Recreational Marijuana Driving Laws You Need to Be Aware of
January 1st marks not only a new year, but the first day in which legal marijuana will be available in California. You and your friend decide to kick off 2018 by purchasing some recreational marijuana. You both drive down to the dispensary and then drive back to your friend’s place to use it. After smoking and getting high, you remember that you were supposed to run an errand. You say bye to your friend and head out, still high from the weed. You sit in your car, ready to turn the key when a thought occurs to you: Is it legal for me to drive? Can you drive after using marijuana? It is common knowledge that you cannot drink and drive. The established law states that “it is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent of more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle” (California Vehicle Code Section 23152). As a further safety measure, the law makes is clear that it is unlawful for a person to drive under the influence of any drug. But, what about marijuana? Marijuana is treated in the same manner as alcohol. When you smoke, vape, and/or consume marijuana, you are considered to be “under the influence.” Currently, there is no reliable method to indicate when a person is “too stoned” to drive. Consider, though, that experiencing any effects from marijuana impairs your ability to drive, a fact that many people are unware of. Take, for example, Colorado. According to The Denver Post, 55 percent of marijuana users in Colorado believe it is safe to drive while under the influence of marijuana. This, in fact, is wrong. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana impacts all of the following when driving: Judgment Motor coordination Reaction time The consequences of driving while high are severe. The Washington Times reports that “roughly 10 percent of Washington state drivers involved in fatal car crashes between 2010 and 2014 tested positive for recent marijuana use, with the percentage of drivers who had used pot within hours of a crash doubling between 2013 and 2014.” Weed became available to Washington citizens in 2013, suggesting a strong correlation between the uptake in fatal car accidents and weed use. You would never drink and drive. So why would driving high be acceptable? If you have consumed weed but there’s somewhere you need to be, call someone to pick you up or take a taxi. It’s important to note that beginning January 1, 2018, California Vehicle Code Section 23220 will make it unlawful for drivers and passengers to smoke or ingest marijuana while a car is in motion. How long do the effects of marijuana last? Because there is no strict indicator as to how much weed is too much, it’s primarily your responsibility to avoid driving while high. It’s important to understand that the effects of marijuana differ depending on what form you take it in and your body’s metabolism. According to Herb.com, smoking marijuana can have lasting effects between an hour to three hours. Though oral cannabis takes longer for its effects to be felt (anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours), they can last four to eight hours! Your judgement suffers when high. This is a fact. So, if you have consumed marijuana, be prepared to stay where you are for a few hours until the effects have worn off. How can you spot someone who is driving under the influence? Though you may choose to be a responsible driver, other motorists may not. All too often, people who are high or drunk decide to get behind the wheel, putting both themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. These signs are strong indicators that a motorist near you is under the influence: Wide turns Weaving between lanes Straddling the lines Swerving Unable to maintain proper speed Difficulties stopping Driving the wrong way Inability to respond quickly to traffic signals Tailgating Making illegal turns Driving in improper lanes Drooping head When you come across a driver showing the above signs, take the necessary precautions, such as buckling up. Though it may be tempting to pass a DUI driver, it is actually best to keep a safe distance. If you notice consistent signs of impaired driving, call local law enforcement. If you are struck by a driver who is under the influence, contact the police. Your next call should be to the car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm at 1-800-522-7274 so you can begin seeking compensation for your injuries. Driving high is the equivalent of driving drunk. If you decide to partake and consume marijuana, make plans like you would as if you were going out to drink. It is always best to be safe than sorry.
