5 Ways to Keep Domestic Violence Out of Your Holidays

While the holidays are often romanticized to be spent with family, gathered around a warm fire, opening gifts and sharing kisses under the mistletoe; the reality looks nothing like a Hallmark movie. The stress of planning get-togethers, buying presents, and the general hustle and bustle of the season can prove to be too much for some people. In fact, according to Durham police, domestic violence calls dramatically increase during the holidays.

Today we’ll discuss five causes of domestic violence and hose to keep it out of your household this Christmas.

domestic violence

1. Emotional Stress

Relationships can be stressful enough on a normal day, but the holidays can be particularly trying. When people are off work and spending more time than usual in close proximity with the “ones they love,” it’s easy for arguments to take hold.

Keep arguments at bay by recognizing when you’re at your breaking point and take time to recharge. Drive the long way home to decompress. Avoid high traffic areas. Go to the gym. And, if you feel stressed, angry, or frustrated, leave the situation and go outside before doing something you’ll regret later. It is nearly impossible to feel compassion and rage at the same time, so do yourself (and your partner) a favor and walk away.  Once the anger subsides, you can return inside to try and express your feelings in a calm, non-confrontational way.

2. Financial Burdens

The additional pressure of buying presents, going on trips and hosting parties can really add up during the holidays and turn normal financial struggles into a pressure cooker.

To keep financial burdens from turning into abusive behaviors, work together with your partner to come up with a holiday budget. More importantly, remember that yelling or getting angry about your financial problems won’t make them go away. Rather, spend some time on financial planning and effective budgeting.

3. Holiday Spirits

We’ve all enjoyed unwinding with a few drinks at the company Christmas party, but when a couple of drinks turns into using alcohol to cope with the stress of the holidays, it can become a treacherous slope. The more alcohol you consume, the less you will be able to control your anger.

If you know that you become an angry drunk, avoid drinking completely this holiday season. You can still attend the holiday parties, but don’t feel pressured to drink in order to have a good time. No time like the present to give sobriety a shot. Furthermore, if you’re already feeling anger, frustration or sadness this season, seek help from a counselor or AA group.

4. Road Rage

Contrary to popular belief, no one let all the idiots loose just as you left your driveway. It just so happens that all of Durham is out shopping for Christmas gifts as the exact same time, which can lead to congested roads and short tempers. If you’re already feeling the holiday pressure, one episode of road rage can drive home with you, leading to domestic violence behaviors.

Don’t let other drivers’ actions or poor driving affect your “holiday spirit.” If you feel yourself getting angry, roll down the window and take in some fresh air, or pull over. Even better, avoid roads that you know will be congested. It may take you a little longer to get home, but it’ll be worth it if you have a better attitude.

5. Lack of Time

No matter how much we all try, the holidays have a way of sneaking up on us and then taking over our schedule. Between work, parties, school, and shopping, it can be tough trying to adjust to holiday schedules. Combine that with a lack of sleep, and your normal stress level can be heightened to new levels of anxiety which can lead to anger and domestic violence.

Make sleep a priority. A lack of sleep increases your ability to get irritated and can cause anger, frustration, and resentment towards the people you love. While it may feel as though you have a lot to do in a very little amount of time, don’t forget to save some time for yourself and your family to make memories for the future.

Domestic violence is one of the major reasons that couples file for divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce in an abusive situation, contact Kevin E. Jones today. We can help get protection orders in place as well as ensure that you remain safe throughout the divorce process.

Avoid Getting a DWI this Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means the holidays are officially in full swing. You might have a few days off. You may have big plans to knock out your Christmas shopping list. And for most, you’ll be piling your family in the car to drive to Grandma’s house where the entire family will gather around the dinner table to enjoy recipes that have been handed down from one generation to another.Thanksgiving DWI

Yes – Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Unfortunately, even the best Thanksgiving traditions can go sideways. For example, if you plan to participate in an annual tradition of Blackout Wednesday, you may find yourself experiencing something way worse than a hangover: a DWI charge.

 

With that in mind, we’d like to remind you to stay safe this Thanksgiving, and not to drink and drive. However, if you do end up in trouble, we’re here to help. Call us today at (919) 672-8330 to learn more.

What is Blackout Wednesday?

Blackout Wednesday is the night before Thanksgiving, often celebrated amongst friends and out-of-town family members who may not see each other often, full of pre-holiday parties and binge drinking that can lead to over-intoxication and bad decision-making. Since most people have Thanksgiving Day off, why not “celebrate?” Other names for this unofficial holiday include (Black Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, Wacky Wednesday, Whiskey Wednesday, Big Wednesday and a variety of other names. And while we don’t recommend you go so far as to “blackout” and suffer a form of memory loss due to binge drinking, having a good time in most cases is legal. Until it isn’t.

