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Wilmington Criminal Defense Law Blog

How to obtain compensation for PTSD in car crashes

Depending on the circumstances of a car accident, it may be possible for victims in North Carolina and elsewhere to ask for damages related to PTSD. To successfully make a claim for mental distress, a doctor must make a correct diagnosis of the condition. The practitioner must be qualified to make the diagnosis, and it must be proven that the PTSD was caused by the accident.

However, if a person had PTSD prior to the crash, it may be enough to claim that the crash triggered symptoms related to the condition. In many cases, a plaintiff's attorney will use the testimony of an expert witness to establish that the crash was the cause for mental distress whether it was caused by the crash or triggered by it. The testimony of an expert may overcome assertions by the defendant's attorney that the car crash was too minor to cause emotional stress.

Burn injuries: degrees of damage

When people talk about organs in the body, you may think of the liver or kidneys, but your largest organ is the skin. Burned skin can seriously impair your health, and you should not take this type of injury lightly.

Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that, just like the other organs, the skin plays major roles in healthy body functions.

North Carolina murder law

In North Carolina, a premeditated killing is likely to be considered first-degree murder. However, it is also possible to face such a charge if a killing takes place during the commission of another felony regardless of whether or not it is intentional. For instance, if someone was killed during the commission of a rape or kidnapping, the first-degree murder charge would apply. Penalties for committing first-degree murder include either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Whether or not the death penalty may be handed down depends on the facts of the case, and there are many defenses to a first-degree murder charge. For instance, an attorney may argue that a defendant did not know the nature of the act that he was committing at the time the crime was committed or that it was committed as an act of self-defense. If a murder was committed as an act of passion, the charge could be reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Narcotics investigation expands to include hip-hop artists

Fans in North Carolina of hip-hop artist Chris Brown might not have new music of his to listen to if authorities issue charges against him as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security have already charged a music producer known to associate with Brown with drug dealing. The trial of the 26-year-old man is currently underway, and evidence in his case has allegedly revealed that Brown sent him $15,000 through a wire transfer to pay for drugs.

Investigators seized the defendant's phone and found an image of the bank deposit in the text messages. When asked via text what the money was for, the defendant replied that it had paid for drugs, specifically an illegal cough-syrup-and-soda mix known as 'lean." Another text allegedly referred to obtaining marijuana for Brown.

Trend shows distracted driving fatalities increasing

North Carolina residents may not be aware with just how common an occurrence distracted driving has become. Distracted driving occurs when a driver is focused on another activity when operating a vehicle, such as texting on a smartphone, making calls, changing the music or even eating and drinking while driving.

The numbers show that traffic fatalities increased between 2014 and 2015 following a seven-year decline. Further, 2016 traffic fatality estimates suggest that more people died during that year than in 2008. The increase in traffic deaths is attributed in large part to distracted driving as the percentage of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving increased more than the percentages of accidents that had other factors, such as drunk driving, drowsy driving and speeding.

Actor Adam Pally busted for drugs in New York

Even though marijuana is being legalized in many places, North Carolina readers should be aware that the drug can still get people into legal hot water. For example, actor Adam Pally was arrested in New York City on March 28 after he was caught smoking marijuana on a city street.

Pally, who is known for roles on TV shows "Making History","The Mindy Project" and "Happy Endings", was reportedly smoking an e-cigarette filled with marijuana on West 48th Street when officers placed him under arrest. He was then searched, and officers found he was carrying a small amount of cocaine. He was charged with misdemeanor counts of possessing a controlled substance (with respect to the cocaine) and possession of marijuana.

The dangers of smartphones while driving in North Carolina

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 88 percent of millennial-aged drivers around the country admitted to risky behavior while behind the wheel. The "It Can Wait" campaign from AT&T reports that around 70 percent of people said they used their smartphones in some capacity while driving. Almost two-thirds said they kept their smartphones where they could reach them, and 40 percent of people who used smartphones said they used social media while driving. Around 17 percent used Facebook, 14 percent used Twitter and 12 percent used Instagram while behind the wheel. Among those smartphone users, about 30 percent said they surfed the internet and 10 percent used video chat.

Distracted driving is a serious problem. Between 4,000 and 6,000 people annually die because of distracted drivers while up to 600,000 others are injured. Several organizations have been formed to educate the public about the dangers of this risky behavior.

27-year-old sentenced on drug trafficking charge

On March 27, a North Carolina man was sentenced to more than seven years in prion on a heroin trafficking conviction and other charges. The man, age 27, will serve anywhere from a minimum of 90 months in prison to a maximum of 120 months.

The man was taken into custody on June 7. He was accused of trafficking more than 14 grams of heroin when he was served with arrest warrants. Additionally, authorities seized digital scales and other drug trafficking paraphernalia. In addition to the prion sentence, he received a fine of $100,000 in addition to about $963 in court costs. He was credited with one day for being confined prior to the trial.

Do not sabotage your own DUI defense

If you are facing charges for a DUI, your goal is ultimately to avoid a criminal record. A guilty conviction can affect you years down the road as you try to get a job, and the way you handle your own defense can mean all the difference between innocent and guilty. Once you have been charged, there are ways you can sabotage your own defense without even realizing it.

Stay away from driving after license suspension

In North Carolina, if you are 21 years or older and have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, then you are considered impaired. If you are underage and have any alcohol in your blood, you could face serious consequences. When you are pulled over, it is likely that you will be arrested immediately and have your license suspended or revoked. If you continue to drive once you are released even though your license has not been reinstated, you could face additional fines and problems.

When a driver is liable for brake failure

In most cases, North Carolina drivers will be held liable if they cause a car accident after they fail to brake. However, there are instances when a vehicle fails to brake for reasons other than driver error. As such, when a vehicle does fail to brake and an accident occurs, all of the potential factors must be considered before liability can be determined.

Driver error can result in an accident if the driver is not paying attention to the road and fails to stop when the traffic slows down. Investigators may use the vehicle's black box to determine how fast the vehicle was moving when the collision occurred. They may also be able to determine if the brakes were applied at all.

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