A: You can quietly pay the ticket and wait for a possible increase in car insurance or you can hire a lawyer who most likely will be able to
lower the points or have the ticket taken under advisement, which means no points provided you do not get any more tickets for the
following year. You will, however, be responsible for court costs and, of course, the lawyer fee.
Q: My daughter, who is only 14, was arrested for shoplifting and now has a court date in the juvenile court. Will she have this on her
A: An arrest is not a conviction but if she does plea to shoplifting she will not have the incident on her record, although courts will have a
record of it. Most, but not all, juvenile (adjudications) convictions are unavailable to the public and to prospective employers so when she
applies for a job and is asked if ever convicted of a crime she can safely answer "no" .
Q: My brother and his wife are being charged with neglect of their children because their house is a mess (they are hoarders, well his
wife is for sure) and I think they are addicted to drugs. The Department of Human Services removed their children from the house and
they have court next week. What can they expect to happen?
A: From what you have said the most likely outcome will be that the court finds probable cause that the children are neglected and living
in an unsafe place. The parents will sign a parent-agency agreement which is an agreement between the parents and the Department of
Human Services. This agreement will specify what the parents must do to get the children back. In the meantime, the court will usually
permit the parents to have visitation with their children. If the parents comply with the parent-agency agreement then the children will be
returned to the parents. This can often take months and even years. The children most likely will be placed with a relative of the family
during this period. If no relatives or family members are willing to take care of the children then the children may be placed temporarily in
a foster home. If the parents do not substantially comply with the parent-agency agreement within a certain time (usually a year) then the
court will terminate their parental rights and the children will be placed for adoption.
Q: My husband is a good provider but he has a temper problem and sometimes I think I cause it. Last night he was drinking again and
we argued. He hit me several times and then my 15 year old son, from a previous marriage, called the police. My husband was arrested
for domestic violence and spent the night in jail. There also is a "no contact" order so he cannot return home. I want to drop the charges
so he will not go to court and I want him to return home.
A: You cannot drop the charges because the matter is now between the city attorney/prosectuor and your husband. You are a victim and
cannot make this matter just go away by refusing to press charges and your son is mostly likely a witness to the event. If this is the first
time your husband was arrested for domestic violence then he should get an attorney who may be able to keep the conviction off his
record. To do this, he will have to plead guilty and then comply with all probation requirements, which most likely will be anger
management classes and alcohol abuse counseling. The probationary period could last a year. The court may also require him to wear
an alcohol-testing tether for a few months. If your husband complies with all the court's requirements then the domestic violence
conviction will not be entered on his record. If your husband has prior domestic violence convictions then the outcome for your husband
could be much worse. A third conviction of domestic violence raises it from a misdemeanor to a felony and he could spend some time in
jail. It might be a good idea if you both get counseling.
Q: I was pulled over by the police and charged with driving on a suspended license. I did not know my license could be suspended simply
because I have not payed other traffic tickets. Do I need a lawyer for this?
A: Yes, you should retain a lawyer. Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor and subjects you to higher court costs and the
possibility of jail time. Your lawyer may be able to adjourn your court case so that you can pay all outstanding traffic tickets and have your
driver's license valid. Then your attorney may be able to persuade the city attorney/prosector to dismiss the charge of driving on a
suspended license and instead have you plea to no operator's license on person.
The answers given above are intended to give you general guidance but it is always necessary to consult an attorney
regarding your specific circumstances.
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