5 personal injury crash statistics YOU need to know before Memorial Day

               Avoid a personal injury crash!

Do you have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend? Let’s also plan to avoid a personal injury crash!

According to AAA news, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the “100 Deadliest Days” for newbie teen drivers — with a 15% increase in deadly car crashes in this age group between this holiday and Labor Day weekend.

In fact, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center tracks the 6 leading major car crash circumstances in Missouri.  Out of these 6 circumstances, 5 will most certainly be a large risk factor for all ages with the coming holiday weekend.  Knowledge is power, right? So let’s start with the aforementioned new teen drivers.

Yes! Inexperienced teen or young drivers rank in the top 6 circumstances for deadly car crashes.

Memorial Day weekend also coincides with high school graduation celebrations and end of school parties. Pools open. Summer fun begins for the young and the restless!

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics, drivers under 21 caused 8,647 personal injury crashes in 2014. So, actually, driver inexperience ranked 2nd in the top 3 causes for personal injury crashes in Missouri for 2014. (Wait until the end of this article to find out number 1 — what a surprise to this researcher!)

While we’ve certainly addressed this topic on the blog before, the “100 Deadliest Days” epidemic helps nudge us to review driving safety tips with our teens. In fact, the AAA suggests that you talk to your teen frequently about safe driving and have them sign this agreement.  Talk specifically about the three major personal injury crash factors that most affect them:

  • Distracted driving. Driving with young, carefree friends in the car, singing, chatting, and having a great time don’t mix with safe and alert driving. When you’ve lived long enough, you understand the deadliness of a distracted moment on the road. Then add the temptation of a smart phone to this mix.  What’s a parent to do?  Try parental control apps on their cell phones, for starters. You will have to carefully discuss and decide for whom your teen may drive — when, and where.
  • Failure to buckle up. This one’s squarely in your laps, parents and guardians. If you don’t enforce this early and often and set the example — don’t be surprised if your teen won’t buckle up. Sadly, the AAA reports that a whopping 60% of teens killed in a car accident were not wearing their seat belt!
  • The Invincible Inner Speed demon.  Some people are just born with this gene, it seems! Combined with teen hormones and incomplete brain development, speeding is a significant risk factor for teen car crashes. It’s a gender-neutral gene, too. However, young males are still considered a higher risk factor for car insurance companies then females. Unfortunately, many adults fail to tame their Inner Speed Demon in their youth. Again, your example as a parent or relative of a teen matters more than you may realize.

Speed is a very significant contributing risk factor in personal injury crash accidents — across all age groups. Those who speed don’t “drive to survive”.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding killed 10,111 people in 2016 nationwide. Missouri statistics for 2014 show that speed is the 3rd major circumstance, causing 6,911 personal injury car crashes in our state.

A holiday weekend means places to go and people to see. You may either have a long list of errands to run. Or you and your fellow drivers are just in a hurry to get to where you are going.

The “hurry up and get there” factor is a major reason most folks are tempted to speed. 

Many drivers don’t slow down and consider that speeding is considered a form of aggressive driving. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”  Even though Missouri — unlike many states — doesn’t have aggressive driving laws on the books, you can still be charged with “careless and imprudent” driving.

Depending on the circumstances, “careless and imprudent driving” may land you in jail for 6 months. If you cause a car accident due to these charges, the jail time potential escalates to a year. You won’t be going anywhere in a hurry for a good while.  Once again, you also face the potential of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor on your record.

Motorcycle-related personal injury crashes weighed in at 1,734 in Missouri in 2014.

According to a researched article on our blog, these statistics have risen slightly in recent years. For the summer season,  expect more bikers out enjoying the roads!  Motorcyclists caused only 1,734 personal injury crashes in 2014 in Missouri as compared to speeding or inexperienced drivers.

Why do motorcycle accidents still rank in the top 6 category? Probably because alcohol causes more than 50% of motorcycle-related accidents. Those are undeniably preventable motorcycle crashes!

Most surprisingly, only 2,424 personal injury crashes in Missouri during 2014 were alcohol related — significantly less than the top three crash circumstances.

Still, don’t let this statistic make you less proactive in warning your young drivers. Memorial Day weekend is party time! Temptation for young drivers to drink and drive multiply.

