Stages of a Mississippi Car Wreck Case

  1. Car Wreck Occurs
  2. Medical Care and Followup
  3. Attorney Consultation & Hire Attorney
  4. File Insurance Claim
  5. Attorney Investigates the Car Wreck Claim
  6. Attorney’s Office Gathers Medical Records
  7. Demand for Settlement of Car Wreck Claim
  8. Lawsuit is Filed
  9. Discovery
  10. Settlement Negotiations
  11. Trial

For a FREE CONSULTATION on your car wreck case, please call DABAR LAW today!

DABAR LAW SOUTHAVEN   662-510-2214

DABAR LAW HERNANDO    662-469-4411

 

Standard Field Sobriety Testing Clues & Your DUI

Standard Field Sobriety Testing, or SFSTs consists of 3 tests

HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS (HGN) is the involuntary jerking of the eyes when gazing from side to side usually caused by drugs, alcohol or medical condition.

Consists of 3 Possible Test Clues:

1. lack of smooth pursuit

2. distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation

3. onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees

WALK & TURN

Consists of 8 Possible Test Clues:

1. cannot keep balance

2. starts too soon

3. stops while walking

4. does not touch heal to toe

5. steps off line

6. uses arms to balance

7. improper turn

8. incorrect number of steps

ONE LEG STAND

Consists of 4 Possible Test Clues:

1. sways while balancing

2. uses arms to balance

3. hopping

4. puts foot down

***SOURCE Standard Filed Sobriety Testing Training Manuel

Call DABAR LAW today for consultation on your DUI case.

