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Understanding Your College's Code of Conduct

Whether it’s you who’s going off to college this month or it’s your son or daughter who’s making the trek, it’s important to think about the university’s code of conduct while they are away. The last thing you want is to get into trouble while away from home because you didn’t fully understand the rules.

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

This will vary widely from case to case. Generally, it can take between six months and a year for a divorce to become final. And that’s for an uncontested divorce. Contested divorces, where the stakes are higher due to custody, business and financial battles, can take much longer.

Who Owns Your Solar Roof?

As a resident of Rhode Island, you may have considered at one time or another putting solar panels on your roof. No wonder: in 2018, Rhode Island was the 8th most expensive state for electricity in the nation, according to In that one year alone, natural gas fueled more than half of the electric power sector and almost all in-state electricity generation. Solar is known to reduce reliance on natural gas and make the cost of electricity much more affordable.

Disappearing Contractor: What Can You Do?

Nothing is more frustrating than shelling out a lot of money for a home remodeling job that starts out OK but then abruptly stops because your contractor drags out the project, or simply doesn’t show up anymore.

There may be many different reasons for the contractor’s sudden absence, some of which may be understandable, such as sickness or injury on another job site. However, this isn’t always the case. Perhaps the contractor is in financial hot water after taking on too much work. Or maybe they took on another job that paid better. Whatever the case, there’s no excuse for a contractor to just disappear without returning your phone calls. What can you do?

How Employers Can Prepare for ICE Raids

From employment documentation to payroll verification, an employer should know exactly what to do in the event of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid at your business. You should also have a local attorney on your side who is skilled in immigration law.

What You Should Know About Durable Power of Attorney

Protecting your legacy begins with having a strong estate plan in place. This includes assigning a durable power of attorney. This legal process gives a named individual the ability to make important decisions regarding your finances, your health and end-of-life care. This is typically a close personal friend, family member or other trusted person.

When to Start Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning encompasses a wide variety of services, from something as simple as assistance with the collection and organization of documents or as complicated as a complete re-structuring of your financial assets, says the American Council on Aging. It’s a tricky balancing act, one that should be done precisely and thoroughly to avoid investigations and fines later.

Your Rights in Sexual Harassment Claims

The intense media coverage of transgressions committed by high profile individuals, celebrities, and members of the clergy has spawned an increased awareness of sexual harassment. But predatory practices are not limited to the rich and famous. The most common sexual harassment claim is one that occurs in the workplace.

Liability Issues for Boaters

A day on the water can be fun and relaxing. But any experienced boater can tell you that safety is a priority. Still, no matter how many hours you have at the helm, or how alert you are to danger, boating accidents do happen. A boating accident can cause costly damage or result in injuries. In case you are unfortunate enough to find yourself involved in a accident while afloat, you should know the basics about boating liability.

Steps to Obtaining a Zoning Variance in Rhode Island

Looking to get a zoning variance on a piece of property in the state of Rhode Island? You’ll have to go through a few steps first. If you are considering bringing your business to Rhode Island, or you are looking to expand and develop, you’ll need help getting up to speed on state and local land use regulations, including areas like:

  • Zoning and planning
  • Coastal and wetland
  • Historic
  • Building and fire codes, AKA entitlements

Let’s take a closer look at how to comply with zoning laws.

Employee vs. Contractor Classification

It can get a bit tricky to know when to classify a worker as an employee or a contractor. The Internal Revenue Service says worker classification is critical, as it determines whether or not an employer has to withhold income taxes and pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment tax on any wages it pays out to an employee.

What is a Summary Judgement?

In short, this is a court order ruling that no factual aspects are left to be tried; therefore, a cause of action in a complaint can be decided upon particular facts without a trial. This judgement is based on a motion by one of the parties that says all necessary factual issues have been settled; either that, or they are so one-sided that they don’t need to be tried.

Can an Undocumented Immigrant File an Injury Claim?

Normally, when someone is injured due to someone else’s negligence, they don’t hesitate to pursue a personal injury claim. However, undocumented immigrants don’t always feel they have this right and are reluctant to take legal action. They worry that getting involved in the legal system in this or any other way can and will expose them to far-reaching consequences such as deportation.

