axle, and one tire on each side of the trailer- any axle.

California has three Chain Conditions they enforce.

R-1 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.

R-2 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles under 6,500 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on all four wheels. Chains for one set of drive wheels must be carried by four wheel-drive vehicles using snow tires.

R-3 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles without exception.

Colorado Chain Law

Road Conditions: 511 or (303) 639-1111(out of state)/877-315-7623 (in state)

Chain law applies to commercial vehicles- if the truck has a gross weight rating of 10,001 lbs and the combined vehicle weight rating (truck and trailer) is 26,001 lbs, if the truck has a weight rating of 26,001 lbs, or if the vehicle is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver).

Drivers are required to carry chains on I 70 from mile marker 163 to mile marker 259 from September 1st through May 31st. If you are caught on this stretch of road during these dates without chains, you may be fined $50 plus $13 surcharge ($73).

New Fines! If chain law is in effect but you choose not to put chains on, you may be fined $500 plus $157 surcharge ($657). If chain law is in effect but you choose not to put chains on and you wind up blocking the road, you maybe fined $1000 plus $313 surcharge ($1,313).

Colorado has two levels of Chain Law they enforce.

Level I Chain Law:
All single-axle combination vehicles must chain up. This means if the truck has only a single drive axle (as opposed to duals), chains are required. All drive tires must be chained.

Level II Chain Law:
Chains are required for all commercial vehicles.

Idaho Chain Law

Idaho Road Conditions: 511 or 888-432-7623

Idaho does not require that truckers carry chains during winter months. However chains may be required to continue travel during winter weather.

Montana Chain Law

Montana Road Conditions: 511 or 406-444-6339 or 800-226-7623

Montana does not require that truckers carry chains during winter months. However, if you choose to travel without putting chains on your tires in a posted “chain area” and you get into an accident, you will have a large fine to pay. Montana requires that all tires of one drive axle be chained when chain law is in effect.

Nevada Chain Law

Nevada Road Conditions: 511 or 877-687-6237

Nevada has roadside signs that state “When Flashing, Chains or Snow Tires Required.” If the lights are flashing, chains are required to continue travel. Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs are required to use chains.

North Dakota Chain Law

North Dakota Road Conditions : 511 or 866-696-3511

There is no mandatory chain law in North Dakota.

Oregon Chain Law

Oregon Road Conditions: 511 or 503-588-2941

During winter weather, trucks are required to carry the minimum amount of chains they would need to don. Oregon doesn’t require that chains be carried between certain dates, but chains are required to be on the truck during winter weather conditions.

During a Conditional Road Closure, drivers are required to install chains on their tires to continue travel.

Oregon uses road signs to inform drivers of the chain-up requirements ahead. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Carry Chains or Traction Tires,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be carried on the truck. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Chains Required on Vehicles Towing or Over 10,000 GVW,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be installed on the tires to proceed. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Chains Required, Traction Tires Allowed on Vehicles Under 10,000 GVW,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be installed on the tires to proceed.

South Dakota Chain Law

South Dakota Road Conditions: 511 or 866-697-3511

South Dakota does not require truckers to carry chains but there are times when travel will be restricted for trucks without chains on the tires.

Utah Chain Law

Utah Road Conditions: 511 or 866-511-8824

Utah requires vehicles that are likely to encounter conditions that require chain-up to carry enough chains for one drive axle.

US Bankruptcy Judge’s Ruling Could Change Foreclosure Laws Nationwide

Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) has been used by lenders nationwide to track mortgages via the system’s database. Lenders who are members of the program are represented in the enforcement of a promissory note secured by a mortgage. A U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in Nevada ruled earlier this year that MERS could no longer represent lenders foreclosing on homeowners in bankruptcy unless the actual loan document could be produced.

Typically, a mortgage note goes through several iterations of sale to different mortgage lenders, which makes it difficult to produce original loan documentation. When lenders begin foreclosing on homeowners in bankruptcy, the original note is often not available.

MERS is a program that was initiated by several lenders over 20 years ago to simplify the complicated mortgage process. The system is designed to track mortgages and any associated sale of the note via a central database. Over 60 million mortgages are currently monitored by the program. Lenders who are members are represented by MERS throughout the foreclosure process.

