How to avoid common pitfalls that cause construction accidents

Does your work take you down in the trenches? Did you know that trench collapses are among the top hazards for serious construction accidents?

According to this 2017 OSHA news release, trench cave-ins  and excavation operations caused more than 20 deaths and 12 injuries in 2016. A St. Louis area plumbing company was recently cited in more than one incident of unprotected trench construction at construction sites.

Sadly the second incident came on the heels of their 33 year-old employee’s death due to a trench cave-in construction accident.  What a tragic waste of a life!

In the citations, OSHA noted that the employees of the plumbing company were not properly trained in the hazards of trench excavation. A 12 foot trench was not properly protected with a support system. Even more basic, no ladder was supplied for the employees to quickly exit the trench in case of emergency.

It’s hard to understand this lack of safety equipment and basic safety knowledge.

Small businesses work so hard to build their clientele. Hiring good employees is another huge challenge. Why would you not protect them on the job?

We’re all going to have bad days! However, safety systems, training, and equipment help us all have fewer bad days. Construction accidents equal a very bad day.

With spring just around the corner,  the construction industry is going to be picking up speed and adding projects. As a worker, what can you do to protect yourself from a construction accident?

  • If you’re a construction worker, you can research your own job. Take a little initiative. What’s the proper safety equipment you need? Ask your employer. If they downplay this question, it’s a sign. No fortune cookie needed. Keep your eyes open for a new job!
  • Does a procedure look unsafe? Question it! It’s okay to stand up for yourself and the safety of those around you.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. This may mean cranking down the music, and responding to calls or texts only on a break.
  • Don’t let fellow workers distract you!  Any parent knows that the worst  accidents happen in a moment of brief distraction. Same rule applies on the job.
  • Be careful with prescription medications on the job.  You need to make sure you are okay to operate heavy equipment on your current medication.
  • Arrive at work sober. This may seem like a given, but bringing “Jim Bean”, “Jack Daniels” or any of his cousins to work increases your risk of construction accidents.
  • Make sure your safety equipment is working properly. ( Like checking your own latch on an amusement park ride.) If you see other workers tossing aside the safety equipment, be the safety advocate.  Someone’s mother will thank you!

Maybe you’ve already been injured in a construction accident. The stress is real! Pain, time off work, mounting bills — just to name a few issues.

 Need help getting your workers’ compensation pay? You must prove that your injuries are due to an accident on the job, no matter who was at fault. Expert workers’ compensation lawyers from The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC are available to fight your legal battles for you. Attorney Steimel is licensed to represent cases in both Missouri and Illinois.

Call 636-244-3737 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

 

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.

 

Aggressive drivers and your auto accident

Aggressive driver?

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation statistics, aggressive drivers top the list for causing serious injuries and fatalities in the state. That means aggressive drivers caused 400 more deaths between 2013 and 2015 than drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Anyone here ever had to suddenly change lanes or pull off to the shoulder to avoid being hit by a “NASCAR” driver? Even if you managed to avoid a car accident, you still experience the trauma. Shortness of breath. Heart pounding. Hands shaking!

You’re not alone. MoDOT’s top category for serious car accident injuries is sadly named “run-off-road” crashes.  This type of accident caused almost 6,000 serious injuries and over 1,000 fatalities from 2013 to 2015.

The problem with a “run-off-road” crash is that many times the aggressive driver is nowhere to be found.

It’s terrible to witness a bad car accident, and not be able to identify the culprit.  This happened to me once.  Out of the corner of my eye in my rear view mirror, I saw an 18 wheeler going at least 60mph suddenly change lanes in front of an SUV. I was stopped in the far left turn lane. The SUV swerved to avoid the truck .  It flipped across the intersection in front of me onto the opposite side of the highway. Thankfully the opposing traffic was stopped at a red light.

The SUV was totaled. The 18 wheeler was long gone. Perhaps the truck driver never even knew he caused a terrible accident in his haste and carelessness. I could only say it was a white truck. Not much evidence to go on, for sure! I could only hope the driver didn’t sustain serious long-term injuries.

If you’ve been in a serious car accident caused by an aggressive driver, please read on!  Don’t just let your insurance company settle for you.

Even the Department of Motor Vehicles admits on their website that the auto insurance adjuster is going to offer you a low settlement fee. It’s their job. They have to watch out for the bottom line of the company they work for — even if it is car insurance you paid for.

