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Bankruptcy – Education

Preparing for Bankruptcy

13 OCT

Filing bankruptcy requires that you pull together documentation of your financial circumstance. Your attorney will review your documents to help determine your qualification for bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to provide a completed Bankruptcy Questionnaire listing all of your assets, liabilities (debts), income and expenses. You also will need to provide pay stubs and records of all income earned (or given) in the six months prior to your bankruptcy petition.

If you want to begin your Bankruptcy Questionnaire now, click here to access our form.

A Chapter 7 filing also requires that you prove your income meets the requirements of the Means Test and/or The Totality of Circumstances Test.

You will be asked to disclose evidence of your monthly gross income and details of any expected increases or decreases in income or expenses. You may be asked to provide your income tax returns for the past two years; and you may be required to file any outstanding tax returns before filing for bankruptcy.

In addition you will need to certify that you have completed both credit counseling courses within 180 days before filing your bankruptcy petition. You also will be required to attend a mandatory Meeting of Creditors, after which you will have 45 days to attend a federally-mandated financial management course, either in person or online.

Be sure to provide your attorney and the bankruptcy trustee with your photo identification and any other documentation specifically requested by the Court.

For legal advice on your case and circumstances, be sure to consult a qualified attorney.

Worried About Losing Property in Bankruptcy? Get the Facts

Bankruptcy May Be Your Weapon of Mass Relief

11 OCT

Do you know someone who is under siege by creditors, has stopped answering the phone to avoid calls from collection agents, or lies awake at night wondering how to stop the financial bleeding? If so, let your friend know there is a way out. Bankruptcy can provide massive financial relief.

Most people under financial duress feel overwhelmed by stress. We’ve seen it over and over in our practice. People who finally decide to seek legal help arrive anxious about their situation and unsure whether they can get out from under their debt. They often feel guilty for having amassed so much debt that they put off asking for help. Some didn’t know whom to ask; others didn’t believe they had the right to ask for help.

A strong tool in the legal arsenal, the bankruptcy law gives people the right to ask for help getting back on their feet.

About the Bankruptcy Court

By the 1960s, the rise in consumer bankruptcy and congestion in the federal courts led to proposals for reform of the nation’s bankruptcy laws. As part of a broad plan to revise the bankruptcy code, the congressionally chartered Commission on Bankruptcy Laws of the United States recommended the establishment of independent bankruptcy courts within the federal judiciary. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (92 Stat. 2657) conferred original bankruptcy jurisdiction on the district courts and established a bankruptcy court in each judicial district to exercise bankruptcy jurisdiction. The act provided that the new bankruptcy courts would be considered adjuncts of the district courts, but would be presided over by bankruptcy judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for fourteen-year terms, beginning in 1984. In the meantime, the incumbent referees would serve as bankruptcy judges. Additional challenges to the bankruptcy law in 1984 changed bankruptcy jurisdiction. Under current practice, district courts automatically refer bankruptcy cases and proceedings to the bankruptcy court. A bankruptcy court is authorized to decide all referred business, except in limited matters known as “non-core” proceedings. If one of the parties does not consent to entry of a judgment by the bankruptcy judge in these proceedings, the bankruptcy court may only hear the matter and submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the district court. The district judge then enters the final order, which is subject to review by the courts of appeals or bankruptcy appellate panels.

The Attorney’s Role

An attorney evaluates and helps determine a client’s qualifications for bankruptcy. The attorney also files the bankruptcy petition to the court trustee for consideration. (Individuals may represent themselves in bankruptcy court as well). Once the bankruptcy petition is filed, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee evaluates the case and considers the needs and rights of creditors in each case, as well as the qualifications and means of the debtor before submitting the case for adjudication.

A court-approved bankruptcy judgment may discharge massive debt under a Chapter 7 filing, or establish a feasible repayment plan under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for some or all of the debt. Other bankruptcy chapters address the financial needs of specific entities, such as businesses, farms and municipalities. A variety of remedies may apply. However, not all debts are dischargeable under bankruptcy: college loans, child support payments, criminal restitution demands and divorce judgments may not be discharged through bankruptcy.

At Daley Law we recommend that people and companies suffering severe financial stress consult an experienced attorney who can help explore legal options and recommend the appropriate course of action. Seeking the advice of a qualified lawyer is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences. If you need help finding a bankruptcy attorney to assist you, visit NACBA.org

Bankruptcy and Garnishment

What Happens to Income Tax Refunds in a Bankruptcy?

18 APR

Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, income tax returns received during the bankruptcy period will become part of the Bankruptcy Estate and, if not exempt, will be under care of the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is charged with evaluating the estate, liquefying assets and repaying as many creditors as possible with available funds. Your attorney will help determine which of your assets are exempt from liquidation.

If you are due a significant tax return, you may want to speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney about the best time to file, how much cash you will be able to keep on hand during the bankruptcy period, and how best to protect your assets.

Daley Law is available to answer your questions and offers a free 30-minute consultant. If you have extenuating tax circumstances, Daley Law may refer you to a qualified tax attorney in your area.

Preparing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy – Property

Worried About Losing Property in Bankruptcy? Get the Facts

22 SEP

If you are in dire financial straits and holding off filing for bankruptcy because you are worried about protecting your property, here are a few things you should know.

Homestead Exemption
Florida’s homestead exemption offers protection to homeowners. If you have been a legal Florida resident for at least two years, and you have owned your home for at least 3.5 years, you may be fully protected under the Homestead Act from losing your home. If you have owned your property for less than 3.5 years, only a portion of the value of your home may be protected under bankruptcy law.

Other Protected Assets Under Bankruptcy

  • If you have claimed a homestead exemption, you may retain $1,000 in personal property assets after bankruptcy; but if you have not claimed homestead exemption, you may qualify to keep $5,000 worth of assets per person in your household.
  • Most employee Retirement plans are exempt from creditor claims.
  • Individual retirement accounts and most annuities may be exempt. If you file outside of Florida, be aware that a recent Supreme Court decision ruled that bankruptcy may only protect IRA contributions the debtor made personally; inherited income from another person’s IRA may not be protected in other states.
  • Personal property pledged to a secured creditor, such as a motor vehicle, recreational vehicle or boat may be retained, provided payments can be maintained.
  • An unsecured motor vehicle with equity of $1,000 or less is protected. If you have more than $1,000 in equity, you should consult an attorney.
  • Cash value of your life insurance, provider you are both the owner and the insured party.

Other protections under the law cover the bank account of a head-of-household when that account contains only wages; contributions made to college trust funds more than a year before bankruptcy filing; and personal property that was previously pawned.

