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If you have a criminal arrest or conviction on your record, it will impact your future and the goals you have set for yourself. However, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. If so, you can go on with your life as though your brush with the law had never happened.

Expungement defined

You will be eligible for record expungement if the criminal charges against you have been dismissed and you have not been found guilty of another crime. Your record will be physically destroyed. Although law enforcement keeps one copy, the public never knows about it.

About background checks

Technology makes background checks easy to perform, and they are often requested by potential employers or landlords. You may be subjected to a background check if you are applying for admission to a college or are considering buying a car. The decision-makers will be able to access your personal history, and your criminal record will be visible for anyone to see. However, expungement will wipe the slate clean; no criminal activity will turn up. If asked whether you were ever arrested or convicted of a crime, you can truthfully answer “no.”

Meeting the criteria

To be eligible for having your record expunged, you will have to meet certain conditions:

  •         You were either found "not guilty," you were acquitted following a trial or the criminal proceedings were dismissed.
  •         You were released before the filing of criminal proceedings.
  •         You met the required waiting period before requesting expungement.
  •         You paid all required fines or restitution.
  •         No pending charges against you exist.
  •         You completed all diversion, education or community service programs required.
  •         Your completed your probation.

Looking forward

Having a criminal record can do a great deal of damage to your life. Having that record expunged means that it will no longer be available to anyone anywhere. Your life will be your own again, and you can continue with plans for a bright future.

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If you are going to court in Louisiana, you will usually have a choice between a jury trial and a bench trial. According to the American Bar Association, a jury trial is where your case is decided by a jury of your peers. A bench trial is where the judge decides the case.

In a jury trial, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how the jury will react to your case. You do not know anything about the jurors except for information they have provided or anything learned during the process of choosing the jury. In a bench trial, you have the advantage of being able to know the judge's opinions in previous cases similar to yours.

A bench trial also allows you to better understand the person making the decision on your case. With a jury trial, you do not have that same understanding. A jury is made up of multiple people. It can be difficult to get a read on them all. In a bench trial, you can tailor your case to the judge based on what you know about him or her.

In a jury trial, you are often given a bit more leeway when it comes to questioning witnesses and leading the trial. In a bench trial, the judge will often take over and direct things as she or he sees fit. In addition, you may need to keep things briefer when the judge is deciding your case than when a jury is. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates | Louis.. by On Behalf Of Jacqueline A. Scott & .. - 9M ago

Shingles and chickenpox are both caused by the varicella zoster virus, so if you've ever had a case of the chickenpox, you have a chance of developing shingles at some point in your life. According to Medical News Today, most people who contract shingles  develop a painful, blistering rash. While the rash may appear anywhere on the body, it most commonly appears on the torso, often on only one side. Other possible symptoms of shingles include nausea, chills, weakness and muscle aches. Shingles is a fairly common condition, with approximately 1 million new cases reported in the United States, including Louisiana, every year.

Many people believe that shingles is a disease that only elderly people contract. However, while it is true that shingles is more common among the elderly population, people of all ages, including children, can develop shingles, and those with compromised immune systems may be at greater risk.

A case of shingles will usually resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. However, it can lead to other, potentially serious complications. Torn blisters exposed to open air can develop bacterial skin infections. The retinas can become infected if the rash is near the eyes, and vision loss can result. Encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, is a potentially life-threatening complication that occurs only on rare occasions. Postherpetic neuralgia, which is a condition of the nerves that can cause the pain of shingles to continue on a chronic basis after the initial infection has run its course, is more common, occurring in approximately one-third of shingles patients over the age of 60.

While there is no cure for shingles, antiviral medications may help to decrease the severity of the infection and prevent complications. Antivirals are most effective if taken promptly after symptoms first appear. However, because of the misconception that shingles only strikes older adults, doctors may misdiagnose a case of shingles in a younger patient and fail to implement proper treatment right away. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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Driving on Louisiana roadways is something most people take for granted, whether you are running errands, going to work or heading out for date night. At Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates, we have experience representing clients injured in traffic accidents.

If you have been in a traffic accident, chances are there is confusion and several people talking at once. Try to stay calm and call the police even if it is a minor accident and no one, including yourself, appears to be hurt. Law enforcement can assess the situation, determine if intoxication is a factor and direct traffic around the scene. According to FindLaw, insurance companies and attorneys can use the report they file about the crash in an insurance claim or lawsuit.

While it may be tempting to discuss what happened with the other individuals involved in the incident, it is not wise. Anything you say may be used to establish fault in the negotiations with your insurance company or a liability claim. Instead of talking about the collision, take notes. Memory fades quickly, and you may not have a clear account of the chain of events in a few weeks or even a few days.

Write down what happened, document the damage to your vehicle, detail the weather and road conditions and anything that witnesses may say about the accident and the time just before the collision. Document the scene with pictures, exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved and report the crash to your insurance carrier.

Assessing whether a driver violated traffic laws is critical to identifying the person responsible for an accident. Personal injury claims may be filed to reimburse victims for medical bills, lost wages and compensation for their pain and suffering. More information on this topic is available on our webpage.

