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Newport Legal Issues Blog

A New Citizen Welcomed

When Chitnapha, the young bride of a U.S. naval officer, contacted our office for help in finalizing her legal status in the U.S., little did she know that it would begin a long and convoluted legal journey that would take her from this country to her native Thailand, to Japan, and back again.

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Betsy DeVos’s New Sexual Misconduct Rules Miss The Mark

By Jonathan Cook

Sayer, Regan & Thayer, LLP

As student defense attorney, I regularly represent both complainants and the accused in sexual misconduct disciplinary proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. The first thought that came to mind after reading the recent New York Times story, “New U.S. Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused and Protect Colleges,” was just how far removed from the trenches Ms. DeVos and her advisers are to make real change. The new rules fail to address the biggest problem with sexual misconduct proceedings:  from the investigation process to the hearing, it is the glaring absence of evidentiary safeguards.

Legal Documents Every College Student Should Have

As millions of students head back to college, or make the exciting journey for the first time, nobody wants to think of possible problems or issues that may arise. Yet it pays to be prepared, for both the student and their parents. Here is a list of legal documents that every college student needs before they hit the books this fall.

What You Need to Know About Changes to Flood Insurance

Maritime law refers to the laws that govern nautical matters and maritime businesses. Essentially, these are the laws of the ocean.

Maritime laws are kept up to date thanks to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions. These conventions were created in 1958 and make sure all existing maritime laws are kept current. The conventions also make sure that new laws and arrangements are made when necessary.

Fraud against Immigrants by Notario Publicos

Immigration issues continue to generate front page headlines in our country. What is often missing from the sensational stories is the very human cost of our tangled and confusing immigration policy. The “walking on eggshells” nature of an immigrant’s every waking moment has led to some unsavory practices by those willing to take advantage of a tenuous situation.

One scam preying on people seeking immigration assistance that is growing is scope revolves around notary publics. People seeking immigration assistance should be wary of advisers who promise work permits, citizenship and release from immigration detention, yet who are not legally qualified to offer such assistance.

Hurt at sea? Maritime laws apply to your case

Maritime law refers to the laws that govern nautical matters and maritime businesses. Essentially, these are the laws of the ocean.

Maritime laws are kept up to date thanks to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions. These conventions were created in 1958 and make sure all existing maritime laws are kept current. The conventions also make sure that new laws and arrangements are made when necessary.

Rhode Island: Specific state laws for divorce

You've been married for a few years, and from the beginning, you thought it might have been a bad decision. You found your spouse in over his head in debt, and you struggled to pay the bills while he decided not to work a full-time job. Your life has been nothing but difficult since your marriage began, and now you just want out.

Your story isn't unique, and many people have gone through the same thing. Rhode Island has specific divorce laws that may not be the same as other states. If you and your spouse are trying to determine where you want to get a divorce and Rhode Island is a possibility, you should know the state's specific laws before you decide.

Get the medical care you need to prevent bite wound infections

When an animal attacks you, the last thing you likely think about is infection. The first thing on your mind is stopping the bleeding and getting medical help; after all, the lacerations, broken bones and injuries are the most pressing concerns.

The reality of animal bites is that they do pose a threat to you in the form of infections. Infections are not always deadly, like tetanus or rabies can be, but they do have a potential to cause you serious harm. For instance, an untreated infection in the legs could lead to amputation, or it could spread and cause sepsis that threatens your life.

How to prevent a collision with another boat

With such a wide open sea, the thought of two boats colliding with one another seems unlikely. However, it does happen. In many cases, the collision is a result of one of the boat operators being under the influence of alcohol or simply not having enough experience to drive a boat. One incident that occurred a few months ago off Rhode Island, when two sailboats collided off the Newport Pell Bridge, illustrates this fact.

It is a lot easier than most people realize to run into another boat while at sea. Although the ocean has a lot of space, it is relatively easy to collide with a boat because there are no traffic lanes or stop signs on the ocean like you find on the road. Here are several ways you can drastically reduce the potential of experiencing a boating accident at sea. 

Woman accused of DUI after calling police for road rage

Drinking and driving is a hazard to yourself and others, which is part of the reason why it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Not all people who appear intoxicated are, though, so it's important for the appropriate tests to be taken to determine if your BAC is actually over the limit.

Take, for example, this case. The woman's BAC is not known, but she is accused of drunk driving. The woman in Portsmouth has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after she called the police to report others who had road rage. According to the story from March 27, the woman was driving when callers stated that she was striking the curb and swerving in traffic. Despite that, she was actually the one who called the police claiming that there had been a road-rage incident. She allegedly had extreme signs that she was impaired at the time of the call and was not able to tell police where her vehicle was damaged.

What are the steps of adoption?

The decision to adopt isn't something you should take lightly. There are benefits and downsides to adoption, all of which require you to consider them carefully.

Adoptions help children find homes, but they're also a way for parents to grow their families. Adoptions have the benefit of helping children and couples who can't or don't want to have biological children become parents. Adoption often begins with fostering, so there is a short time during which families can get used to the new family member. It's during foster care that the majority of placements fail; after adoption, a child is a legal member of your household.

Potential new law would require skateboarders to wear helmets

Rhode Island and Connecticut both have helmet laws for cyclists, but when it comes to skateboarding, those laws aren't the same. One mother wants to change that. She spoke to lawmakers recently after claiming that her son's death in a skateboarding accident could have been prevented with a helmet.

She wants to see the passing of a law requiring skateboarders to wear helmets if they are under the age of 18. In Connecticut, that looks like it will happen. The state's laws already require helmets while riding bicycles if you're under the age of 16. Skateboarders weren't previously required to wear them at all.

Be safe while cycling

As the weather warms up, some people are preparing to get back out on their bikes. Creating a safe environment for all commuters requires a certain level of vigilance.

Unfortunately, some drivers may be negligent and can cause auto accidents, which can be traumatic for cyclists. To avoid this, there are a few things cyclists should keep in mind.

Tips for staying safe while boating this season

Everyone who lives by the ocean enjoys spending time there, whether it's on or near the water. Many people in Newport have boats or know people who do, so they spend time boating throughout the season. As the days get warmer, you may be planning to hit the waves, too.

If you do, it's a good idea to understand recreational boating safety and how to avoid injuries. It's typically the boat-owner's responsibility to keep passengers safe. If you get hurt as a result of poor maintenance or a boat crash caused by the driver's negligence, you may be able to file a claim and obtain compensation.

Man crashes into sea, faces DUI allegations

When you decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and are tired, distracted or intoxicated, you probably already know it's a bad idea. You may think you're feeling well enough to get home safely, but what if you aren't? If you aren't, you put yourself at risk of being arrested or causing a crash.

When that happens, you face serious penalties alongside potential civil claims. Take for example this case from Feb. 24.

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