Need more information before deciding if bankruptcy is right for you? Contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

New Tool Available to Control Your Digital Footprint

Will I Lose My Home if I File for Bankruptcy?

23 SEP

Many people worry about losing their home if they file for bankruptcy. Whether it is possible to protect a home or forestall foreclosure during bankruptcy proceedings depends on individual circumstances.

Not all bankruptcies result in a lost home. For example, an individual who files a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be allowed to keep his or her non-homestead home if there is not enough equity in the home to repay a substantive portion of their debt and/or if mortgage payments on the home have been kept current.

In addition, a Federal or State homestead exemption may protect the debtor’s equity in the home. When a court’s review finds significant equity in a home, the Bankruptcy trustee must determine if a sale would make sense—in other words, if there will be enough proceeds from the sale to warrant a creditor repayment plan. The trustee will factor in the amount of homestead exemption to which the homeowner may be entitled, the total mortgage balance, costs of selling the home, the amount of tax liens and other liens, as well as the trustee’s commission. These items would be subtracted from the home’s market value to determine whether there is enough equity in the home to pay unsecured creditors.

When a trustee deems that there is sufficient equity to pay creditors, the trustee may require that the house be sold. In that event, the homeowner would be given the percent of the sale equal to the homestead exemption, if there were one. Florida does have some of the best homestead exemptions available but you must speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to see how these exemptions would affect you.

If you are falling behind on loan payments, and considering filing for bankruptcy, it may be possible to protect your home by negotiating a more affordable payment plan with your mortgage lender before you file for bankruptcy. Also, refinancing or modifying your loan payments could make it easier for you to make on-time mortgage payments.

Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, your Bankruptcy trustee may be able to include any arrears on your current mortgage in your bankruptcy payback plan so that you can remain in your home.

If you have questions about how to protect your home from foreclosure or impending bankruptcy, please contact an experienced lawyer. Know your Options, Know the Law!

Guarding Against Charity Scams

What Happens to Income Tax Refunds in a Bankruptcy?

18 SEP

It’s especially important to “Know your options, Know the law” when a law affecting you varies from state to state.

If you have inherited an IRA, and also have financial problems, be aware that an inherited IRA does not share the same characteristics as a traditional IRA, according to a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. Therefore, inherited funds do not always have the same protection as retirement funds held by the original earner of those funds, under Bankruptcy Law. Luckily for my clients, Florida Statutes have exempted inherited IRA’s from creditors. But that is not the case everywhere.

According to a Supreme Court of the United States decision, funds held in inherited IRAs are not “retirement funds,” which are understood to be sums of money set aside for the day an individual stops working. Previously a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, had determined that inherited funds have different characteristics. “First, the holder of an inherited IRA may never invest additional money in the account …. Second, holders of inherited IRAs are required to withdraw money from the accounts, no matter how far they are from retirement. …. Finally, the holder of an inherited IRA may withdraw the entire balance of the account at any time—and use it for any purpose—without penalty.”

That ruling was based on the Bankruptcy Court’s need to balance the creditor’s interest in recovering assets with the debtor’s interest to protect essential needs. The decision held that “Allowing debtors to protect funds in traditional and Roth IRAs ensures that debtors will be able to meet their basic needs during their retirement years. By contrast, nothing about an inherited IRA’s legal characteristics prevent or discourage an individual from using the entire balance immediately after bankruptcy for purposes of current consumption,” such as a vacation home or a sports car. In short, the Court chose not to give debtors a “free pass” to keep inherited funds at the detriment of creditor’s rights.

Following the appeal of Brandon C. Clark et ux., petitioners, v. William J. Rameker, Trustee, et. al., which argued (in part) that the original owner of the account had set aside that money as “retirement funds” and therefore that money should be “forever deemed retirement funds,” Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor disagreed. Sotomayor delivered the opinion that inherited IRAs do not qualify as retirement funds within the meaning of the bankruptcy exemption.

If the heir to retirement funds is the owner’s spouse, the spouse has a choice to “roll over” the IRA funds into his or her own IRA, or he or she may keep the IRA as an inherited IRA (subject to rules). When a non-spouse inherits an IRA, he or she may not roll over the funds; the only option is to hold the IRA as an inherited IRA account, which does not operate like an ordinary IRA, given that the individual may withdraw funds from the IRA at any time without penalty; the owner must either withdraw the entire balance within five years or take minimum distributions annually, and may not contribute to the account. Thus, earned and inherited IRAs differ in intent and process.

If you have financial challenges, also possess an inherited IRA, and are considering how best to protect your assets, consult an attorney experienced with Bankruptcy Law. Daley Law is always pleased to assist. Visit our Website and use the easy form we have on every page to ask us your legal questions.

Beware of Deceptive Auto Warranty Notices

Bankruptcy – Wages

Being “Real” Doesn’t Mean Faking it in Bankruptcy Court:

21 OCT

So One of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Recently Learned

A lesson observed from the behavior of two-recently fallen TV reality stars is to let a skilled bankruptcy attorney advise you on the best way to protect your assets during bankruptcy proceedings. Hiding assets didn’t work out so well for two married stars of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” According to an Associated Press report published in The New York Times, Federal District Court Judge Ester Salas sentenced Teresa and Giuseppe Giudice to 15 months and 41 months, respectively, in prison, after they were convicted on conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges.

The couple attempted to hide numerous assets from the court, including vehicles and jewelry. Those omissions irked the judge into a stronger penalty than she initially considered, which reminds me of the old adage, “Crime does not pay.” (I couldn’t resist.)

If you are swimming in debt and considering the best way out, contact a reputable bankruptcy attorney who can help you prepare effectively and also advise you on ways to protect your homestead and your family during times of financial crisis. Daley Law can help. Contact us at 321.504.9935.

Worried About Losing Property in Bankruptcy? Get the Facts

Bankruptcy and Garnishment

28 MAY

I am often asked about the effect that bankruptcy has on a garnishment. The answer is it depends. After a bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. The stay stops most collection activities by creditors and prohibits new collections during the term of the bankruptcy. This means that wage garnishments are also stopped as long as the bankruptcy stay remains in effect. If a creditor wants to resume collection efforts, it must ask the court to lift the stay. A creditor must have a compelling and valid reason for doing so.

Bankruptcy can stop a garnishment, but recovery of garnished money depends on the timing of the bankruptcy filing. When we file bankruptcy for a client who has a garnishment, we also immediately file a suggestion of bankruptcy with the court that authorized the garnishment. The court who issued the writ of garnishment then dissolves the writ of garnishment. The employer is served a copy of the court order dissolving the writ and the garnishment ends. If your case gets dismissed without a discharge, then the creditor can resume the wage garnishment after dismissal. But if your debts are discharged during the bankruptcy, then the creditor may not resume the garnishment effort.