Although the bankruptcy judge’s ruling presents a roadblock for lenders in the foreclosure process, it is not the first time MERS was challenged in court. The same ruling was handed down in a Florida court; however, the company eventually won on appeal.

For homeowners who owe more than their home is worth, or are unable to pay their mortgage payments, the ruling may only delay proceedings for about a month or more. In attempts to further assist homeowners in default on their mortgage, a Nevada state representative introduced legislation to allow homeowners in financial hardship to ask for arbitration in their mortgage default process. This would overstep service providers like MERS, and require mortgage lenders to be involved, instead.

Even though it was handed down in Nevada, bankruptcy attorneys in other states have voiced appreciation in regards to the ruling. One noted Houston attorney stated that the new law could have a nationwide impact on the ability of lenders to enforce mortgage loans. In addition, it throws some negotiating leverage onto the playing field that was not available before for homeowners in foreclosure going through bankruptcy.

A deluge of complaints have been filed against service providers in regards to aggravating the excessive number of foreclosures initiated in the past two-and-a-half years. On the other hand, MERS argues that its services enable a broader range of home lending options for homebuyers.

The program maintains current mortgage information and ownership, and avoids the astronomical millions associated with recording fees, along with the associated paperwork. MERS officials noted verbiage from one Florida court decision that stated the program was “innovative.”

Will the decision hold up? Regardless, as in the Florida case, MERS immediately appealed the judge’s decision.

The bigger question, however, is whether the ruling will catch fire in other states. Also, it will be interesting to see if the Nevada statesman’s proposed bill will be cause for pause for legislation in other states across the Union.

With all the twists and turns we’re seeing in the courts of late, anything could happen.

The Injustice Of California’s Record Sealing Statute

If you were arrested and tried for a crime where there was not even “reasonable cause” to believe that you committed the crime, you can be left with a criminal record that can prevent you from getting jobs, housing, volunteering in your children’s classroom, and other basic things that those with a clean criminal record can do. All this damage comes from a crime that you clearly did not commit.

California’s record sealing statute, Penal Code section 851.8. is designed to prevent this gross injustice by allowing people who are found factually innocent to have all records of the arrest and court case sealed and destroyed. In most situations, the statute successfully balance the state’s right to preserve information against an individual’s right to preserve their reputation. However, in a large number of situations, wrongfully-accused individuals are left with life-long damage caused by the records of arrests or court cases were they were factually innocent, but the statute does allow for the records to be sealed.

The California Department of Justice (CDOJ) keeps a complete criminal history of every person who has ever been arrested or charged in court with a criminal offense. This report is commonly referred to as a rap sheet or background report. Among other things, the rap sheet shows are the date, location, and reason for the arrest or court case. Even if a person is found innocent or if the charges are dropped, the record of the arrest and any court case is shown on the individual’s rap sheet.

Unlike reports kept by credit bureaus or the Department of Motor Vehicles, which only show negative history for a limited number of years, once something appears on the CDOJ rap sheet, it stays forever; unless the individual successfully petitions to have the record of the arrest and trial sealed. A successful petition to have a record sealed with wipe clean any evidence of the arrest or court case from the CDOJ rap sheet.

The CDOJ will only release the rap sheet to authorized state agencies for limited purposes or to the individual who requests their own rap sheet by filing a petition, submitting fingerprints, and paying nominal fee (which can be waived for individuals who cannot afford the fee). Despite an apparent attempt to keep the rap sheet from public disclosure, raps sheets are widely used for private purposes. According to a 2006 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 80 percent of mid-size to large employers conducted criminal background checks to screen potential employees. That is up 26 percent from 1996. Rap sheets are often required by a wide range of other individuals and organizations, from landlords to Little Leagues.

The information contained on raps sheets often determines which applicant gets such things as housing, employment, or the ability to interact with their children. There is no law in California that prevents these decisions from being made on the basis of arrests or charges for which the person was factually innocent. Accordingly, it is good public policy to have raps sheets be accurate and free of information that would wrongly prejudice an individual. California’s record sealing law gives most wrongfully accused citizens a way to clear their rap sheet of negative information.

