White Collar Criminal Charges: Famous Fraud and Embezzlement Cases that Teach Us About the Law 

Every couple of years, a famous case will emerge into the public eye and call into question some of the complexities of the law. From high-profile criminal cases to well-publicized civil suits, these cases can often bring to light important questions about the law and our criminal justice system. 

Facing criminal charges (or seeing a loved one charged) can be harrowing and overwhelming, so let’s look at some of the most famous cases in fraud and embezzlement that have brought to light important aspects of the law. 

A Quick Legal Definition of Fraud and Embezzlement 

For something to constitute fraud in the legal sense, proof of intentional or negligent misrepresentation of facts must be shown. The person in question must have known or been reckless in their representation of the facts. In broad terms, fraud includes cases that involve false representation, dishonesty, and deceit. 

When it comes to embezzlement, the terms are a little different. The term embezzlement is used to describe a type of white-collar crime in which a person or entity (company or organization) misuses misappropriated funds or assets that are entrusted to them. This is a type of fraud, where the embezzler misuses funds or assets and then uses them for unintended purposes. This usually happens when an individual or company is entrusted with another individual’s profits, assets, or income. 

Common Characteristics of a Fraud Case

The extent of fraud can vary significantly, as it can occur within family members, friends, or between companies or corporations. It can involve a few hundred dollars, thousands of dollars, or even millions. Companies go bankrupt or find themselves in serious legal trouble when accused of fraud allegations. Fraud cases can involve:

  • Stolen assets or profits
  • Manipulated accounting or books
  • Faulty items 
  • Bad services
  • Ponzi schemes 

Famous Fraud Cases in the Public Spotlight 

Recent cases have brought to light common legal questions regarding fraud. One of these is the famous Wells Fargo case of the last few years. 

A Primer on the Wells Fargo Fraud Case

This recent fraud case made headlines when the national bank was discovered to have lied about its sales practices and accounts. The case begins when Wells Fargo employees were pressured by the higher-ups to meet high quotas in an attempt to increase sales and revenue. This led to bad practices as employees began creating savings and checking accounts for customers without their approval. 

In order to reach the high quotas, the staff became embroiled in a chain of inappropriate activities including moving money into fraudulent accounts. It was only a matter of time before bank customers would notice unwarranted fees on their accounts and realize that they had accounts they didn’t even know about. This did not end well for the bank. In 2020, they were forced to pay $3 dollars to settle long-running civil and criminal probes. 

Common Characteristics of an Embezzlement Case 

Embezzlement is often mentioned along with fraud, as the crimes are similar. Embezzlement, however, refers to individuals or entities that misuse funds they are entrusted with in a legal or professional capacity. These cases can typically include: 

  • Claiming assets such as real estate, company vehicle, or other property that belongs to a company for personal use 
  • Investing scams 
  • Transferring funds entrusted to them to their personal accounts 
  • Ponzi schemes that also involve certain kinds of fraud 

Famous Embezzlement Cases in the Public Spotlight 

A little more than ten years ago, a famous comedian made headlines for more than his comedy routine. Dane Cook was a well-known comedian, selling out large venues and appearing in every late-night show imaginable. Behind the scenes and behind his back, there was some pretty serious embezzlement going on. 

Dane Cook’s half-brother—who had been his manager since he got his start—was tasked with handling the finances and, as it turns out, stole money from Cook. In 2010, it was discovered that Darryl McCauley had embezzled money that belonged to his half-brother despite the fact that Cook was paying him a good 12,500 per month as his business manager.  

The realization that his own trusted brother had been stealing from him was quite the personal blow for the comedian. The case was pretty clear cut, as McCauley had not been particularly careful in covering his tracks. This was a case of embezzlement because McCauley was entrusted to take care of the funds for his brother and instead used them for his personal use. 

Looking for a Strong Defense, Find the Right Legal Counsel for Your Case

Cases of fraud and embezzlement can be complicated cases. Every state has its approach to these types of white-collar crimes as well, so it depends on the individual circumstances of the case. W. Shane Jennings works to represent and defend those that are facing charges, both criminal and civil. 

Do you know someone that needs legal representation in New Mexico? Whether they face criminal charges or a personal injury case, our lawyer provides the counsel they need. Call W. Shane Jennings today. 

What to Do When Being Arrested and Detained by Police: Knowing Your Rights 

Being stopped by police can be stressful and nerve-racking, especially if you have never found yourself in such a position before. It can be hard to know what’s right from wrong when you’re having a hard time thinking straight. Of course, you should always remain as calm and collected as possible in order to keep things straight, but if things escalate it is important to know what you can do and where your rights stand as a civilian. We’re here to help by outlining the most important things to keep in mind when being arrested by police. 

Make It Known that You Wish to Remain Silent

Although you may already be familiar with this right, it is one of the most powerful rights you have. The fact that whatever you say can be held against you in court can either make or break your case. You can have some control of the case when you decide to exercise your right of staying silent and making it known to the police. 