Contact our office at 321.504.9935 for a free consultation to find out more.

Bankruptcy and Garnishment

Business Law

Thinking of Financing a Car? Consider This ….

12 MAY

In the same week that my friend’s wife bought a new Mini Cooper, my friend decided to lease a new Mazda for his business. Like most people, this young couple didn’t have the money to pay outright for either car, so they worked out two different credit solutions.

Before committing to a financing program, “Know your options. Know the law.”

  • Decide how much you can afford to pay each month. Make sure that your new monthly payments will not stretch your budget to the point where you will be tempted to delay on-time payments. Look over your monthly bills and decide how much you can manage without creating more stress in your life. Check your credit report and score before applying so you know what to expect. Correct any mistakes in your report beforeapplying for financing.
  • Visit several car dealers so you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money and the best financing deals available. Also check out other funding sources, such as banks and private lenders who might help you.
  • I strongly recommend you seek pre-approval from an outside financing company before shopping for your car. Another way that car dealers make money is by adding points to your auto loan. You may qualify for a 4% interest rate but get 6.5% at the dealer. The car dealer gets the extra profit on the increased interest rate.
  • Calculate the down payment you can afford. Whether you lease or buy, you will most likely be expected to hand over a chunk of money upfront.
  • Decide whether to lease or buy. Leasing a car means you do not own it. When you lease, you are essentially renting a car from the dealer. After several years of monthly payments, you will most likely not have equity in the car, although you may be given the option to buy out the balance due on the car, based on its depreciated value. If you buy your car, you own it. Depending on your mileage and they way you care for your vehicle, you can continue driving your car for years after you have made the final payment.
  • While car dealer ads often tout low-interest rates for car loans and leases, those rates vary according to the fine print. Your rate will be determined by your credit rating and credit history, as well as the length of the loan. While the purchase price may be affordable, the interest rate charged will drive the cost of your new car well above the purchase price. For my friend’s car in the example above, financing increased the purchased car to approximately 1.5 times the actual cost of the car, or another 50 percent over time. That said, financing can allow you to drive a new, safe and reliable car — if you can afford the monthly payment.
  • Consider your driving habits. Leasing also comes with restrictions, such as the number of miles you may drive per year without having to pay a penalty. If you have a long commute to work, travel extensively, and expect heavy mileage, you might be better off owning than leasing.
  • Consider how you will manage if costly, life or business events crop up. Do you have children ready for college? Will upcoming tuition payments, student loans or parent loans make it difficult for you to manage a new car payment? What will you do if a member of your earning team loses a job or must take a leave from work? Do you have a nest egg or reserve that will cover car payments in the meantime? Have you considered a supplemental insurance plan that will provide money if the unforeseen happens?

It’s important to drive a reliable car and, when needed, to procure fair credit terms, to make that happen. If you have questions about financing, legal language, how to get pre-approved for a loan, how to repair a bad credit report, how to build up your credit, or whether a contract is fair to you, contact Daley Law

DAVID A. FEINSWOG, ESQ.,

Consumer Rights

New Tool Available to Control Your Digital Footprint

15 SEP

and allows you to opt out of the targeted ad for each of 177 companies participating with the DAA.

For more information, visit: Digital Advertising Alliance Consumer Choice Page. You’ll be able to:

  • See all the participating companies and learn about their practices;
  • Learn which participating companies have currently enabled customized ads for your browser;
  • Check whether you’ve already opted out from participating companies;
  • Exercise choice with some or all participating companies, using opt-out cookies to store your preferences in your browser; or
  • Opt out from all participating companies in one step.

In the meantime, be careful about which ads and Facebook posts you click on when using the Internet and social media platforms. Big Brother is watching.

New Tool Available to Control Your Digital Footprint

Beware of Deceptive Auto Warranty Notices

12 JUN

State Attorney Phil Archer has released a consumer warning about one of “the most annoying and deceptive marketing campaigns” he has seen recently. Auto Warranty companies send important-looking postcards and letters with an eye-catching warnings that the recipient’s auto warranty is about to expire. That often is not the case, but the company is soliciting takers for extended warranty or auto warranty coverage that it sells on behalf of other companies.

This high-pressure sales tactic often comes with demand for a down-payment and your personal financial information before providing their own details about their service contract. Stay alert! Never provide financial or sensitive information, such as bank account, credit card, social security, or driver’s license information or other personal history to solicitors. That information may be used to defraud unsuspecting customers.

The State Attorney says: if you have questions about your warranty, contact your auto dealer, check your manual, or contact the vehicle manufacturer. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Beware of Deceptive Auto Warranty Notices

Guarding Against Charity Scams

22 JUN

Thanks to announcements by State Attorney Phil Archer and other watchdogs interested in protecting consumers, potential donors are more aware of the myriad charity scams ready to take their cash — in person, by phone or over the Internet. Be sure you are among them armed with information that guards against fraudulent operators.

All charities soliciting in the State of Florida must register and file financial information with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Before donating, request written literature and a copy of the charity’s financial report. If you have not reviewed a charity’s history, financial allocations, and impact, you should think twice about donating.

You can verify whether a charity is registered with the State by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA / 1-800-435-7352.

Always protect yourself and your identity from phone, mail and e-mail solicitors. Do not give out your personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call, and you are certain that the organization, person and phone number you are calling is a trusted source.

Guarding Against Charity Scams

Criminal Law

Timely Topic: Gun Ownership Laws and How They Apply to You

2 MAR

Know Your Options, Know the Law

In the wake of the murderous Paris and San Bernadino terror attacks, the White House  acknowledged that terrorism in this country is a threat to be taken seriously. Now, gun sales are skyrocketing across the country.

Regardless of which side of the gun control debate you stand on, we believe it is important to know the facts about gun ownership and conduct yourself wisely in the event that you already own or intend to purchase firearms.

Since the Daley Law tagline advises people to “Know Your Options, Know the Law,” we are sharing some information about gun laws. According to data released by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, no state permit is required to possess or purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun in the State of Florida. If you intend to purchase or use firearms, Daley Law advises you to understand how your weapon operates and practice proper safety procedures involved with handling a weapon.

Gun Dealer Responsibilities

No licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer shall sell or deliver any firearm to another person until he has obtained a completed form from the potential buyer or transferee and received approval from the Department of Law Enforcement by means of a toll-free telephone call. The Department of Law Enforcement shall destroy records of approval and non-approval within 48 hours after its response. The fee for the instant check shall be $8.00. Exempt from the instant check are licensed dealers, manufacturers, importers, collectors, persons with a concealed carrying license, law enforcement, as well as correctional and correctional probation officers.