The procedure is put forth in section 851.8 states:

“in any case where a person has been arrested, and an accusatory pleading has been field, but where no conviction has occurred, the defendant may, at any time after dismissal of the action, petition the court which dismissed the action for a finding that the defendant is factually innocent of the charges for which the arrest was made.”

If the individual is successful the statute states:

“The court shall also order the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense and the Department of Justice to request the destruction of any records of the arrest which they have given to any local, state, or federal agency, person or entity. Each state or local agency, person or entity within the State of California receiving such a request shall destroy its records of the arrest and the request to destroy such records, unless otherwise provided in this section.”

One of the major problems is that that statute does not expressly allow for the partial sealing of an arrest record. Courts have yet to interpret PC 851.8 as allowing “surgical excision of certain parts of arrest records.” People v. Matthews 7 C. A. 4th 1052 (1992). So if an individual who is charged with two crimes is found factually innocent of one the crimes and guilty of the other, no part of the record can be sealed. Consider this scenario that leads to an unjust and unexpected result:

A couple is having a heated argument. A neighbor who fears violence calls the police. When the police arrive one of the suspects, who is in fit of rage, wrongfully accuses the other of sexual assault. The police arrest the accused for sexual assault and disturbing the peace. An hour later, the accuser calms down, loses the anger and recants the testimony to the police. The wrongful charge of sexual assault is never filed in court. However, the accused goes to court and pleads guilty to a misdemeanor of disturbing the peace and is sentenced with a $200 fine. Unbeknownst to this defendant, and most defendants, is that there is another sentence that they will have for life. Whenever someone else views their rap sheet, they will see that the defendant was arrested for a felony charge of sexual assault. The defendant will have to spend a lifetime hoping people believe the explanation for the negative history on the rap sheet and dealing with the likelihood that it will cause unfair prejudice.

This unjust and unexpected result hurts the individual and society by placing large, life-long obstacles in a path of a person trying to reach their personal and professional potential.

The legislative history makes it clear that the legislature found it unjust for a citizen to be burdened by an arrest record for a crime that was not committed. There is nothing in the plain language of the statute or in logic that suggests that the legislature would tolerate the unjust burden of one charge simply because the defendant is justly burdened by separate charge.

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “pre-nup”, or “premarital agreement”, is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing marital assets, and alimony will be dealt with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple’s property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or subsequent marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were “in derogation of marriage”, meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You’re in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other’s marriage commitments.

What’s in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or might acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, i.e. are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you might want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to preserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in “fidelity clauses” being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse needing public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage cannot be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into by both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under “duress,” a legal term meaning “pressure.” Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will constitute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly constitute duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the biggest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional stress of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was canceled. It’s not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constitutes duress, see “Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements”.

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into “knowingly.” The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband’s assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not constitute full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party deliberately or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one’s financial information would constitute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, unless this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would be presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include whether the disadvantaged party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not coerced into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantial business experience and acumen, and (4) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband’s attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife’s business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is “unconscionable” if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court doesn’t lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, and gave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionability, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party might reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.

Your Cell Phone as a Beacon

Last night was a pretty typical weeknight at my home, I drove home from work
and filled up with gas before I got home, I left my house again at around 5:30
to take my son to his Karate lesson. While I was out I stopped by the local
library to return some books and then swung over to the dry cleaners to pick up
my shirts and slacks and some stuff for my wife. I picked up my son from his
lesson and we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some bread and milk on
our way back to the house.

Now, you aren’t the first people to know my whereabouts that night. Because I
had my cellular phone with me, the cell phone company that provides my cellular
services knew where I was at the entire time. They tracked me with my cellular
telephone.

How is this possible?

It is possible because people who use their cell phone need to be able to make a
call whenever and wherever they may be located at the time they dial the number
on their phone. Therefore, the cellular companies must be able to route the call
to the nearest cellular tower, which in turn sends your call to the satellite in
space, which sends your signal to the person you are calling. The tower that
handled the call is typically logged (and stored indefinitely) on the wireless
provider’s computers, though it’s not noted on the customer’s monthly bill. In
order for the cell phone company to know what tower you are at, they must be
able to track the signal from your cell phone when it is on.