Beware of Ambulance Chasers
After experiencing a traffic accident, many Southern California law firms will take advantage of your vulnerable state to send people called ambulance chasers, also known as “runners,” “solicitors,” and “cappers,” in the hopes of obtaining your case. An ambulance chaser’s number one goal is to secure you as a client for the law firm they represent through manipulation and/or trickery. In return, they receive compensation for every new client they bring to their employers. Employing ambulance chasing methods is not only unethical, but illegal! Why is ambulance chasing illegal? Ambulance chasing is illegal in 21 states as well as in Washington D.C., ensuring that you receive the best representation for your case. Though these methods are not illegal in every state, it does violate the American Bar Association’s Code of Professional Ethics, Canon 28, which does hold licensed attorneys accountable for soliciting clients. It may come as a surprise, but California only recently enacted a law to prevent ambulance chasing methods. In 2011, the Business and Professions Code Section 6152 was passed, making it illegal for “any person, in an individual capacity or in a capacity as a public or private employee, or for any firm, corporation, partnership or association to act as a runner or capper for any attorneys or to solicit any business for any attorneys.” A lawyer caught using runners or cappers can be fined up to $15,000 or spend one year in county jail. Oftentimes, victims of ambulance chasing schemes find that the lawyers they were recommended are not best suited to work on their case. As part of California’s crack down on ambulance chasing methods, the California Business and Professions Code 6154 was established, which allows “any contract for professional services secured by an attorney at law or law firm in this state through the services of a runner or capper is void.” A voided contract means your fees are recoverable. It’s important to note that it is not illegal for someone to recommend you a lawyer as long as there is no compensation for them doing so. As you can see, California takes ambulance chasing seriously to protect you from soliciting lawyers who may not be best for your case. How does a runner or capper find victims? How is it that a runner or capper knows when an accident has occurred within minutes of it being reported? They tend to use two methods to track down potential clients. Many runners and cappers use police and emergency electronic scanners to hear when and where an accident has happened in Southern California. Suddenly, an ambulance chaser is there at the scene to “help” you by referring you to their lawyer. The second method involves people known as “insiders.” For a few hundred dollars, an “insider” will give your information to a runner who will then use it to track you down. Typically, “insiders” who are on an ambulance chaser’s pay roll include: Police department employees Hospital staff Tow truck drivers Once they find you, they employ a variety of schemes in an attempt to convince you to bring your case to their lawyers. What are schemes that you should be aware of? Ambulance chasers use manipulative means that are meant to convince you that their lawyers are best suited to handle your case. They have been known to do all of the following: Pretending to be a witness: Showing up minutes after a traffic collision, an ambulance chaser may pretend to be a witness to your accident and offer advice as to what lawyer you should use. Runners will promise large financial recoveries: After enticing you to use their lawyer’s services, they will have you sign agreements and make commitments to use their employer’s services. Calling a tow truck: Pretending to help, runners will call a tow truck for potential clients. This allows their law firm to secure additional information about your accident. Sending letters: The action of sending letters to a client is not, in itself, illegal, but how they obtain your information to send you letters is. Ambulance chasers may appear friendly and helpful, but they are attempting to solicit your case on behalf of a firm that may not represent your best interest. Don’t be fooled by their grandiose promises or cave into their solicitous ways through phone calls and junk mail. If an ambulance chaser tries to persuade you to use their firm, report their employer to The State Bar of California.
Los Angeles Unified School District in the Process of Being Sued
Scrolling through your Facebook and Twitter account, you see sexual harassment and abuse claims against famous celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, and Senator Al Franken. The list goes on and on. It’s easy to get caught up in celebrity news, but are you aware of sexual abuse happening in your own neighborhood? Sexual abuse occurring in your own neighborhoods. Wilshire Law Firm has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on behalf of two female minors who were sexually abused at Harry Bridges Span School. Both victims described incidents where a male nurse took them into a small room and touched them inappropriately. The plaintiff claims that members of the LAUSD knew about the abuse and didn’t take appropriate measures against the nurse, protecting the abuser. In California, there were 42,364 cases of child sexual abuse in 2015. Los Angeles County, where Harry Bridges Span School resides, accounted for 187 of these cases. These numbers only include reported cases. Around 46% to 69% of children will not report abuse. Why don’t children report sexual abuse? Children victimized by sexual abuse often don’t report because the abuser will convince them otherwise. Here are some reasons why a child may not speak up about abuse: The abuser convinces them that they won’t be believed or it’s their fault The abuser may bribe the child to stay quite with gifts The abuser may threaten the child Children may stay silent to protect the non-abusive parent Abusers are oftentimes a person the child knows, so children keep quite or lie to protect them Children view adults, especially parents, as authority figures. This allows abusers to manipulate a child into silence. How can you protect children from their abusers? It’s up to you and other adults to recognize signs of abuse. The Rape, Abuse & Incest Nation Network (RAINN) organizes signs into three categories, which are: Behavioral Signs Avoiding physical contact Regressive behaviors (thumb sucking) Nightmares Changing hygiene routines Age-inappropriate sexual behaviors Sleep disturbances Physical Signs Bruising/swelling near genital area Blood clothes or bedding Broken bones Verbal Signs Using phrases “too adult” for their age Less talkative or unexplained silences If you notice a child exhibiting these signs, speak to them about it and report sexual abuse to the police, right away. With so many children suffering silently at the hands of their abusers, Wilshire Law Firm’s attorneys Bobby Saadian and Jon Teller aim to give victims a voice. Attorney Saadian states, “We are seeking justice on behalf of the victims and their families. LAUSD must accept responsibility for what happened to these victims. This could have happened to any of our children and it must be stopped, now.” Sexual abusers as well as institutions allowing abuse need to be held accountable, and that’s exactly what Wilshire Law Firm plans to do.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