Ask for a Lawyer Immediately 

One thing you should make note of when being arrested is that you wish to have a lawyer appointed to you immediately. With that being said, you can hold off on speaking until you have a lawyer in your presence. A lawyer can help you understand what you should and should not do while you are being detained once they are appointed to you. 

Make a Local Phone Call

When you are being detained, you have the right to make a phone call and police officers are not allowed to listen to what you are saying while on said call. You can either use this call to contact a lawyer (if there is one in specific you want to work with) or a family member. Do not hesitate or be afraid to ask for a phone call. 

Stay Calm and Comply as Much as Possible

When being arrested, it is best to comply as much as you can in order to prevent problems from worsening. Do not lie if you wish to speak and do not attempt to run away or resist. This will only worsen the situation and they could hold more charges against you. Staying calm, as challenging as it can be, is the best thing you can do for yourself. 

If you believe your rights were violated…

The abuse of power is something that can definitely happen. In these instances, your rights were not completely respected during the arrest and detainment. Things can easily get out of hand when force is used, so if this happened to you, we highly recommend taking up the following immediately after the incident:

Make note of everything that happened

Try to recall how everything happened from the point that things got out of hand to the point where you reached the police station. It is also good to try to remember how many officers there were, what exactly they were saying, the amount of force used, patrol car numbers (if possible), etc. All of these little details are really helpful when found in these situations. It would also be good to get contact information from witnesses if you can reach out. 

Take pictures if injured 

If you have any injuries, no matter how big or small, take pictures as soon as you can. The more recent the injury is, the better piece of evidence it makes. It is also good to collect medical documents and records when seeking medical attention because they also make good pieces of evidence. You can also mention how these injuries are affecting your work and personal life and how exactly injuries happened. The case is more likely to turn in your favor when you can provide adequate proof and evidence. 

File a written complaint 

It is crucial that you do the most for yourself if you feel that your rights have been violated. Take it up to the supes, file the complaint and be very clear with why you are unhappy with your arrest. Make it known that you have rights and that you are entitled to them, no matter what your arrest was for. 

Contact The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings, Today

W. Shane Jennings specializes in criminal law, which is why our law office is your best choice. If you have recently been arrested or charged with a crime, do not wait. Contact us today so we can get started on your case right away. 

 

9 Things to Keep in Mind During Your Personal Injury Case 

The way you handle your personal injuries matters. We want you to receive the most compensation possible to ensure you receive the proper medical and to get you back on your feet. We understand the inconvenience that comes with being injured. You have plenty to take care of and an injury will most likely get in the way. By receiving the compensation you deserve, we can ensure that you and your injuries are being tended to accordingly. So how exactly can you be awarded the best settlement? We look at ten methods to use in your personal injury case. 

Never Wait to File a Case 

As soon as you are injured, it is best that you file the incident as soon as possible. Additionally, there are time limits when it comes to reporting these accidents. The earlier that you bring awareness to the accident, the more likely it is that a judge will be able to give you immediate and fair compensation. 

Have a Number in Mind Ahead of Time 

Most of the time, a judge will ask you the amount of compensation you will need to tend to the damages. This figure is for your own information, not just something you would reveal for the sake of your case. Before offers and counter-offers begin, it can help to have a set number to initiate the process. 

Never Settle for the First Offer 

In addition to our second tip, you should never settle for the first offer with which you’re provided. It’s standard policy for insurance adjusters to begin negotiating by offering a low amount. This is a tactic by the adjuster to see what you think your case is worth. It is also important to react carefully to the numbers. Be reasonable, but also stand your ground with your argument. 

Explain Why The Offer is Inadequate 

When you do decline the first offer or an offer that still seems too low to you, you have to give a valid reason behind your reasoning. For example, you could mention that the necessary downtime will be months-long, therefore you will need medical care for that entire time. This can also show that you won’t stop negating until you get the compensation you deserve. 

Gather All Evidence Possible

Some of the best sources of evidence consist of medical documents, such as medical plans, costs, treatment, and many others. The jury bases plenty of their decision on medical records and other forms of evidence. The more evidence you bring to the judges and the jury, the more that the result will be in your favor. 

Emphasize on Emotional Points 

The way that these damages impact your life beyond the physical effects can convince the court to give you a much bigger settlement than what they might have been starting out with. When negotiating, try to bring up as many emotional points as possible. For example, you could mention how your injuries affect your family and your ability to look after your children. These factors can be very powerful in determining a final settlement. 

Don’t Be Too Eager for a Response 

You never want to rush the process. The more that you anticipate receiving a settlement, the less likely it is that the judges will offer a settlement that works for you. You have to provide the judges with enough time for them to come to a high settlement. Also, you should always follow the timeline of the case. 