Who Has the Right to Control, Possess or Carry Firearms and Concealed Weapons?

It is unlawful for any convicted felon to have in his or her care, custody, control, or possession any firearm or to carry a concealed weapon unless his civil rights have been restored. It also is unlawful for drug addicts, alcoholics, mental incompetents, and vagrants to own, possess or use any firearms.

Gun Laws and Domestic Violence Offenders

A person may not have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm or ammunition if the person has been issued a final injunction that is currently in force and effect, restraining that person from committing acts of domestic violence.

Gun Laws and Minors

It is unlawful to sell, give, barter, lend or transfer a firearm or weapon other than an ordinary pocketknife to a minor less than the age of 18 without his/her parent’s permission, or to any person of unsound mind. It is unlawful for any dealer to sell or transfer any firearm, pistol, Springfield rifle or other repeating rifle to a minor. A minor may not possess a loaded firearm at his home, unless engaged in lawful activities.

Protecting Your Rights

Daley Law is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals as they navigate the legal system. If you are arrested on weapons charges or have questions about your rights as a gun owner in the State of Florida, criminal defense attorney David A. Feinswog can answer your questions.

Note: For appropriate interpretation of the law, please seek the advice of a licensed attorney. The information contained in this post is not intended to be legal advice and should not be considered a legal opinion. This information is only intended for informational purposes and to facilitate discussion.

Gun Ownership Laws and How They Apply to You

Don’t Leave the Scene of an Accident

10 JUN

to do so, and exchange identification and contact information with any other driver involved in the incident,” according to an informative article at FindLaw.com. To learn more about what you should do at the accident scene to limit your legal liability, visit: http://traffic.findlaw.com/traffic-tickets/leaving-the-scene-of-an-accident-hit-and-run.html#sthash.ODbTUzgl.dpuf

Remember, any driver who doesn’t fulfill these duties may be fined, or when serious injury or death results from a crash, an involved driver who leaves the scene may be subject to serious criminal charges, including felony hit and run.

Know your options. Know the law. If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, as the victim or driver who left the scene, consult with a qualified attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that you make the best possible choices given the facts involved. An attorney can help you sort through the facts and procedure surrounding an accident so you make informed choices.
___________________________________

DISCLAIMER:  All data and information provided on this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For actual legal advice relating to your own specific circumstance, please contact a qualified attorney. The Daley Law Blog is provided by Daley Law for informational purposes only and contains opinions based on our viewpoint at a specific point in time. Our opinions and content may change in the future. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Daley Law makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, applicability or validity of any information on this site. Daley Law will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from this blog’s display or use.

Don’t Leave the Scene of an Accident

What If I Refuse to Take a Breath Test?

21 APR

In most situations, if you refuse to take a mandatory breath test, you cannot be forced to do so. However, a refusal is not without consequences. In Florida, you may lose your license for one year for your first refusal. For a subsequent refusal, your license may be suspended for 18 months. You also may face other consequences, such as jail time associated with committing a misdemeanor. In addition, you may incur loss of income or job loss resulting from court appearances and jail time.

Police may have the right to administer a urine test when they believe someone is impaired, even if there are no obvious signs of impairment by alcohol. You have the right to refuse that test, with consequences similar to those of refusing a breath test.

Know Your Options, Know the Law

Police may have the right to administer a urine test when they believe someone is impaired, even if there are no obvious signs of impairment by alcohol. You have the right to refuse that test, with consequences similar to those of refusing a breath test.

If you are arrested on DUI charges, a police officer is required to tell you that if you refuse to take a sobriety test, your refusal can be used against you in court and may result in a suspension of your driver’s license. If you previously had your license suspended for refusing a chemical test, your subsequent refusal may count as a misdemeanor offense, and your license may be suspended for a longer time.

Implied Consent Law

Be aware that the state has the right to administer a blood-alcohol test if you are unconscious or if there is serious bodily injury resulting from an accident, whether or not you have been arrested. For detailed information on Florida’s implied consent law, visit the Florida Statutes Annotated 316.1932. Under Florida law, if you are arrested for a DUI, you have the right to request an independent blood test. If you do, the officer must make one available to you.

Field Sobriety Exercises Are Open to Interpretation

Field sobriety exercises, such as walking a straight line, are open to interpretation by a police officer. For example, an individual with a bad knee might stumble whether or not (s)he was drinking; a person who stutters might not speak clearly whether or not (s)he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet, these signs might appear to be drug or alcohol related.

An attorney can help sort through the facts, investigate police procedures, and help prepare a defense that safeguards your rights.

DISCLAIMER:  All data and information provided on this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For actual legal advice relating to your own specific circumstance, please contact a qualified attorney. The Daley Law Blog is provided by Daley Law for informational purposes only and contains opinions based on our viewpoint at a specific point in time. Our opinions and content may change in the future. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Daley Law makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, applicability or validity of any information on this site. Daley Law will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from this blog’s display or use.

What If I Refuse to Take a Breath Test?

Daley Law News

Daley Law Welcomes David A. Feinswog, Esq.

12 DEC

Daley Law is pleased to welcome a new attorney to our team. DAVID A. FEINSWOG, ESQ., previously Assistant State Attorney with the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Viera, Florida, has joined Daley Law as a criminal defense attorney. Mr. Feinswog earned his Juris Doctordegree from University of Miami School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from the University of Maryland. Admitted to the Florida State Bar Association in 2002, Mr. Feinswog later practiced law as a member of The State Bar of Michigan. Today, he also is a member of the Brevard County Bar Association.

While representing the State Attorney’s Office in Viera, FL, Mr. Feinswog had prosecuted sex crimes, crimes against children, general felony crimes, domestic violence crimes with targeted offenders, as well as misdemeanor crimes as Assistant State Attorney.

Mr. Feinswog’s experience as a criminal litigator brings a new perspective to our team and for our clients. “We are pleased welcome David to Daley Law as a criminal defense attorney. While our firm has been primarily known for bankruptcy proceedings and foreclosure defense,  we are now able to serve a broader range of clients needing legal representation. Experienced as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, Mr. Feinswog now represents Daley Law clients in cases of criminal and misdemeanor crimes, including DUIs, drug charges, and crimes against persons and/or property. Also experienced as a civil litigator, Mr. Feinswog will assist clients with foreclosure defense, loan mediation, mortgage modifications and other legal needs.

