Archive for March, 2014

What You Need to Know About the Crime of Identity Theft

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Identity theft is a crime which can take many different forms. Sometimes, an action which you think is legal is actually identity theft. On the other hand, something which may appear to be identity theft may be a legal activity. Read on to learn more about identity theft, and about the Kansas laws which apply to people who are accused of committing it.

The crime of identity theft does not necessarily mean that a person has tried to steal someone else’s entire identity and impersonate them. That is one way in which identity theft happens, but it is not the only activity which qualifies as identity theft. Personal identifying information is at the heart of any identity theft case. There are many types of identifying information, including basic things like name, address, telephone number, social security number, and driver’s license number. Other details like employment information, social media usernames and passwords, and bank account passwords are also pieces of personal identifying information which may be used during the commission of identity theft. Documents like driver’s licenses, identification cards, birth certificates, and death certificates may also be used to commit identity theft.

The State of Kansas defines the crime of identity theft as the act of obtaining, possessing, transferring, using, selling, or buying another person’s identifying information for the purpose of either using that information to defraud someone else or for the purpose of misrepresenting or impersonating someone, causing them to suffer bodily or economic harm. In Kansas, identity theft also includes activities like making and selling fake IDs, or obtaining copies of vital records by supplying false information.

In Kansas, identity theft is a felony and penalties are determined by a grid system. The factors which affect where an individual’s actions will register on the felony grid include how much financial damage the victim suffered as a result of the identity theft, as well as whether the offender has had any prior convictions of any kind. In addition to the penalties on the felony grid, individuals who are convicted of identity theft may be required to pay restitution for the harm that they caused, as well as any costs that the victim had to incur in order to fix their credit history and pay their attorney.

An important part of Kansas’s identity theft law is that it may not be used to prosecute anyone who is under the age of twenty one. This means that some fairly common situations, such as using someone else’s ID to buy alcohol or tobacco, will not result in felony prosecution under the identity theft law. It does not mean that the act of lending an underage person your ID or using someone else’s ID to buy alcohol will go unpunished. Anyone who is under the age of twenty one who provides false identification in order to obtain alcohol, or who lets a minor borrow their ID so that they may obtain alcohol,  may be charged with a class B misdemeanor. The penalty for a first offense of this nature is a fine of $200 to $250 and at least one hundred hours of community service.

If you have been accused of identity theft, you owe it to yourself to seek the aid of a knowledgeable Kansas criminal defense attorney. A skilled Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney is your best ally for avoiding conviction whenever possible, and for minimizing the impact of a conviction on your life if conviction cannot be avoided. To learn more about how a Kansas criminal defense attorney can help you, please call the Wichita office of Cummings & Cummings, LLC today at (316) 264-1548.


What’s the Chance That My Kansas Car Accident Case Will go to Court?

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you may wonder whether or not you should retain an attorney. You may be debating the issue in your mind, weighing what you believe to be the positive and negative consequences of a decision in either direction. You may even be leaning towards deciding not to hire an attorney because you do not want to have to go to court. If so, this article can help you understand why a desire to avoid the courtroom should not be a deciding factor in your choice of whether or not to retain a personal injury attorney.

Automobile accident victims need to know that hiring an attorney for a car accident case does not necessarily mean that you go to court. In fact, going to court is the exception, rather than the rule. About ninety five percent of car accident cases are resolved through settlement instead of through litigation. What’s more, you are largely in control over whether your automobile crash case will be settled or whether it will be litigated.

Attorneys who specialize in handling personal injury cases help their clients in a few ways. One important thing that they do is help accident victims understand what their claims are worth. Knowing the value of your personal injury claim will help you evaluate any settlement offers that the insurance company proposes to you. Your attorney can help you understand the settlement offers that you receive, but it is important that you know that you have full control over whether you accept a settlement offer. Also, your attorney can respond to unsuitable settlement offers and communicate with the insurance company in the hope that they will propose a better offer. Most of the time, the back and forth exchanges between an attorney and an insurance company results in the proposal of a settlement offer which appeals to the client. In accepting a settlement offer which meets their needs, a client also avoids the time and expense associated with litigation.

The skills of a seasoned personal injury attorney extend far beyond being able to secure good settlement offers for many of their clients. The best personal injury attorneys are also skilled litigators who can put on a compelling case for their clients in the event that the insurance company refuses to propose a fair settlement offer. Instead of accepting a settlement offer which is inadequate, their clients can choose to proceed to litigation with the knowledge that their case is in good hands. If you do end up filing a lawsuit in your personal injury case, there is even the chance that the insurance company may propose a good settlement offer at some point during the process of litigation. In fact, the potential for settlement exists throughout the litigation of a case, and plaintiffs may accept a settlement offer at any point before a final verdict has been reached.

Accident victims and their families will benefit from the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney whether their case goes to trial or not. A knowledgeable Kansas personal injury attorney is your ally at every stage of the automobile accident claims process. If you have been injured in a car crash, the knowledge and experience of an attorney can make the difference between accepting a settlement offer which will not fully compensate you for your injuries and obtaining a settlement or a verdict which will help you to recover both physically and financially from your accident. To learn more about how a Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to obtain the settlement that you deserve, please call the Wichita office of Cummings & Cummings, LLC today at (316) 264-1548.

Good News for Those With Kansas DUI Convictions

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

If you have a Kansas DUI, you may already be aware that it cannot be expunged from your record until ten years after you complete your sentence or probation. Ten years is quite a long time to wait, especially taking into account the fact that a DUI conviction on your record can impact your life in a number of negative ways.

Fortunately, a bill which has just passed the House and is headed to the Senate for review may cut that waiting period in half. House Bill 2662 would enable people with DUI convictions to expunge them from their criminal records five years after completing their sentences or probation. The bill is being promoted as a jobs bill, because of the way that DUI convictions affect people’s ability to find work. Proponents of the bill say that their goal in reducing the wait time for expunction is to enable people to get back to work sooner. In the case of young people who get a DUI in high school or college, House Bill 2662 would reduce the time that they would have to wait to get their careers off of the ground after they graduate. People who oppose the bill claim that reducing the waiting period would minimize the seriousness of the crime of driving while intoxicated. However, the reduction in the waiting period does not affect any of the fines, penalties, or sentences which may be imposed upon drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Difficulties in finding employment are not the only hardships that people who are convicted of DUI deal with for as long as their convictions stay on their records. Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence while they are in high school may find it difficult to get into college, even if their grades and other qualifications are outstanding. For college and graduate students who are already working towards a career in a field like education, law, or medicine, which require professional licenses from the state, a DUI could stand in the way of obtaining a license or getting a job.

Criminal background checks were not always associated with finding housing, but more and more landlords are performing them as they evaluate potential tenants. A DUI on your record can, therefore, affect your ability to find housing. Landlords are not the only ones doing background checks. Volunteer organizations are now screening potential volunteers, and a criminal background check is often part of the screening process.

Your DUI may affect your personal freedom if it is a felony conviction. Your rights to vote, travel, and possess firearms may be taken away. If you are not a United States citizen, you may even be deported.

House Bill 2662 will have a positive impact on the lives of people who have been convicted of driving under the influence if it passes the Senate. However, the best possible outcome for a DUI arrest is not to be convicted at all. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding a DUI conviction by retaining a knowledgeable Kansas DUI defense attorney.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an experienced Kansas DUI defense attorney. The short and long term consequences of a DUI conviction can have far-reaching effects on your life. To learn more about how a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can help you with your DUI case, please call the Wichita office of Cummings & Cummings, LLC today at (316) 264-1548.