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Vancouver Washington Legal Blog

Driver accused of DUI also faces vehicular homicide charge

Most people in Vancouver associate drunk driving with minor traffic violations, such as weaving, failing to signal a turn or missing a stop sign. The worst outcome is being pulled over by a police officer and possible suspension of a driver's license. The reality of drunk driving unfortunately can be far more consequential, as a woman recently arrested in Clark County has learned.

According to witnesses, a man was attempting to walk across Northeast 28th Street by dodging between moving cars. One of the cars struck the man, and knocked him to the pavement. Vancouver police filed an affidavit of probable cause that alleged that they found a car nearby with front end damage and a broken windshield.

What is a reaffirmation agreement in bankruptcy?

People in Vancouver who are contemplating bankruptcy are often torn between their desire to cancel their debts and to keep certain assets that may have created one of the debts -- the family car, for example. In a Chapter 7 proceeding, the debtor must turn over all assets to the trustee so that the assets can be sold and the cash from the sale used to pay creditors. Thus, the family car may be forfeited in return for canceling the loan that facilitated its purchase. The bankruptcy code contains one mechanism that may help resolve this dilemma -- a reaffirmation agreement.

A reaffirmation agreement is a contract between the debtor and a creditor in which the debtor agrees to continue to make payments on the loan in return for the creditor's agreement to forego repossession of the asset that was purchased with the loan proceeds. The debtor benefits from such an agreement by retaining possession of the asset. The creditor benefits because the debt will not be discharged. Repayment of the debt will be monitored by the court until it has been repaid according to the terms of the reaffirmation agreement. The agreement must be signed by both parties and filed with the court. Both parties must make disclosures concerning the amount that will be repaid, interest that must be paid, the debtor's income and other financial information.

Drunk driver arrested for allegedly ignoring road closure signs

A complicated Washington traffic accident on an interstate highway can lead to the closure of several lanes or, on occasion, the entire highway in one direction. Such closures undoubtedly create a temptation to drive around the barriers or ignore police officers who are directing traffic. As a drunk driver demonstrated in a recent traffic accident near Evergreen in the Spokane Valley, such temptation should be resisted.

The event began on November 17 on I-90 when an eastbound pickup truck slammed into a passenger car. The impact caused the pickup truck to collide with a semi-trailer truck. That impact, in turn, caused the semi to spin out of control and roll onto its side. The driver of the pickup ran from the scene, but was apprehended by police in a nearby shopping mall. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for his injuries. The semi driver and a passenger in the sedan were treated for injuries at the scene and released. The driver of the pickup was charged with felony DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Police closed all eastbound lanes on I-90 for several hours.

What types of child custody are available in Washington?

As two parents in Washington work to end their marriage, they will be asked to create a parenting plan. That plan will be the guide by which the individuals will co-parent their shared children and the agreement that binds them to provide specific support and care. Traditional notions of child custody are encompassed into the parenting plan.

For example, parents must establish where their children will live and when they will transition between the homes of the parents. This is often referred to as "physical custody" and it can be shared between two parents. If a parent does not retain the right to have their kids live with them, then they may be able to have scheduled time with their children under the parenting plan, which can be referred to as "visitation."

Is a trust the right step to complete your estate plan?

Washington readers understand the importance of estate planning, but many people fail to realize the other tools they may need in addition to a will. A strong and carefully drafted will is the foundation of any estate plan, but you may need more than that in order to have full protection and control over your assets. Depending on your individual situation, you may benefit from adding a trust to your plan. 

If you are unsure of whether a trust could truly be beneficial for you, it may be worthwhile to learn about the various types of trusts and their purposes. It is possible that a specific trust will allow you to accomplish a specific goal you have for your assets after your death. As with all important estate planning decisions, it is beneficial to seek help before moving forward.

What are QDROs and how do they work?

Most divorcing couples in the state of Washington do not have significant assets apart from their house, joint savings and retirement accounts and pension plans. When a couple gets divorced, the court will divide these assets between the two spouses. Dividing retirement and pension plans can be complicated, and a legal device known as a "Qualified Domestic Relations Order" (QDRO) has been created to ease the division process.

Because retirement and pension plans are separate legal entities and are not usually made parties to the divorce proceedings, they are not under the jurisdiction of the court. In addition, each plan has a contract with the beneficiary that specifies how the plan's balance will be distributed. Many divorce settlements change the distribution formula and therefore, change the terms of the plan. The United States Department of Labor has jurisdiction over retirement plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and it created QDROs to solve this problem.

Drunk driver may face vehicular homicide charges

Drunk driving is a serious crime in the state of Washington, even if no one is injured. If a person who is driving while intoxicated causes an accident in which one or more individuals suffer serious bodily injury or death, the potential penalties can be severe. The driver in a recent accident south of Spokane may face vehicular homicide charges after he allegedly caused an accident that killed one person and injured another.

The alleged drunk driver was heading north on Highway 2 when he crossed the centerline. His pickup truck collided with a southbound Kia sedan that was driven by a woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and her male passenger was seriously injured. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, but his medical condition has not been disclosed.

What is an executory contract in bankruptcy?

As many businessmen in Vancouver have learned, dealing with a company on the verge of bankruptcy can be difficult. Payments for goods and services are often late or entirely non-existent, and the threat of a bankruptcy filing and the imposition of the automatic stay are constant threats. These risks are well known, but a lesser known risk can cause even more financial chaos -- the rejection by the trustee of an "executory contract."

The bankruptcy code gives both a trustee and a debtor-in-possession the power to accept or reject any executory contract or unexpired lease. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy code does not define the term "executory contract." Many courts have struggled with a definition, but no single definition has been adopted.

Understanding accident reconstruction

Most automobile accidents in the Vancouver area happen in a few seconds. Persons who may be in one of the vehicles do not have enough time to form accurate memories of every facet of the accident. Even witnesses may not be able to recall the event with precision. In such cases, the services of an accident reconstruction engineer may be needed to determine which parties were at fault.

Accident reconstruction specialists are usually trained engineers, but many gain their expertise by working on actual cases. The reconstruction of an accident relies on thorough evidence collection at the scene and precise scientific analysis of that evidence. Evidence from the scene can include photographs, measurements of tire tracks, pieces of the vehicles that were involve and statement of eye witnesses. Important information is often gleaned from an inspection of the vehicles that were involved.

What factors do Washington courts use in setting child support?

When a couple with minor children seek a divorce in Washington state, one of their earliest questions concerns child support. Who will pay? How much? How frequently? The specific answers depend upon the financial circumstances of the divorcing couple.

One obvious question may be whether the couple can decide between themselves not to pay child support. Unfortunately for such couples, Washington law requires the court to issue an order providing for child support as part of a divorce, legal separation or parentage action. Thus, the court must order one of the parents to make payments of child support to the other parent. Even if the couple was not married before the child was born, the court must order one of the parents to pay child support.

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