In the expanded age of advanced communication and the literally thousands of
issues of privacy that it has since spawned, many people would be horrified to
learn that they can be tracked by the phone company via their mobile phone. The
phone companies claim this is a integral part of the service they provide,
privacy advocates say that this is just another way large corporations have
invaded our lives.

Wading into the fray over this controversy concerning your cell phone is another
larger and important player: law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies are now
utilizing the technology of tracking cellular signals to catch criminals and
terrorists. A few cases of dangerous criminals being tracked and caught while on
their telephones have been documented and law enforcement is now fighting with
the cellular companies to ensure its continued use.

Have we lost our privacy by cell phone tracking or have we just gained a
valuable tool for law enforcement to use in keeping us safe? Do the cell phone
companies need to know where you are in order to provide their service, or have
they found, as some privacy advocates claim, a backdoor into your life, your
locations, your shopping habits?

Part One: Mobile 911.

According to the TechTV Show “Talkback”, Cell phones show where you are, and
that is simply part of their design. Without the ability to pinpoint where the
signal from your phone is coming from, calls could never be connected. Because
cell phones decry the use of wires, and the users making the calls are often on
the move, the call and the receiving signal are not at a fixed location.
Therefore, the signal from the cell phone must be tracked.

Cell phone service areas are divided into “cells,” each of which is serviced by
a base station. When you make a call, your cell phone selects the strongest base
station it can find, which is usually the closest station to you.

If you move out of the coverage of one base station, your phone switches to the
next strongest available base station (which usually means you move into a new
cell). The system always knows your location relative to the nearest cell.

This occurs even when your phone is on but not being used. For efficiency’s
sake, an idle cell phone sends out a message on the access channel so that the
system will know where to direct the page if you get an incoming call. The
system knows where you are. In an urban area, each tower covers an area of
approximately 1 to 2 square miles, so a caller’s general location is fairly easy
to pinpoint.

The proliferation of cellular phones and their usage gave birth to a very unique
problem: How would emergency operators track callers who called 911 on their
mobile phone? Dialing 911 from a traditional, wire-based telephone, allowed the
operator to track where the call was being placed, so that an emergency response
could be sent. On mobile phones, the people calling in the emergency had no idea
where they were, and the 911 operators had no way of exactly pin pointing where
the calls where originating.

Enter e911. According to the web site “Webopedia” , E911 is “short for Enhanced
911, a location technology advanced by the FCC that enables cellular phones to
process 911 emergency calls and enable emergency services to locate the
geographic position of the caller. When a person makes a 911 call using a
traditional phone with ground wires, the call is routed to the nearest public
safety answering point (PSAP) that then distributes the emergency call to the
proper services. The PSAP receives the caller’s phone number and the exact
location of the phone from which the call was made. Prior to 1996, 911 callers
using a mobile phone would have to access their service providers in order to
get verification of subscription service before the call was routed to a PSAP.
In 1996 the FCC ruled that a 911 call must go directly to the PSAP without
receiving verification of service from a specific cellular service provider. The
call must be handled by any available service carrier even if it is not the
cellular phone customer’s specific carrier. Under the FCC’s rules, all mobile
phones manufactured for sale in the United States after February 13, 2000, that
are capable of operating in an analog mode must include this special method for
processing 911 calls. ”

In an article entitled “How cell phones reveal your location” published on the
Slate (http://www.slate.com) web site, with e911, emergency operators were able
to track calls from wireless phones in less to one or one half of a mile from
where the call originated. The technology was so successfully that the
government made it a law that all cellular phones carry the technology that
enables calls to be tracked. This law is called the Wireless Communications and
Public Safety Act of 1999 (911 Act) and signed into law by President Clinton on
October 26, 1999. According to the law, 95 percent of all cell phones must be
E911 compliant by the end of 2005.