Even more significant, other drivers on the road will be driving under the influence. Count on it. Be alert for signs of a drunk driver and pull over to call the police if you spot an impaired driver. What to look for? Here are a few possible signs.

  • Weaving quickly or dangerously in and out of traffic.
  • Driving left of the center line
  • Erratic speed and steering
  • Braking often for no apparent reason

Quite surprisingly, according to the statistics for 2014 collected by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, drivers aged 55 and older caused 10,903 personal injury car crashes.

This age group leads the pack by over 2,000 personal injury crashes — shocking!  It’s hard to imagine why the most experienced group of drivers on the road is also the most dangerous, at least in Missouri.

Logically, this could mean an abundance of older senior drivers per capita in Missouri. Or it could infer a large portion of folks over 55 are driving while taking their needed medications — driving impaired by pain medications!

Whatever the case, this statistic is cause for an entirely different article and some serious research.  Meanwhile, maybe you should volunteer to drive your elderly relative to the family gathering this Memorial Day weekend.

If you or a loved one have been injured in car accident, you need an experienced, aggressive personal injury crash attorney. You also need someone with a thorough knowledge of state and local laws. For prompt, personal attention, call Nathan A. Steimel at 636-244-3737!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

Class A misdemeanors that could change your life (and your teen’s life)

Which Class A Misdemeanor Might Your Teen {accidentally} Commit?

Are we ready for summer vacation yet? The last thing a parent wants to worry about over the break from school is having their teen face Class A misdemeanor charges.

After all, the list of these potentially life-changing crimes is literally longer than your arm (even written with normal-sized font.)

Potential outdoor crimes lurk behind every train track and tree.

If your teen loves the outdoors and will have extra time on their hands this summer, committing a misdemeanor is actually shockingly easy. Did you know that in Missouri, defacing a cave wall is a Class A misdemeanor?

While this might seem like a far-fetched crime, how many teens wouldn’t think twice about carving their name and “leave their mark” on the world? Think back a few years – did you ever carve your initials in a tree? It’s the same idea.

If your teen is already out exploring said cave, just suppose they decide to pollute the cave waters. That, too, is a Class A misdemeanor.

Then there’s the railroad tracks. How many of us have trespassed on railroad property (also a Class A misdemeanor), albeit very carefully? Placing those pennies on the railroad tracks? Highly illegal!

Who hasn’t seen a movie where a young person explores an abandoned building? Trespassing of the first degree is normally a Class B misdemeanor in Missouri (only six lonely potential months in jail, folks). Trespassing in school buses are the exception, meriting a Class A category instead. Just warn your teens, okay?

What if they’re out looking for that special gemstone or rock? Warning! Don’t surface mine if you don’t want a possible misdemeanor threat on your head.

Summer fireworks – a true Class A Misdemeanor

What about fireworks? A teen entrepreneur should just stay away from the fireworks business. Selling fireworks without adult supervision under the age of 16 is illegal. Never sell fireworks to child under age 14. As you can see, fireworks are a risky business altogether.

Discharging fireworks around the wrong building is also a Class A misdemeanor. Boating and fireworks don’t mix, either. In a spirit of summer fun, can you imagine your teen throwing a firework off of a boat? That’s illegal — bad news if the Natural Resource Police are nearby!

Let’s travel down memory lane for a moment. What crazy stunts did you pull as a teen? Surely we can all pull something out of our memory bank.

Summer parties and driving – a strict NO alcohol rule

The temptation is so real! Teen drinking and driving scares the pants off of parents. You simply must have this conversation with your child, even if drinking is not their thing. Riding in a vehicle with an intoxicated friend driving – well, that’s a recipe for disaster!

Remind your child that even one drink before driving is TOO much.

Teach your teen that all it takes is a BAC of .020 under the age of 21 in Missouri to land a DWI charge. You definitely will need a good criminal defense lawyer to keep your child out of jail with such a charge.

Your teen’s Class A misdemeanor risk will escalate dramatically if they are stopped by an officer as a prior DWI offender. Besides potential jail time and fines, and license suspension, certain rehab programs will be required, such as the Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP). Check out this website for the latest on DWI charges.

Drugs – be aware and beware

This past winter, police spotted a Marshal Missouri teen sitting out in the freezing January weather. Sadly, he was in possession of more than 10g of marijuana. He was charged not only with possession but with alleged intent to sell – a Class E felony.

