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Reno Legal Issues Blog

Preparing for divorce's financial challenges

Couples face many family law decisions while undergoing divorce in Nevada, such as child custody and property division. Spouses should also prepare for its daunting financial challenges.

Financial preparation includes setting aside enough funds to pay for legal and other costs associated with marriage dissolution. A divorcing individual should also set up a checking account strictly in their name and add funds to it. A credit card should also be set up because it may be more difficult to obtain credit after divorce.

State may implement new DUI marijuana testing

Confronting the challenges of implementing an effective test for operating under the influence of marijuana, the Nevada Senate recently passed a bill that eliminated the use of urine tests but will mandate blood tests for those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. The measure is awaiting approval from Gov. Brian Sandoval and may take effect before recreational marijuana use becomes legal in the state on July 1. Because of possible flaws, this test may pose new issues for the criminal defense of alleged impaired drivers.

The bill's sponsor said that this new law is an improvement because urine testing is unreliable by not testing for THC, the psychoactive element that gets marijuana users high. Urine testing merely reveals earlier marijuana use but not whether the test subject is impaired.

Supreme Court rejects Colorado civil forfeiture law

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Colorado law that allowed criminal defendants to recover seized money only if they could prove their innocence, even though their convictions had been overturned. This ruling could impact Nevada's criminal defense and its civil forfeiture laws, which allow the police to seize property that was allegedly used in a crime.

Civil forfeiture laws allow Nevada and other states to confiscate and keep money, vehicles and real estate without obtaining a criminal conviction or even filing charges against the property's owner. Acquitted defendants may even have their property seized in a civil court proceeding that has a lower burden of proof.

New technology may fight distracted driving

Police in New York may be the first to use new technology to fight danger posed by other relatively new technology. Under a pending bill in that state, the police could use a Textalyzer, which allows testing a cellphone to determine whether the driver used it immediately before a car crash. Someday, it may be used in personal injury cases.

The National Traffic Safety Administration reported that 442 people were killed in 69,000 accidents involving a cellphone in this country in 2015. New York, like Nevada, bans texting and driving.

Marijuana arrests still occurring, may require strong defense

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Nevada and seven other states. In this state that means anyone may possess up to one ounce of marijuana, one-eighth ounce of concentrate, and paraphernalia for smoking. However, there are still marijuana arrests in the state. Knowing the law can allow Nevadans to avoid an arrest and a subsequent conviction for marijuana use or possession.

First, you should know that it is illegal to cross the Nevada border with marijuana purchased in another state. The police cannot ask where a person obtained the substance once they are in the state if they do not exceed the legal possession limit. However, the police may check people at the state border.

Injured workers' have workers' compensation rights

In most situations, workers who are injured on the job in Nevada have the right to workers' compensation to pay for their injuries. However, laws govern the reporting of these injuries and coverage.

All employers in this state must have workers' compensation insurance. Benefit types and calculations must be identical even if the type of coverage is different. Insurance may be provided by private insurance companies, and self-insured employer associations or groups or employers may self-insure. The state enforces workers' compensation laws and regulations. It collects information regarding coverage, adjudicates appeals, investigates and prosecutes fraud, and assists injured workers with this process. Employees who suffer a work-related injury should complete the paperwork provided by their employer.

A primer on Nevada's divorce laws

Nevada family law addresses many issues associated with ending a marriage. Any married spouse who has been a resident and present in this state and who intends to stay indefinitely or has no immediate plans to move to another state may divorce.

Nevada has few grounds for divorce. These include incompatibility, insanity for two years before the action, and living separately for over one year. It is not necessary to charge adultery, mental cruelty, or similar grounds.

Get alimony? Then get organized

Depending on the circumstances and the determination of a court, alimony (or spousal support) may be awarded to you as a result of a divorce. This support provides critical financial help to those who need it after a divorce upends their normal life. When it is awarded, alimony must be diligently tracked by both of the parties involved, because spousal support can have serious implications going forward.

For example, come tax time, the alimony payments will affect each spouse differently. The paying spouse will be able to deduct his or her payments on their tax return. Meanwhile, the receiving spouse must include the payments they get in their taxable income.

Criminal cases allow property seizure

In Nevada, criminal defense representation helps assure that an accused individual receives due process while facing the possibility of incarceration. However, defendants and even law-abiding citizens may also face other serious consequences such as government seizure of their property.

Currently, property may be forfeited when the police believes it is linked to a crime in a civil proceeding with less due process protection. For example, they may seize cash associated with a drug deal or a vehicle that was used in the commission of a crime. Police say that anyone who had their property seized may utilize civil process to reclaim that property.

Marijuana testing flawed, may not detect impaired driving

The legalization of marijuana use has posed new criminal defense issues. A 2016 study indicates that testing for marijuana, particularly marijuana-impaired driving, is flawed. This report may challenge the validity of tests used by Nevada law enforcement for prosecuting motorists under the state's operating under the influence laws.

Recent legalization of recreational marijuana use in Nevada and other states has prompted scrutiny of its effect on driving and impairment of motorist skills. Nevada, like other states, tests suspected drivers for levels of the cannabis' active component, tetrahydrocannabinol. Unlike breathalyzer tests for suspected drunk drivers, more intrusive blood tests are used. In Nevada, the presence of THC in the blood exceeding a legal limit constitutes a criminal offense, even without proof of impaired driving.

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