A shift in the way that Americans deal with sexual harassment and assault is occurring. You can feel it as you scroll through Facebook, check your Twitter feed, and watch the news. Victims of sexual harassment who have kept their experiences quiet are gaining the courage to share their stories. In mid-October, the “Me Too” campaign took over social media feeds, revealing that over 33 million U.S. women have been sexually harassed. The Harvey Weinstein scandal burst open the doors for celebrities to discuss sexual harassment within their industry, something almost unheard of until now, without fearing retaliation as more and more of their peers speak up. With so much attention being brought to this issue, harassers are now beginning to be held accountable. But, so much still needs to be done in the workplace. Currently, one-in-three women between the ages of 18 and 24 will be sexually harassed in the workplace while a jarring 81 percent of women are victims of verbal sexual assault. The time has come for companies to take sexual harassment seriously. What Constitutes as Sexual Harassment? The Department of Fair Employment and Housing defines sexual harassment as “discrimination based on sex/gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions) gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.” This is much more encompassing that the EEOC’s definition of, which is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” Together, these two definitions protect employees from all types of harassment that span from the most obvious forms to more obscure forms. Most of us recognizes that quid pro quo cases (when an authority figure promises you a job or benefits in exchange of sexual favors) is a form of sexual harassment. The other category that sexual harassment typically falls under are actions that create a hostile work environment. This type is trickier to determine because it isn’t always explicit. In fact, in a study where women were asked if they had been sexually harassed at work, 16 percent said no. But, those same women replied “yes” when asked if they had experienced sexually explicit or sexist remarks. As you can see, without properly defining what constitutes as sexual harassment, employees begin to expect that their discomfort is just part of their workplace environment. To help employees understand their rights, employers must, according to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Title 2, do all of the following: Give employees information on the illegality of sexual harassment and legal remedies that may be taken Employers with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment and abuse conduct prevention training Such training should help employees identify what actions constitute sexual harassment such as: Lewd jokes Sharing sexually inappropriate images Sexual gestures and whistling Asking or saying something offensive about someone’s sexual history or orientation Sexual and suggestive notes or emails Earning a promotion or job through sexual favors (quid pro quo) When an employee or employer consistently creates an uncomfortable environment for other workers, it can have a stressful and de-moralizing impact. The best way to stop this behavior is to report it. Unfortunately, behavior like this is allowed to run rampant since most victims will not file a complaint. Why People Don’t Report Sexual Harassment: According to the EEOC, only 6 to 13 percent of people harassed will file a formal complaint. A big reason why these numbers are so low stems from employees fearing retaliation, which isn’t an unfounded concern. Approximately 75 percent of victims who file a formal complaint will suffer from retaliation. Be aware that retaliation may not come in obvious forms of abuse, such as verbally or physically assaulting someone. Oftentimes, it can look like all of the following: Lower performance evaluations Increased scrutiny False rumors Making work more difficult Being denied a promotion Being given the “cold shoulder” Demotion Less pay because of your gender Gender discrimination If you feel that these actions were taken because you filed a complaint, talk to human resources or a supervisor. If retaliation continues, it’s time to get a lawyer involved. What You Can Do if You’re Being Harassed: Sexual harassment is no laughing matter and shouldn’t be treated so. Begin documenting instances of sexual harassment by writing down each experience as it happens. Don’t forget to write down date, time, place, and any witnesses that can be used to back up your claims. Instead of deleting emails, texts, or even Snapchats, keep and file them for further evidence, no matter how nauseating it may be. As you collect evidence, make copies, but never leave them at work, otherwise you risk someone trying to steal or destroy them. Keep evidence anywhere you believe they will remain safe such as at home, in a briefcase, or in your car. Using your evidence, file a formal complaint against your work harasser with human resources or a supervisor, preferably a written one. Before or after you’ve filed your formal complaint, discuss your case with Wilshire Law Firm’s employment lawyer, Nicol Hajjar, for legal advice on what to next. When consulting with your lawyer for the first time, make sure to bring the evidence you have collected thus far. Time and time again, it has been proven that no company is too big to take down. Wilshire Law Firm’s holds firm to this idea and has maintained a goal of holding companies accountable for their actions or lack of actions that harm employees. Our team of lawyers will work tirelessly and aggressively to punish companies for violating your rights to work in a harassment-free environment. Call today to discuss your case at 1-800-522-7274!