According to NOLO, first-time possession of less than 35g of marijuana but more than 10g is normally a Class A misdemeanor! (Unless you are inside a school zone – drug charges ramp way up there.)

Although not a Class A misdemeanor, getting caught driving with any trace of drugs in your system in Missouri for first-time offender is an automatic 30-day license suspension. Since teens may undergo surgeries (say a sports injury) and receive pain-killers, it pays to be aware of the risks of driving even after it seems the pain-killers have worn off.

Technology and teens – multiple risk factors

Distracted driving is a huge risk factor for bodily harm and death. No one under 21 is allowed to text and drive in the state of Missouri. While not a Class A misdemeanor, if a teen is caught texting and driving, he or she faces a fine of up to $200, 2 points on their license, and a loss of a Good Driver discount on car insurance. Consequences get much, much worse if one causes a distracted driving accident due to texting.

On the other hand, sexting is a serious crime involving potential child pornography charges. Because those laws are so complex, it’s hard to say what charges your teen would end up with – quite possibly a felony charge that would follow them for ages. Tell your teen sexting is not a joke unless they think a jumpsuit, prison food, and prison walls shared with the toughest of bullies is fun!

First, you and your teen should know that even a Class A misdemeanor has serious consequences. Possible fines and potential jail time of up to a year are no summer fun adventure!

If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, your child will carry a criminal record that could literally haunt them for years. Certain Class A misdemeanors cannot be expunged. For example, renting an apartment in the future could be very difficult, depending on the criminal record.

Even more damaging, your teen is required to tell his employer if he has a Class A misdemeanor on his record. Since employers already struggle to find good, reliable help, a teen with a record is going to be on the bottom of their “hire list”.

Charged with a misdemeanor? Here are some ways an experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyer will work to help you:

  • Know Missouri laws and legal procedures to fight for your best outcome.
  • Ensure your teen’s fair and respectful treatment.
  • Reduce or even eliminate fines.
  • Reduce jail time.
  • Work to get a criminal record expunged.

Tips to avoid gun-related criminal charges

Guns, kids, and gun-related criminal charges due to an accident — it’s a touchy topic.  Let’s talk {gently}.

Since Missouri is a state of open and concealed carry freedoms, gun-related accidents and the possibility of gun-related criminal charges need to be discussed.  According to FindLaw.com, about 2,000 accidental shootings occur in the U.S. each year.

USA Today states that deaths of children under the age of 12 due gun accidents occur about once a week — approximately 52 deaths a year in this category.  Considering that about a third of U.S. households with children own guns, this figure is pretty small.

However, a gun-related accident involving a child is no small matter ever, especially if you know and love that child.

Losing a child is heart-rending under any circumstance. What’s worse — a load of guilt due to a gun-related accident!

Truth. We cannot possibly prevent every accident. Where our kids are involved, though, it’s up to us to do our very best.  Which is why parents or a child’s caretaker will sometimes face gun-related criminal charges after an unfortunate gun accident.

Imagine losing your child to a gun-related accident and then facing criminal charges!

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up! What a terrible circumstance — accidentally leaving a loaded gun (unlocked) where a young child can get a hold of it. One news story from NC told of a mother in jail because her 12 year old accidentally shot his 9 year old brother with a loaded shotgun in the back while goofing off.  The remaining child has now lost both his brother and his parent to one terrible accident.

Another similar incident happened right here in St. Louis last year. Two young brothers aged 12 and under were left home alone while both parents worked. The tragic mistake, again, was that a loaded gun was left where the boys could access it. Both parents were faced with criminal charges per this St. Louis news source.

Families who hunt are often well-educated about gun safety due to hunter safety courses. They “own” their gun ownership.

The rest of us?  Here are a few gun safety reminders for those of us who love children and want to keep them safe.

For really young children, the NRA offers a few engaging videos that teach children how they should react if they come across a gun.

  • First and foremost, talk to your children about gun safety even if you don’t own a gun. Why? Your friends or family might be gun owners. All it takes for an accident to occur is one forgetful moment.
  • Next, always have the safety set to “ON” with a loaded gun.
  • Always keep the gun out of the reach of children. 
  • Lock up the gun, especially if it’s loaded.
  • Best safety practice — store the gun unloaded and locked with the ammo in a separate, safe location.