How Landlords Can Defend Slip and Fall Accidents

As a landlord, you are rightfully concerned about any accidents or injuries that may occur on your property. Slips and falls in particular can be common, especially in slick, snowy or icy weather conditions. Staying on top of regular maintenance, cleanup, shoveling, salting and snow blowing is key when you own or manage a property. After all, you are generally liable for slips and falls that result in injury if they happen due to your negligence.

Not all slip and fall cases automatically mean the landlord is to blame. If you are a landlord and have faced a similar situation, there are ways you can defend yourself against these types of accidents.

Plagarism in College Writing

Most people already know plagiarism is not a good thing: it’s an ethical infraction and a violation of a student’s honor code. If caught plagiarizing, students can be punished by the school, get an F on a paper or face some other kind of internal penalty. You may already know that, which is why so many students use sites like Copyscape to check their work before submitting.

However, besides a slap on the wrist from your educational institution, are there actually legal consequences attached to plagiarism – specifically when it comes to college students?

Finding Missing Heirs in Probate Cases

In general, when someone passes away, the probate process is cut and dried. The probate court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate, who will then pay off the estate’s debts and taxes, distributing the remaining assets to all beneficiaries. However, it doesn’t always work out that smoothly.

Eminent Domain & Your Rights

While American citizens have the right to life, liberty, and property sans unreasonable government interference, under certain conditions the government can take property with or without permission. The term “eminent domain” refers to its power to take private land for public use under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Cyber Liability

Data breaches make headlines when they occur on a large scale. Think Target stores or Equifax. But virtually any business that relies upon and stores data is at risk of being hacked. Few companies are immune to the threat of cybercrime, as increasingly sophisticated criminals turn up the heat to seek out data that does not belong to them.  

Avoiding Litigation at Your Holiday Party

The company holiday party is a beloved tradition on the American business scene. But, unless you want to wake up on Christmas morning with a lawsuit waiting under the tree, how you plan, organize and conduct your office party must take into consideration these seven important criteria.

Evicting a Problem Tenant

If you’re a landlord, you know all too well how difficult some tenants can be. Whether they consistently fail to pay rent on time (or at all!), they’re messy to the point of safety violations or they fail to heed noise regulations, sometimes you have no choice but to start eviction proceedings. You’ve likely given them plenty of notices and warnings, but if they ignore them, what’s a landlord to do? There is a legal process in place that you must follow in order to stay within the confines of the law.

Minimum Wage Laws in RI & MA

Remember the 1990s, when minimum wage was just five bucks an hour? Or, go back further to the early 1970s when it was just a buck and a half. It’s come a long way in Rhode Island, keeping pace with the cost of living and increasing through the years to rest (at least for the time being) at $10.10 per hour. It will increase another 40 cents on Jan. 1, 2019 to $10.50. The push is on to have the Rhode Island minimum wage raised to $15 by 2022. The tipped wage is at $3.89 right now.

DUI Laws in Rhode Island

If you will pardon the pun, DUI laws in Rhode Island are pretty stiff. Taking a hard stance against drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs, the state has implemented stringent laws and penalties based on age and blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. First off, any driver who is caught behind the wheel with a BAC of 0.08% or higher can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Strange (But True) Laws

Most laws people can really get behind – no speeding, no drinking while intoxicated, no violence towards another, no stealing, no looting…the list goes on and on. This doesn’t mean people don’t still break them, but they’re understandable laws created to keep order and public decency.

But other laws just leave you scratching your head. We’ve found some strange but true laws from all over the country we thought you’d like to hear about.

Should You Have a Dashcam?

No longer just for professional drivers and law enforcement, dash cams are becoming the norm in many personal vehicles. Due to the pervasive nature of video in today’s society, you can assume everything is being recorded. While some may say this is an invasion of privacy, others take it as the perfect opportunity to catch injustice.

As a vehicle owner and driver, you may take it upon yourself to equip your car with devices that will exonerate you should something questionable take place.

Legal Issues for Airbnb

The rise in popularity of Airbnb has brought more choice, diversity and price points into the equation for people who love to travel. You can host your home or you can book someone else’s. It’s an idea that has revolutionized the travel and lodging industry. But, like other pioneers of industry, there are legal complications that can - and do - arise.

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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