Wilshire Law Firm and Badge of Heart Join Forces to Give Back to our Community
The spirit of Thanksgiving brings people together in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. Earlier this year, Wilshire Law Firm’s Founding President and Managing Attorney, Bobby Saadian, was honored to meet a humble team of LAPD officers, who created a movement to help good families in our community. Ken Lew and Jessica Gutierrez-Gonzalez have been at the forefront of Badge of Heart’s major efforts, and this year is no exception. In a recent conversation with Ken Lew, Badge of Heart’s Founder and CEO, he reminded us that the organization’s main goal is to help families in need, and to share the goodwill of police officers, who truly care about helping the community, beyond keeping us safe through diligent law enforcement. On Saturday, November 18th, the LAPD Pacific Division will share holiday baskets with around 450 families, from 10 AM to 12 PM, at the Venice Japanese Community Center. The invitation-only event will see many volunteers materialize the combined effort of those who said yes to the Badge of Heart pledge to help families in our community. Moreover, on Sunday, November 19th, the LAPD Harbor Division will share holiday baskets with 100 families, in San Pedro, from 10 AM to 12 PM. “Wilshire Law Firm’s partnership with Badge of Heart is here to stay. Being of service is what defines our firm. We help good people, not just with outstanding legal support, representing accident victims against big business and insurance companies; but also with critical resources, through charitable organizations. It’s our moral duty to say yes to gestures of goodwill, and to be there for those, who express their support for families in need,” said Bobby Saadian. Throughout Wishire Law Firm’s decade-long history, helping good people across California, the firm has also been present for the community. It’s no surprise that Bobby Saadian was ready to extend his helping hand to Badge of Heart, on behalf of the 70 professionals, who make the firm an inspirational success. Saadian is a proud board member of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities. The LATLC provides financial support and volunteer service to over 60 organizations throughout our community. Wilshire Law Firm is also known for providing legal scholarship awards to deserving students. The firm has received numerous awards and is among the top 1% of lawyers, nationwide; as well, prestigious accolades, on behalf of consumers, and recognitions for a consistent involvement in the community. To learn more about Badge of Heart, visit them at https://badgeofheart.org/ or click here to donate to Badge of Hearts.