Will a parent be charged with a felony if their child accidentally shoots someone with their gun?

That’s a “loaded” question, but the answer will depend on a number of circumstances.  Sometimes yes — sometimes no. If you find yourself in this terrible situation, you definitely need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with Missouri laws.  Call Attorney Nathan A. Steimel today for a free initial evaluation of your case. 636-244-3737.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

 

Safety tips for a spring trip into St. Louis (OR some ways to avoid becoming a victim of violent crime)

 

Violent crime rates in St. Louis are a matter of hot debate.

While the St. Louis area has been in the “hot seat” on the news in the past few years,  there’s some evidence that the crime statistics are skewed. You can read the article links included. You decide for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions about Safety in St. Louis

http://www.politifact.com/missouri/statements/2017/oct/24/pete-hegseth/pete-hegseth-gives-correct-statistics-st-louis-cri/

What’s not up for debate — most major cities worldwide have certain areas prone to violent crime.

Crowded conditions, poverty levels, and cultural differences all contribute. Interesting to note, when calculating crime rates in St. Louis, the suburbs were not included unlike calculations for some other major cities. Therefore, Politifact.com gives a “mostly true” rating to St. Louis crime statistics.  Does that mean you need to avoid the city of St. Louis? Certainly not.

St. Louis has such a wealth of things to see and do! If you’re getting “spring fever”,  you just need a little safety guidance to enjoy the area.

According to Trip Advisor and Smarter Travel’s websites, exercise greater caution in the north and east parts of St. Louis. Violent crime is higher in these areas.

Many of the city’s tourist attractions are NOT located in these areas. If you’re heading out to enjoy a major sporting event, you’ll find the 3 major stadiums in the safe Central Business District.

Looking for a great music or performing arts event?  Grand Center is the hub for the performing arts, also known to be a safe district.

Use common sense. Make a safety check list for your young people venturing out on their own.

  • Lock your valuables out of sight inside your car.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash.
  • Don’t walk alone at night.
  • Park in a well-lit, Preferred Downtown Parking Facility
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.

Limit cell phone distraction while you are on foot in the city.

According to  30 year law enforcement veteran Steve Kardian, it only takes seven seconds for a criminal to choose you as a target.  How long does it take for you to glance down at your cell phone?

In his 2017 book The New Superpower for Women, Kardian outlines concrete ways or tips to avoid becoming a target of violent crime.  Surprisingly, a confident walk and stride helps to deter a would-be assailant. If you shuffle down the street while hunched over your phone, you become a prime target.

Kardian also suggests the “casual glance” or a split-second glance as you’re out and about.

The casual glance around helps you to stay aware of your changing surroundings. A split-second glance also lets a troublemaker know that you are aware of him. What criminal wants to get caught?  As a result, a victim of choice is at least temporarily distracted or unaware of their surroundings. Busy mom alert!

Stay cool in crowded conditions and keep your eyes open for your exit route. ( Don’t want to be accused of violent crime? Keep your own cool at your child’s sporting events.)

Pop concert? Large outdoor event? Check out your potential exit routes.

If you’re the aggressive, elbow-shoving  type, take a chill-pill before entering the crowds. Take note of the Anheuser-Busch heir Billy Busch.  He was recently in the news unfortunately being charged with fourth degree assault due to losing his cool at his son’s basketball practice!

Protect yourself and those you love. If you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the law and  will defend your rights, call attorney Nathan A. Steimel – (636)244-3737 for free initial consultation today.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

 

 

Semi-truck accident victim? Find help here!

Cleaning up after a semi-truck accident is not fun. Big rig — big destruction!

Big gratitude, also,  goes to the first responders who see the mangled messes and provide life-saving care. Firefighters, EMS crews,  police officers, and ER medical staff, our hats are off to you. Not all of us can stomach this line of work.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) regularly analyzes large truck accident data from the US Department of Transportation.  Here’s what’s surprising! Although our technology has improved, the death rates from semi-truck accidents do not show a huge improvement over the past 40 years!

The past ten years are slightly better than 1975’s data. (Though anything’s better than the statistics for 1979.)

The IIHS states that “about 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in a crash involving a large truck.”

Unfortunately, the fatalities are usually the occupants of the passenger vehicle. Weight is a major reason. Semi-trucks typically carry loads up to 80,000 pounds.