Studies have shown that Blackout Wednesday is the top drunk driving night of the year in some parts of the country. As such, you may find that the Durham Police Department has increased patrolling of local roads and highways to catch drunk drivers. You may even find sobriety checkpoints and unmarked police cars blending in with the normal traffic to prevent accidents.

Of course, while this additional presence seems noble, it also means that some police officers may employ illegal or unconstitutional methods to make a Thanksgiving DWI arrest. If you are arrested, ask for an attorney right away. If you take steps to protect yourself in the beginning, it will help your case in the long run.

Thanksgiving DWI Statistics

Authorities have known for years that Thanksgiving weekend is among the deadliest weekends of the year, and there are a number of reasons why. For example, cooler temperatures often create weather-related hazards that cause car accidents without the presence of drinking. There are also more drivers on the road and an uptick in the number of heart attacks. However, the biggest cause of death over Thanksgiving is drunk driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2017, there were 23,551 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation. Of the fatal accidents, almost half of those were not wearing safety belts, and another 40% involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.

What are the Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Durham, NC? 

The best way to stay safe is to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. Period. You’re legally allowed to have a drink on Thanksgiving Eve, but please do so responsibly by doing the following:

  1. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before your first drink.
  2. Use public transportation, a taxi, rideshare service (such as Uber or Lyft), or your community’s sober ride program to get home safely.
  3. Crash at a friend’s house (within walking distance).

If you do get charged with a DWI this Thanksgiving holiday, the penalties can be stiff. The moment you are arrested, NC’s Civil Revocation Law requires a driver to hand over his or her license when charged with a DWI. For a first-time offender, the suspension will likely be for 30 days, but there are some instances in which limited driving privileges can be granted. Either way, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney to help you determine if you’re eligible for limited driving privileges as well as to help navigate through the license revocation process.

Some of the other typical penalties include:

  • Up to 10 years of jail time
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Lifelong ignition interlock requirement. For repeat offenders, you may be required to install a device in your car that will confirm that you have not had any alcohol (via breathalyzer test) for the car to even turn on.
  • The list goes on…

Being accused of DWI at any time can alter a person’s life, but especially during the holidays. If you are facing alcohol-related charges in Durham, NC, you need someone willing to protect you. Kevin E. Jones has a proven track record of success defending clients against DWI charges. Call (919) 672-8330 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

distracted drivingIf you have a problem “disconnecting” from your phone, you’re not alone. We live in a plugged-in world. We keep our cell phones within arm’s reach and often take our laptops to bed. With so many work and family commitments, attempting to multi-task has become the norm. Granted, the media and medical professionals have been telling us for years that too much screen time is bad for our eyes, our brains, and our mental health, but when a driver decides to multi-task behind the wheel, the end result can be tragic.

 

With the increase of drivers on the road this holiday season, we encourage you to keep your eyes, hands, and mind on the road to avoid a big lump of coal in the form of legal trouble in your Christmas stocking. As such, today we’ll be discussing types of distracted driving and the law.

Types of Distracted Driving

Police typically look for three main types of distraction when they are on patrol:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving

We often blame cell phones for distracting drivers, but there are other equally dangerous activities that can distract you while you’re driving. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, and/or mind off the road is fair game. These include:

  1. Programming your navigation system
  2. Adjusting the radio
  3. Eating or drinking while driving
  4. Personal grooming such as applying make-up or shaving
  5. Attending to children or other passengers

Distracted Driving in North Carolina

While North Carolina does not completely ban cell phone use while driving for voice communication, most other activities using your handheld devices are classified as primary offenses. Illegal driving distractions pertaining to the use of electronic devices include:

  • Pressing multiple buttons on a handheld device to communicate or browse the internet
  • Reading email or messages received or stored by the handheld device, with the exception of contact information
  • Using any features of the device that require the use of either hand, such as smartphone applications

Texting while driving is also unlawful throughout the entire state on public streets and highways, with a few exceptions, including when:

  • The driver is fully stopped or parked.
  • The driver is a law enforcement officer, member of a fire department or an ambulance driver and is texting or using a device to perform official duties.
  • The driver is using a navigation system like a GPS.
  • The driver is using voice-operated devices or other hands-free technology.

Therefore, it is important for you to be mindful while driving and avoid texting while driving as it is one of the most dangerous forms of distractions on the road.