DAVID A. FEINSWOG, ESQ.,

Debt and Debt Collection

Concerned about Credit After Bankruptcy? Know this …

3 OCT

A bankruptcy discharge provides major financial relief that helps debtors gain back their financial footing. Then, with fewer bills looming each month, most debtors are better able to manage monthly expenses. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that lenders and credit card companies, for a while, will not consider you a good financial risk and may only sparingly lend money should you find yourself in a financial hole again. A bankruptcy may stay on your credit record for up to 10 years, and if you accrue massive debt again, you will not be able to file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for 8 years.

More good news …. You can build credit again by using credit responsibly. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, credit card companies have the right to automatically cancel your credit cards—even if you did not include them in your bankruptcy petition and intended to keep using those accounts.

REBUILDING CREDIT HISTORY

Begin to re-build your credit history as soon as possible. It may take at least two or more years before you obtain an above-average credit rating again. You can get a start by finding a bank that will issue you a “Secured Credit Card,” which works kind of like a bank account. You give the bank the amount of money you wish to tie to a credit card, while the bank watches your credit behavior. As you use the card to pay a bill or bills, and pay the bank on time each month, you will begin rebuilding your credit worthiness. When the bank sees that you are managing your monthly payments on time, your bank may even provide you with a small amount of additional bank credit ($100, $250, $350 or $500) above your own investment. If you continue to pay bills in a timely manner, your bank credit will increase — and so will your credit rating.

When choosing a Secured Credit Card, make sure the bank will report your credit behavior to the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransWorld, and Equifax. As those credit agencies receive word of your good credit behavior, they will begin to elevate your credit score. When your score goes up, you will have more access to credit.

BECOME CREDIT WISE

Just because you’ve earned more credit doesn’t mean you have to spend it. To manage credit wisely, use your secured card for necessities only, such as monthly utility bills that you would need to pay whether or not you had the credit card.

Avoid using your secured card for luxuries such as dining out or the latest fad in technology. By committing that your credit card spending will be only for true necessities, you will avoid the temptation to spend beyond your means. Over time, your new spending strategy will become a good financial habit, and you will rebuild your credit one step at a time.

Concerned about Credit After Bankruptcy? Know this …

Make This Your Best Financial Year Yet

22 FEB

Want to make this the year you really get behind your financial goals? Practicing the 12 behaviors listed below can help you build financial stability. Don’t wait to implement these suggestions. Start using them today, and day-by-day, to exercise and strengthen your financial muscle.

  • Picture your financial fitness. Visualize your life when you are financially fit. What will life look like, sound like and feel like when you have more money in the bank and fewer bills dragging you down? What will you see happening around you? What will you hear people saying? What will your own self talk sound like? How will you feel inside? Take time now to capture that feeling in your body and memorize it. Later, when you are tempted to spend beyond your means, pull that picture to mind and recall how good you will feel if you don’t spend extra money and let yourself enjoy the security of money in the bank instead. Get in the habit of spending money only to reduce debt instead of increasing it.
  • Commit to learning all you can about financial fitness. Start by reading at least one book on finance and debt management. Check out Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Zero Debt by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. You also may like Debt-Proof Living: The Complete Guide to Living Financially Free by Mary Hunt and The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason, which uses parables to share information about discipline and self-control. Save money on books by checking them out of the library or purchasing the Kindle edition.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Make a list of your bills on paper, a ledger sheet or a computer spreadsheet. Review it and decide which purchases and monthly bills are absolutely necessary and required. Then practice eliminating at least one expense per month from recurring bills. Think about what you can do without or do for yourself instead of hiring someone to do it for you. For example, can you eliminate your Starbucks run by carrying coffee from home? How much will you save if you color your own hair or cut your own lawn? How much might you save if you buy fresh foods instead of prepared foods? And stop eating out at restaurants if you have debt you can’t manage now. Eating at home is easier on your budget. As you change these behaviors, you’ll be working your financial decision muscles and saving money too!
  • Focus on saving for the long term. If you have a retirement plan, increasing the payroll deductions you allocate to a savings effort by even one percent will help you save for the future. Get in the habit of increasing your contribution to matched plans annually by one percent until you have met the maximum contribution allowed. If you don’t have a retirement plan, speak to a banker, accountant or financial planner about how you can set up a self-managed plan, such as an IRA or Roth fund. Or simply open a savings account at your local bank and deposit a small amount from each paycheck.
  • Stop borrowing. Resolve not to take on more debt this year. Avoid the temptation to respond to credit offers you think will help you stretch your paycheck. Use the money you don’t spend on credit to pay down existing debt or save for a rainy day.
  • If you’re drowning in debt, learn how to negotiate and settle outstanding debts. Don’t rely on so-called debt consolidation companies. Most are scams. Companies (even those claiming to be non-profits) that offer debt management services add their own costs to your debt and only help you stretch payments out. You will pay more in the long run, which is not a good strategy for getting out of debt. A well-reviewed book on this topic is Negotiate and Settle Your Debts by Mandy Akridge.
  • Pay early, whenever possible, and always on time. This will help you get ahead of your bills, which may reduce stress. Did you know that stress hormones interfere with clear judgment? When you develop more financial fitness and feel better about your financial position, your confidence in your financial behavior will grow and may reinforce itself. Paying early or on time will also help improve your credit rating, which will be important to you if you need to renegotiate a mortgage or make a big purchase when you can afford it.
  • Watch less television! Television ads (especially the late night and home shopping variety) manipulate people into wanting and buying things they don’t need. Don’t be conned into buying on a whim.
  • Use only cash or debit cards (not credit cards) to make purchases, and don’t buy unnecessary items.
  • Live within your means. Plan to spend 10 percent less than you earn (and do it). Then put the 10 percent you don’t spend into savings.
  • Monitor your credit rating. Don’t purchase credit reports your don’t need. You can get a free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion). Don’t get the reports from each agency all at once. Ask for a report from one of the three at three-to-four month intervals and you will be able to monitor your credit all year long, without incurring additional expenses. If you notice errors, contact the agency/agencies involved to correct any mistakes.
  • Stay balanced. Just as physical exercise helps with physical gait, the exercise of balancing your checkbook regularly will help keep your finances steady. Don’t rely on the bank balance you see online because that does not show you checks still outstanding. If you don’t keep a printed ledger, you could mislead yourself about how much money you actually have in the bank. Stay alert and aware of your ability to pay. And you’ll protect your credit score at the same time.

At Daley Law, we’re interested in how these strategies work for you. Drop us a line and let us know. Or call our office to schedule a consultation if you are so overwhelmed by debt that you believe you need assistance. Don’t wait and get deeper in debt while wondering what to do. We’re here to help.

