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Trusts and estate planning for blended families

Most people in New Mexico know at least one person who has gotten divorced after having kids and then gotten married again. Blended families are part and parcel of today's society. In fact, The Tax Advisor indicates that even by 2013, one in four married couples included at least one spouse who had been married previously

While a new marriage opens the door to a second chance at a happy family life, it also opens the door to more complications when it comes to estate planning. In most cases, a person thinks about leaving their assets to their biological or adopted children after they die. At the same time, most spouses want to make sure their partner is taken care of after their death. Herein lies the challenge. How can a person provide for both their children and a new spouse, who might have children of their own as well?

Can I get a DUI for driving after taking a prescription drug?

When most New Mexico residents hear about someone who is arrested on DUI charges, they assume alcohol is involved. However, you and others may be interested to learn that a DUI doesn’t always mean drunk driving. DUI means “driving under the influence” of drugs or alcohol, after all. You may be surprised to find out that you can face charges for driving after taking a perfectly legal prescription, or even an over-the-counter, medication.

According to the Huffington Post, certain medications should not be taken just before driving. Many are deemed unsafe for their intoxicating qualities, but some can cause other side effects, some of them unanticipated, that can make it dangerous to get behind the wheel. For example, you run the risk of being drowsy, having difficulty concentrating or experiencing dizziness if you drive after taking antihistamines, narcotic painkillers or cold medicine. Some prescription drugs for serious medical conditions may cause brain fog, fainting or jitteriness. If you take an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid, the sedating effects of the drug can remain in your system for an hour or two after waking up. You may need to take some medications that are usually deemed safe to drive with for a few days until you become accustomed to them or learn the ways you react to the drugs.

Will I lose my right to drive after a DWI?

If you have been charged with a driving while intoxicated offense in New Mexico, you are not alone. Many people find themselves facing these types of charges, but it is important to remember than arrest does not mean you are guilty. You will want to understand the potential ramifications of the charge, how to defend yourself and what impact the event may have on your life. 

As explained by the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, the division may be able to impose its own set of penalties that are separate from what might happen in any criminal proceedings against you. This could well include the loss of your driving privileges. If your driver's license is revoked by the MVD, that does not preclude any further loss of privileges imposed by courts. A revocation may last anywhere from six months to life depending on the nature of your arrest and if you have had any previous drunk driving convictions on record.

Dangers abound in the oil, gas extraction business

Roustabouts and other workers in the oil and gas drilling business face dangers that could cause work-ending injury or even death.

Much of the equipment can be dangerous, as can many of the materials used to get gas and oil out of the ground. While many workers know these dangers going in to the job, they also deserve protection while on the job.

What factors might influence field sobriety test accuracy?

Most people in New Mexico know the feeling of fear that can come over them when they look and see flashing police lights in their rear-view mirror while driving. Even if a driver has not done anything wrong or has only committed a minor infraction, the thought of being approached by a police officer can be scary. This type of fear may contribute to even more extreme anxiety for some people.

Anxiety is one of the types of health factors that might make it difficult for a person to successfully pass some of the field tests used by officers during a drunk driving investigation. According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, there are actually a variety of health conditions that can interfere with your ability to execute the tasks requested during these tests. Someone with anxiety might find it all but impossible to balance properly during the one-leg stand test and for the walk-and-turn test, for example.

Intersection collision in Santa Fe kills father and son

For most drivers in Roswell, sharing the road with others may not be an issue. Yet peoples' driving habits may become complacent over time as the lack of perceived dangers that can come from driving give the impression that operating a vehicle is routine. This may prompt some to forget about standard rules of the rules, as years and years of driving a certain way can convince them that their incorrect assumptions are correct. 

One example of this may be the confusion over who has the right-of-way when a vehicle is making a left turn at an intersection. When one sees a green left turn arrow, they are permitted to make their turn while oncoming traffic remains stopped. Yet encountering a standard green light in the turn lane means that drivers turning left must first yield to oncoming traffic. A driver involved in a recent fatal crash in Santa Fe appears to have potentially forgotten this fact. Authorities looking into the incident say that the woman initiated a left turn as another vehicle was approaching. The driver of the approaching vehicle did not have time to slow down in order to avoid the collision. He sustained serious injuries in the accident and later died. His young son died at the scene. The woman driving the vehicle making the turn was also treated for injuries (as was her daughter, who was traveling with her). Both were discharged from the hospital on the day of the accident. 

What is an automatic stay?

Many Americans are overwhelmed with credit card debt, medical bills, mortgages and other expenses that they cannot keep up with. In fact, close to one million people file for bankruptcy every year in an attempt to reclaim control over their finances. If you are one of the many who face this problem, you may find yourself the target of collector and creditor phone calls. In some cases, collectors can use harassing measures to obtain a payment on the account. Once you file for bankruptcy, however, an automatic stay is put in place. This measure is designed to keep collectors from being able to contact you regarding your unpaid balance.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collectors from using certain tactics to reclaim their money. Tactics include calling at all hours of the day and night, using profane language, threatening legal action, inflating a debt or threatening to hurt family members if the debt goes unpaid. Surprisingly, some companies have been guilty of using these measures on debtors. Fortunately, after you have turned in your bankruptcy paperwork, the creditors listed on your documentation are contacted and given an automatic stay. At this point creditors are no longer able to do the following:

  •          Garnish your wages
  •          Start or continue lawsuits
  •          Call at all hours of the day and night

What is a living will?

Did you know that you are six times more likely to be disabled than you are to die in any given year? This is why a living will is a good idea to have. Not next week. Not tomorrow. But right now.

A living will is a document you create, typically with an attorney, that explains which medical procedures and medication you want and which ones you don't if you are seriously injured and cannot tell them yourselves. For example, if you are in a coma, a living will can stipulate whether or not you want to be placed on a ventilator, and how long you want medical services provided if you are neurologically non-responsive.

What does res ipsa loquitur mean?

When you visit someone else's property in New Mexico, whether it be a home or a business, the owner owes you a duty of care to keep you safe and free from harm. If the owner fails in his or her duty and you become injured as a result, you typically need to prove negligence on the part of the owner to receive compensation.

However, proving owner negligence is not always necessary. According to FindLaw, you may become injured due to an unusual event that could only have occurred as a result of the property owner's failure in his or her duty to visitors like yourself. If that is the case, you can use circumstantial evidence to create a rebuttable presumption of negligence, and the burden of proof to demonstrate that no negligence took place shifts to the property owner. The legal term for this concept is res ipsa loquitur, which is a Latin phrase meaning "the thing speaks for itself," and it allows judges and juries to determine whether or not the property owner acted negligently by applying common sense. 

Why uncontested divorces are less common

When residents of New Mexico are going through a divorce, there are two potential categories it could fall under: contested and uncontested. The circumstances of the marriage and what led to the divorce itself usually help determine which it may fall under.

The Legal Dictionary takes a look at uncontested divorces. In these cases, both parties are in agreement that a divorce is in their best interest. However, they must also be able to deal with their own matters rather than relying on a divorce court or judge to decide things for them. This includes child custody, spousal support, property division, and more. Therefore, while this option can ultimately save couples a lot of time and money, it is also a situation that can be somewhat rare to come by.

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