The sheer size and weight of a loaded tractor-trailer means braking takes 20 to 30% longer than a passenger vehicle.  Bad weather? Slippery pavement? Busy highways?  All of these factors drive those semi-truck accident rates higher.

Does anyone here feel that it is safe to drive 11 hours at one stretch? Did you know the federal hours-of service regulations allow drivers of large trucks to do this? Maybe it is time for a change!

Sadly, sleep-deprived driving is not uncommon. Just like folks push the speed limit, tractor-trailer drivers push  and stretch the limits of their driving hours.

As a result, fatality rates soar. Fatalities are not the only damage from a tractor-trailer crash. Multiple injuries, many of  them serious, are also common with semi-truck accidents.

Also, the devastation continues long after a semi-truck accident occurs. A December 2017 article in the St. Louis news reports a terrible recent accident. The semi-truck driver was momentarily distracted by reaching for a cup of tea and plowed into a car. This crash caused a chain reaction injuring ten people. Three of these injuries were serious!

Think of the ripple effect of even one tractor trailer crash. Families, friends, and employers/employees scramble to help the injured. As a result, plans are put on hold.

Everything starts revolving around doctor’s visits, therapy, and rehab. Recovery is often long, slow, and discouraging.

Because of this, financial stress piles up. Money worries and pain are a toxic combination. Since an accident victim may be unable to work, finding a way to pay those bills is an overwhelming challenge.

Survivors of semi-truck accident may never have a normal life again. Severe neck and spine injuries often result from these accidents. Can you imagine the life-long impact?

To be fair, not every semi-truck accident is the truck driver’s fault. It’s just that often multiple cars are involved.

In January 2018, FOX2 Now reports that a car cut off a semi-truck during the busy morning commute on I-64 east near St. Louis. The truck driver simply couldn’t stop in time. Multiple cars, a fatality, and multiple injuries — it’s a story no one ever wants to face personally.

If you are a St. Louis area resident and a victim of a semi-truck accident, you need expert, aggressive legal help. You need  an experienced semi-truck accident attorney!

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will evaluate your case at no charge.  Even better news — most semi-truck accident victims will pay no legal expenses out of pocket. Your lawyer will be compensated only if the case settles in your favor.  CALL 636-244-3736 for help today!

 

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

What you need if you (or your daughter) are pregnant, addicted, and facing drug possession charges

help for an addicted pregnant mother

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare — you discover your daughter is addicted to opioids, pregnant with your grandchild, and facing drug possession charges!

In a recent 2017 study compiled by the Missouri Foundation for Health, in the past ten years, the number of babies born addicted to narcotics in Missouri has increased by an astounding 538%! This nightmare is a genuine reality for many Missouri grandmothers.

Add a mandatory minimum sentence to this scenario. Even a compassionate, reasonable judge will have no choice in the matter. A mandatory minimum sentence is just that — mandatory!  Judges are not allowed to rewrite the law.

Drug possession charges are no laughing matter in Missouri.

According to FindLaw.com,  cocaine possession charges start with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail.  That’s a Class C felony on a person’s record.

One year may seem like a small amount of time, but for a pregnant momma, that’s a hugely important year. Your pregnant daughter may end up in jail and even give birth while incarcerated. That’s enough to make you cry!

Prenatal care is sure to be less than “five-star” under these circumstances. Diet, exercise, and good environment help an unborn baby’s healthy development. The stress of the prison environment  is bad enough for mother and baby. Think about the roomies! How about frozen TV dinners every night?

If an expectant mother is addicted to opioids, she will need access to withdrawal meds such as Suboxone to wean herself and the baby off of narcotics. Getting access to these drugs can be challenging enough for an addicted expectant momma outside of prison.

A recent news story in The Riverfront Times reminds us of the grim facts. Pregnant, addicted women often receive bottom-of-the-barrel treatment by society and even from those who should be their most trusted ally — their OB-GYN.  Shame and stigma follow these expectant mothers everywhere!

It’s easy to understand this attitude, though. Addiction is so harmful to the unborn child. C’mon! Get your act together, right? Throwing stones only injures the innocent in this scenario.

Encouragement and compassionate, nurturing care are important for every expectant mother — for the sake of both mother and baby.  Mandatory minimum sentencing punishes an unborn citizen in this respect. It’s the legal setting for a modern-day Les Miserable.