In compliance with the new law, and to better improve the service with its
customers, many cell phone handsets are now equipped with Global Positioning
System chips, which determine a caller’s coordinates by receiving signals beamed
down from a satellite array. The chip factors together the signals’ different
arrival times to calculate the phone’s coordinates, using a mathematical process
known as trilateration. At present, however, GPS data is typically not recorded
for non-emergency purposes, unless the user has explicitly signed up for a
location-based service.

Part Two: The Hacker and the Terrorist

Kevin Mitnick was a hacker. That is to say, he was king of all the hackers.
Mitnick, “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw,” eluded the police, US
Marshalls, and FBI for over two years after vanishing while on probation for his
1989 conviction for computer and access device fraud. His downfall was his
Christmas 1994 break-in to Tsutomu Shimomura’s computers in San Diego,
California. Shimomura just happened to be the head of computing technology at
the San Diego Super Computer Center. Less than two months after having his
computers hacked, Shimomura had tracked Mitnick down after a cross-country
electronic pursuit. Mitnick was arrested by the FBI in Raleigh, North Carolina,
on February 15th, 1995.

Mitnick was charged in North Carolina with 23 counts of access device fraud for
his activities shortly before his arrest. In California, he was charged with an
additional 25 counts of access device, wire, and computer fraud. On March 16,
1999, Mitnick plead guilty to five of these counts and two additional counts
from the Northern District of California. He was sentenced to 46 months and
three years probation. He was released from prison on January 21, 2000, being
eligible for early release after serving almost 60 months of his 68 month
sentence.

How was the FBI able to capture “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw”? By
tracking down a signal from his cell phone.

Luke Helder was going to set off some bombs. Specifically, he was going to set
off bombs in mailboxes across the United States until the locations of his bombs
made a “smiley face” pattern across the map of the U.S. He probably would have
accomplished his morbid feat had he not made one crucial mistake; he turned on
his cell phone.

According to USA Today, as soon as he activated it, FBI agents quickly
triangulated his position between two rural towns and had him in handcuffs
within an hour, according to Nevada authorities. The fact that another motorist
spotted Helder in passing helped authorities, but the cell phone signal was a
dead giveaway

“We got a call from the FBI at approximately 3:20 p.m. that the cell phone that
(Helder) had been known to have had been activated somewhere between Battle
Mountain and Golconda,” said Maj. Rick Bradley of the Nevada Highway Patrol. “We
started hitting Interstate 80.”

Bradley said tracking down Helder without the pinpoint location provided by the
FBI would have been tougher, given the sprawling region.

“It’s really a rural area. There’s not that much police presence,” Bradley said.

Cell phone triangulation is a well-known tracking method within the wireless
industry, said Michael Barker, an equipment sales manager for Cell-Loc, based in
Calgary, Alberta. His company provides tracking services to help people who are
incapacitated and unable to dial for help.

and out of cell tower range.

According to Slate, Location data extrapolated from tower records is frequently
used in criminal cases. It was vital, for example, to the prosecution of David
Westerfield, who was convicted of murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in San
Diego. The killer’s cell-phone usage revealed a bizarre travel pattern in the
two days following the girl’s disappearance, including a suspicious trip to the
desert. In cases like this, wireless providers will not release a user’s records
without a court order, save for rare instances in which a kidnapping has taken
place and time is of the essence.

Domestic crime is not the only arena of law enforcement that is utilizing the
tracking of mobile phone signals, the FBI and CIA have been using this technique
in an effort to capture public enemy number one: Osama Bin Laden.

Author Dan Campbell, writing in the October 2001 issue of Telepolis Magazine,
describes how the world’s most wanted man, coordinated his attacks via his
mobile phone.

“Between 1996 and 1998, when the America’s embassy in Kenya was bombed, the FBI
found that Osama bin Laden and his staff had spent nearly 40 hours making
satellite phone calls from the mountains of Afghanistan. The calls, which can be
sent and received from a special phone the size of a laptop computer, were
relayed via a commercial satellite to sympathizers in the west.

The satellite phone appears to have been a huge convenience for the world’s most
wanted terrorist. He was billed for thousands of minutes of use over two years,
those records indicate, and used it to issue a fatwa in February 1998 that
called on Muslims to kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world.