Stay Off Social Media 

If you’re active on social media, it might give the impression that you do not need medical care, thus, you won’t need as much compensation. If you’re in pain, you need to show it. Social media can tell a whole different story, and yes, the court will go through your social media, especially if it’s public. 

Make a Good Impression 

Lastly and most importantly, you want to make the best impression possible. This not only involves showing that you deserve the requested compensation but this also means showing you take your case seriously. When you take the matters into high consideration, so will the judges. 

Choose The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings to Get Started on Your Case, Today 

The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings is one of the few in Hobbs that specializes in personal injury. With that being said, we’re your best choice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your personal injury. 

What Does Cybercrime Mean In 2021?

The rising cost of cybercrime is estimated to reach $6 trillion by 2021. Although millions of people have already been a victim of cybercrime first-hand, many still don’t fully understand what cybercrime actually means. Spam calls, emails, misleading websites are just a few of the most basic types of criminal activity. Most cyber criminals steal money and personal information from victims, while others cripple entire businesses or websites.

Cybercrime is one of the fastest, most advanced, and ever-evolving modern crimes in the world today, and there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon. As technology advances, we’ve seen increased cybersecurity. However, as our security evolves, so does cybercrime. So, what falls under cybercrime, and how can we stay safe?

Defining Cybercrime

When trying to understand the meaning of cybercrime, most will consider hacking as their first thought. However, it can go far past just hacking a computer. Cybercrime is any form of illegal activity that occurs in a digital form. Data theft has been one of the most active cybercrimes in recent years. It can also include cyberbullying or planting viruses.

The Department of Justice has defined cybercrime in the three following categories:

A crime in which the target is a computing device. Example: To gain network access
A crime where the computer is used as a weapon. Example: To launch a DoS attack
A crime in which the computer is an accessory to a crime. Example: someone using a computer to store data that was illegally obtained.

It’s also defined by The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as a wide range of malicious activity, including the interception of data illegally, system interferences that will compromise network activity, availability, and copyright infringements.

Types Of Cybercrimes

As mentioned previously, cybercrime has become more known for financial reasons, but something like cyberbullying has a different effect. As of now, there are very few laws by definition that can fight against cybercrime. Since it’s such a new medium, many cases have created a law that will try to stop that particular incident from happening again. There are more attacks in white-collar businesses and workplaces than almost anywhere else.

Since the definition of cybercrime encompasses a vast area, there are a few main examples that we have come across over the years. Many of these fall under two main categories, which either involves criminal activity that targets or criminal activity that will use computers to commit crimes, such as:

  • Internet Fraud
  • Email Fraud
  • Identity Fraud
  • Financial or card data theft
  • The theft and selling of corporate data
  • Cyber Extortion
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Crypto-jacking
  • Cyber espionage

How To Stay Protected From Cybercrimes

As large and prevalent as cybercrime has become over the years, it’s very possible to stay completely protected from an attack. You can do so by keeping your information safe. Remember, adding a little extra effort into simple tasks can go a long way.

Keep Your Technology Updated

Many companies try to put user security first. Apple, for example, increases its security measures in some way every single year. Keeping your technology updated to the latest software will give you a good starting run out of the gate.

Passwords

This has been said for years, but make sure your passwords are hard to guess. Nowadays, you can use various password managers to help keep your passwords secure. If you do write down your passwords, keep them in a safe place where only you can access them.

Email Security

Spam emails continue to be some of the largest threats. Stay conscious of what you’re opening when you receive an e-mail. Unrecognized attachments often carry malware or viruses that can get your information or crash your system. They can also lead to untrusted websites that can steal your information.

Personal Information

Now, more than ever, spam callers acting as representatives from a familiar company often try to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Never give out your personal information over the phone or by email. If you do receive a call, contact that company yourself to investigate. Bringing it to their attention can help them know how to take additional precautions.

Keep an Eye on Your Accounts

One of the worst things about cybercrimes is that, more often than not, you may not be aware you’ve been attacked. Stay aware of what gets charged on your accounts so you can catch suspicious charges right away.

Attorney W. Shane Jennings Can Help You

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cybercrimes. There are many things to look out for, and the less you know about technology, the hard it can be to understand. Many attackers look for people who aren’t familiar with their own technology and use that to their advantage. We’ve seen many white-collar cybercrimes and can help you. Contact the Law Offices of W. Shane Jennings today to see how we can help if you’ve undergone a cybercrime.

Self-Defense or Assault? What New Mexico Law Says 

If you have ever been in or witnessed a fight or altercation, you may have wondered how the law would view the situation. You’re not alone; plenty of people get into these situations daily not knowing who would be seen as the aggressor. 

Too often, people are entangled in the legal system without knowing a lick of law. Not surprisingly, they tend to get into more trouble than probably had to occur. Hopefully, this blog can help shed some light on New Mexico law regarding self-defense and assault & battery. 

