Ask These 6 Questions Before You Hire A Small Business Lawyer in Ottawa

With the future of your business is at stake now is not the time to hire the wrong representation when you need it most.

When you set out to hire a small business lawyer in Ottawa, you will need to trust them with your sensitive legal documents and legal issues.  Make sure you hire someone who you can trust and feel comfortable going forwards with.  Many business owners are not fully aware of the laws that apply to them so being able to trust your attorney’s judgment is necessary.  The following 10 questions are a good basis to ensure you find the right small business lawyer in Ottawa.

Qualify Experience

Many legal issues that small businesses face such as franchise agreements, service contracts, employee issues or intellectual property claims; require lots of knowledge and experience to address them correctly.  Ask your potential attorneys how much experience they have and if they have worked with a business that is in the same situation as you are before.  Ask for names so you can do more research alter.

What is your lawyer’s stance on conflict resolution?

Some small business lawyers are more prone to court battles and some lean towards mediation out of the courtroom.  Knowing which method you are more comfortable with going in will help make your decision easier.

Who else will be involved?

Work is often assigned to paralegals working for your attorney so knowing how much of the workload and which items will be delegated is a good way to gauge your lawyers commitment.  Be wary of too much delegation as it will muddy your message and signals can easily get crossed.  Also, you pay your lawyer for the expertise, not the expertise of a paralegal.

Is there a conflict of interest?

If your prospective small business attorney has other clients similar or competing with your business, you should stay far away.  You do not want to get involved with a lawyer who has a conflict of interest to representing your business.

Information turn-around time?

How long does it take your lawyer to reply to your phone call or emails?  This is important because you may need to relay some vital information or have valid concerns that are time sensitive.  A lawyer who is not available for you is not an ideal choice.


Many clients are often surprised not only by the amount of a legal bill, but also how the billing is laid out.  Some lawyers will bill after a resolution, some bill by the hour and some even bill by the minute.  Research all other costs associated with your case such as paralegal help, research fees and travel time so that the bill does not surprise you.

If you need a small business lawyer in Ottawa, check out the small business law experts at  Koby Smutylo is the Ottawa small business law expert and can help your business move forward.

Why You Need a Contract Lawyer

A contract should abide by the rules laid out in the contract law, which is a branch of the legal sector that deals with exchange of agreements with legal binding between parties. This legal contract could be in forms of writing, verbal and even action. For example if you go to a boutique and buy a dress, that means you are contracted to pay the amount agreed to the merchant in order to purchase the dress. This is something we normally don’t think about, but actually if you think about it, there are so many contracts and agreements that we have to deal with in our daily lives.

Contract law is protecting and examining contracts made between all parties involve. In most jurisdictions, it falls under the civil law system and usually part of obligation law. Contract law is mostly dealing with breaches of contracts as well as finding solutions to the problems that occur from these breaches of contracts. A lot of people still don’t realize that verbal contracts, or those that are made based on action, or any other type of informal contracts are equally as legal and binding as any written contract.

Creating a legal contract, especially when involving a huge sum of money is not a simple matter, you must have a thorough understanding of what is contract law and must know how to write a contract that is lawful and could be enforced in courts of law. If you don’t have a good understanding of contract law, then it’s highly suggested that you hire a contract lawyer to make the contract for you.

Contract lawyers know everything about the ins and outs of a contract so that all your rights relating to the agreement can be protected by the law. A good contract lawyer could make contractual terms that are in no way uncertain and covering all aspects of the subject. This is a very important thing, because if the contract is missing something it could be considered uncertain or incomplete, thus liable for severance. Having a ‘complete’ contract will avoid any attempt from the other party break the agreement, if it’s incomplete, anyone could bring it to the court and break the contract easily.

In most countries, when a party is breaking a contract, you can file a civil lawsuit against the contract breaker in a state court. But the contract breaker also has rights to petition a private arbitrator so that their case could also be heard.