However, a serious auto accident can cause a multitude of “hidden” costs over the years such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Back, neck, and spine issues
  • Eventual surgery
  • Lost hours of work
  • Worry and emotional stress due to pain and financial losses

Worse than a low settlement fee, your insurance company may try to claim your car accident was partially your fault.

If you’ve been the victim of a “run-off-road crash”, this scenario is even more likely.  Let’s hope you have a good, solid witness to your car crash. Aggressive drivers are often hard to catch!

Did you know that a car accident attorney will often take your personal injury case on a contingency fee basis?

This means the lawyer only gets paid if he wins your case. Then he gets a percentage of the settlement.

You owe it to yourself and your family to get the best possible legal outcome if your auto accident was caused by an aggressive driver.  The Law Offices of Nathan  A. Steimel, LLC  has a top rating as car accident attorneys by AVVO.  Don’t hassle with the insurance company! Get expert legal help instead.

Call 636-244-3737 today for a free initial consultation.

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!

 

Construction boss? How to avoid hypothermia AND a workers’ compensation case

If you’re a great construction boss, you know your men. You do your best to protect them and your company from personal injury and the risk of a workers’ compensation case.

Your radar is on “high alert” if you have  a worker who regularly shows up with that suspicious whiff of alcohol on his breath.   However, you may not be aware that drinking alcohol puts your worker at greater risk for hypothermia.

It’s the slow season for those who work outside — roofers, home improvement contractors, and anyone in the construction industry. So, you take work when you can get it, right?  Working out in the elements is just something you do to make ends meet.  Plus, you need to keep your crew busy so they can feed their families.

Finding skilled reliable help is always a huge challenge for home improvement contractors and the construction industry. It’s easy to ignore that whiff of alcohol, however, when a crew member shows up dependably, works hard, and does good work. Your sharp eyes will always be watching to see if they are able to safely and reliably do their job.

Prolonged exposure to frigid temperatures is a game-changer.

That’s right. According to WebMD, alcohol increases this risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia threatens the safety of your crew and those around them in several ways.  To prevent a  serious accident on the job and  avoid a personal injury or workers’ compensation case due to hypothermia, you need to know the signs.

  • Shivering! This is actually a good thing. While there’s shivering, there’s hope! While we’ve all done our share of shivering due to winter weather, there’s a difference. In the early stages of hypothermia, shivering is uncontrollable. As hypothermia progresses, shivering stops. I experienced this years ago during a surfing lesson in the Pacific Ocean. The thickest wet suit available did not shut out the cold ocean temperatures. My teeth would not stop chattering!  Burying myself in the sun-warmed sand did the trick.  The key is WARM UP immediately!
  • Confusion. If your worker is not making sense, this is an elevated cause for alarm. Hypothermia is a medical emergency. It should not be ignored. It’s time to bring your crew in out of the cold for regular “warm-up” breaks. If you see a confused worker, you need to take swift action. While you wait  with the victim indoors for the ambulance to arrive, remove any wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets, and apply dry heat to the neck and middle portion of the body. Offer warm fluids. (NO alcohol, as that speeds up hypothermia.)
  • Clumsiness and lack of coordination. Cold weather numbs both the extremities and the brain. That roofing nail gun or circular saw becomes a deadly weapon in clumsy hands! Avoid a personal injury case and a workers’ compensation case by checking for hypothermia, offering warm drinks, and frequent breaks to your crew.
  • Shallow breathing, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion — also watch for these signs of hypothermia.

The onset of flu symptoms combined with working in frigid temperatures is an added ingredient for a possible fatality.

It’s a rugged outdoor life as a construction worker. When tough guys try to power through  the weather, making that tough call may save lives and your business.

Injured on the job in Missouri or Illinois? You can find experienced, aggressive legal help today for your workers’ compensation case or personal injury case. Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC at (636)244-3737 for a free initial consultation.

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.

 

 

 

Sports-related injuries on ice are slippery…

Kids and sports-related injuries go hand-in-hand. This time of year the ice-rinks are bustling with skaters large and small. Maybe ice-skating lessons or ice-hockey practice is on your family’s weekly schedule.

Surprisingly, according to this National Safety Council report, out of about 20,000 ice skating injuries in 2014, 30% of those injuries occurred in adults aged 25-64.

I can relate. At age 40, I broke my first bone ever — my left “funny-bone” (not kidding) — taking a normal turn around the ice rink with my daughter.  Wasn’t even trying to be fancy! Suddenly my feet flew out from underneath me.  I hit my head. Feeling sick and dizzy, I half-crawled and limped off the ice.

