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Prince George's County Legal Blog

What are the possible negative repercussions of sole custody?

Getting a divorce when you have children throws an additional complicated element into your case. Though you would do anything for your kids and do not consider them a complication, having kids does mean that you will need to handle child custody matters when ending your marriage. The amount of complexity your case faces will depend on how well you and the other parent can get along and what type of custody arrangement you want.

If you want to pursue sole custody of your children, it is important that you have a valid reason for doing so. Like those in most states, Maryland courts consider joint custody to be more favorable for the children involved. As a result, before moving forward with sole custody as your final goal, you may want to consider some of the negative repercussions of this arrangement.

Traffic violations can become far more serious offenses

If you have the misfortune of receiving a traffic citation, then you're likely aware that you can receive either a moving or nonmoving violation here in Maryland. If the police gave you one of these citations, then you might wonder what types of behaviors fall into the different categories and the penalties for each of them.

There's one main difference between a moving and a nonmoving violation. Police might only cite you with the former if your car was in motion at the time of your alleged offense.

Some pedestrians are more apt to be hit than others

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data published in 2017 shows that an estimated 5,977 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents that year. Emergency room doctors also treated an additional 137,000 people for non-fatal injuries. The risks that pedestrians face are severe.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2007 captured how passenger car occupants were 1.5 times less likely to die in an accident than pedestrians were. NHTSA statistics from 2017 showed how another pedestrian dies in the U.S. every 88 minutes.

Preparing for a child custody case? Clothing choices matter

If you're one of the many Maryland parents headed to court regarding child-related issues in divorce, you might be feeling anxious or stressed and worried about the potential outcome of your case. Like all good parents, you only want what's best for your kids. If your ex disagrees about what that might be, you could be in for a legal battle. During child custody proceedings, you want the judge overseeing your case to decide that your children would be best off living with you. 

Your appearance can influence the judge's decision for better or worse. For instance, if you were to show up in court looking disheveled or unclean, it's not likely to convince the judge that you would be taking good care of your children when your own appearance looks poorly attended to. There are several things to keep in mind regarding clothing choices and court proceedings that may help you make a good impression as a parent. 

Speeding: A common form of reckless driving

While behind the wheel, all Maryland drivers have the responsibility of making smart and safe decisions. Unfortunately, many drivers do not make good decisions, and it is often innocent people who pay the price. Speeding is one of the most common types of reckless driving, and it is one of the most common causes of car accidents. 

Every driver has likely gone over the speed limit at some point. There are specific reasons why there are set speed limits, and traveling even a few miles per hour over the posted limit can have detrimental consequences. If you suffered injuries, property damage and financial loss because of an accident caused by a speeding driver, you could have grounds to pursue damages through a civil claim.

The 2 ways to establish paternity in Maryland

Most jurisdictions automatically assume that a mother is the bona fide parent of the child born to them; however, they don't look at fathers the same way. Like Maryland, many states have a process that dads must follow to establish their paternity and thus be able to enjoy their full parental rights. There are two primary ways to establish paternity in this state.

One way to establish paternity in Maryland is by filling out an Affidavit of Parentage form. You can fill this legal document while you're still at the hospital or complete it at home and send it to the Division of Vital Records. You and the child's other parent will both have to sign the form in front of a notary public if you decide to complete the form once you arrive back home instead of at the hospital.

Should you participate in field sobriety tests? Probably not

Like other drivers here in Maryland, you may not have known that you have a choice whether to participate in field sobriety tests or not. Fortunately, the law does not require you to do so, and in many cases, you probably shouldn't. More than likely, it would do more harm than good.

Police officers will attempt to convince you to participate in these tests since they help them establish probable cause for an arrest. The problem is that these tests rely on the subjective opinion of the officer administering them, and if they are asking you to participate in these tests, they probably already think you are impaired. The fact is, the odds are not in your favor even if you are sober.

Which types of incidents result in traumatic brain injuries?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) as one of the leading causes of disability and death. The federal agency's 2014 data shows that as many as 155 individuals died from TBI-related complications each day that year. It also shows that the number of patients who went into the emergency room (ER) between 2006 and 2014 with TBI-related symptoms increased by nearly 53%. There are various ways in which these TBIs occur.

CDC data from 2014 shows that falls were the leading cause of TBIs that year. Their research shows that nearly half of patients who went to the ER that year with TBI symptoms did so after suffering a fall. Juveniles and elderly individuals were most often involved in these incidents. Virtually half the patients seen in the ER were kids ages 0 to 17. At least 81% of the elderly patients who came to the hospital with TBI-related symptoms had a fall before doing so.

How should you behave during a traffic stop?

A police officer pulling someone over can ruin his or her day. Whether officers believe a driver was speeding or they have reasonable suspicion that a driver is intoxicated, a traffic stop can cause a driver to feel anxious and worried, even if that person does not believe that he or she did anything wrong.

Often, that anxious feeling can stem from not knowing what to do or expect during a traffic stop. Whether an officer has pulled you over while driving before or not, you can still feel uncertain about the situation. As a result, it is important that you know how to behave and what your rights are during a traffic stop.

How parental alienation can ruin your child custody prospects

Most divorcing spouses struggle to come to terms with the prospect of not seeing their kids every day. It's this thought that motivates them to do whatever it takes to get as much visitation or custody time with their kids as possible. Sometimes parents engage in parental alienation of their child in hopes that it will improve the chances of a Maryland family law judge ruling in their favor. Engaging in such activities can hurt their case in the long run, though.

The parental alienation concept was coined by a child psychiatrist in the 1980s to describe instances in which vengeful moms and dads fabricated stories about their son or daughter's other parent to paint them in a bad light. They often did this to sway a judge to rule in their favor in a custody case.

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