It’s really important if you want to make an agreement that you do it correctly from the beginning, and a contract lawyer can help you to be sure that you’re on the right track. Besides helping you creating a contract that is solid and legal, a contract lawyer could also help you to resolve any disputes you have relating to the contract.

Nowadays, contract lawyers are not difficult to find, just make sure that the one you choose has all the credentials and lots of experience dealing with all kinds of legal contracts.

Criminal Attorney Can Decide Fate of Someone Faced With Charges

There are a lot of different types of crimes that people in law enforcement deal with each day. There is also a lot of uncertainty that someone actually committed a crime. The criminal attorney will possibly have a hand in deciding someone’s fate when they are faced with charges.

This is because they will be fighting for them. There are many steps that can be taken in a court case of any kind. Criminal cases are much more complex at times. Evidence has to be obtained properly.

Just because someone was arrested for a crime that does not mean that they are guilty of that crime. There are a lot of different scenarios that could have played out, but the evidence needs to be obtained. Witnesses need to bring in and other things brought up.

For some cases, maybe only one person will know what really happened. They have to rely on many different things in this situation. The judge will have to make a decision of whether to prosecute or to let the person walk free.

For some cases, people know exactly who did it but without enough evidence, they will walk free. The lawyer is going to force the courts to make their decision based on the evidence at hand. They may advise their client to take a plea deal if it looks like there are no other options.

There are several different choices that everyone has when they are fighting a case. It is important to file the proper paperwork and watch what they say. It is important to tell the truth no matter what, but the wording can often be misconstrued as something else.

An attorney should never tell their clients to flat out lie about anything. If they are caught doing this, everything that is said will be doubted. There are many different opinions of what the best things to do are in a courtroom.

Everybody who has ever had representation knows that it does help. Most people do not know what the laws are regarding certain things. They also do not know what they need to file for different types of cases either.

There are a lot of questions that people have when they are going to court. Having someone by their side to explain things to them is going to help out tremendously. Some people are very nervous already and when they do not understand, it makes it much worse.

There are a lot of factors that can lead up to certain events. When a crime is committed, all of those things need to be taken into consideration. The person’s mental state is another factor. Whether or not they were taking medications or influenced by any kind of drugs is going to have an effect on what the charges can be too.

There are many things that can affect a decision in the courtroom. It is important that all of these things are brought up to the judge too. Keeping quiet about something that could ultimately reverse the case can be detrimental to the results.

While some people are scared to bring out certain facts, it is something that is important to do. They have many different choices that have to be made. Maybe they feel that serving time and dealing with a crime on their record is easier than facing the truth about something else that happened at the same time. It is important to figure out which is worse.

There are a lot of people that hire a criminal attorney. It is important to hire someone that has a good track record and knows what they are doing. There are many options, but ultimately, making sure that the person that is hired has the proper credentials will be very important.

Basics of Civil and Criminal Federal Asset Seizure and Forfeiture

Asset forfeiture is a practice the United States long has used. The federal government started using the tactic more frequently in the 1970s as law enforcement agencies began cracking down on drug use. The idea behind most forfeitures is to punish those who have committed wrongdoings.

The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 changed some of the federal forfeiture laws, despite protests from the law enforcement community and the Department of Justice. One of the most significant changes made to forfeiture law is the waiver of a cost bond in all cases except administrative forfeiture.

The legislation also changed the existing law to allow for a court appointed attorney to represent a claimant, which previously was not done. It shifted the burden of proof from the claimant to the government and limited the availability of warrantless seizures.

Today forfeiture is consolidated into a few general provisions. There are two types of forfeiture cases in the United States, criminal and civil. Nearly half of the forfeiture cases in the country are civil cases, but they often are tied to pending criminal cases.

Courts can have either in rem or in personam jurisdiction in forfeiture proceedings. The U.S. Government essentially sues the item of property in in rem jurisdiction, not the person, and the owner is effectively a third-party claimant. This often is used in civil forfeiture cases.

In civil cases, the owner does not have to be guilty of any crime for his or her property to be taken. This means it is possible for the government to seize the property by proving someone other than the owner used the property to commit a crime.