Even now, as US forces move in for the kill, bin Laden’s satellite phone has not
been cut off. But calls to the terrorist leader are going unanswered. His
international phone number – 00873 682505331 – was disclosed during a trial,
held in New York earlier this year. Calls to his once-active satellite link now
hear only a recorded messages saying he is “not logged on”. ”

Indeed, when bin Laden associates went to trial in April on charges of bombing
U.S. embassies in Africa, the prosecution used billing records for calls from
that phone to connect them to bin Laden–but not intercepts of conversations.

Apparently, the FBI are not the only individuals aware of the fact that the
tracing of mobile phone signals can be used to track down an individual’s
location. With American forces closing in on him during the battle of Tora Bora
in late 2001, Osama bin Laden employed a simple trick against sophisticated
United State spy technology to vanish into the mountains that led to Pakistan
and sanctuary.

According to CBS News, A Moroccan who was one of bin Laden’s long-time
bodyguards took possession of the al-Qaeda leader’s satellite phone on the
assumption that US intelligence agencies were monitoring it to get a fix on
their position, said senior Moroccan officials, who have interviewed the
bodyguard, Abdallah Tabarak.

Tabarak moved away from bin Laden and his entourage as they fled, using the
phone to divert the Americans and allow bin Laden to escape. Tabarak was later
captured at Tora Bora in possession of the phone.

The use of Cell phone triangulation and the tracking of other mobile signals
appear to be an effective weapon for law enforcement, one that many agencies are
going to be reluctant to give up. But does the use of technology come at a
price: the sacrifice of privacy and civil rights of the people using mobile
technology.

Part Three: Cell Phone Commercials

The ability to track a person using their cell phone has not been lost on
marketing professionals looking to find a new avenue into consumer buying habits
and preferences. The ability to track individuals’ movements through their
mobile signal has very appealing commercial potentials. For example:

∑ Your phone will be able to tell you where the nearest hospital, shopping mall,
or McDonald’s is located

∑ Merchants could automatically send you location-based advertising and special
offers when their technology senses you’re near their stores

∑ If you’ve pre-loaded their phone numbers and personal information, your phone
could alert you when a friend or family member is in the area

“Advertisers are eager to use location services to alert you when you pass near
a store that might be of interest. Such services are likely in some form, but
carriers are proceeding cautiously. They’re aware you may not want to see ads
for McDonalds every time you pass by the golden arches. Carriers don’t want to
annoy users because it’s so easy to switch providers”, says Allen Nogee, a
senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group said on the CNN web site.

The idea of advertisers and law enforcement knowing where you are at any given
moment and where you have been has naturally rubbed privacy-advocate groups the
wrong way. While there is some upsides for the use of this technology, privacy
groups say the potential for abuse of this technology is very high and very real
and they would like to see some provisions built into cell-phone tracking laws
that allow for the privacy of the consumer not to be compromised.

“There certainly need to be better emergency procedures [for cell-phone calls],”
says David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center
in Washington, D.C during an interview with ABC news. “But once the technology
exists, there has to be some way for users to control how the info can be used.”

Sobel says while the FCC mandated the E911 program, federal legislators haven’t
put into place how that information may be used or who would have access to it.

“The Justice Department and FBI do routinely get information from cell-phone
service providers,” says Sobel. But, “There are lingering question on what the
legal standard is to be used to get location information from cell-phone
providers. There is nothing in federal law that addresses that issue.”

According to Sobel, another large privacy issue that might be at stake is not
only the information that is being delivered by using this technology, but the
technology itself might be violating the privacy of mobile communications just
by the way the technology works.

“The e911 rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission govern the
emerging form of telecommunications known as “packet mode” communication. Law
enforcement agencies already have the authority to demand information that
identifies a phone call as long as it is separate from the call’s contents.
However, with packet-mode communication technology, data containing the numbers
cannot be separated from data containing phone conversations. Thus when police
agencies demand phone number data, phone service providers will have to give
them data containing conversations as well,” said Sobel.