A Primer On Self-Defense 

In New Mexico, as in many other states, citizens are not required to retreat if they feel they are under an immediate threat to their well-being. Instead, citizens have the right to defend themselves under certain circumstances. The State of New Mexico separates its self-defense law into two basic parts: non-deadly force and deadly force. 

According to New Mexico law, you need to meet the following criteria to legally use non-deadly force in self-defense: 

  • There was an appearance of immediate danger of bodily harm to you or another as a result of an unlawful act;
  • You were, in fact, put in fear of immediate bodily harm to yourself or another, and used non-deadly force because of that fear;
  • You used an amount of force that you believed was reasonable and necessary to prevent the bodily harm; and
  • The apparent danger would have caused a reasonable person in the same circumstances to act as you did.

For deadly force, the criteria will change slightly: 

  • There was an appearance of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to you or another as a result of the threat from the perpetrator;
  • You were, in fact, put in fear by the apparent danger of immediate death or great bodily harm to yourself or another, and killed the perpetrator because of that fear; and
  • A reasonable person in the same circumstances would have acted as you did. 

Basically, you need to have believed yourself to be in danger and acted with an appropriate amount of force. The law determining that a “reasonable person” must have acted the same way leaves it open to an incredible amount of interpretation. Nonetheless, self-defense in New Mexico works very similarly to other states. 

Assault & Battery in New Mexico

Assault and battery in New Mexico, much like with self-defense, is similar to most other states. Assault is defined as an attempt to commit a physical attack or as intentional threats, words, or actions that cause a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Many assault charges never involve any physical violence, only threats. 

Battery in New Mexico is defined as the unlawful, intentional touching or application of force to the person of another when done in a rude, insolent, or angry manner. Battery can take many forms, but this is the basic definition common to most varieties of battery. 

The backbone of both assault & battery is intent and action. Thus, understanding the sequence of events and mind-state of all involved is necessary for the court to rule in someone’s favor. 

Potential Gray Areas 

Looking at what the law says, it seems like it should be cut and dry. However, it can be a contentious issue depending on the case. How? Let’s dive deeper into the law. 

For all laws, they tend to fall apart when there are subjective or fuzzy elements in the language. In the self-defense law, we see weak points in the idea of a “reasonable person” and in the appearance and actual nature of danger. If the parties involved don’t agree on the situation, it can make for a much more difficult case. 

The concept of a “reasonable person” is a legal term often used in matters of tort and personal law. It is a legal fiction used to determine if someone acted outside what would be normal behavior from a law-abiding citizen. However, it is unavoidably subjective, leading to inconsistent legal outcomes. 

This fuzziness and subjectivity are the arena of the judge, jury, and legal counsel. Together, a picture and frame for your case will be built and an objective ruling is determined from all legally-relevant factors. This is why competent legal counsel is so important for each case.

Tips For Avoiding Legal Trouble 

Knowing the law is important, but the best way to not get into legal trouble is to never be in a situation that the law may be required for. If you foresee a situation where violence may be threatened or committed, it’s best to simply walk away. 

If that much can’t be done, then you’ll want to document everything that happened leading up to and during your encounter. Gathering eyewitnesses that can provide more evidence to corroborate your accounts will also be incredibly useful. Finally, obtaining legal counsel that is well-versed in the law is crucial to your case. Poor legal counsel could mean a worse overall outcome. 

Trust The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings! 

In most cases, the line between self-defense and assault and battery is clear. However, regardless of how your particular case is shaped, you’ll want competent legal counsel by your side. For years, our legal team has defended the rights of citizens in New Mexico. Contact us today or visit our website to schedule your consultation! 

 

CDL Violations And DUIs | What Every Commercial Driver Should Know

Every truck driver knows that a ticket or a DUI charge can destroy one’s career and life. When your livelihood depends on your commercial driver’s license (CDL), then there’s a lot at stake. This can happen before or during your time as a truck driver. So, what can you do? What might happen to your career, and can you get it back? By choosing W. Shane Jennings as your CDL license violation lawyer, you may potentially save your professional future.

Previous DUI Charges And Their Effect

We’ve all had to make some life changes at some point or another. We’re less likely to be the same person we were five or ten years ago. So, what if you made a mistake when you were young? Well, there are a few things to consider at that point. First, you must complete your probationary period. This includes clearing any money you owe for the charge. If enough time has passed, then you can obtain your standard license. Once all of this has cleared, you can begin the process of getting a CDL. However, it’s up to your potential employers to look past your previous record. 

Violations To Watch Out For 

A CDL license can get suspended much more easily than a standard license. Due to the responsibilities that CDL drivers have, it doesn’t matter in which state you get pulled over. No matter if it was with your standard license or CDL, any event can result in violations. If you do get in trouble, contact your employer as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the event. 