The theory behind in rem proceedings is the legal idea that the property itself is considered guilty. The court, which then has jurisdiction over the property, will decide who has superior title between the government and the claimant.

In some instances after a person is convicted of a crime, the federal government could confiscate some of his or her property. Typically, the items that are taken from the person are things that could have been related to the crime. For example, if a person used a vehicle to transport illegal narcotics, it could be seized.

Generally, criminal forfeitures are in personam. The criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender. This means it essentially is another penalty for a crime.

A seizure warrant can be issued before the property actually is taken, but there is generally no pre-seizure notice provided to the owner. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that pre-seizure notice is not required in order to meet due process requirements. Property can be seized without a warrant for several different reasons, including:

• A complaint for forfeiture was filed and an arrest warrant in rem was issued
• The property was lawfully seized by state or local law enforcement and was turned over to a federal agency
• Probable cause exists to believe the property is subject to forfeiture and the seizure is pursuant to a lawful arrest or search or an exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement applies

The United States Marshals Service is responsible for managing and disposing of properties seized and forfeited by Department of Justice agencies. The service currently manages billions of dollars worth of property.

Gerry Goldstein is a well respected and experienced criminal defense attorney with more than 40 years of experience. Goldstein is based in San Antonio, Texas, where his firm Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley represent clients facing a variety of criminal charges, including drug crimes, federal crimes, sexual offenses, cyber crimes and homicides.

Out-Of-State DUI Charges In Nevada

According to Travel and Leisure magazine, the Las Vegas Strip is the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the world, with nearly 30 million annual visitors. For any of these tourists, being arrested for drinking and driving can be a scary situation. Drivers can be confused about what step to take to ensure the best possible result, especially if that person is not in his or her home state. For out-of-state drivers, DUI charges can seem more complex and often intimidating.

In Nevada, one of the most common reasons for tourist arrests in the city stems from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is extremely adamant about keeping drunk drivers off of the roadways, and officers will take advantage of every opportunity they have to ensure nobody is driving while impaired.

According to NRS § 484C.110, it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or public roadway.

A person can be considered intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath. Nevada law also says it is considered illegal if a person is found to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath within 2 hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle.

According to Nevada law, “controlled substances” can refer to amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, morphine, marijuana, methamphetamine and phencyclidine. In some cases, even if the medication was prescribed, a person still can be considered under the influence, depending on the amount ingested.

When a driver is charged with a DUI or convicted of a DUI in Las Vegas or other areas of the state, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles will report it to the appropriate government agency in the driver’s state. The home state can take action against the driver.

Some states only will take action if the Nevada DMV chooses to suspend the driver’s license. Others only will take action against the accused if he or she is criminally convicted. Depending on the driver’s home state, he or she could face DMV penalties there as if the charges originated there. In others, drivers may only be penalized if the home state has similar DUI statutes as Nevada.

A first time out-of-state DUI in Las Vegas is considered a criminal misdemeanor offense. The presumptive sentencing for a conviction includes a minimum initial jail sentence of two days, with a maximum of six months in jail. In addition, there likely will be a fee of $400 to $1200 and a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges in Nevada.

When out of state, it is important to know local and state laws and how the statutes could potentially affect a tourist. It can be difficult to address a legal issue from another state, especially if the accused is expected to attend court dates. Some charges, including out-of-state DUI, can be handled entirely by a criminal defense attorney.

The Best Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can happen to both men and women of any age and includes groping and inappropriate touching; vaginal, anal, or oral penetration; rape and attempted rape; and child molestation. Sexual assault and abuse can also include more subtle actions, such as derogatory name-calling, refusal to use contraception, deliberately causing unwanted physical pain during sex, and deliberately passing on sexual diseases or infections.

Traditionally, rape was defined as the forceful act of sexual intercourse against a person’s will or consent. However, some states have expanded the definition to include forcible sexual penetration, which includes sodomy and oral sex.