Beware of Deceptive Auto Warranty Notices

Timely Topic: How Your Tax Return Can Reduce Your Debt

7 MAR

Most people run right out after receiving their tax return and spend it on a luxury (or necessity) they’ve been hoping to enjoy. To make the most of your tax return, think about safe alternatives for turning the money returned to you into more money in your pocket. Here are a few options:

  • Start an interest-bearing savings account that can add to your peace of mind.
  • Speak to a reputable financial adviser who can help you decide where to invest it carefully, perhaps in a low-risk mutual fund, annuity, 401K or other retirement plan, where your money is likely to make you money.
  • Use your tax return to reduce indebtedness by paying down debts not likely to be discharged under a bankruptcy filing (such as child support and college loans).
  • If you own a small business, you might choose to invest it in a special project, such as a sales, marketing or incentive program, that will help add to your bottom line.
  • If you are so deeply in debt that your tax return feels more like a small drop in an already leaky bucket, then contact Daley Law or another qualified attorney to help you review your debt situation.

Debt management is a skill that you can learn. For more information read our last article on Financial Fitness.

Guarding Against Charity Scams

Divorce and Family Law

Financial Secrets Among Skeletons in the Closet

2 SEP

Have you ever lied to your partner about spending or saving money? If so, you’re not alone. Financial infidelity is rampant, based on reports released by CreditCards.com, Huffington Post, Time.com, and CNBC, among others.

A staggering seven million (6 percent of) the United States population admits to hiding financial assets or debt from spouses and partners in otherwise committed relationships.

And that’s not all. A recent study from the National Endowment for Financial Education (conducted with Harris Interactive) reports that 35 percent of respondents say they have been victims of their spouses’ financial deceptions.

Financial infidelity—as evidenced by hidden bank accounts, excessive spending, borrowing, lending or withdrawals from retirement accounts without the other partner’s knowledge—can erode trust in a relationship, especially when one partner starts to feel left out of decisions, betrayed or disgruntled. In addition, financial subterfuge makes budgeting difficult and may lead to late payments, bankruptcy and divorce.

Uncovering Financial Subterfuge

If you believe your spouse or partner is hiding assets or concealing spending habits, here are a few ways to verify or allay your concerns:

  • Pay attention to household finances. Watch for consistency between income and outflow. If you see a problem, don’t jump to conclusions. But do ask for information so you will understand what’s happening.
  • Monitor money signals in your life. Have you noticed letters in the mail from financial institutions you know nothing about? Were you turned down for a new credit card when you thought your own credit was good? Have you noticed that bills you were expecting to see arrive in the mail didn’t come? Are you missing cash?
  • Stay alert to your spouse/partner’s patterns and moods, especially if you believe gambling or addiction may be a problem. Financial problems can elevate moodiness and depression, which could signal a problem.
  • Don’t take unexpectedly generous or extravagant spending as a sign that all is well. Sometimes guilt leads to excessive gestures.
  • Choose the right time and place for financial discussions so you can air your concerns when the other person is able to hear and understand them.
  • Get in the habit of reviewing financial documents and credit reports together at least once a year. This process can alert you to debt problems and/or reveal financial assets of which you are unaware.

If you discover problems with debt management or feel a need to protect your assets, consult an experienced attorney who can help with debt restructuring, loan modification, bankruptcy or mortgage mediation, as needed. It’s important to know your options so you can make informed decisions. Daley Law concentrates on helping families use appropriate legal remedies in times of financial crisis.

Will Tax Ax Cut Through Foreclosure Relief?

The Marital Offset: How Bankruptcy Affects the Non-Filing Spouse

22 MAY

It is not always necessary for both spouses to file bankruptcy, but a  bankruptcy where one spouse files and the other doesn’t can be complicated. Here are a few things to know and consider:

The non-filing spouse’s income must be included in the Means Test, Form 22A or 22C to determine bankruptcy eligibility. This is true even if a divorce is pending and the couple is living apart.

In the Means Test, you must calculate the current monthly income by averaging the gross income for the six months prior to filing bankruptcy. This includes the non-filing spouse’s gross income. The bankruptcy court then adjusts for the non-filing spouse’s expenses by determining what is called the “Marital Offset.” For example, the non-filing spouse’s car payment, credit cards, taxes, and other expenses that do not contribute to the household, or are for the non-filing spouses benefit only, are removed from the calculations using the Marital Offset. The non-filing spouse can also deduct expenses that a debtor (the spouse filing bankruptcy) cannot deduct such as student loan payments and retirement contributions.

During Chapter 7, payments continue for student loans. In Chapter 13, student loan payments are deferred while the bankruptcy is pending, and those payments are not calculated into the expenses when determining disposable Income.

The debtor is usually trying to discharge as much debt as possible. But, be aware that the Bankruptcy Trustee can object to the marital deductions, so you should limit the expenses included in your filing to those that are actual and reasonable for inclusion. That is why it is important to consult an attorney in these situations. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can make sure that all of the non-filing spouse’s expenses are accounted for and excluded from the household expenses.

Zombie Nightmares Arise from Post-Foreclosure Graveyard

When Fault Counts in Divorce

2 MAY

Who’s at fault in a divorce? According to Florida law, no one. Florida is one of many states that has abolished fault as a ground for divorce. The only requirement to dissolve a marriage is to prove that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Either spouse may file for dissolution of marriage in Florida, providing that either the husband or wife has been a Florida resident for at least six months.

Fault, however, may be considered relevant when the court considers parental responsibility, award of alimony, fair distribution of marital property and debts.

An attorney can advise you about where to file a divorce petition and help ensure that you follow statutory requirements and court rules so you don’t lose your rights. A lawyer also can answer your questions about your rights and responsibilities, your children’s rights, and property rights resulting from a marriage.

When Fault Counts in Divorce

Foreclosure Defense

Will Tax Ax Cut Through Foreclosure Relief?

13 NOV

After the housing market dropped, many homeowners turned to short sales or foreclosures to make up for declining property value. While a short sale or property foreclosure might relieve a homeowner of mortgage payments, the Internal Revenue Service could be the next link in the debt chain.

Tax laws treat debt forgiveness as a financial benefit. So, people believing they have just escaped unmanageable debts may find that their banks report the discharged debts to the tax department, who then comes collecting.

The key to ultimate debt relief is knowing whether you are exempted from having to pay taxes on the money “saved” through foreclosure or short sale, ostensibly the amount that was lowed on the loan.

In some cases, both the total loan and tax consequences may be forgiven. When mortgage debt is canceled through foreclosure, the forgiven debt may not be taxable if you are insolvent or if you are filing for bankruptcy and going through the home foreclosure at the same time. But the tax department distinguishes between cases in which people choose foreclosure for strategic relief from a poor investment and individuals who do not have the resources to avoid foreclosure.

