Legal News
Issue 9 Volume 5
July 2016

 

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Snap Traffic Tickets with Your Smartphone

Police issue more than 41 million speeding tickets a year. Without a LegalShield membership hiring an attorney to fight your ticket could cost more than $150. If you receive a ticket this summer LegalShield has you covered. Snap is a new benefit of the revamped LegalShield app that lets you take a picture of your traffic ticket with your smartphone and send it directly to your LegalShield provider law firm. You can download the LegalShield app with Snap at the iTunes or Android store today. Here is what you should do if you are pulled over and how to use Snap if you receive a ticket.

  1. Drive safe and avoid speeding. If you are pulled over you should first move safely off the road, turn your interior light on at night and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Avoid taking off your seatbelt, searching or moving around in your vehicle while waiting for the officer. Do not exit the vehicle unless you are directed to do so by the officer.

  2. It is important to be polite and cooperative. Avoid arguing with the officer. Comply with the officer’s requests for your name, driver's license, registration and insurance information. Let the officer know you need to look for your insurance or registration information.

  3. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt, it only shows that you were provided with a copy of the citation. Save any objections or arguments for court. Ultimately a judge will decide if the ticket is valid.

  4. You are not required to consent to a search of your car. If the officer searches over your objection, stay calm and tell the officer you object to the search but do not physically resist the search.

  5. If you are issued a ticket use Snap to send it directly to your LegalShield provider law firm. Make sure the image is legible before submitting to the attorney.

  6. Once received, your LegalShield provider law firm will process the information and call you within 8 business hours. Submitting your ticket right away helps ensure an attorney is available for your court date and has plenty of time to prepare your case.

  7. If you have questions or do not hear back from your LegalShield provider law firm within 8 business hours you should call them directly.

The revamped LegalShield app also gives you access to the LegalShield will questionnaire, contact information and provides important legal tips and plan information. You may also update your membership information.

Download the LegalShield App today:

After you download and use the app please rate and review at the iTunes or Android store. Your feedback helps us continue to improve and refine the app. If you’ve already used Snap to submit a ticket, click here to let us know about your experience.


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Think You Have Privacy Online? Think Again

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media websites and apps have changed the way we do business and interact with friends and family. Is your online communication protected and private? No, your online communications may impact attorney confidentiality, be used against you in legal proceedings or lead to civil defamation suits. It is vital to protect yourself by understanding these common misconceptions about online anonymity and the risks involved in posting or sending information online.

  • I am completely anonymous online. Posting comments to online forums, news outlets or blogs may give you a false sense of anonymity and privacy. However, there is no anonymity online; almost anything can be traced back to its source. Before posting anything online consider the very real possibility that it will be traced back to you. You should never assume that information you post online is private or confidential.
  • All communications regarding my legal matter are protected by attorney-client privilege. Attorney-client confidentiality only protects direct communication between you and your attorney. These communications, whether in person, by phone or online, cannot be used against you in court. You jeopardize your confidentiality by talking about your legal matter with anyone other than your attorney. If you forward an email between you and your attorney to someone else, it is no longer protected. A breach of attorney-client privilege can seriously harm your case. Do not discuss the details of your case with anyone other than your attorney and avoid discussing legal matters on social networking sites.
  • My email is private. Business email addresses, emails sent from public devices or systems or email accounts that others have access to are not secure or private. The owner of the public device could access your information. If you use your work email address your employer may have the right to access your messages. Using business accounts or public devices poses a significant risk of interception or reading by another party. Carefully consider this information before sending email messages.
  • Private communications cannot be used against me in court. In recent years online posts and email communications have become frequent sources of evidence in criminal and civil cases. No matter what your intention when emailing or posting something online, consider how it could come back to haunt you. Your social media record can be used to track your location on specific dates and times as well as your relationships and conversations with others. This information could be subpoenaed and used against you in court. If you are involved in a civil or criminal legal proceeding do not discuss any details of the case online.
  • I can’t be fired for what I do online on my own time. While a few states and provinces offer protections for certain types of online speech, such as political discussions or personal activities conducted outside of work hours, there are few employment protections for online speech. Disparaging your employer or conducting yourself in a way that reflects poorly on the business may very well cost you your job. Before you post something online, consider whether or not you would want to read the post to your employer in person. If you have questions about employment law, call your LegalShield provider law firm.

  • Free speech is protected; I can say what I want online. Obscenity, threats, criminal activity and incitement of illegal activity are not protected online or elsewhere. While the government may protect some forms of speech, individuals or businesses may have grounds to take legal action against you. Most online communities and businesses have strict rules about acceptable content and are free to ban you from their website for violating terms of use. If you post or publish false information online that causes financial or emotional injury to a person or business you could be sued for defamation.

Contact your LegalShield provider law firm if you have any questions.


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7 Tips for New Homeowners

Buying a new home is exciting. Homeowners face unique legal issues like insurance, homeowner associations, warranties, contractors, mortgages and more. The following tips are designed to help you anticipate problems and handle unexpected events when they occur. If you have questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm and speak with an attorney.

  1. Insurance – While the terms of your mortgage require you to purchase homeowners insurance to protect against the loss of the property, it’s up to you to make sure you have enough insurance to cover the loss of your possessions. Buying a policy because it is the most affordable may be a recipe for disaster. Make sure your policy covers natural disasters common to where you live. You should also have adequate life insurance to cover the mortgage and other expenses for a partner, spouse or children, should something happen to you. Review all policies regularly to make sure they adequately meet your needs.

  2. Important Information – Hang on to all of all of your closing, title and mortgage documents. If a problem arises with the title or you decide to refinance, having those documents will be helpful. Keep important information, such as insurance documents, warranties, deeds and wills, in a safe location where they will not be lost or destroyed.

  3. Homeowner Associations (HOA) – If your neighborhood is governed by an HOA you should read and understand the association’s bylaws. HOA bylaws often restrict modifications you can make to the property and regulate the property’s appearance. You could be fined for failing to adhere to your HOA’s bylaws. Imagine painting the outside of your home only to discover the color doesn’t meet HOA bylaws, having to pay a fine and repaint the home. If you need assistance reviewing HOA bylaws contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

  4. Preventative Maintenance – If you are transitioning from renting to homeownership you may be used to someone else fixing leaky pipes or other issues. It is vital to take good care of your new home by performing preventative maintenance. Have your heating and air conditioning checked periodically. Don’t overlook seemingly minor problems, like that leaky pipe, because they will inevitably turn into much larger and more expensive problems.

  5. Hiring a Contractor – Repairs and renovations are an inevitable part of homeownership. When you hire a contractor, avoid taking the lowest bid without considering other important factors. Check the contractor’s references and confirm that he or she is licensed and insured. Ask for a detailed written estimate of the cost and scope of the work before agreeing to anything. Your LegalShield provider law firm can help review a contractor’s agreement before you sign.

  6. Home & Appliance Warranties – Home and appliance warranties are only as good as their fine print. Before signing up for a warranty have your LegalShield provider law firm review the terms carefully for exclusions and hidden costs.

  7. Neighborhood Disputes – Disputes between neighbors over property lines, dangerous trees, animals and other disturbances can quickly spiral out of control. Before taking matters into your own hands call your LegalShield provider law firm and discuss your concerns with an attorney who understands the local laws.