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Indianapolis Law Blog

Family hopes for stricter school bus laws after crash

An Indiana mom who lost her kids in a school bus stop crash in October is fighting for tougher school bus laws. Along with lawmakers, the family is supporting stricter laws against drivers who pass buses when their lights are flashing and their stop arms are extended.

On October 30, 2018, Brittany Ingle’s three kids, a nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old twin boys, were struck and killed as they crossed a highway to board their school bus. The cross arm on the school bus was extended and the bus lights were flashing, but the driver claimed she didn’t realize she was approaching a stopped school bus and didn’t see the children until they were right in front of her.

Understanding a drunk driving arrest

People in Indiana may wonder how drunk driving arrests take place. In many cases, drivers are pulled over by police in a traffic stop after police observe driving irregularities. Police may suspect that the driver has been drinking to a point beyond the legal limit and administer a roadside breath test; if this test is positive, the suspected drunk driver may be arrested and taken to the police station for an official breath test that is admissible in court. In other cases, the driver's behavior did not bring police attention, but they were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint established by local police, especially during major events like New Year's Eve or large sports celebrations.

Being arrested for drunk driving does not mean that a person is guilty. There are a number of issues that may render the results of the breath test inadmissible, or a suspected drunk driver may never be given a proper breath test at all. In some cases, the police officer charged with administering the test may not have been trained on the proper way to conduct a breath examination.

What to do about credit card debt in a divorce

When a married couple in Indiana decides to get a divorce, one thing they will have to work out is what to do about joint debt. Credit card companies are not subject to the provisions of the divorce decree. Therefore, creditors may pursue jointly held debt from one spouse if the other one does not pay even after the divorce.

The best solution is to eliminate any joint debt. This might mean paying off the debt before the divorce is final, or it could mean canceling any joint cards. If an ex-partner files for bankruptcy on debts that are still technically in the name of both spouses, creditors could come after the other spouse for interest and penalties in addition to the original debts.

PTSD blamed for increases in veteran drinking and drunk driving

When veterans come home to Indiana, they sometimes struggle with mental health problems arising from post-traumatic stress disorder. Multiple studies have shown clear links between depression caused by PTSD and binge drinking. A new study from the American Addiction Centers has measured a recent increase in drinking among veterans and incidents of drunk driving.

From 2013 to 2017, researchers calculated an overall increase in binge drinking of 1.6 percent among veterans. The study noted that female veterans experienced a 3 percent increase in excessive drinking. Although female veterans are drinking more, their male counterparts were much more likely to be caught driving while intoxicated. When the researchers looked at the number of veterans labeled as drunk drivers since 2014, they identified a rise from 1.6 percent of veterans to 2.5 percent.

Tax law changes to affect divorcing couples

Changes in tax law may affect Indiana couples seeking a divorce in the year to come, especially those with significant assets to divide. Almost everyone faces extra expenses during and after a divorce, but the tax consequences of the end of a marriage can last for years to come. For couples who have a significant difference in income or have been married for a long time, spousal support can be an important part of the divorce agreements. This is especially true when one spouse has given up their career aspirations to support the other spouse or raise the children of the family.

For decades, alimony payments have been tax deductible by the payer and taxable to the recipient. The tax deduction can be significant, especially for couples with a large income and substantial assets. On the other hand, the recipient spouse pays taxes at his or her lower tax bracket. This results in an overall tax savings for the couple. In addition, the tax deduction has been key in reaching divorce settlements that include generous spousal support provisions.

Know your rights when facing campus discipline

If you’ve been charged with a crime on campus and are facing disciplinary action from your university, you may be wondering about your rights as you proceed with a case. It’s important for you to take your charges seriously and to know what’s ahead while you navigate the process.

If you attend a public institution, your rights are guaranteed and protected under the United States Constitution. Public colleges and universities are government agencies and must follow certain procedures and standards for consistency in student discipline cases.

Criminal charges add to troubles of Indiana man after lawsuit

A 30-year-old man already named as a defendant in a civil personal injury case now faces multiple criminal charges after a motorcycle crash. He has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, operating without a proper license, and a level 6 felony for driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08 and causing serious injury.

According to the police report, he was driving a motorcycle in Griffith when he went through a landscaping barrier close to the intersection of Columbia Avenue and Wood Street. He and a female passenger both required hospital treatment for their injuries.

Complications in divorce for older people

People in Indiana who are over the age of 50 and getting a divorce might be concerned about retirement. However, there is a number of other financial issues they should be aware of as well.

Starting with divorces finalized in 2019, alimony will not be tax-deductible or tax-payable. Some attorneys expected this to lead to a rush to get divorced before the end of 2018, but this does not appear to have happened. However, one important implication is that since alimony is not taxed, it cannot be counted as income. Since it is not income, it cannot be placed into an IRA or Roth account.

Penalties for driving while intoxicated

Driving while impaired from alcohol or drugs is a negligent behavior that puts all road users at risk. Indiana motorists who get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while they are intoxicated can be subject to a range of consequences if convicted.

For individuals whose conviction is the result of their first offense, they should expect to have to pay court fees and costs of at least $300 and a fine of as much as $5,000. They can be required to go to jail for up to one year and may have their license suspended for up to two years. In some cases, individuals convicted for the first time of driving while intoxicated may be placed on probation and have to pay for and attend a course that covers substance abuse. Other consequences for first-time offenders can include having to go to a victim impact panel and being required to undergo urine testing for alcohol and drugs.

2 legal tools to help business owners during divorce

A divorce impacts both people involved in every possible way. In addition to going through emotional turmoil, both parties will also need to account for all marital assets and prepare for property division. This includes real property, works of art, savings accounts, retirement accounts and business interests.

This can be particularly difficult for business owners. Business owners could see their entire professional empire destroyed by a divorce. In some cases, courts will consider the business a marital asset. Even those who began the business prior to the marriage could see any growth that occurred during the marital relationship deemed martial property subject to division.

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