Anyone with a CDL should watch out for common violations. Although they are easily avoidable, they may affect your ability to have a commercial driver’s license if they occur. 

The following count as serious traffic violations:

  • Speeding (15 MPH or more over the legal speed limit)
  • Reckless driving 
  • Improper or careless lane changes 
  • Following too closely 
  • Accidents that result in a fatality 

If one of these does happen, you can lose your CDL for at least 60 days if two serious violations have occurred within a three-year period. If you have committed three serious traffic violations within three years, then you could lose your license for a minimum of 120 days. To regain your CDL after these violations, you must pay a reissue fee and proof of financial responsibility insurance certificate. 

Major CDL Offenses 

If a major offense happens, you may lose your CDL for one to three years, depending on if you have hazardous materials with you. A second major offense can result in losing your CDL for life. Major violations can count even if you weren’t driving a CDL required vehicle. That’s right; even having a major violation in your personal vehicle can affect your commercial driver career. Major offenses include the following: 

  • Driving a commercial moving vehicle (CMV) under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Driving with a blood alcohol limit of 0.04% in your CMV
  • Refusing to take tests for blood alcohol when asked 
  • Operating a CMV with a disqualified, suspended, or revoked CDL 
  • Leaving the scene of an accident that involved your CMV
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit any felony

You can retrieve your CDL if you get a DUI for the first time. You’ll need to take and pass the CDL knowledge test and driving tests as well as gaining a hazardous materials endorsement. You might present a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that also shows you passed their background check. Then it just comes down to paying the requalification fee. 

Federal CDL Suspension 

Since most CDL drivers have to cross state lines, a suspension can fall under federal law. This means that your CDL can get suspended from anywhere from 60 days to life. This can happen for violations or convictions like DUI.

Shane Jennings CDL Defense 

We know the importance of the people who use CDL’s for their job. If anything has happened to you as a CDL driver and your license is on the line, give us a call. Losing your income can be devastating, and we want to help get you back on track. We work with your case to provide the best possible outcome. Attorney W. Shane Jennings understands the ins and outs of New Mexico CDL laws. Don’t wait to call us. Start the process as soon as an offense has occurred so that we can start your case. Find out how we can help your case and put you back to work and on the road! 

Accident between car and bicycle on city street

Bikes In A Car’s World: Bicycle Accidents On Modern Roads

If you look at a busy street today, you will find a road filled with cars and trucks. You’ll hear blaring horns and roaring engines, with sound bouncing off of storefronts and reverberating down the street.

Along the side of the road, you may see pedestrians and bicyclists using mechanical modes of transportation to move around compared to the cars of our era. While the legs are a technology millions of years in the making, the bicycle is barely 200 years old, celebrating its 200th birthday in 2017.

Technological advancement has been nothing if not meteoric, turning these mechanical marvels into simple tech in a few short years. But you may be surprised that many of the issues people had with the automobile were also levied at the bicycle as well.

The rapid pace of innovation has been a fixture of modern life, but such quick growth leads to problems, and the bicycle is not immune.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how modernization has impacted the bicycle and infrastructure at large as well as what you need to know about bicycle accidents and safety.

Bicycles: A Modern Marvel In The 1800s

As we mentioned earlier, the bicycle was quite the marvel when it was created in the early 1800s. You may think the bicycle was made to be a fun mode of transportation, but it was actually created out of necessity.

In 1815, a massive eruption of Mount Tambora, Indonesia caused a volcanic winter, which led to crops failing, causing people and animals to starve to death. Many of these animals were horses, which were used for transportation and other uses.

Seeing the issue, Baron Karl von Drais of Baden, Germany decided to do something about the problem. In 1817, he designed a precursor to the modern bicycle called a Laufmaschine, or “running machine.” His invention inspired other manufacturers to make their own, and it became a fantastic, albeit prohibitively expensive, tool.

These early contraptions did not have pedals, which wouldn’t be added until the 1860s. Nonetheless, the invention of the bicycle came with some problems. Many cities banned or regulated the use of these inventions because they would startle people on the sidewalks.

By the 1820s and 30s, the “hobby horse” had faded from existence. By nature of how they worked, they simply weren’t very practical. Roads were rough, the devices were expensive, and laws restricted their use to sidewalks.

The 1860s would see bicycles begin to modernize, with additions like centered steering wheels, a gear system, and pedals becoming more and more prevalent. This, coupled with slightly lowering prices, led to the bicycle becoming more practical and useful.

By the late 1890s, bikes were made of lightweight metal. This, along with other improvements, led to a boom in sales. By the year 1900, there were an estimated 1 million bikes in the world.

Bikes And Cars: Disruptions To Transportation

As stated earlier, bikes were disruptive to their environment, sometimes literally pushing people aside as they walked. But less than a century later, the car would send reverberations through major cities around the globe.