DABAR LAW SOUTHAVEN       662-510-2214

DABAR LAW HERNANDO        662-469-4411

BASIC MISSISSIPPI FELONY PROCEDURE

1. ARREST.
2. INITIAL APPEARANCE. Within 48 hours of arrest, the person arrested must be brought before a judge to be informed of the charges that are holding him or her in jail and to have the judge set a bond.
3. BOND HEARING. The person arrested on a felony cannot get out of jail without a bond. A bond is an amount of money paid by the person arrested (cash bond) or with the help of a bondsman who takes a percentage of cash money on the bond issued by the Court(about 10 percent)and then insures the remaining amount. A bond is paid to insure that the arrested person will come to Court. If the accused person does not show up for court after “bonding out of jail”, then a judge will issue a bench warrant for the accused person’s arrest and a judgment that if the accused is not arrested the bond is forfeited. The bonding company attempts to capture the accused to avoid paying out the judgment for the full amount of the bond. If a bond is set unreasonably too high for the accused to be released, then the accused’s lawyer can request a bond reduction hearing before the judge. There are some instances when the accused is not entitled to a bond due to being a flight risk or risk to the safety of the victim.
4.PRELIMINARY HEARING. A preliminary hearing is conducted to show whether there is probable cause to hold the accused in jail until the Grand Jury meets. The accused person has a preliminary hearing if he or she cannot successfully be released from jail on a bond. If the accused is released from jail on a bond, then there is no right to preliminary hearing.
5.GRAND JURY. In Mississippi, a “felony” criminal case moves from the local city or Justice Court to Circuit Court after the accused is indicted by a grand jury. The district attorney’s office presents a “felony” criminal case to a secret grand jury to determine if the State of Mississippi has enough evidence to fairly require a citizen to answer to and defend against a felony criminal charge. If the grand jury rejects the district attorney’s case for indictment, then the lower court may take the case back and prosecute the case as a misdemeanor. The primary difference between a felony and misdemeanor is that if convicted of the felony, the possible jail time for the accused is more than one year.
6.SERVICE OF CAPIAS AND INDICTMENT. After the grand jury issues a felony capias and indictment against the accused, the sheriff will serve a copy of the capias and indictment to the accused person with a list of charges and a date to appear before the Circuit Court. If the person is already out of jail on a bond and on good terms with the bonding company, then sometimes the accused can pick up their capias and indictment from the sheriff’s office instead of being arrested again. Sometimes the accused has to be arrested for the first time upon the indictment and released from jail with a bond.
7.ARRAIGNMENT. An arraignment is a formal hearing where the accused appears before the Circuit Court and pleads guilty or not guilty of the felony charge or charges stated in the indictment from the grand jury.
8.6th AMENDMENT RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY. A person accused of a felony can either hire a private attorney to help defend against the felony indictment or may be entitled to a public defender if the accused is indigent or unable to pay for a private defense attorney.
9.DISCOVERY. After the accused either hires a defense attorney or utilizes the services of a court appointed attorney, the attorney will request discovery from the district attorney’s office. Discovery is basically all the evidence that the State of Mississippi has in the felony case, both good and bad. The defense lawyer will provide a copy of the discovery to the accused person and schedule an appointment to review discovery. The attorney and accused will also begin to discuss any plea offers made by the State of Mississippi. If the accused decides to take the case to trial, then reciprocal discovery from the accused will be required to be submitted to the district attorney’s office. Basically, both sides must submit any evidence they plan to introduce at trial in the discovery process prior to trial or risk that evidence not being admitted at trial.
10.PLEA. If the accused decides to accept a plea offer from the district attorney’s office, rather than take the case to trial, then the accused will submit a plea petition and participate in a hearing before the Circuit Court Judge to accept that plea. Typically, the district attorney will have a recommendation for sentencing on the case but the Circuit Court Judge is not required to accept that recommendation from the district attorney.
11.TRIAL. If plea negotiations are unsuccessful or the accused maintains his or her innocence, then the case may proceed to trial. If the accused is found not guilty or innocent at trial, then the case is over and the accused is free to leave. If the accused is found guilty at trial, then the Court can proceed or put off sentencing of the convicted person to a later date.
12.APPEAL. If the accused person is found guilty and the Circuit Court Judge will not reconsider his ruling, the convicted person may appeal the Circuit Court Judge’s ruling to either the Mississippi Court of Appeals or the Mississippi Supreme Court to decide whether the Circuit Court Judge’s decision will be upheld. A ruling from the Mississippi Court of Appeals may be appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

DOCUMENTS TO BRING TO YOUR DIVORCE ATTORNEY

In order for a divorce attorney to properly evaluate and give you advice on your prospective case, it is important you bring the following basic evidence or supporting documents with you to your first consultation:

*tax returns for the last five years
*pay stubs, sources of income for both spouses
*bank records including checking, savings, certificate of deposit, money market
*credit card records
*pension, 401K, profit-sharing plans
*investment records
*marital asset titles such as property deeds, automobile titles
*list of all insurance policies
*list of all marital debts and assets
*list of all debts and assets of both spouses before the marriage
*copy of prior divorce decrees of either spouse
*other sources of income

SPECIFIC PROVISIONS FOR CHILD VISITATION ORDERS

To avoid frustration regarding visitation with your child and to avoid going back to court for costly modification orders, it is important to have very clear and specific provisions regarding visitation with your child such as the following:

*specific weekend provisions such as the 1st, 3rd, & 5th weekend versus the phrase “every other weekend”
*list of holidays, fall and spring breaks with an odd year and even year schedule versus “every other year” language
*consider adding yearly important dates that are not typically included in official holiday schedules such as Halloween, Veteran’s Day
*specific pick-up and drop-off times
*a minimum and maximum waiting period for scheduled visitation exchanges
*a prior notice time for exercising summer visitation, such as 1 month prior to the last day of school
*agreement on sharing information regarding school and extracurricular activities
*agreement on how to share the child for special events that conflict with visitation or custody such as weddings, funerals and family reunions
*specific agreement for sharing the child for the child’s birthday, parent’s birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
*specific agreement regarding phone, social media and internet access with the child
*specific agreement regarding how conflicts in the visitation order are communicated and resolved, especially as the child ages and becomes more independent

PROTECTING CHILDREN DURING THE DIVORCE

There is a common tendency for divorcing parents and even angry, protective friends and family involved in the divorce proceeding or custody battle to join in a war of sorts against the other spouse using the children.  Using the children or allowing your children to be used as a weapon against your spouse can be devastating not only to your spouse but to your court case, you and especially your child.  As the divorcing parent, it is your duty to protect your children from the following common behaviors by either stopping the behavior or asking for Court’s intervention if your spouse is behaving in this manner or allowing these tactics.