Sobel and lawyers from two other organizations are asking the U.S. Court of
Appeals in Washington, D.C., to block the FCC rules. “The FBI is seeking
surveillance capabilities that far exceed the powers law enforcement has had in
the past and is entitled to under the law,” Sobel said.

Similar legislation for the ability to track movements using mobile technology
has met with stiff resistance in other countries. According to ZDNET UK
(http://www.zdnet.com) in the United Kingdom, civil liberties advocates are
outraged at the implications of the newly passed Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act, which could allow British law enforcement agencies to trace the
movements of mobile phone users with a minimum of accountability. Privacy
advocates have vowed to have this law over-turned in this country, but in the
meantime, the British government plans to fully extend and incorporate this law
into British law enforcement, no matter what privacy groups say.

“The whole point of RIP (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) is to
update surveillance,” a spokeswoman from the British Home Office said. “If you
haven’t broken the law then you’ve nothing to fear.”

Conclusion: Cell Phone Spam?

Law enforcement agencies, already beleaguered by an out of control handgun
problem and a across the board rise in crime in the United States, coupled with
the fact that they must now deal with the horrifying specter of terrorism in
their cities, will not be too quick to give up a powerful new weapon in catching
criminals, especially not one that will essentially tell them where they are
exactly. Any fight that privacy groups may put up will ultimately prove to be
futile to lawmakers in Congress, who want to be seen as giving law enforcement
every chance they can to be effective.

However, privacy groups have a legitimate point in their fears that a technology
of this sort is ripe to be exploited unless the lawmakers take action to limit
the very personal data offered by this tracking technology. Email is a perfect
example of a technology that, in its infant stages, was seen as revolutionary
new form of communication. Now, email systems are so overloaded with spam coming
in from not only the United States but also from Russia and Nigeria, that
congress has acted to implement new laws to stem the tide.

Cell phones now have the ability to send and receive photographs, how much
longer will it be before advertising, in full color begins to find its way to
your telephone? The outrage of having “cell-phone spam” may be so great that he
consumer uproar will cause any type of mobile technology to be severely limited
by law, perhaps even stripping out some of the positive aspects such as those
used by law enforcement.

Auto Insurance Laws And Requirements

Nevada auto insurance requirements exist so that vehicle owners can pay for damage and personal injuries that result from an accident they caused. Drivers must comply with the state’s laws in regards to the type of coverage they obtain in an auto policy. The policy can only be purchased from an insurer that is approved to provide coverage in the state.

According to Nevada Revised Statute 485, vehicle owners must have coverage provided by an insurer licensed to do business in the state of Nevada. The policy must remain active while the vehicle is in the state. If the policy is cancelled or terminated, the insurer will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles.

NRS 485 also requires vehicle owners to possess an auto policy with bodily injury coverage of at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 total to cover the expenses for multiple people injured in an accident. The auto policy must also have at least $10,000 of property damage coverage per accident.

The limits established for basic liability insurance are fairly small and may not cover all of the expenses that are incurred in a major auto accident. As a result, many vehicle owners choose to purchase higher coverage limits to protect themselves if they are at fault for an accident. Having higher policy limits that sufficiently cover the damages in an accident is important. It reduces the chances of injured parties trying to garnish or seize the at-fault driver’s personal assets in a lawsuit.

The insurance requirements for teen drivers are the same as they are for adult drivers. Since teenagers are new drivers, they are more prone to getting into accidents. Even though teenagers only need the same basic liability coverage as other adults, the cost of premiums for teenagers tends to be a lot higher. When shopping for insurance, teens can find out if it is cheaper to get their own policy or to be added to the policy of a relative or household member.

Nevada has an Insurance Verification Program that helps the Department of Motor Vehicles identify uninsured vehicles. If it is reported that a vehicle doesn’t have proper coverage, the owner will be notified. The written notification will request the owner to verify the existence of a valid policy. When verification isn’t received by the designated date stated in the notice, the Department of Motor Vehicles will cancel the vehicle’s registration. Penalties for driving without valid registration or an active policy may include fines, license suspension, and law enforcement impounding the vehicle.