The ice-rink manager was by my side in a quick minute.  He had to call for a family member to drive me home.  After a trip to an urgent care, my weekly, then monthly visits to an orthopaedic specialist began.

The x-ray technician informed me that neither he nor his wife ever go ice-skating.  He’s seen too many very bad breaks due to falls on the ice. I got off easy.

I received a call from the ice rink for a week — every single day. Next, the rink called me every single week for a month. Just making sure I was okay.

In hind-sight, I realized they were worried about a premises liability claim or a personal injury claim. No worries for them! EVERYONE who ice skates falls sooner or later. My major concern was making it through work every single day and fitting in all my doctor’s visits. Thankfully, my therapy exercises at home paid off — my elbow healed beautifully.

Does a sports-related injury on a public ice rink entitle you to a personal injury claim?

The short answer is not necessarily. It’s complicated.  Only a personal injury attorney can truly help you sort out the facts and help you decide if you have a valid personal injury case.

If you could prove negligent care of equipment or poor ice maintenance, maybe you have a case? Proving this could be quite a challenge!

Why? When you put two thin metal blades on your feet  and purposefully walk out onto slippery ice, you know you are risking a potential slip-and-fall accident. Staying in an upright position on ice requires at least some skills. I thought I was golden because I had learned to ice skate on a bumpy country pond. Wrong!

However, just like police officers are obligated to pay attention and stop aggressive, hazardous drivers —  the owners of sporting facilities need to protect their clients from aggressive behavior, such as human “bulldozers” at their ice rink.

I’ve seen the “ice-patrol” at work removing ice-skating privileges from an out-of-control skater who thinks it’s fun to plow into people repeatedly.

So, if you or a loved one are suffering from sports-related injuries due to obvious negligence, it’s worth your while to call an experienced personal injury attorney.  If you merely lost your balance, probably not.

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will give you a free initial consultation.  Attorney Steimel  is an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in the greater St. Louis area. He offers a thorough knowledge of the local law and your personal rights. 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.

 

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.

Is a slip-and-fall injury keeping you down?

Baby, it’s cold outside!   Businesses and property owners are pulling out the snow shovels and “ice melt” to protect others from slip-and-fall injuries.

Cracked, uneven sidewalks? Inadequate clearing of snow and ice? Combine these elements with THE elements.  You have a recipe for a personal injury disaster and a premises liability claim. 

A personal relation had her day in court and won a ten  year settlement that allowed her to retire.  Never mind that she was  wearing high heels to the office party when she tripped on the uneven pavement.

Even more telling, no one ever asked in court if she had a drink at the party.  What mattered was that she was a charming older lady who suffered a slip-and-fall injury at least partly due to an uneven sidewalk.

What mattered the most was that this lady suffered chronic back and neck pain for the rest of her life due to one slip-and-fall accident!

Slip-and-fall injuries are life-changing and costly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every five falls causes a serious injury. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

Some of these serious injuries include:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • fractured hips
  • broken bones
  • concussion
  • soft tissue injuries to muscles, joints, and ligaments

If you are a senior citizen and experience a slip-and-fall accident, the stakes are even higher.

Once again, the CDC points out that each year 300,000 older folk end up in the hospital for hip fractures.

Recovering from a hip fracture can be a long, tough road. You will probably need to do rehab and physical therapy. If you do not have a family member nearby who has plenty of time to help, you likely will have to live in a rehab facility.

Depending on your financial situation,  such a long-term recovery may end up costing you your independence — your ability to drive or even to live alone.

Imagine being the bread-winner for your family and breaking a bone due to a slip-and-fall injury!

If you are not injured on the job, you will need paid time off to manage the bills while you heal. Workers’ compensation will not help.

The average minimum healing time for a broken bone is 6 to 12 weeks!

If you have NO complications, this time frame is your “best-case” scenario. Unfortunately, you may need to file for unemployment and even temporary disability.

There are also legal restrictions to applying for unemployment.

If your slip- and-fall injury happened due to the negligence of a home or business — say an icy sidewalk or puddle of water — you may be eligible for financial compensation due to:

  • Loss of work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent or temporary disability
  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Rehab bills
  • Physical therapy bills    
  • If you feel you are suffering due to someone’s carelessness, you need the help of an experienced slip-and-fall injury lawyer. Life’s hard. Don’t suffer alone!

http://steimel-law.com/personal-injury.html

Call 636-244-3737 today for a free, initial consultation for residents of Missouri and the Greater St. Louis area. The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will give you a fair evaluation of your personal injury case.

 

 

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