Cities that hadn’t adjusted to the use of bicycles were then adapting to the use of cars, helped out by lobbying from the wealthy and automobile companies alike. Since cars take up so much space, large roads had to be built simply to accommodate these new transportation machines. Pedestrians were slowly pushed to the side, and bicycles followed suit.

Nowadays, nearly every major city is well-optimized for use of the automobile, but not much else. While some cities are attempting to improve their pedestrian and bike infrastructure, it’s clear that cars now control the way that we move and interact in America.

A Quick Look at Bicycling Accident

As a result of the way we move, cycling is often rather dangerous for people. In 2018, 854 bicyclists were tragically killed in crashes with motor vehicles, many of them in cities. With how frantic city traffic can be, people are often overloaded with stimuli and may not see a bicyclist near them.

In addition to these fatality numbers, 11,000 people are injured by vehicles every year. This is a problem that continues to plague cyclists and one that leads to thousands spent on property repair and medical bills.

Part of that can be chalked up to people not paying attention. Cars are much faster than they used to be, yet our technology also allows us to be distracted by texts, music, and so much more while we drive. While hitting another car while distracted could easily be fatal, the chances are much higher when a cyclist is hit.

Another piece of this puzzle could be directly attributed to the lack of considerate urban planning. The invention of the affordable car completely changed the ways cities functioned, with the consideration of horses and bicycles being pushed far to the side.

These factors among others contribute to the epidemic of automobile-cyclist accidents on the road today.

Keeping Yourself Safe On The Road

Cities have become more hazardous than they are accommodating to cyclists, which is a problem for motorists and cyclists alike. So how do you minimize your risk of being involved in an accident?

No Distractions: Whether you are a cyclist or a driver, you need to remove any distractions while you drive. Phones, tablets, and other devices should be kept in your pocket until you reach your destination. Thousands of accidents every year are caused by distractions.

Get Involved: Think your city doesn’t support cyclists? Let your voice be heard! Contact government officials in your area to discuss creating cyclist-friendly infrastructure.

Use All Appropriate Safety Equipment: It is important to use the safety tools available to you. If cycling, consider a helmet, gloves, protective cycling clothing, and other equipment. For driving a motor vehicle, ensure airbags are working properly and that seatbelts are secure.

Choose The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings For Your Case

Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, accidents happen. Call the Hobbs office because we’ve aided enough clients in receiving favorable results from their accident cases in Las Cruces that we opened the Hobbs office.

If you need a team to help you navigate your cycling accident in Hobbs, New Mexico, then call our office to learn more!

A lawyer meeting with a client to discuss the details of criminal defense

What to Expect After a Criminal Charge: The Immediacy of Defense

The presumption of innocence is an axiom within United States law. Although it’s not cited explicitly within our Constitution, the presumption of innocence is foundational to the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments and for our nation’s legal system at large. This means those who are charged with crimes, from class C misdemeanors to federal felonies, are all presumed innocent.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, your world may feel as if it’s been flipped upside down. But it’s crucial to understand that you’re not alone. Attorney W. Shane Jennings provides criminal defense services to individuals in the Southern New Mexico region. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Don’t Go It Alone, Team Up With a Criminal Defense Lawyer

As a criminal defense office, we have dealt with cases ranging from DWI charges to aggravated assault and everything in between. We understand that the clock starts ticking as soon as you receive your criminal charge. As such, we’ve outlined what you might expect from the criminal defense journey. Remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can get to work on your defense. Our goal is to secure dismissals, acquittals, lesser charges, or deferred sentences. 

Part 1: You’re Arrested and Charged with a Criminal Offense

This is where it all begins. Typically, a police officer will arrest an individual after he/she is witnessed committing a crime. Police officers may also arrest individuals if they have probable cause that the individual committed a crime or if the officer is under authority of a valid arrest warrant. Upon completing the booking process, the arrested individual will be placed in custody. 

Your first appearance in court will be during the arraignment. If, upon your arrest, you receive a notice of arraignment, then you should contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings immediately. This way, we will be able to discuss the state’s laws as well as what you should expect from the entire process. We’ll delve a bit deeper into this process in the next step.

Bail may also be set, which the arrested individual must pay in order to be released while awaiting trial. This is not something you can simply pay to get out of; you still need to appear in court on the designated date. Bail release is built around the arrested individual’s promise to appear at every court proceeding. Bail may be granted as soon as the booking is complete or it may be granted later on during a bail hearing.  

Part 2: You Contact Our Law Office

Building a legal defense is crucial, no matter the severity of your criminal charges. This process should be initiated as quickly as possible. If your loved one has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you can get the ball rolling by contacting our law office as soon as possible. If you’re out on bail and you’re reading this article, then give us a call as well. Upon contacting our law office, you’ll go through an initial consultation during which we’ll go over the details pertaining to your case. If you believe our services will be beneficial to you, we will begin work on building your defense. No matter the severity of your charges, we will work diligently to find a possible solution. 