It’s important when considering foreclosure to understand all your options and liabilities. It’s important to “Know Your Options. Know the Law.” Consult a reputable law firm with experienced bankruptcy and foreclosure teams to help you explore, consider and understand the liabilities involved with legal proceedings such as foreclosure, bankruptcy and other types of debt relief and forgiveness.

If you surrendered  your home through foreclosure or short sale and have concerns about how tax implications may affect you, speak with a qualified attorney or contact Daley Law.

How Your Tax Return Can Reduce Your Debt

Will I Lose My Home if I File for Bankruptcy?

23 SEP

Many people worry about losing their home if they file for bankruptcy. Whether it is possible to protect a home or forestall foreclosure during bankruptcy proceedings depends on individual circumstances.

Not all bankruptcies result in a lost home. For example, an individual who files a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be allowed to keep his or her non-homestead home if there is not enough equity in the home to repay a substantive portion of their debt and/or if mortgage payments on the home have been kept current.

In addition, a Federal or State homestead exemption may protect the debtor’s equity in the home. When a court’s review finds significant equity in a home, the Bankruptcy trustee must determine if a sale would make sense—in other words, if there will be enough proceeds from the sale to warrant a creditor repayment plan. The trustee will factor in the amount of homestead exemption to which the homeowner may be entitled, the total mortgage balance, costs of selling the home, the amount of tax liens and other liens, as well as the trustee’s commission. These items would be subtracted from the home’s market value to determine whether there is enough equity in the home to pay unsecured creditors.

When a trustee deems that there is sufficient equity to pay creditors, the trustee may require that the house be sold. In that event, the homeowner would be given the percent of the sale equal to the homestead exemption, if there were one. Florida does have some of the best homestead exemptions available but you must speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to see how these exemptions would affect you.

If you are falling behind on loan payments, and considering filing for bankruptcy, it may be possible to protect your home by negotiating a more affordable payment plan with your mortgage lender before you file for bankruptcy. Also, refinancing or modifying your loan payments could make it easier for you to make on-time mortgage payments.

Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, your Bankruptcy trustee may be able to include any arrears on your current mortgage in your bankruptcy payback plan so that you can remain in your home.

If you have questions about how to protect your home from foreclosure or impending bankruptcy, please contact an experienced lawyer. Know your Options, Know the Law!

 Gun Ownership Laws and How They Apply to You

Money Matters

Timely Topic: How Your Tax Return Can Reduce Your Debt

7 MAR

Most people run right out after receiving their tax return and spend it on a luxury (or necessity) they’ve been hoping to enjoy. To make the most of your tax return, think about safe alternatives for turning the money returned to you into more money in your pocket. Here are a few options:

Start an interest-bearing savings account that can add to your peace of mind.

Speak to a reputable financial adviser who can help you decide where to invest it carefully, perhaps in a low-risk mutual fund, annuity, 401K or other retirement plan, where your money is likely to make you money.

Use your tax return to reduce indebtedness by paying down debts not likely to be discharged under a bankruptcy filing (such as child support and college loans).

If you own a small business, you might choose to invest it in a special project, such as a sales, marketing or incentive program, that will help add to your bottom line.

If you are so deeply in debt that your tax return feels more like a small drop in an already leaky bucket, then contact Daley Law or another qualified attorney to help you review your debt situation.

Debt management is a skill that you can learn. For more information read our last article on Financial Fitness.

Avoid Taking Worthless Checks in Your Business

Mortgages and Mortgage Relief

Will Tax Ax Cut Through Foreclosure Relief?

13 NOV

After the housing market dropped, many homeowners turned to short sales or foreclosures to make up for declining property value. While a short sale or property foreclosure might relieve a homeowner of mortgage payments, the Internal Revenue Service could be the next link in the debt chain.

Tax laws treat debt forgiveness as a financial benefit. So, people believing they have just escaped unmanageable debts may find that their banks report the discharged debts to the tax department, who then comes collecting.

The key to ultimate debt relief is knowing whether you are exempted from having to pay taxes on the money “saved” through foreclosure or short sale, ostensibly the amount that was lowed on the loan.

In some cases, both the total loan and tax consequences may be forgiven. When mortgage debt is canceled through foreclosure, the forgiven debt may not be taxable if you are insolvent or if you are filing for bankruptcy and going through the home foreclosure at the same time. But the tax department distinguishes between cases in which people choose foreclosure for strategic relief from a poor investment and individuals who do not have the resources to avoid foreclosure.

It’s important when considering foreclosure to understand all your options and liabilities. It’s important to “Know Your Options. Know the Law.” Consult a reputable law firm with experienced bankruptcy and foreclosure teams to help you explore, consider and understand the liabilities involved with legal proceedings such as foreclosure, bankruptcy and other types of debt relief and forgiveness.

If you surrendered  your home through foreclosure or short sale and have concerns about how tax implications may affect you, speak with a qualified attorney or contact Daley Law.

Will Tax Ax Cut Through Foreclosure Relief?

Zombie Nightmares Arise from Post-Foreclosure Graveyard

23 OCT

Have you received calls from debt collectors following a strategic default or hardship loss of your home to foreclosure? According to a Reuter’s report filed October 14, 2014, the Inspector General has urged the Fair Housing Finance Agency to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pursue collections by seeking deficiency judgments against people who are now in a position to pay back deficiencies resulting from foreclosures, e.g, the difference between the loan amount and the foreclosure value. In the past year in Florida alone, approximately 10,000 lawsuits have been filed by bank collectors, representing hundreds of millions of dollars in bank claims, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said, “This is monumentally unfair and damaging to the economy.
It prevents people from moving forward with their lives.” For people struggling to dig themselves out of financial difficulty and just getting back on their feet, these unexpected collection notices can spark nightmares.

If you defaulted on a mortgage more than five years ago, you may have no cause for worry. Several states, including Florida, have recently enacted laws limiting the time financial institutions have to sue for the debt after a foreclosure. “In Florida, for example, financial institutions, now only have a year after a foreclosure sale to sue — down from five” years, according to the Reuter’s report, in which a Freddie Mac spokesperson also said decisions to pursue collection are made on a case-by-case basis.

If you are being hounded by debt collectors for “zombie” debts resurrected from the past because a bank foreclosed on your property, please contact a qualified attorney to explore your legal options. Daley Law can help. Email us at staff@daleylaw.com or fill out the query form at www.DaleyLaw.com.

Zombie Nightmares Arise from Post-Foreclosure Graveyard

Will I Lose My Home if I File for Bankruptcy?

23 SEP

Many people worry about losing their home if they file for bankruptcy. Whether it is possible to protect a home or forestall foreclosure during bankruptcy proceedings depends on individual circumstances.