  • Don’t discuss or allow others to discuss your spouse negatively around the child
  • Don’t use the child as a messenger for your spouse
  • Don’t burden the child with financial issues caused by the separation
  • Don’t interrogate the child or constantly pressure the child to find out information about the other parent
  • Unless there is a valid safety issue, do not unilaterally stop contact between the child and your spouse
  • Unless there is a valid safety issue, encourage regular contact and activities between the child and the spouse that occurred prior to the separation
  • Don’t discuss adult matters with the child including such topics as adultery, addictions, alternative lifestyles and recent arguments
  • Avoid discussing the specifics of your legal battle in the presence of the children, especially talking on the phone to others such as your attorney while the children are nearby
  • Don’t use the child to deliver child support, alimony payments or bills during visitation exchanges
  • Don’t interfere with your child’s visitation time with your spouse by constantly calling and texting
  • Don’t bribe or threaten to take away things for your child to take your side in the divorce
  • Try not to disturb the normal routines and activities of the child prior to the divorce
  • Don’t blame the child for the divorce
  • Continue to spend quality time with your children.  Your children likely need to see the healthiest side of you.  They need more time, more hugs, more laughs, more smiles than ever before.
  • If possible, try to discuss the divorce in a peaceful manner with your spouse and children present.  If this is not possible, consider family counseling
  • Err on the side of counseling.  Some children and adults of divorce can successfully go through a divorce without counseling but it is better to have the extra support at least on standby.

Accessory, Attempt, & Conspiracy, Oh My

This article is to meant to distinguish the differences between these crimes under Mississippi law.

Accessory Before the Fact

  • aiding, abetting or assisting a Defendant to commit a crime
  • Defendant must actually commit or complete the necessary elements of the crime
  • must be evidence that the Defendant has procured, counseled or commanded the “accessory” to commit the felony but that the accessory was not actually present when the felony was committed (Wilson v. State Miss. 1991)
  • must prove beyond a reasonable doubt

Accessory After the Fact

  • aiding, assisting, concealing, helping, receiving AFTER the crime has already committed by another codefendant,
  • knowing that the codefendant has committed the crime
  • the intent is to enable or help the codefendant escape or avoid arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment
  • must prove beyond a reasonable doubt

Attempt

  • Defendant unlawfully designed, endeavors, intended, planned to commit a crime by some action toward completely the crime
  • Defendant did not actually complete the crime or was prevented from completing the crime
  • must prove beyond a reasonable doubt

Conspiracy

  • It takes at least 2 people, 2 codefendants to be guilty of conspiracy
  • This charge is meant to punish the specific act of 2 defendants working together to commit a crime
  • There must be an intent to commit a crime, must be intent to work together to commit that crime
  • must prove beyond a reasonable doubt

Aiding and Abetting

  • when one person directs or tells another person to commit a crime and that person commits the crime directed
  • crime committed through the direction of another person as his or her agent, or by acting in concert with, or under the direction of, another person or persons in a joint effort or enterprise (Milano v. State, Miss 2001, citing 5th Circuit language)
  • must deliberately associate himself in some way with the crime and participate in the crime with the intent to bring about the crime
  • being present and knowing that a crime is being committed is not enough to be found guilty of this charge, not a mere spectator
  • must prove that Defendant actively and voluntarily participated in the crime
  • must prove that Defendant intended to violate the law by directing the crime committed
  • must prove that another Defendant committed each and every element of the crime charged
  • must prove beyond a reasonable doubt

