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Elizabethtown Legal Blog

Know your rights: Cell phones

According to NBC News, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and people across Kentucky know how integral these devices are in day-to-day life. Carrying so much personal information around in a purse or pocket does come with some protections, and it is important to know and understand a citizen's rights in case of becoming the focus of a criminal investigation.

Many understand that cell phones transmit data relating to the user's location in order to make calls and send texts. Connecting to the nearest cell phone antenna tower in order to use a phone's network is one way that user location data can be tracked. The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case in the fall to determine whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant to access the location data cell phone companies have stored about their customers.  The law does not explicitly state whether or not the information generated from a person's cell phone is considered private.

What type of child custody is best for the child?

Kentucky parents have likely asked themselves what will benefit their child the most plenty of times throughout the divorce. This question becomes particularly poignant when it comes to child custody, as the living arrangements decided there will impact a child for the rest of their life.

Time Magazine states that this may be untrue. Joint custody can actually be less stressful to the child, which goes against a mainstream theory that the constant moving and changes involved with joint custody will not allow the child to find a healthy, stable home life. Living with just one parent, otherwise known as sole custody, may actually cause more stress. Reportedly, psychosomatic problems were highest in children who lived with one parent only. Psychosomatic symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Sleep issues
  • No appetite
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and stomachaches

Estate planning for a blended family

There are many divorced individuals in Kentucky who eventually remarry. They often have children, in many cases, both partners bring children into the marriage. While this may bring to mind images of "The Brady Bunch," there are significant issues that should be addressed by those couples once they have remarried.

During a divorce, you should revise all matters affected, like your life insurance policies and any other instrument that has a beneficiary designation, such as military pensions and retirement accounts. You should also revise your will and any advance directives, like a living will and all powers of attorney. If you lack any of these documents, you should sit down with an attorney and have them drawn up.

Alcohol is not the only cause of DUIs

When many people think about drunk driving charges, they probably think alcohol. While much of Kentucky used to be dry, there are fewer dry counties and the state has seen a large increase in the use of alcohol.

But alcohol is not the only means to impairment, and as the recent arrest of Tiger Woods shows, you can have a measured blood alcohol content of 0.00 BAC and still be viewed by a police officer as being sufficiently impaired to lead to your arrest for violating Kentucky's DUI statute.

Just say no to traffic stop searches

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, drivers in the Elizabethtown area may see additional police patrols. The Memorial Day weekend is often called the unofficial start of summer, and the long, three-day weekends frequently are targets of law enforcement, as traffic violations and crashes frequently increase. More Kentucky State Police, Hardin County Sheriff's Office vehicles and local police departments are likely to be on the roads looking for minor violations and for potential DUIs.

With law enforcement being ever more vigilant, it is likely that there will also be more arrests. Police often view "traffic stops" as an opportunity for more than merely stopping an individual for the violations of one of Kentucky's many traffic ordinances. An officer may view a car or driver as "suspicious," but lack the requisite "reasonable suspicion" that provides legal grounds for a traffic stop.

3 tips to follow if you are the executor of an estate

Being designated an executor of a will can be a daunting responsibility. If you do not know much about the role, you probably have a lot of questions. You are responsible for handling the estate of the decedent, including identifying, valuing and distributing assets.

Taking on this role does not have to be scary. If you have concerns, keep reading for tips to fulfill your duties as an executor.

Divorce and property division

During a divorce, there is a lot going on. You are emotionally upset, as the process to dissolve your marriage is never calming or relaxing. You may be confused, as your attorney details out hearings, depositions, court filings and other issues that even if they are not written in Latin, sometimes seem as if they might as well be.

You have to make important decisions while dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of your thoughts. Sometimes you may only be half-listening when your attorney explains elements of your divorce. No matter what, you should not drift off during your property division discussions, as this is a critical element of your divorce and for your future.

Health care law appears to have improved economic health

Some people still believe that bankruptcy is often caused by a failure to control spending. They believe all that is needed is a little self-discipline and these financial problems would be alleviated. Until they get sick.

Healthcare can be very expensive and when people become ill, they have little control over many aspects of the course of their illness or the cost of the treatment. A serious illness can also lead to a loss of income, doubling the financial damage. When medical costs spiral out of control and income is lost, it often leads to a bankruptcy court filing.

New opioid law likely to lead to longer sentences and more costs

A new crime bill has passed the Kentucky legislature and become law. It increases penalties for anyone "trafficking" fentanyl and heroin and removes the "peddler distinction" that reduced punishment for many addicted to these drugs. Instead, it makes even sharing among addicts any amount of heroin a Class C felony, which carries a five- to ten-year sentence.

This law is likely to be costly to taxpayers, as the Legislative Research Commission calculated that the current inmate population sentenced as Class D offenders would generate an additional $30 million costs if they had been sentenced as Class C and been required to serve additional time.

You are always being watched

Americans love convenience. From using a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant to pick up dinner to watching movies on our smart phones and allowing Netflix suggests the movies we watch, technology is becoming more and more all encompassing. Security cameras help protect us and traffic cameras alert us to accidents and road congestion.

Our smart phones can track our every movement and our homes are even being connected with The-Internet-Of-Things. Devices like Amazon's Echo listens at all times to enable voice control of ordering products, but that doesn't mean it does not hear many things unrelated to Amazon orders. Exercise trackers show our activity during the day and night and can track our location in addition to our activity level.