Distracted Driving Penalties in North Carolina

For most licensed drivers in North Carolina, distracted driving penalties include a $100 fine and an infraction conviction. Texting and driving violations do not accumulate demerit points on driving records and are not something that patrolling officers are specifically looking for. However, drivers must be aware that there may be other penalties and charges as a result of distracted driving. For example, distracted driving can lead to reckless driving convictions and vehicular homicide charges if an accident results in a fatality.

Durham attorney, Kevin E. Jones, can help you if you find yourself with a distracted driving citation, traffic violation, injury and other legal matters in an ethical and proper manner.  Don’t let your health, finances and overall wellbeing suffer because you’re unaware of your legal rights. Contact Kevin E Jones before making any final decisions.  Things happen and many people go without the proper representation when they need it most. Don’t be just another number. Call now for help from our lawyer.

 

Legal Tips for a Safe Halloween Night

halloween legal tips

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays: from decorating the house with pumpkin carvings, to dressing up in your favorite costume, to eating candy until it

hurts. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the skeletons, bats, spider webs and candy, most Halloween celebrations happen at night and include a fair dose of mischief. Add in adult parties that serve alcohol, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So, whether you’ve got kids who will be trick-or-treating or teenagers who will be out tonight celebrating the spookiest day of the year, it’s important to review a few legal tips for a safe Halloween night with your family before someone ends their night in the county jail.

 

1. Watch out for sex offenders

While convicted sex offenders are required to add their names to a national registry, and also prohibited from handing out candy to kids or wearing costumes that might appeal to children, that doesn’t mean that unconvicted sex offenders aren’t still out there and ready to prey on children’s innocense this Halloween night. If you haven’t already, have a solid “stranger danger” talk with your kids and check your local registry before heading out the door to trick-or-treat.

2. Enforce the buddy system

No matter how safe your neighborhood may seem, it’s always a good idea to use the buddy system during trick-or-treating and other outings. For kids under 12, you should also make sure there’s an adult present. It’s not 1984, so don’t just follow behind your kids in a station wagon. Walk with them and enjoy some family time.

3. Check all pieces of candy carefully

It is your parental duty to collect a candy tax from your children before allowing them to engorge themselves on the evening’s winnings. In the process of pulling out your favorites, be sure to conduct a safety check. From allergic reactions to razor blades, you never know what might be lurking in your child’s candy bag so take the time to screen all candy before letting the kids dive in.

4. Use reflective tape and stickers on clothing

Depending on where you live, you may want to add reflective tape to your clothing to avoid any unnecessary personal injuries. The same goes for your older kids who want to ride their bike. Make sure that oncoming traffic can see your family by placing reflective tape and stickers in strategic spots on their costumes.

5. Put distractions away

And by “distractions,” we’re referring to your phone. Whether walking in your neighborhood or driving to the hottest Halloween party in town, put your phone away and be present in the night. Also, be sure to have a discussion with your teenagers on the risks of distracted driving – and ensure that your children aren’t distracted by devices while they’re out trick-or-treating. When you’re walking at night, it’s best to leave the technological distractions at home to avoid an accident.

6. Watch out for decorative obstacles

As a homeowner, be careful in how you decorate. You may be responsible for injuries that occur on your doorstep if you are found negligent in setting out your Halloween décor. However, if you’re trick-or-treating, pay attention to where you’re going: trip-and-fall hazards are everywhere on Halloween night. From misplaced jack-o-lanterns to fallen decorations, be sure to exercise a little caution as you head out tonight.

7. Turn your headlights on early

Trick-or-treating can start as early as 5:30 to 6 o’clock at night. Therefore, go ahead and turn on your headlights early this Halloween night so you’re sure to see every small child that may cross your path – even if it’s still bright out when you head to your parties.

8. Always choose a designated driver

Before you head out for the night, make sure you’ve chosen someone to be the designated driver for the night or plan to call a ride when you’re ready to go home (even if you’re only planning on one drink).  It only takes two drinks for the average-sized woman to register with a BAC level at or above the legal limit, or about three drinks for the average-sized man. Rather than end up with a DUI charge, plan ahead!

Durham lawyer Kevin E. Jones can help you if you find yourself with a DWI citation, traffic violation, personal injury or other legal matters in an ethical and proper manner.  Don’t let your health, finances and overall wellbeing suffer because you’re unaware of your legal rights. Contact Durham lawyer, Kevin E Jones before making any final decisions.  Things happen (even on Halloween night) and many people go without the proper representation when they need it most. Don’t be just another number. Call now for help from our lawyer.