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San Jose California Family Law Blog

California drunk driving laws re preliminary alcohol screening

Getting pulled over by a California police officer definitely would rank high on most lists of "things that can ruin someone's day." In fact, such situations have been known to escalate into situations that can threaten a person's career, marriage or life, in general. This is particularly true when a traffic stop results in drunk driving charges.  

The more a person understands about state laws regarding such matters, in particular how an individual incident might relate to one's personal rights (or a possible violation thereof), the likelier it is that he or she may be able to avoid conviction if an arrest is made. For instance, many people do not understand the difference between a preliminary alcohol screening device and a Breathalyzer test. However, understanding the difference may impact the outcome of a particular situation.  

How Accurate Are Breathalyzers?

When a person is pulled over by police and an officer suspects they are driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer conducts a breathalyzer test. The driver blows into a device which then gives a reading estimating blood-alcohol content by measuring the alcohol in the individual's breath. This evidence is then used in the drunk driving charges against an individual if they are over the legal limit.

There are many issues that cause defense attorneys to question the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. Officer error in properly calibrating the breathalyzer is one of them. But what if the device itself is flawed?

How to know if you qualify for an expungement

Being convicted of a crime may seem like the end of your life. You are likely worried it will prevent you from getting a good job or finding a nice place to live. In California, those convicted of a misdemeanor or certain felonies could be eligible for record expungement.

Drunk driving charges don't always lead to conviction

Getting pulled over on the way home from a night out with friends in California can be a nerve-racking experience. A police officer may mention excessive driving speed, a non-functioning tail light or some other vehicle infraction before writing a ticket. If the officer asks the driver to step out of the vehicle, it is likely that he or she suspects drunk driving.

Under such circumstances, a driver accused of DUI may also wonder whether he or she will be able to avoid conviction. There are often several defense strategies available to fight such charges in court. A police officer must have reasonable cause to make a traffic stop and probable cause to make an arrest. A defendant may argue that the officer in question did not satisfy these requirements.

How the court decides child custody issues

Many California parents are currently worried about various legal matters concerning their children. A court often hands down rulings regarding child custody. Some situations involve parents who are getting divorced. However, the court also makes many custody decisions for parents who have never been married.  

State laws and guidelines concerning child custody issues vary. Most courts follow the same basic process, though, when determining where children will live and who will have authority to make major decisions on behalf of a child, such as those involving health, education or religion. The better a parent understands the process before heading to court, the less stressful a particular custody situation might be.  

Blake Shelton says prenuptial agreements help speed up divorce

When a California spouse decides to go his or her own separate way after being married, whether the relationship has lasted just a few years or many decades, it's often the case that he or she hopes to deal with the legal implications of the decision as swiftly as possible. Country music icon, Blake Shelton says his divorce from Miranda Lambert only took a matter of nine or 10 days. He recently spoke about the issue and mentioned the key factor that he says made for a quick and relatively painless process.

Shelton's and Lambert's split made headline news for months and continues to hold the attention of country music fans who always want to know as many details about their favorite stars' lives as possible. Those currently contemplating filing for divorce may want to pay close attention to what Shelton had to say. He mentioned that he and his former wife were able to keep things amicable because they both respect one another and wanted to simply move on in life without a lot of contentious baggage.

Division of debts and assets set by community property rules

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce often arises when it comes time for the court to determine who gets what. California, along with only eight other states, has community property laws regarding division of debts and assets in divorce. The more you understand about community property guidelines ahead of time, the better.

This basically means that all of your assets and liabilities will be split 50/50. This has sometimes led to serious complications during divorce proceedings, including times where spouses attempt to hide assets to keep them from being subject to division. This is illegal and an experienced family law attorney knows what to do to bring such matters to the court's immediate attention.

Bird nesting: A creative divorce option for California parents

Many California couples encounter challenges when they end their marriages. Especially for those who are parents, matters involving family life, finances or even the house shared during marriage often crop up and necessitate negotiation before amicable settlements can be achieved. Bird nesting seems to be the answer for some, especially those who want to  avoid a home sale following divorce.

This alternate parenting plan works by letting children live in the home they shared during their parents' marriage while parents develop a rotating schedule to take turns living with their kids. In their off-times, parents need to find someplace else to live, which is a potential downside for some people. Many Hollywood stars, including film actor Josh Lucas, say they have implemented bird nesting plans in their own lives.  

Mother dies in childbirth; cousin has temporary child custody

Some California residents may relate to a developing family law situation in another state. The central focus of the case is child custody, and an extended family member who is a maternal second cousin of the child in question is involved. Sadly, the situation first unfolded when a tragedy occurred.  

The child is a newborn infant, recently born to a mother of Cuban descent. The mother had entered the United States on a visa she obtained through an annual lottery hosted by the U.S. government. Tragically, the 35-year-old woman died while giving birth to her daughter.  

Jury sides with father in headline-grabbing child custody fight

Gone are the days when a California court or any other automatically sides with a mother in custody situation. A recent ruling in another state is evidence of this. A contentious child custody battle that included accusations of abuse has changed course following a recent jury verdict.  Some say the mother involved in the situation needs mental health treatment.

The central figure of this particular custody fight is a 4-year-old child. The child had been in the custody of her mother, who accused the father of inappropriate physical contact with his daughter. The father adamantly denied the accusations, telling the court that the child's mother was merely trying to turn his daughter against him.  

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