Addiction and drug possession charges carry long-lasting consequences. Besides the social stigma, there’s the criminal record. Imagine spending a year in jail, then attempting to get hired or to rent a decent apartment.

Meanwhile, what do you do if you or a loved one are currently facing drug possession charges, pregnant or not? You need prompt access to both medical and legal help.

Hope and medical help for pregnant addicts is now available in the St. Louis area through the efforts of an amazing woman and a growing team — Dr. Jaye Shyken of the Women and Infant Substance Help Center (also known as the WISH Center).  It’s a branch of St. Mary’s Hospital.

Concrete personalized action plan. Proven ways and methods to break addiction. Accountability. Dignity.  One can only hope this one-of-a kind program at the WISH center will take off like wildfire around our nation. The epidemic of addicted mommas and babies is no longer an issue we can ignore.

Is there any legal hope or help, despite mandatory minimum sentencing?

Yes and YES!  You definitely don’t want to end up with the maximum possible sentence. Your very first step is to reach out for expert legal help.

You need an aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyer. It pays to explore and know your options — even possible probation for a first-time offender. Attorney Steimel of the greater St. Louis area knows Missouri drug possession laws. He will fight for your best future in court. Call 636-244-3737 today. Don’t face criminal charges without timely expert legal help!

 

Proper car inspections and car maintenance — PREVENT a felony charge

Licensed mechanic facing a felony charge? Yes, it happens.

In 2015, the Vermont Attorney General charged a licensed mechanic with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Unfortunately, a customer was killed in a 2014 auto accident partly due to brake failure. The guilty mechanic passed this vehicle through inspection just a few months prior.  After the accident, investigators discovered badly rusted brake lines as well as a badly rusted vehicle frame.

https://vtdigger.org/2015/08/15/mechanic-charged-with-manslaughter-for-approving-inspection-of-vehicle/

Sadly, the mechanic’s possible motive was to save an elderly couple in their 80’s some money. He warned them on a prior visit about the rusted brake lines, but the husband refused the repair. On a subsequent visit, he passed their vehicle through inspection.

Vehicle inspection laws in Vermont  changed in 2013.  Vermont car inspectors now MUST fail cars with rusted brake lines. Fellow Vermont mechanics say the judge used this case as a harsh example to warn them.

Now this mechanic is paying a heavy price. Loss of career. Ruined reputation in town. A felony on his record. Jail time. Just imagine if this happened to you in your early 30’s!

Other mechanics are rightly alarmed.  Brake lines rust quickly in Vermont.  Overzealous mechanics are often accused of price-gouging.  How often do you need your brake lines repaired, after all?

You may surprised, as I was.

Did you know that rusted brake lines are a common problem even if your car is only five years old?

Harsh winter weather attacks your brake lines. Washing the undercarriage of your car helps slow down the deterioration.  Obviously, the brake lines need regular inspection by a trained mechanic.

According to RepairPal (www.repairpal.com), you can expect to pay between $144 to $193 per brake line replacement. Dealers command the highest brake repair fees. If one brake line is going bad, it is likely the other three lines will fail shortly thereafter.

Forking out $600 or more dollars IS a small fortune if you are on a fixed income.  However,  facing a felony charge is far costlier.

On the flip side of the coin, if you fail to maintain your own car, you also could face a felony charge.

What if you accidentally kill someone because your brakes failed? Did you fail to have your brake pads, rotors, and lines repaired or maintained in a timely manner?

The courts in Missouri could potentially charge you with second degree involuntary manslaughter.  Why? When you don’t keep up with safety repairs on your vehicle, you pose a dangerous risk to other drivers.  In the eyes of the law, this is considered criminal negligence, according to NOLO.  Truthfully, we all let things slip at times when our lives are overwhelmingly busy.

Sometimes, though, a deadly auto accident due to brake failure occurs because of a defective auto part.

Have you been in an auto accident due to brake failure? Maybe you knew your brakes were due for maintenance soon, but should have lasted longer than they did.  Your criminal defense lawyer will leave “no stone unturned” to discover the truth on your behalf.

NO one should face criminal charges alone. You need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you get a fair trial and preserve your rights.

http://steimel-law.com/criminal-defense.html

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC offers a free initial consultation!   Call 636-244-3737 today.