Experts offer the following suggestions to help protect against sexual assaults in a social or public setting:

• Limit your alcohol intake at clubs and parties.

• Park in well-lit areas. Walk to your car with a friend.

• Do not leave a social event with someone you have only just met.

• Always keep your car and home doors locked.

• Have your front door key ready as you approach your door.

• Be mindful of date rape drugs and never accept a drink from a stranger at a club.

• Trust your gut instinct; if something feels off, remove yourself from the situation.

But sexual assaults are not limited to attacks by strangers. A significant number of sexual assaults are perpetrated by acquaintances, current or former intimate partners, relatives, and family friends. It can also be your spouse, which is why marriage is no longer a shield for rape. However, enforcement of spousal rape is not always straightforward, and depending on where you live, victims often face additional legal hurdles to prosecution not present for other victims of rape.

For as severely traumatic rape by a stranger is, research suggests spousal or partner sexual abuse is even more emotionally and physically damaging. Rape by a stranger is a one-time event and is clearly understood by the victim and society as rape. Rape or sexual assault or abuse by a spouse or long-term sexual partner can be an ongoing trauma and is typically part of a greater pattern of family violence that includes other types of abuses. The victim may also feel less inclined to report the abuse either out of fear they won’t be believed or that their children will be endangered.

Adult victims of sexual abuse can experience symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including frequent nightmares, eating disorders, depression, severe anxiety, and inability to hold a job.

The single most important way to prevent sexual assault within an intimate relationship is to leave at the first sign of emotional or physical abuse. The following controlling behaviors are also red flags:

• degrading jokes or language

• insistence on making all of the “important” decisions about the relationship or date

• extreme jealousy, possessiveness

• strong belief in sex role stereotypes

• a history of violent behavior

There are many support groups for women leaving an unhealthy relationship or marriage, and contacting an attorney can facilitate filing a restraining order and taking other legal steps to help ensure your safety.

For more information, visit the CDC’s guide on preventing sexual assault.

How Far Should Law Enforcement Be Allowed To Go To Catch Criminals?

Let me pose a question. Do the ends justify the means? Well do they? If that question was asked of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency they would probably have no problem answering. It would be a yes. It would be an emphatic yes with bells on.

Now I have a big problem with the fact that they have no problem. I do. In my view there is never a time when doing whatever it takes, to get a result, can be justified. Rules and regulations and laws apply to the good guys in exactly the same way that they apply to the baddies. So never is my answer. But I’m not here to tell you what to think. Let me outline the scenario and you can answer that question for yourself.

The U.S. DEA is being taken to court after setting up a fake Facebook account using real photographs and personal information seized from the mobile phone of a New York woman.

To be fair, the woman concerned was arrested in July 2010 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. She was accused of being part of a drug distribution network run by her boyfriend. The court records show she pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to time already served as well as community detention.

She could have been sentenced to life imprisonment but instead she received a significantly reduced sentence in return for a plea agreement where she acknowledged being part of the drug syndicate. The court records clearly show she participated in jailhouse conversations with co-conspirators so it was a no brainer to plead guilty.

But here is a critical point. The records do not show that she agreed to testify against any of her co-conspirators. In other words she did not agree to help the DEA in busting the others. Which makes what happened next somewhat troubling and perplexing.

The DEA got hold of her private mobile phone and used it to set up a fake Facebook account in her name. By doing so it hoped to fool her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets. The fake Facebook account looked like the real thing. It included photos of the woman posing seductively on the hood of a BMW convertible. It showed a close up photo of the woman and her niece and nephew. She appeared to write that she missed her boyfriend and to make it look one hundred percent authentic she even used his nickname in the post.

Now the woman at the center of this case, has filed a lawsuit in which she claims the fake social media account was created by a DEA agent. The US Justice Department says in response that while the woman did not directly authorize the DEA agent to do what he did, she ” implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in… ongoing criminal investigations.”

Now again I don’t know about you but I don’t find that justification particularly convincing. The Justice Department is also arguing that the Facebook account was private and not publicly seen by all Facebook users. But again I fail to see how that would make a difference.

