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June 2015 Archives

Career criminal law addressed by Supreme Court

New Jersey citizens may be familiar with the concept of career criminals, those deemed by the law to have committed excessive offenses of a certain minimum magnitude. The federal Armed Career Criminal Act provides for additional prison time for those meeting the criteria of the law at the time of conviction. With three prior eligible offenses, an individual could be subject to an increased sentence. However, the Supreme Court in its June 26 decision has now ruled that one of the phrases defining eligibility was too vague.

Non-custodial parents who do not pay support still contribute

New Jersey custodial parents may know that there are non-custodial parents out there that do not pay child support. Based on numerous studies, it appeared that the number of mothers and fathers who did not have custody of their children and did not pay child support were about the same. With that being said, it appeared that non-custodial parents were supporting their children in other ways.

Drowsy driving a bigger risk in New Jersey and across the US

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is a major contributing factor in 1.4 percent of all U.S. crashes each year. However, a study examining over 21,000 police-reported crashes from 2009 to 2013 released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests the actual incidence may be more than four times higher than the accepted government data indicates. Drowsy driving is considered a major risk factor in car accidents in New Jersey and elsewhere in the nation.

Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity

Residents of New Jersey may be aware that James Holmes' prosecutors are seeking the death penalty while his defense attorneys are fighting for his life through a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. In other words, they are claiming he did not know that what he was doing was wrong when he started shooting people at a Colorado movie theater in 2012. Prosecutors showed jurors photographs and obtained witness testimony while the defense tried to keep the focus on Holmes' state of mind when he committed the murders.

NTSB pushes for mandatory crash avoidance systems

Safety is often a leading consideration for car buyers in New Jersey, and electronic systems designed to warn drivers about impending collisions are becoming available on more vehicles every year. However, residents of the Garden State may be surprised to lean that such systems were only included as standard equipment on four vehicle models in 2014. The National Transportation Safety Board would like to see them become mandatory equipment on all new commercial and passenger vehicles, and the agency says that thousands of injuries and deaths could be prevented each year if its recommendation is adopted by lawmakers.

Fatal car accident causes vary by state

Most fatal car accidents in New Jersey are caused by a driver's failure to stay in the proper lane, according to a study by the Auto Insurance Center. The data for the study was gathered from statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System on fatal accidents occurring between 2009 and 2013. Researchers used that material to determine the factors that are most likely to cause fatal crashes in each of the 50 states.

Social Security benefits and the timing of a divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage, sometimes the divorce proceedings can drag on while arguments persist over alimony or child custody. While contentious divorces are hard on everyone in a family, there are some cases where divorcing too soon could lead to issues later on. New Jersey residents may have read about the marital woes of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, and their rumored decision to finalize their divorce before they had been married for 10 years illustrates an important point about when it may actually be helpful to wait until splitting up.

Ways to consolidate debt

Many New Jersey residents struggle with financial obligations resulting from credit cards, student loans and other forms of consumer debt. Since the 2008 recession, many have also made a habit of making late payments. This can cause late fees and an increase in interest rates. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done by some people to consolidate their debts.

Actress Kelly Rutherford given temporary child custody

New Jersey residents may be aware of the international child custody battle that has been going on between 'Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford and her ex-husband Daniel Giersch. On May 22, a judge ordered Giersch to return the two children to Rutherford after Rutherford filed an emergency petition claiming that her ex-husband wanted to change the children's citizenship.

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