More often than not, criminal defense lawyers strive to have the entire case dismissed. If this is achieved, you won’t face a conviction. Although the case is dismissed, it will still remain on your criminal record. In order to counteract this, you’ll have to have your case expunged or sealed. If your case is not dismissed, then your criminal defense lawyer will attempt to obtain a plea, lesser charges, or a deferred sentence. This is why working with a criminal defense lawyer is crucial, especially when it comes to serious criminal charges. Since we know the intricacies of criminal law, we’re able to find solutions to the issues at hand. Simply put, we’ll take care of the hard work.

Part 3: The Trial and Sentencing

Your trial will be the event in which your presumed innocence is put into question. As a defendant, the judge and jury of your peers will find you either guilty or not guilty of the criminal charge or charges you’re facing. Here is where all our hard work will come into play. As your criminal defense attorney, W. Shane Jennings will build a defense that will cast doubt within the judge and/or jury regarding the evidence and charges presented against you, the defendant. The final decision, however, is in the hands of the judge or jury. 

As far as sentencing goes, the court will determine an appropriate punishment for the defendant. There are many details that determine a sentence. Everything from the nature and severity of the crime to the defendant’s degree of remorse will be taken into consideration. 

Contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings, Today

If you or a loved one are facing a criminal charge, don’t let another second pass by. Contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings today so we can get started on building your defense. We understand the immediacy of the situation at hand and we’re here to guide the way. If you have any questions about what to expect from the legal process, then reach out to us. We’re ready to help.  

A young woman sitting next to her car after a car accident

Recovering From A Car Accident: Steps To Expect

Car accidents are an unfortunate part of modern transportation. Over 16,000 car crashes are estimated to occur every single day in the United States alone. Being involved in an accident can be terrifying, especially if you’re unsure of the next steps you should take after the fact. 

If you’re unsure what you should do if you are ever in an accident, use this blog as a guide. From the immediate aftermath of the crash to finding medical assistance after the fact, we’ll discuss the basic steps you should take, as well as some tips for making the process smoother and less stressful. 

What To Do Right After Your Accident 

As soon as you get into an accident, you’ll want to analyze your surroundings, your health, and the health of your passengers. Most accidents aren’t serious accidents, so if your accident is not too drastic, try to get to the side of the road or another safe location. 

Call For Assistance 

Once you’ve assessed the situation and gotten to safety, you’ll next want to call for assistance. Alert the police to the situation, and be sure to give them relevant information like location and the extent of injuries. 

If there are serious injuries, be sure to alert the authorities so they can send paramedics to your location. They may ask you to describe the injuries sustained by you or your passengers and provide medical advice to use until the paramedics arrive. 

Get All Relevant Information 

You’ll want to get any relevant information from the other person or people involved in the accident. Information that you’ll want to acquire at the crash scene includes: 

  • The accident’s location/address
  • Police officer’s name and badge number
  • Insurance companies/policy numbers
  • Vehicle information (make, year, color, etc.)
  • Driver contact info
  • Witness names

With this information, you’ll be better equipped to file a claim or address any questions or concerns about the car accident itself. 

If it is safe to do so, you will also want to take as many pictures of the accident as you can. This provides concrete evidence of what occurred. Try to capture the orientation of each vehicle involved, as well as capturing identifying landmarks like buildings or street signs. Finally, gather witnesses that saw the accident and can corroborate your story and support the police report of the incident. 

Order Roadside Assistance If Necessary

If your car is unable to move or if it would be unsafe to drive away from the crash, then you’ll need to call in for roadside assistance. They will be able to tow your vehicle for you, so you’re able to get it to a safer location, be it your home or a car shop. 

File A Claim

Once you are safe and sound, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance agency. Take detailed pictures and notes of the wreck, including any police information that is pertinent to your claim. You can begin filing your claim at the scene of the crash in fact, or wait until shortly after the crash if that is more comfortable. 

Get Medical Treatment If Necessary 

Even if you don’t need any serious medical attention, you may have some aches and pains after your car accident. You don’t have to suffer through those aches and pains, though. By using a doctor or chiropractor, you can begin to heal and recover from the pain of your accident. 

Some chiropractic clinics to consider in Las Cruces include: 

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be eligible to have your medical expenses covered by the opposing party’s insurance coverage. If you aren’t sure about your eligibility, your insurance company or lawyer may be able to provide more information. 

Contact An Attorney 

If you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle, you may be in for a legal battle. No insurance company wants to shell out money for an accident, but commercial insurance companies can be the most difficult to deal with. 

To combat the difficulty of working with a commercial company, hire an attorney that is ready to fight for you in these types of accidents and cases. The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings knows that you want the justice you deserve we want to help you get it.  

Choose The Law Office of Shane Jennings For Your Accident!