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It’s a common fact of everyday life that people will be exposed to sales pitches, jingles and advertisements, all designed to make Louisiana residents open their wallets, sign a contract, or fill an online shopping cart. Sometimes what we purchase is not what we expected and we feel ripped off, even tricked. It is important to establish key facts to determine if your purchase was the result of deception.

According to Findlaw, the party that offered the product or service you purchased had to have made a false representation about what the product or service could do for you. An expensive ring, for instance, might be made of crystal, but the seller claimed it was actually made of diamond. The result is that you have been defrauded of your money for a ring that is not what you believed it was.

Be aware that a seller or contractor did not have to knowingly make a false statement. The misrepresentative statement could have been presented with reckless disregard as to its content. The seller in question should have taken appropriate steps to determine the authenticity of its products and represent them accurately to the public. A failure to do so can land the seller in legal trouble.

Another key ingredient of fraudulent misrepresentation is that you used the information presented by the seller to make the decision to purchase. The seller should have offered the information on the good or service with the belief that you would rely on that information when deciding whether to agree on the sale. If the result of your purchase resulted in damages to you, a case can be made for fraudulent misrepresentation of what you purchased.

However, you should be aware that not all forms of misrepresentation constitute an act of fraud. Sometimes misrepresentation does not have any impact on the terms of your sales agreement, which would not constitute a liable offense. There are also some offenses that, while not constituting misrepresentation, could fall under other legal actions such as a breach of contract or a breach of warranty. You may need to consult with an attorney to learn the true nature of your legal issue with your seller or contractor.

Keep in mind that this article is written only to educate the reader and does not offer any legal advice.

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Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates | Louis.. by On Behalf Of Jacqueline A. Scott & .. - 10M ago

As you prepare for your cruise out into the Atlantic, the presence of hurricane season on the calendar could give you pause. Many Louisiana residents might not want to brave the Gulf waters with the threat of a destructive hurricane lurking out there. While a hurricane might cause some disruptions to your cruise experience, the threat of actually getting caught in a hurricane is practically non-existent.

The Cruisecritic website points out that hurricanes will not catch cruise ships unaware. The weather tracking and forecasting technology available on a cruise vessel will detect an approaching hurricane. In addition, cruise ships have access to information from weather forecasters that can confirm or augment the data already gathered by the ship’s instrumentation. Once a cruise line knows where a hurricane is likely to strike, the ship will simply be rerouted to a safer destination.

But what if a cruise ship gets too close to a hurricane? While the forecasting equipment on board makes it unlikely that your vessel would ever get too close to a hurricane, a cruise ship is still capable of outdistancing a hurricane. The mobility of storms on the sea is about eight to ten knots, but a cruise ship can accelerate to a speed of up to twenty-two knots, if not faster.

The headaches a hurricane might inflict upon your cruise usually consist of the unpredictability of how long you will be at sea. If a storm threatens your port of return, your vessel might stay in the water for a longer period of time until the storm passes. Sometimes a storm might cause your ship to turn back to your home port much sooner. If you lose days on the sea because of a hurricane, you would typically be refunded for what you have lost.

Additionally, a hurricane might cause your cruise to go to a different destination than the one you signed up for. If a bad storm makes it too hazardous to go to Jamaica, you might end up going to Florida instead. While this can be infuriating, the terms of your cruise agreement will likely provide for reroutes in the case of a storm, so you would probably not receive special compensation in the event your cruise has to change destinations.

Be aware that while this article gives information on maritime law, it does not provide any legal advice.

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Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates | Louis.. by On Behalf Of Jacqueline A. Scott & .. - 10M ago

Getting a hernia is frustrating. A hernia may develop over time or from a single incident.

Some of the most common causes of hernias include the following:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Gaining weight suddenly
  • Straining during a bowel movement because of constipation
  • Persistent coughing
  • Pregnancy

If your hernia causes you pain and discomfort or you are at risk of a hernia strangulation, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat it. It is important to know about the different kinds of hernia surgery, common complications and potential surgical mistakes.

Types of surgery

There are two ways a doctor may treat your hernia:

  1. Laparoscopic surgery: In this operation, the surgeon gives you general anesthesia, inflates your abdomen with gas, makes small incisions and repairs your hernia with mesh.
  2. Open surgery: This procedure involves the surgeon providing anesthesia, medication via an IV, making a cut, pushing the hernia into place, removing it or tying it off and closing the area with stitches. 

Laparoscopic surgery tends to come with a faster recovery time. 

Surgery complications

Possible risks of hernia surgery include the following:

  • Blood clots
  • Wound infection
  • Chronic pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Recurring hernias

According to WebMD, most hernia procedures are safe. However, problems are always a possibility.

Surgery errors

Surgeons sometimes make mistakes that harm patients. Here are some potential hernia surgery errors:

  • Harming a nerve during the operation with staples or stitches
  • Making an incision in the wrong area
  • Administering too much anesthesia
  • Leaving an object inside the patient

These mistakes can lead to ongoing complications.