 

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

 

What if you commit accidental shoplifting in Missouri?

Not too long ago I “overheard” a conversation on social media about an accidental shoplifting.

The story ran something like this: a busy momma with little ones had a cart overflowing with groceries and other items at a large retailer. She distractedly went through the checkout.

Unfortunately she started to leave this store with an unpaid item on the rack beneath her cart.  Security stopped her and checked her receipt. She profusely apologized and offered to pay for the item. Security still called the store manager who made her wait for the police.

She was treated like a criminal in front of her children for an honest mistake.

Her very irate husband published a letter to this retailer on social media.  I can’t fact check any of their story.  However, it’s a personal phobia of mine.  I often check receipts after shopping to make sure items were charged.

Accidental shoplifting is an easy crime to commit!

What about you?

Ever take a call on your cell while the cashier is ringing up your items? Or have your child asking you a whole list of questions during the process?  Rush hour (4-6pm) at the grocery store and long lines equal stress, too.

More than ever, we function on “overload” setting in daily life. Sometimes this results in an accidental felony!

Retailers undeniably face a genuine epidemic of shoplifting. According to a Time.com article, stores lost 48.9 billion dollars of inventory in 2016!

Of this amount, almost 37% of this loss was due to customer shoplifting.  Employee theft accounted for 30% of the lost inventory.  However, accidental shoplifting cannot be ruled out!

http://time.com/money/4829684/shoplifting-fraud-retail-survey/

If you shop at Walmart, be especially careful to avoid accidental shoplifting. They’ve adopted their own interesting twist in dealing with shoplifting in Joplin, Missouri.

If you accidentally walk out (never mind that the cashier should also be held partially responsible) with an unpaid package of water bottles under your cart, this could cost you $400 plus time.

Meet Walmart’s “Restorative Justice Program”!

According to The Joplin Globe, this program is designed to cut down on frequent calls to the police.

http://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/wal-mart-takes-its-own-approach-to-shoplifting/article_454c256b-2268-5514-9473-2712d1cd26c8.html

However, it only applies to those with a clean record. Welcome, accidental shoplifter!

You have the choice of paying $400 and completing an online course.  Said course surely restores your brain cells from accidental shoplifting mode!

Fail to complete the course?  Fail to pay in full? Walmart reports you to the police!

Don’t care for this option?

Walmart calls the police and files a report.  You will need to show up in court.

In Missouri, shoplifting items under a $500 value is considered a Class A Misdemeanor —  punishable by possible jail time and fines.

Unfortunately, unless you fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed  in court, you will end up with a misdemeanor on your record.

True, you may qualify to get your record expunged.  Expungement for a misdemeanor now only requires a three year wait from the completion of your sentence, parole, or probation.  http://steimel-law.com/blog/get-your-legal-record-expunged/

Starting 2018 with any shoplifting charges? A misdemeanor or especially a felony charge (items over $500)  radically changes your life! You need experienced, aggressive legal help TODAY.

At the Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC, you can pursue your best options for your future!  Call 636-244-3737 to get your free initial consultation today.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Come clean in 2018 — get your legal record expunged

Celebrate an expunged criminal record in 2018

Do you have a few wild oats that always come back to haunt you when you fill out a new job application or apply to rent an apartment? Maybe a DWI or perhaps a MIP (minor in possession) charge? Due to  recent changes in Missouri law, you may now qualify to have your criminal charges expunged from your record.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve never heard of the term “expunge” before.  A quick peek at dictionary.com gives us a brief definition. “to strike or blot out: erase; obliterate”. 

What if this happened to your criminal record? Wouldn’t it feel good to start 2018 with a clean slate?

Imagine not having to tell a potential employer of your one and only DWI ! That may just make life a whole lot easier for you.

You could answer “no” to committing a felony or misdemeanors in many situations as long as you are a one-time offender. Your court and criminal records would be sealed. No snoops allowed.

( Applying for a job in law enforcement or banking, for example? You will still have to disclose your record to your potential employer.)

The good news is that the state of Missouri has recently greatly expanded the list of felonies and misdemeanors they will expunge.

The Columbia Tribune reports that about 1,900 different felonies or misdemeanors will now be eligible to be expunged.

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20171130/law-making-it-easier-to-expunge-criminal-records-in-missouri-takes-effect-jan-1

While not everyone with a misdemeanor on their record will qualify to have their criminal record expunged, many more folks than were allowed before can apply and start the process in 2018.