50 Terms of a Mississippi Divorce

The following are words and their meanings that are commonly used in discussions related to a divorce in Mississippi:

8.05s: financial statements of individual spouses, the name is from the Mississippi Chancery Rule 8.05 requiring financial statements

ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME: gross income minus the allowed standard expenses such as taxes to determine the actual amount of income, used to calculate spousal and child support

ADMISSION: when a person agrees that something is true

AFFIDAVIT: written or typed statement by a person that is also notarized

ALBRIGHT FACTORS: the factors used to determine the best interest of the child and custody of children in dispute

ALIENATION OF AFFECTION:  when a third party steals the attention of your spouse and destroys your marriage

ALIMONY: money paid by one spouse to the other spouse either while a divorce is pending or after a divorce

BAILIFF: an officer of the Court to maintain peace, order and security in the Courthouse and all proceedings

CHANCELLOR: a judge that hears family law or estate issues

CHILD SUPPORT: support for the benefit of a minor child’s living or educational expenses, determined by agreement of the parents or by statutory guidelines

COMPLAINT: the initial document that is filed with the Court and officially starts a divorce case, “a complaint for divorce”

CONTINUITY OF CARE: a factor in determining custody which focuses on which parent actually takes care of the child or children prior to the divorce proceeding

COUNTERCLAIM: after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the other spouse files a response or a Counterclaim for Divorce

CROSS EXAMINATION: at a hearing or trial, the opposing attorney asks questions to the witness testifying

CRUEL AND INHUMAN TREATMENT: an abuse grounds for divorce, either by proving to the Judge or admitted to by the offending spouse

DEPOSITIONS: questioning under oath of a witness, recorded and developed into a transcript or written copy for preparation of a trial

DIRECT EXAMINATION: at a hearing or trial, your lawyer asking your witnesses questions

DISCOVERY: settlement and trial preparation fact gathering

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF PROPERTY: ideally an equal and fair separation of marital assets

GUARDIAN AD LITEM:  person, typically a lawyer that is ordered by the Court to investigate and report to the Court regarding the best interest of a child

INTERROGATORIES: written questions from one spouse’s attorney to the other spouse to answer under oath

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES:  a basis for divorce where both spouses agree to the divorce without a judge having to decide in a hearing or trial

JUDGMENT: another word for a final order

JURISDICTION: the proper Court to hear a legal matter

LEGAL CUSTODY: the person or persons that get to make decisions for the child

LUMP SUM ALIMONY: spousal support paid out in one large payment, typically agreed to by the parties

MARITAL ASSET: property that is acquired during the marriage

MEDIATION: a meeting or series of meetings between husband and wife, their respective attorneys and a third party that attempts to determine and resolve the remaining issues in dispute to avoid the costs of trial

MOTION: verbal or written request for the Court to do something

NONMARITAL ASSET: property that is acquired before the marriage or acquired during the marriage but is not considered during separation of marital assets

OBJECTION: open disagreement noted on the Court’s record to evidence that the other side is trying to introduce

ORDER OF PROTECTION: order from a Judge intended to separate two people in a domestic relationship and prevent further abuse, may include other people such as minor children

PATERNITY: legal establishment as to who will be declared the legal father of a child

PERIODIC ALIMONY: spousal support paid in regular intervals as ordered, typically monthly, for living expenses

PHYSICAL CUSTODY: the person who the child will reside with

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT: a contract made before a marriage, in anticipation of marriage between prospective spouses that plans for distribution of assets if there is a divorce

PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: the written agreement of a divorce between both spouses regarding who gets what property, money issues such as alimony and child support and custody of children

QDRO: (quadro, sounds like) Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a special order of the Court stating how retirement plans are to be paid after a divorce

REHABILITATIVE ALIMONY:  spousal support for a limited time after a divorce to allow the spouse time to become financially independent from a former spouse’s income

REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS: a request for the other spouse to admit or deny certain facts at issue to the case, for discovery purposes

REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION: a request to produce or make available a certain thing, such as papers, objects, business records or recordings, for discovery purposes

RESTRAINING ORDER: an order from the Court restricting someone from certain conduct or contact with someone

SUBPOENA: official request from the Court to come to Court to testify or to bring something

SUMMONS: official notice of the Court that something has been filed and sometimes that a hearing is scheduled

TEMPORARY HEARING: usually short hearing to discuss things like possession of the home and support until the final hearing or reconciliation of the parties

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER: (“TRO”) a temporary order that prohibits some behavior or contact

TENDER YEARS DOCTRINE: a doctrine formerly used to determine child custody where the mother was favored over the father in custody of young children

UCCJEA: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, federal law that determines the proper state with authority to decide child custody matters

WAIVER OF SERVICE OF PROCESS: a form signed and notarize to acknowledge that the person knows there is a pending divorce matter and does not need formal service of the divorce papers

WITHHOLDING ORDER: order for child support to be directly withheld from a employee’s paycheck

 

Domestic Violence: 25 Reasons Why They Stay

  1. Fear of escalation in danger and risk of death to the victim
  2. Fear of losing custody of their children
  3. Fear of not being able to survive financially without the abuser
  4. Fear of the abuser hurting others, including children and pets
  5. Fear of still not being free despite leaving
  6. Fear of being a single parent
  7. Fear of failing to successfully leave
  8. Fear of losing job or career
  9. Fear of homelessness
  10. Fear of child being fatherless
  11. Fear the abuser will commit suicide
  12. Fear abuser will tell secrets of the relationship to others
  13. Lack of emotional support
  14. Lack of community resources
  15. Lack of money
  16. Religious beliefs, such as forgiveness, submissive wife
  17. Raised in abuse, abuse is normalized or not so bad
  18. Realizing that the abuser is not abusive ALL the time, good times outweigh the bad
  19. Isolation from people and means to escape
  20. Shame and embarrassment
  21. Distrust of others to help
  22. Overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, PTSD symptoms
  23. Belief and prayers that abuser may change
  24. Blaming self for abuser’s behavior
  25. Victim’s medical condition

*If you or someone you know needs Domestic Violence help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. If in immediate danger, call 911.

 

Mississippi Driving Review

Here are important driving principles and frequently violated rules of the road in Mississippi found in the Mississippi Driver’s Manual.  Violations of these rules can lead to not only expensive tickets from local and state law enforcement but also to other charges arising from a probable cause to stop your vehicle and search.

  1. Must obtain Mississippi driver’s license within 60 days of moving to Mississippi.
  2. Must obtain Mississippi license plate within 30 days of moving to Mississippi.
  3. If you drive a motorcycle on the road, you must wear an approved helmet.
  4. Most accidents occur in intersections due to poor communication.
  5. Yield to emergency response vehicles by slowing and pulling over to the right side of the road until the vehicle has passed.
  6. Must stop for school buses when stopped and when receiving or letting the passengers off the bus until all passengers have cleared the roadway
  7. You are required to dim your lights within 500 ft of meeting another car or approaching another car from behind.
  8. Use your turn signals appropriately
  9. Wear your seatbelt
  10. Do not wear headphones while driving
  11. Must have two working headlights and a tag light
  12. Do not drink and drive
  13. Do not use legal or illegal, prescribed or over the counter substances that make you drowsy or impair your driving ability
  14. Keep your car in good repair
  15. Know the regulations on window tinting and special mufflers
  16. Make sure children riding in your vehicle are properly restrained.
  17. Observe the posted speed limits but also drive appropriate speed for conditions
  18. Avoid domestic violence episodes while driving
  19. Beware of passengers who are behaviorally out of control or abusing substances
  20. Do not allow passengers to drink while you are driving