Facebook’s own policies clearly prohibit the practice. They state that a user ” will not provide any false information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.” There is nothing in any of the documents filed so far to indicate that permission was either sought or granted. Facebook is refusing to comment.

The Attorney for the woman claims her client suffered fear and great emotional distress. Her life has been put in danger because the fake Facebook page gave the impression that she had co-operated with the DEA in setting it up. She is also claiming $280 thousand damages.

The case raises a number of important issues and demonstrates that the legal standards for privacy are struggling to keep up with changing technology. While social media platforms can be of great benefit to a criminal investigation, the issue of individual privacy and where it begins and ends will be extremely difficult for the legal system to navigate.

One American Civil Liberties lawyer has described the Justice Department’s defense of their actions as laughable.

He says if an individual is co-operating with law enforcement and the police say can I search your phone? The expectation is that they will search the phone for evidence of a crime. But there can be no expectation, or justification for taking other personal information and using it in another context.

The US Justice Department while initially going hard in its defence of the DEA seems to be softening its approach a little. It says officials are reviewing this particular case and what has been generally accepted practice in the past. Law enforcement bodies routinely use fictitious online profiles in their investigations, especially in cases involving child pornography or the sexual grooming of children. But it has not been made clear how many times a real person’s identity was used in this way.

Understanding Domestic Violence In Its Different Forms And What To Do If You Are Unjustly Accused

Any kind of violence which takes place within the boundaries of a home constitutes domestic violence. This form of violence can be against the partner, against children in the house or even against a pet. Domestic violence does not differentiate between men and women.

Types of Domestic Violence

Certain forms of domestic violence like raping a partner, physically hurting a partner or children and extremely abusive behavior toward the family are common forms of this violence. However, unknown to a lot of people, there are a number of other forms of abuse which are also classified as domestic violence. These include cruelty to children or animals, rigid sex roles and even mental and psychological behavior like hypersensitivity, jealousy, a dominating and controlling personality and isolating the partner. Of course, in order for these problems to hold in court as valid claims for domestic abuse, they have to show that the partner is neglecting the family and causing them harm in some way.

Domestic Violence in the United States

According to certain studies, 1/3rd to half of all American women have been in an abusive relationship at some point of time in their lives. In fact, this crime is so widespread that physical abuse to women in the country is more severe than injury caused to women by mugging, burglary and all the other physical crimes combined. Out of the total number of people who were surveyed, almost 60% of women and more than 66% of men admitted to being the target of some form of domestic abuse, including abuse by parents or guardians.

However grim a situation may be, there are always two sides to a coin. Similarly, there are two sides to a case when it comes to domestic violence. In some cases, a partner may file a claim that has no legal standing simply out of spite. And even though there are a number of violent acts which are not morally justified, both parties to a relationship will always be seen as equal in the eyes of the court until they have had an opportunity to present their side of the case. In a case of domestic violence, it is important that the person who claims that there is violence as well the accused both get very good attorneys because there are a number of legislations that are applicable to various forms of this violence. Only a good attorney can put together a strong case for his or her client.

What Does a Bail Bondsman Do?

Bail Bondsman

A bail bondsman can provide you with the tools and necessary funds to secure your release from jail while your case is still pending and best of all they can do it without requiring you to put up all the bond money up front but rather a small percentage of it, usually 10% of the total amount of the bond.

Bail is the security given to the court that allows your release from custody whereby if you fail to show up for court, any appearances, or fail to abide by the terms and conditions of bond then you will lose your money and be sent back to jail until your case is resolved, which can be over a year in many cases.

Can I get bail if I have been charged with more than one crime?

Yes, you can. However, not all crimes will be given a bond by the judge. On the more serious crimes such as murder or a serious felony where the victim was seriously hurt the judge could deny bond, but if a bond is set then you can employ the services of a bail bondsman to help secure your release from jail.