Only one felony in a lifetime or two misdemeanors or ordinance violations can be expunged. 

You may need to be patient, especially for alcohol-related offenses.

If you have a DWI on your record, you will have to keep your record squeaky clean for ten years before getting it expunged in court.

To get a misdemeanor expunged, the wait is three years from the date of completion of your sentence, parole, or probation.  This is FAR better than the former ten year wait to get a misdemeanor off of your record.

Other felonies will normally require a seven year wait for your clean slate.

What are some types of felonies or misdemeanors NOT eligible to be expunged?

  • Violent crimes
  • Repeat offenders (more than one DWI, for example)
  • Class A felonies
  • Sex offenses
  • Traffic misdemeanors while driving a commercial vehicle

For someone who made a foolish mistake and learned from it,  having your criminal record expunged is a wonderful second chance for a better life.

But you do have to take action. You have to fill out paperwork.  You have to show up in court. Most importantly, you do need to avoid any repeat offenses.

You don’t want to mess up this second chance.

You need the legal advice and step-by-step help of an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney!

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will give you a free evaluation of your case.  http://steimel-law.com/criminal-defense.html

You don’t have to face your day in court alone.  Call 636-244-3737 today to get a great start to 2018!

 

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

Medicated driving and sleep deprivation –a holiday recipe for a car crash or traffic ticket

Drinking and medicated driving
Over-the-counter meds and drinks — don’t mix!

Recently a woman caused a head-on collision  by turning and driving the wrong way on a major roadway through the center of town at 9:30 pm.

The news reported that drugs and alcohol were definite factors in this crazy accident.  What else could have caused such a preventable car crash?

The comment section went crazy over this driver’s irresponsibility.  Public anger and backlash are understandable, especially if you think of your loved one’s life  being endangered.

One person’s compassionate response stood out above the rest…. Hey, it’s cold and flu season. This lady could have just taken some Nyquil and without thinking had a drink at a holiday party. It could be a case of medicated driving. We don’t know the details…

Can a simple dose of Nyquil (or other similar cold and flu medications) actually contribute to  irrational thinking and a serious car accident?

Well, yes!  Especially if combined with illness, an alcoholic drink,  lack of sleep, and an over-the-counter cold and flu med can be powerful enough to really fog up your mind.

According to everydayhealth.com, “This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.” https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/nyquil-cold-and-flu-alcohol-free

Sometimes we forget the facts about the effects of just this one med on the human body. It’s not the medication’s fault.

Add in other risk factors, most especially alcohol and sleep-deprivation.  Most of us are highly aware of the risk of taking pain medications with an alcoholic drink.  If we’re smart, we also warn our teens about this risk as they grow older.

However, when you’re not feeling well, but the party’s going to go on without you, you may not give that over-the-counter cough and cold medication a second thought.

Without thinking, you may accidentally dose yourself with the night-time version instead of the non-drowsy formula.

We’re human.  Accidents happen. So does accidental medicated driving.

John Hopkins, Harvard, and WebMD also all cite sleep-deprivation as a serious risk factor in car accidents. 

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/health-risks/the-effects-of-sleep-deprivation

Safe to say — the experts agree on this topic.  The sad truth is, you or a loved one  may not even realize that you fall into this category of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep deprivation can also affect your judgment so that you don’t notice its effects.” (see Hopkins link above).

It’s a road risk factor that plagues all ages. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounted for 803 traffic fatalities in 2016.  There were no specific statistic for deaths caused by over-the-counter medicated driving.

We all tend to underestimate our level of tired.

However, younger drivers are more inclined to think of themselves as invincible. If you are under the age of 25, you are at the greatest risk for drowsy driving accidents, according to WebMD.

With lots of holiday travels for the New Year ahead  of us this week, and cold and flu season in full swing, please think twice before you medicate and drive. One at-fault car accident can change your life forever!

Already facing a ticket or charges due to medicated or drowsy driving? You need the aggressive, compassionate help of an experienced traffic lawyer in the greater St. Louis area. The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC  will provide a free initial consultation. http://steimel-law.com/dwi.html

Your traffic attorney can help you reduce points on your license and record to make your 2018 easier and brighter!  Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC to get help today. 636-244-3737