Hernia surgery lawsuits

If your surgeon injures you because of negligence, you may suffer long-term effects. Not only may surgery mistakes cause more pain, but they often require more treatment and medical fees. Your hernia surgeon may be guilty of medical malpractice. If this is the case, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon to receive compensation.

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We want our Louisiana doctors to be the most competent and qualified people to handle our health care. However, if you should find out that your doctor has been sued in the past, you will naturally be worried and wonder if you should continue your relationship with that doctor. In the event you do uncover past instances of medical lawsuits, you should keep a few things in mind before looking for a new doctor.

According to Forbes, lawsuits are a common occurrence in American society. Professionals are sued for many reasons, and doctors are no exception. Sometimes the suits are frivolous and without merit. So a good first step is to find out why your doctor was sued. You might also find that the suit was dropped by the plaintiff before it reached trial, or the suit was dismissed by the court.

Also, the fact that your doctor was sued does not mean the suit was about medical malpractice. Sometimes a lawsuit does not involve medical treatment and relates instead to administrative or bureaucratic issues. For instance, a doctor could be sued on account of not renewing a medical license at the required time. Also, some doctors may have accumulated student loan debts while they attended medical school. If a doctor runs into financial trouble and cannot pay the debts, the doctor could be sued for that as well.

There are red flags that can tell you if your doctor’s legal history is troublesome. For one thing, if your doctor has been sued multiple times in recent years, it may indicate a pattern of problematic behavior on the part of your doctor. You might also discover that your doctor settled for big payouts to the plaintiffs. If your physician seems to have this problem a lot, it may be the result of terrible luck, but there could be a good reason why your doctor seems to invite constant litigation.

When all is said and done, the final decision to go with a physician rests with you. You are in command of your health care choices and you must do what you feel is best to avoid any problems with your health care. Your best course of action is to request all the information you can about your treatment and the medicine you will be prescribed, and if you feel it is necessary, you can also ask for a second opinion. Gathering information and asking questions can help reduce the risk that something will go amiss with your health care.

Keep in mind that while this article provides information on medical malpractice issues, it does not convey any legal advice to readers.

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Many of us have heard the phrase “time is of the essence.” That is true for many areas of life, but if you have been hurt in a car accident on a Louisiana road, that phrase is even more applicable for your current situation. If you want to file a civil lawsuit against the other party to win compensation for your injuries, you cannot wait for very long before filing in court.

The reason hesitating to file a suit can be harmful is because Louisiana law has put a ticking clock on when you can file for compensation. Findlaw points out that Louisiana’s Civil Code 3492 places a statute of limitations of one year following an automobile accident. Any attempt to file a suit after that period will likely be dismissed by a Louisiana court.

Louisiana’s short window of time to file a civil suit after an auto accident may come as a surprise to both residents and visitors alike, as many other states have longer statutes of limitations. This is why it is important to consult early with qualified legal counsel on the merits of a possible suit before the one year period expires. In the process, you want to gather information on the accident and your injuries as early as you can.

Making sure you file in a timely manner also helps prevent the insurer of the other party from trying to lowball your compensation. If you feel an initial settlement offer is inadequate, you want to know it before the one year window has passed. Be aware that the other side likely knows about the one year statute of limitations and may try to stagger the settlement talks past the point when you can file a suit.

Please note that this article is not giving you any legal advice. It is written to inform readers on Louisiana’s laws concerning compensation for automobile accidents.

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Jacqueline A. Scott & Associates | Louis.. by On Behalf Of Jacqueline A. Scott & .. - 10M ago

The basic workings of a Louisiana jury trial are generally well known. A jury is chosen, hears the arguments presented in court, and once the arguments are concluded, the jury is sent off to consider a verdict. Sometimes the verdict is decided in a single day. If a jury needs more time, the jury might be sent home or be sequestered. However, in some instances a jury may not be able to agree on a verdict at all.

When a jury experiences problems coming to a verdict, a judge may continue to extend the time for deliberations. At a certain point, however, it becomes clear that a jury cannot agree on a decision. This outcome, according to the American Bar Association, is known as a hung jury. When a hung jury occurs, a mistrial is declared because no verdict can be reached.

The occurrence of a mistrial is important for a number of reasons. For one thing, if your trial resulted in a mistrial, it would not mean you could not be tried again. A hung jury is not an exoneration. It just means that no verdict could be reached. A new trial may be granted with a new jury, and you would simply go through the trial process once again.

However, there is also the possibility that the government or plaintiff involved may decide that it is not worth it to retry the case and simply drop any requests for a new trial. In other instances, the prosecution will still want to move forward but they are uncertain that a second trial may result in a conviction. Instead, the prosecution may seek to negotiate a plea deal that drops some of the charges or reduces the sentence.

Basically, a hung jury does not automatically put an end to any future possibility that you could be brought to trial again. However, a mistrial does offer your defense counsel the opportunity to negotiate a plea deal, provided the prosecution is willing to negotiate down the charges or the sentence.

Be aware that while this article offers information on criminal defense issues, it does not offer any legal advice.

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