The Steep Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Criminal Charges

Drug violations are considered serious offenses in America and are typically met with harsh penalties. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 1.8 million drug-related arrests were made in 2007. Despite the fact that it’s one of most widely used drugs in the United States and the constant debates regarding the legalization of its use, marijuana was found to account for majority of these arrests. As pointed out by on the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, approximately 44% of all drug-related crimes involve the possession, distribution, or manufacturing or marijuana. That is large number of the total cases and a clear indicator of how many lives can potentially be affected by charges of possession.

Certain states across America have decriminalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. Even fewer have legalized it completely. However, in majority of the country, simply possessing any amount of marijuana can cause serious issues and lead to a criminal charge. While penalties for a marijuana possession charge vary from state to state, convicted individuals can expect to pay up to thousands of dollars in fines. They could also end up serving a significant amount of time in jail.

In most places, marijuana possession is classified as a misdemeanor—at least at first offense. This could lead to paying a maximum $1000 fine and spending up to 1 year in jail. At second offense, marijuana possession is penalized with up to $2500 in fines and a maximum 2 years in jail. The crime is often upgraded to a felony at third and subsequent offenses. A marijuana possession felony charge can result in up to $5000 in fines and a maximum of 30 years imprisonment.

Certain areas impose stricter penalties based on the amount of marijuana found in an individual’s person. Punishment in Texas will vary depending on the weight of marijuana found in a person’s possession. Having 4 ounces or less is considered a misdemeanor and is punished with a maximum $2000 fine and 1 year of jail time. Anything more than 4 ounces is already considered a felony. The steepest felony punishment requires 5 to 99 years of imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines. Sometimes, convicted felons can also be sentenced in prison for life. For more information consult with a criminal defense expert.

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How Employers Can Prevent Construction Site Injuries

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Workplace Safety

Individuals working in manual labor industries like construction face plenty of risks that aren’t typically present in most workplaces. Tasks undertaken by construction workers are often associated with a host of potential dangers that could lead to hazardous outcomes. Estimations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) shows that a significant number of these outcomes result in some form of serious injury or even fatalities. Because of this, construction sites are often considered as one of the most dangerous workplaces in America.

OHSA recognizes the most common hazards in construction sites. One of the most common accidents that occur in these workplaces involves falling from significant heights caused by trench or scaffold collapse. Electric shocks are also a common hazard, as well as repetitive motion injuries and toxic exposure. According to lawyers from LaMarca Law Group, P.C., these hazards can lead to injuries that can vary in their severity. Minor accidents can cause sprains, bruises, lacerations, and bone fractures. Sometimes, these accidents can also lead to heat or chemical burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis. In more severe cases, construction site hazards can result in traumatic internal injuries and limb amputations.

Employers can commit to a variety of different methods to help mitigate risks and prevent such tragic outcomes from occurring in the future. One of the most significant changes employers can make is to update their company safety policies to uphold the safety and wellbeing of their workers. OHSA suggests that employers can improve their communication with regards to the many possible hazards involved in working in construction sites. The implementation of more stringent safety regulations can also make significant improvements.

It’s also important that employers provide several safety nets to ensure that their workers are safe from harm. Aside from providing sufficient safety gear and, employers should also make sure that construction sites are safe by properly maintaining the heavy equipment and machinery used by workers. Lastly, employers can prevent workplace injury by looking into pre-employment physical screening to see if applicants are well enough to handle the rigors required by manual labor.

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What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Water

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious medical condition that shares the characteristics of other forms of pneumonia. It is caused by a bacterium called Legionella that is typically found in water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this bacterium usually thrives in warm water and typically is typically found in hot tubs, swimming pools, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, cooling systems, and decorative fountains. It doesn’t spread through person-to-person contact, but through inhalation of mist or vapor that’s coming from a contaminated water source.

Legionella doesn’t always cause illness for some people. However, those who do get infected and diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease can end up suffering from severe and even life-threatening symptoms. The first signs of the condition are felt at around 2 to 14 days after bacterial exposure. During this type, a patient will develop a high fever with headaches, coughing, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems and a confused mental state. Without proper treatment, Legionnaires’ disease can affect a patient’s lungs, as well as cause infection to the heart and other vital organs. It can cause the body to go into respiratory failure, kidney failure, or septic shock. To prevent such outcomes, patients need to seek out a round of antibiotic treatment from their physicians. In some cases, Legionnaires’ disease might also require hospitalization.

Sometimes, patients infected by Legionella can develop a milder version of Legionnaires’ disease called Pontiac fever. The symptoms remain the same, but the threat of lung infection and other complications are usually absent. Pontiac fever will also clear up on its own after a few days. As pointed out by the CDC, it won’t require any specific treatment.

Legionnaires’ disease might be alarming, but it is also easily preventable. Keeping water systems clean and disinfected is one of the most significant steps to take against the spread of Legionella. A precaution suggested by the website of American Water, is through the use of water softening and filtering systems in residential homes. Individuals can also reduce their risk of infection by avoiding smoking, which the Mayo Clinic says significantly increases the chances of developing the disease.

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How Driver Negligence Leads to Truck Accidents

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Road Accidents

It’s no surprise that trucks overpower just about every other vehicle on the road. Considering that large trucks typically weight 30 to 40 times the weight of an ordinary passenger car, it’s no mystery that accidents involving these monstrous vehicles usually end with fatalities. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 3,062 fatalities caused by large truck accidents reported in the year 2013. 67 percent of these incidents involved passengers riding in regular vehicles, 16 percent were truck operators, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

In all these accidents, driver negligence and error play a crucial part. The unfortunate reality is that these tragic outcomes could have been easily prevented if truck operators have followed prescribed safety precautions and regulations. However, because of some oversight or recklessness, these safety nets are ignored and catastrophic accidents continue to occur.

According to the website of an Oklahoma truck accident lawyer at the Abel Law Firm, one of the most common errors committed by truck drivers is the failure to provide proper signals when making turns. Because of the sheer size of the vehicles they are operating, it’s important that drivers in other vehicles are able to see where they plan to move or turn. Another common mistake is the failure to pay close attention to blind spots or no-zones. These are crucial areas surrounding the truck where a vehicle or pedestrian can be obstructed from view. Some of the other negligent mistakes include driving aggressively or recklessly, driving during bad weather conditions, driving while intoxicated or distracted, and driving with an overweight load.

Trucks are undoubtedly more difficult to operate than the usual passenger vehicle. As such, trucking companies should hold high standards for the drivers that they take into their fleet. Accidents caused by the failure to meet such standards can entitle aggrieved individuals to just compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney working within their area of residence, truck accident victims can pursue damages that can help cover hospital costs and other financial burdens.

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