Not all bankruptcies result in a lost home. For example, an individual who files a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be allowed to keep his or her non-homestead home if there is not enough equity in the home to repay a substantive portion of their debt and/or if mortgage payments on the home have been kept current.

In addition, a Federal or State homestead exemption may protect the debtor’s equity in the home. When a court’s review finds significant equity in a home, the Bankruptcy trustee must determine if a sale would make sense—in other words, if there will be enough proceeds from the sale to warrant a creditor repayment plan. The trustee will factor in the amount of homestead exemption to which the homeowner may be entitled, the total mortgage balance, costs of selling the home, the amount of tax liens and other liens, as well as the trustee’s commission. These items would be subtracted from the home’s market value to determine whether there is enough equity in the home to pay unsecured creditors.

When a trustee deems that there is sufficient equity to pay creditors, the trustee may require that the house be sold. In that event, the homeowner would be given the percent of the sale equal to the homestead exemption, if there were one. Florida does have some of the best homestead exemptions available but you must speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to see how these exemptions would affect you.

If you are falling behind on loan payments, and considering filing for bankruptcy, it may be possible to protect your home by negotiating a more affordable payment plan with your mortgage lender before you file for bankruptcy. Also, refinancing or modifying your loan payments could make it easier for you to make on-time mortgage payments.

Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, your Bankruptcy trustee may be able to include any arrears on your current mortgage in your bankruptcy payback plan so that you can remain in your home.

If you have questions about how to protect your home from foreclosure or impending bankruptcy, please contact an experienced lawyer. Know your Options, Know the Law!

When Fault Counts in Divorce

Scams

Avoid Taking Worthless Checks in Your Business

18 FEB

If you accept checks in your business, it’s essential to teach employees the check-taking policies and procedures they must follow when accepting every check. It is vital to stress the importance of this policy to your employees. When policies are clear and posted, then no customer should feel they are being singled out or treated unfairly.

Below you will find some recommendations issued by State Attorney Phil Archer, 18th Judicial Circuit. We think it’s worthwhile to pass them along.

Whether you are an individual accepting a check for a purchase at your garage sale, or a business accepting payment for goods and service:

  • Do make sure to collect information that identifies the person who wrote the check.
  • Do Not agree to hold a check for any length of time or for any reason. The attorney general cannot file worthless check charges if there is any type of agreement to hold the check.
  • Do Not accept checks that are already signed. Be sure the check is signed in the presence of the person accepting the check.In the case of company checks, it is vital that the signature is legible. If not, ask the person signing the check for his/her name and note the name on the check.
  • Do Not accept a check if you have any reason to believe the check might not be good. Require another form of payment.
  • When accepting checks, require the following: home phone (or business phone if it is a business check), date of birth, current residence, place of employment, sex, color and height of person writing check, driver’s license or state photo ID, state issuing the ID.

Contact the state attorney’s office in your district if you encounter a problem. If you have received a bad check, Daley Law advises individuals and businesses to explore their options under the law.

Avoid Taking Worthless Checks in Your Business

Timely Topics

How Your Tax Return Can Reduce Your Debt

7 MAR

Most people run right out after receiving their tax return and spend it on a luxury (or necessity) they’ve been hoping to enjoy. To make the most of your tax return, think about safe alternatives for turning the money returned to you into more money in your pocket. Here are a few options:

  • Start an interest-bearing savings account that can add to your peace of mind.
  • Speak to a reputable financial adviser who can help you decide where to invest it carefully, perhaps in a low-risk mutual fund, annuity, 401K or other retirement plan, where your money is likely to make you money.
  • Use your tax return to reduce indebtedness by paying down debts not likely to be discharged under a bankruptcy filing (such as child support and college loans).
  • If you own a small business, you might choose to invest it in a special project, such as a sales, marketing or incentive program, that will help add to your bottom line.
  • If you are so deeply in debt that your tax return feels more like a small drop in an already leaky bucket, then contact Daley Law or another qualified attorney to help you review your debt situation.

Debt management is a skill that you can learn. For more information read our last article on Financial Fitness.

How Your Tax Return Can Reduce Your Debt

Gun Ownership Laws and How They Apply to You

2 MAR

Know Your Options, Know the Law

In the wake of the murderous Paris and San Bernadino terror attacks, the White House  acknowledged that terrorism in this country is a threat to be taken seriously. Now, gun sales are skyrocketing across the country.

Regardless of which side of the gun control debate you stand on, we believe it is important to know the facts about gun ownership and conduct yourself wisely in the event that you already own or intend to purchase firearms.

Since the Daley Law tagline advises people to “Know Your Options, Know the Law,” we are sharing some information about gun laws. According to data released by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, no state permit is required to possess or purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun in the State of Florida. If you intend to purchase or use firearms, Daley Law advises you to understand how your weapon operates and practice proper safety procedures involved with handling a weapon.

Gun Dealer Responsibilities

No licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer shall sell or deliver any firearm to another person until he has obtained a completed form from the potential buyer or transferee and received approval from the Department of Law Enforcement by means of a toll-free telephone call. The Department of Law Enforcement shall destroy records of approval and non-approval within 48 hours after its response. The fee for the instant check shall be $8.00. Exempt from the instant check are licensed dealers, manufacturers, importers, collectors, persons with a concealed carrying license, law enforcement, as well as correctional and correctional probation officers.

Who Has the Right to Control, Possess or Carry Firearms and Concealed Weapons?

It is unlawful for any convicted felon to have in his or her care, custody, control, or possession any firearm or to carry a concealed weapon unless his civil rights have been restored. It also is unlawful for drug addicts, alcoholics, mental incompetents, and vagrants to own, possess or use any firearms.

Gun Laws and Domestic Violence Offenders

A person may not have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm or ammunition if the person has been issued a final injunction that is currently in force and effect, restraining that person from committing acts of domestic violence.

Gun Laws and Minors

It is unlawful to sell, give, barter, lend or transfer a firearm or weapon other than an ordinary pocketknife to a minor less than the age of 18 without his/her parent’s permission, or to any person of unsound mind. It is unlawful for any dealer to sell or transfer any firearm, pistol, Springfield rifle or other repeating rifle to a minor. A minor may not possess a loaded firearm at his home, unless engaged in lawful activities.

Protecting Your Rights

Daley Law is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals as they navigate the legal system. If you are arrested on weapons charges or have questions about your rights as a gun owner in the State of Florida, criminal defense attorney David A. Feinswog can answer your questions.

Note: For appropriate interpretation of the law, please seek the advice of a licensed attorney. The information contained in this post is not intended to be legal advice and should not be considered a legal opinion. This information is only intended for informational purposes and to facilitate discussion.

 Gun Ownership Laws and How They Apply to You