If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, our office can provide the legal representation. Give us a call today to discuss your case!

a young man driving while checking his phone and looking away from the road ahead

Distracted Driving: A Issue Plaguing Our Roads

Every year, Apple announces the brand new iPhone, and, every year, hundreds of thousands of people buy their first, third, or tenth smartphone. Due to advancements in modern technology, smartphones have quickly become a necessary accessory for people of all ages. In fact, according to Pew Research, it is estimated that approximately 5 billion people own a mobile phone, with half of those being smartphones. That’s quite a statistic! 

As useful and convenient as smartphones are, however, they can still pose a great risk to many, especially when it comes to distracted driving. If you’re facing issues relating to a distracted driving accident, whether you were injured or accused of distracted driving, then the Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings can help. 

The Severity of Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver” every single day in the United States. A distracted driver is someone who performs an activity that detracts the driver’s ability to focus on the road ahead. But what exactly is “distracted driving”? Would looking away from the road ahead to change the radio station be considered distracted driving? 

The Center for Disease Control has pondered this exact thought. According to the CDC, the three main types of “distraction” are visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction is when one stops looking at the road ahead, manual distraction is when one removes his or her hands from the steering wheel, and cognitive distraction is when one lets his or her mind wander while driving. 

Texting While Driving: A Trifecta of Distraction

If you think about it, there are many instances where each kind of distraction can result in an accident. Perhaps the driver dropped a water bottle so he quickly looked down at his feet to see where it went, or maybe the driver had to grab a tissue from the back seat so he removed his hands from the wheel. Before the driver knows it, he’s rear-ended the car in front of him. 

But there’s one example that combines all three methods of distraction and that, of course, is texting while driving. When you text, you need to look at your phone to read the message you’re responding to [visual distraction]. You also need to use your hand (or hands) to type out the message [manual distraction]. And, finally, you need to think about what to respond with before actually typing out the text message itself [cognitive distraction]. It’s no surprise that the most common type of distracted driving is texting while driving.

How the State of New Mexico Deals with Distracted Driving

In 2014, the state of New Mexico passed a new traffic safety law that specifically targets texting while driving. Statute section 66-7-374 which states, “a person shall not read or view a text message or manually type on a handheld mobile communication device for any purpose while driving a motor vehicle, except to summon medical or other emergency help.” If you notice, the law says “for any purpose,” meaning that drivers aren’t allowed to use their phones, be it to look something up online, change map directions, or respond to a text, while driving. The only legal option is to use handsfree methods, be it through Bluetooth or the vehicle’s own speech command settings. 

9 Percent of Fatal Accidents in 2016 Occured Due to Distracted Driving

According to NHTSA, in 2016, nine percent of fatal accidents were reported as distracted-affected crashes. As much as we wish for this number to go down since then, it’s more than likely that the percentage has increased and will continue to increase with each passing year. 

Avoiding Distracted Driving

As we become more and more accustomed to texting and using our phones for nearly everything, the act of texting while driving undoubtedly becomes more commonplace. Thankfully, car manufacturers are now including standard features that make it easier for drivers to use hands-free options while driving. 

The best way to avoid distracted driving is by removing the option for it. Once in your car, before driving, connect your phone to the car’s Bluetooth (if available) then keep your phone in your pants pocket or in your purse. Many newer cars come with Carplay (for iOS users) and Android Auto (for Android users) which provides drivers with an interface in their vehicle’s infotainment units. By connecting your phone to your car’s interface, you won’t have to worry about checking texts or typing responses as the units can read texts out loud and give you the option to respond via voice text. 

Now, not all cars offer these features so it’s always best to play it safe. If you’re driving, don’t think about texting. If you need to use your phone, then pull over to a safe location and park before you use your device. It might sound like too much but it’s always best to play it safe, especially in these situations.

Legal Guidance for Distracted Driving Car Accidents in New Mexico

Let’s say you were part of a car accident and the other driver blames you for what took place. Perhaps the driver says you were on your phone or you were texting but you know, for a fact, that that wasn’t the case. Maybe, to the other driver, it seemed like you were on your phone when in fact you were looking down at the cup holder for a quarter to pay the toll that was coming up. What can you do in this situation? 

Section B of New Mexico Traffic Law 66-7-374 makes it very clear that the cell phone cannot be seized by or forfeited to the police in the event of a distracted driving accident or event. Simply put, the device is “not subject to search by a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop.” So, does this extend to car accidents where one driver is blaming the other for distracted driving? This is where things can get a bit complicated. 

If you’re facing this situation, it’s in your best interest to speak to an experienced car accident attorney who is well versed in New Mexico traffic law. The Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings provides meticulous, detailed legal aid to drivers in the state of New Mexico. Contact us today for more information.

Sources:

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812517

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/02/05/smartphone-ownership-is-growing-rapidly-around-the-world-but-not-always-equally/

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2014/chapter-66/article-7/part-4/section-66-7-374