How to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer
When Do You Need A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Claim? Getting into an auto accident can be a very scary and intimidating experience, especially if you’ve been injured in the accident. You may not know who to turn to and you may feel like the insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. To add to the problems medical bills start to pile up, and your injures may be causing you significant pain, and a change in lifestyle. Hire a personal injury Lawyer Check review sites Access lawyer fees Make sure you feel comfortable Review Lawyer settlements The insurance claims adjuster may seem like he or she has your best interest at heart but the fact is that these people are hired by the insurance companies to minimize the payouts the insurance company has to give. Of course this doesn’t mean that you don’t have a good case, and a chance to get the highest payout possible. The problem is that insurance companies are experts at negotiating payouts and handling auto accidents, and chances are this is your first time getting into an accident like this. For example, claims adjusters generally record every conversation with you, asking questions about the accident. If you’re not careful, the answers you give could actually imply the opposite of what you’re trying to say. Lawyers experienced with accident claims are familiar with how to speak with claims adjusters, and through their counsel will help you avoid any verbal missteps by handling all negotiating, increasing your chances of a just settlement. With so many lawyers out there it’s hard to decide who is looking out for your best interest. Here are a few tips that will help you decide who to choose to represent you, and how to insure that you’re getting the best representation possible. Hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases When you’re hiring a lawyer you want to make sure that the firm that you are contacting specializes in personal injury. The legal profession is vast and complicated. A good lawyer will specialize in one particular field and master the ins and outs of that industry. There are a lot of general lawyers who say they can help with everything from bankruptcies, child custody. and personal injuries. You want to make sure you avoid these lawyers because they will not have the experience and expertise to help you win your case against the insurance companies. Check Yelp and other review sites Google, Yelp and Martindale are great ways of finding highly rated personal injury lawyers. Make sure to thoroughly read the reviews and see if the people reviewing have a similar situation as yours. A good lawyer will have mostly positive reviews and testimonials. Properly assess lawyer fees Most personal injury lawyers will work for your case pro bono if they feel like you have a strong case. This is a good option for most people because they can help you pay for your medical bills and other expenses before the insurance company has given you any settlement money. Typical lawyers fees will range from 33%-40% plus medical bill expenses depending on the case and the lawyer. You want to make sure you read all of the fine print before you hire a lawyer. Also, remember that you get what you pay for. If a lawyers fees seem low compared to what you’ve been researching then chances are it’s to good to be true. Make sure you feel comfortable with your lawyer Don’t let any lawyer pressure or intimidate you into working with them. A good lawyer will have compassion, and empathy with your situation. If the lawyer you speak with makes you feel like your just a dollar sign to them, then it’s probably best you don’t work with them. Remember, that this person is going to be representing you, and needs to have good bedside manner when working around your situation. Review their recent settlements Take a look at the recent cases they won. Take note of the average settlement amount and most importantly what kind of cases they’ve been winning. Make sure that the cases they have recently settled are applicable to your situation. If you notice that most of their cases they won are motorcycle injury cases and you were not driving a motorcycle then perhaps you should look for a lawyer who has won more auto accident cases. Even within the personal injury field there are various specialties, like trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, accidental death, and so on. That’s why it’s important to take special attention the what the law firm you want to represent you has success in. The fact is the legal system can be very intimidating if you try to take it on yourself. The insurance claims adjustors are going to offer you a mere fraction of what you really deserve, and the medical bills may larger and more ongoing than your originally anticipated. There are plenty of good auto accident lawyers out there, but there are just as many bad lawyers out there as well. Make sure to take your time and do your research before you sign any contract or make any type of commitment. How to Interview a California Car Accident Lawyer So, you’ve combed through all of the personal injury lawyers in your area and narrowed down your choices to a few candidates (perhaps they were personally recommended to you, or received glowing reviews online). At this point, you should set up an initial consultation with each prospective lawyer. Discuss the details of your situation and ask basic questions about the lawyer before you make your final decision. Ideally, the answers you get will help you narrow down your choices even further until you find the lawyer who is the right fit for you. It is important to prepare your questions beforehand. The more prepared you are, the more information you will receive. And the more information you receive, the more informed your decision will be. Ideally, at the end of a consultation, you should know the lawyer’s expertise, experience, fees, special knowledge, and management of the case. Questions to Ask Your Potential Personal Injury Lawyers What are the specifics of the lawyer’s fee arrangement? Are the terms negotiable? How long has the lawyer been in practice? Does the lawyer specialize in cases like yours? When is the last time the lawyer handled a similar case? Were the results good? Other than a law degree, does the lawyer have special training or knowledge relevant to your case? What is the lawyer’s current caseload? What is the scope of the lawyer’s existing commitments? Will the lawyer have enough time and resources to devote to your case? Will paralegals and legal assistants be handling a portion of your case? If the answer is yes, ask about reduced fees. Will the lawyer provide regular updates? How often will you hear from the lawyer? Will you be able to contact the lawyer directly? Are there alternative solutions for your case, such as arbitration or mediation? If so, does the lawyer have experience executing these methods? What are your chances of winning? What difficulties will you face? Will it take a long time before your case is resolved? What will the lawyer expect from you? What kind of documents and background information should you prepare? Keep in mind that nothing should be taken as a guarantee. Treat answers like indicators of a lawyer’s experience and skill level. The right lawyer should be able to answer your questions in a clear, direct and honest manner. Contact our California Car Accident Attorneys Today If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. We can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and best optio