New bond law in South Carolina

In April 2014 South Carolina passed a new bill making it harder for repeat offenders to get a bond on new charges if the person is already on bond for a violent offense. In the bill a violent offense is governed by the statute of the state so if your charge is one of those types of crimes it will be much more difficult to get a bond but not impossible.

The bond statutes in South Carolina are found in the South Carolina Code of Laws under the section:

  • §17-15-10 (persons charged with non-capital and burglary charge cases)
  • §17-15-15 (deposit percentage required to make bond)
  • §17-15-20 (conditions of appearance when bond is set)

Since April 14, 2014, if a person commits a new crime and it is violent while they are out on bond for a previous violent crime then the bond hearing must be held within 30 days from the date of the new crime. A judge may make the decision that despite the new crime a person is still entitled to a bond and will set the conditions necessary to ensure that the person will still appear for their court appearances. The judge may also decide that a person is not entitled to a new bond and therefore will revoke the previous bond, and not give a bond on the newer charge so that person is stuck in jail until all the charges are resolved.

The best way to handle your case if you have been arrested for a criminal offense in South Carolina is to retain an experienced Charleston Criminal Defense Lawyer, who understands the new bond laws and has the contacts to local reliable bail bondsmen to help you afford your bail payments to start getting your life back on track.

Dale Savage is a Charleston Criminal Defense attorney located in South Carolina and has been practicing for over eight years with experience in over 20 felony jury trials. He can be contacted at (843) 530-7813.

Three Strange Criminal Law Stories From Florida

As a follower of and writer about the criminal law, this author often reports on strange criminal law stories from the State of Florida. Here are a few of my favorite vintage stories I would like to share with a wider world.

Orange County. Florida: Veteran’s Day weekend, 2010, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department became a national laughingstock when it was reported that sheriff deputies and members of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation carried out a series of warrantless raids against local Orlando barbershops that made history for arresting 35 people on misdemeanor charges of “barbering without a license,” after having spent several months investigating the matter. A records check revealed that in the last ten years only three people in the entire state of Florida had been sent to jail on such charges. In the instant cases, many of the warrantless sweeps entailed officers swarming the barbershops that had children inside and putting the barbers in handcuffs and “perp walking” them to police vehicles. At least one felony arrest was made when one of the raids netted a barber with an unlicensed handgun. We learn further that all the barbershops were in the African American and Hispanic neighborhoods.
This startling report makes one wonder whether those neighborhoods are known for being hotbeds of “criminal barbering?”

New Port Richey, Florida: This strange story is also from 2010. As many of you know, “Four Loko” is a caffeinated alcoholic drink. A New Port Richey man drank four bottles and then went on a naked rampage. Police report that the 21-year-old man ran barefooted out of the back of his home to a house a few blocks away, smashed a sliding glass door and ransacked the home. He next took off his clothes, defecated on the floor and ripped the oven door off its hinges, according to Pasco County deputies. At another house a woman arrived home to find the naked man smeared with blood, sleeping on her couch. She called 911. According to a report, when deputies arrived, the man allegedly said: “Why am I being arrested? I didn’t steal anything.” He was charged with two counts of burglary.
The headline to this little story could have read: “Loko Gone Loco.” It is probably best to stay away from this dangerous product.

Hernando County Jail, Florida: 2011. Strange things happen in jail. A jail inmate in Hernando County didn’t have enough honeybuns to pay off a gambling debt and was paid off with a punch in the face. The inmate admitted he lost a football bet with a fellow prisoner. The loser of the bet said he went to bet winner’s cell to give him the bear claws he owed him, but he was short four honeybuns. The bet winner was not happy about being stiffed on the bet and punched the loser so hard that he had to be hospitalized. Yes, the winner of the bet and the puncher. was arrested on a battery charge.
If this had been casino gambling the bet loser could have wagered: I’ll see your one bear claw and raise you four honeybuns…

Leonard Birdsong is a 3-time professor-of-the-year at Barry University School of Law and former U.S. State Department diplomat with assignments in Nigeria, Germany and the Bahamas. He worked as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. and private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in trial work in both criminal matters and asylum cases.