Monday, July 13, 2015

How to File a Restraining Order

Restraining orders help protect victims of domestic violence and other crimes from further harm. Filing a restraining order doesn't require a lawyer or a police report. A victim will, however, need to present evidence that they are in risk of bodily harm, such as photos of injuries or copies of threatening texts or emails.

A victim can request restraining order paperwork from their local courthouse. Temporary restraining orders are often provided immediately, and a court date for a hearing is scheduled within 48 hours.

The accused or threatening party must be served with the temporary restraining order and provided notice of the next court date. Service of a restraining order is often performed by the local police or a county sheriff. A Proof of Service form documenting that the papers were served will be filed with court.

On the day of the hearing, a copy of the Proof of Service form, witnesses, and any evidence must be brought to the courtroom. Witnesses and evidence aren’t necessary but may help win a case. Both parties will have the opportunity to speak to the judge, who usually makes a decision immediately.

If the person being restrained doesn't appear in court, the restraining order papers must be served on the accused or threatening party after the hearing. Most restraining orders provide protection for up to five years.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Citizen Rights When Pulled Over

Stress and anxiety often take over when lights flash and sirens blare. If citizens remain calm, they can remember their rights to protect themselves. Police must stay within legal limits as they process citizens in this situation. An experienced lawyer can offer guidance and assistance.

- Police must have reasonable suspicion to stop and question. Reasonable suspicious is defined as clear articulable facts that the individual has, is about to, or just committed a crime. Police may also stop a vehicle for civil motor infractions such as speeding or erratic driving. These types of stops can provide the Officer the probable cause they need to search and arrest an individual. Often probable cause is provided to the police by the individual during the questioning phase of a legitimate traffic stop. 

- Police may request that a driver exit a car. It is best to cooperate with requests by the Officer to produce identification but not to engage in detailed conversation. It is important to understand that the Officer is trained to use this time to gather information to use against the individual if they decide to make an arrest.  If the Officer decides to make an arrest to you must comply with them even if you feel it is unjustified. Failure to comply can lead to additional charges that may be used to prosecute the person even if the original reason to arrest is determined to be unjustified. 

- Drivers can refuse a sobriety test and Breathalyzer. These are examples of information the Officer is gathering in their determination whether to make arrest. Much like statements, you have a right not to actively provide this information to the Officer.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts through statutes and regulation has promulgated consequences imposed by the Registry of Motor Vehicles for your failure to take a Breathalyzer test. These consequences depend on the individual’s past. It is important to understand that they are not criminally imposed sanctions but can often result in the loss of license for a considerable period of time.  Many states have similar automatic license suspensions when drivers refuse testing.

- A police search of a vehicle may occur if the Officer has determined that probable cause exits that individual has, is about to, or just committed a crime. This is a higher standard then necessary to stop and question an individual. You should never question the Officer’s determination or interfere with the Officer’s search of the vehicle. If the Officer has violated your constitutional rights the Salem MA criminal defense lawyers at Maclachlan & Allen, LLP will file the appropriate motions to suppress the illegally obtained evidence. 

People with questions can learn about citizen rights from a trusted lawyer. Salem MA criminal defense lawyers at Maclachlan & Allen, LLP is experienced with working with anyone charged with a crime. They will work to preserve your rights and defend you against aggressive prosecution. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Top 10 Reasons People Get Divorced

Why do couples end up speaking with a divorce attorney? Salem, MA law firm MacLachlan & Allen LLP offers the top 10 reasons that lead couples to divorce:

1. Trust issues: All relationships are built on trust, and marriage is no exception.

2. Finances: Most couples argue over money, but it is how they handle these disputes that may test their union.

3. Infidelity: Few wounds cut as deep or leave such lasting scars.

4. Lack of communication: When spouses will not or cannot talk to each other, they often end up talking to a divorce attorney.

5. Jealousy: Whether of the financial or romantic variety, the green-eyed monster has ruined many a marriage.

6. Abuse: Illegal and unacceptable by any standard, physical and verbal abuse are grounds for immediate divorce.

7. Addiction issues: An increasingly common reason to call a divorce attorney, substance abuse can wreak havoc on a relationship and a family.

8. Growing apart: Whether they fall out of love or simply change, some couples split up because they no longer connect like they once did.

9. Parenting: Many couples argue about how to raise their kids, but when disagreements turn nasty, divorce papers could be forthcoming.

10. Married too soon: It might work in the movies, but when couples rush in, they often rush out!

The decision to pursue a divorce is one that should not be taken lightly. We always encourage our clients to try to resolve their issues first and to pursue therapy where appropriate before making the final decision to divorce.  When those efforts just cant resolve the issues, Salem, MA divorce attorneys, MacLachlan & Allen, LLP, are here to help.  We have the knowledge, experience and resources to take you through this difficult time. We will aggressively work to protect your rights, whether that includes custody and visitation issues, child and spousal support, or the fair division of marital assets. If youre looking to speak with a divorce attorney, Salem, MA-based MacLachlan & Allen LLP is here to help. We have the compassionate and professional lawyers you can trust. Call us now at 978-745-9569 for a free initial consultation!

Friday, January 16, 2015

5 Things You Should Have in Order When Talking to a Divorce Lawyer

Prior to filing for a divorce, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure that the process goes smoothly. Divorce can be a challenging and difficult time for you and your family, but it’s important for you to begin undertaking the necessary steps to begin the divorce process.

During this time, it’s imperative that you enlist the aid of an experienced and competent divorce attorney. Salem, MA residents will need to find a lawyer whose experience matches their specific situation. For example, there are legal representatives who have expertise in custody battles, and others who specialize in complex financial analyses. Once you have decided on a legal representative, there are a few steps you should take to prepare for your first meeting.


Be sure that you know all the assets that you intend to take into possession during the separation period. This is especially true of assets that you need for daily living, such as vehicles and items of furniture. Take inventory in your home and create a list of your household furnishings. You need to make a list of items to be liquidated between you and your spouse, which should include items such as precious jewelry, expensive artwork, cash, and collectibles.

Appraisals and Insurance:

You should have your valuable items appraised by a professional so there is no dispute over their cost. Then, bring a copy of the appraisal along with you to the appointment with your divorce attorney. Salem, MA clients should also remember to bring along records of any items covered by insurance.

Important Documentation:

Although you should seek further advice from a divorce attorney, Salem, MA residents should compile a full list of real property that includes address, date of purchase, and any mortgage or lien information on the property with assessed or estimated values. This information is what your divorce attorney will need to properly assess the overall value of the estate for division.

When you schedule your initial consultation with a lawyer, be sure to bring copies of any other important documents to the meeting. This includes copies of your last several years of personal Federal Income Tax returns; recent copies of statements from any credit card or other debts that you have; copies of your recent pay stubs if you are employed; and recent copies of statements for any financial accounts you possess such as a pension, 401(K), brokerage account, etc. Even though the rules of disclosures for a divorce are strict, some spouses will be inclined to hide essential documents like bank accounts or even prenuptial agreements. You can ensure that your important documentation is seen by making those copies prior to filing and providing them to your attorney right away.

When it comes to a first meeting with a divorce attorney, Salem, MA residents should remember to take these crucial steps to prepare. From there, your lawyer will work with your documents to ensure confidentiality and to work with your best interests in mind.