Sunday, August 28, 2011

Teacher denies students friend request... Student falls into a bout of depression...

A new Missouri law that prohibits teacher-student conversations through social networking sites, such as Facebook, was set to take effect today, but instead came to a screaming hault when Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a preliminary injunction on the law. Facebooking experts declare that this type of love relationship between Judges and Facebook posters should be "FBO" (Face Book Official). However, don't be too quick to change your relationship status. The freeze on the law is only temporary, and may meet a formidable opponent in the public policy of the state of Missouri.

The challenge to the law is constitutional, and works like this: (1) You rights as set for in the bill of rights, such as freedom of speech, only protect you from violations by the state (government); (2) In cases of clear violations (a law limiting freedom of speech) the state can justify their encroachment by showing the law is needed (meaning it is really important) and that there is no lesser intrusive manner of achieving the purpose.  And the fact is we do this all the time. Take for example laws preventing people from inciting riots in a public place. While the law clearly limits speech, it is clearly more important that public safety be maintained, and there is no lesser intrusive way to do that then stopping the source of the riot.

That being said, law makers are faced with a big problem. Social media has become the nightclubs of our generation. The only problem is that you don’t need an ID to get in and lying about your A/S/L (Age/Sex/Location) is not only easy, but common. And let’s not pretend it isn’t easier to say those things you would never say in public. And to go along with it, there exists a photo album of pictures limited only by the discretion of the poster and a rating system that is less than perfect.

On the flip side, social media outlets have provided the type of contact and at home interactive tools that teachers have been wishing for. Being able to communicate changes to assignments, monitor progress, and conduct out of class discussions on course material has never been so easy. Tools that were only available to military and major corporations 20 years ago, has now become so common place that we all contain it on our phones.

Therein lies the rub. When in conflict, does a person’s right to free speech override the states duty to protect children and teachers from inappropriate contact? Governor Nixon and Judge Beetem seem to think so. And they may find themselves confronted by dozens of parents whose children have become victims of these social media sites. At any level, this debate is far from over.

If you are a teacher or a student that has been affected by this law or has found yourself in the middle of a social media scandal, then I would suggest finding an attorney. Harris Law, LLC has experience in dealing with the criminal face of this topic and is ready to advise you on your rights. Keep this in mind, social media crimes often times result in a sex crime charge. These types of charges are generally felonies and may result in a person registering as a sex offender for life. What makes matters worse is that sex crimes are often times based on false allegations. Go to to learn more about your rights.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DWI by Drugs

If you have been pulled over and given a ticket for DWI by drugs, then your chances of winning at trial just got a whole lot better. Springfield Missouri DWI Attorneys know the steps you should take in winning a DWI by drugs case. Contact an Attorney immediately if you have been pulled over or ticketed for DWI.

Step One: Remain silent. You have the right to remain silent so do not offer information that will ultimately lead to the prosecutor making their case against you. Many believe that if they tell the Officer what they want to hear, then they will let them go. That simply isn't the case, especially when you are dealing with a potential DWI charge. The process of questioning and testing is simply designed to help them build a case against you, so try not to help too much. (said sarcastically). And yes, that also means that you should not agree to perform simple field sobriety tests. The tests are never simple and almost always lead to an arrest and ultimate conviction of DWI.

Step Two: Contact an Attorney. You also have the right to an Attorney so make sure you take adavantage of that. An Attorney can provide you with the information needed to get you through the difficult process and at the same time can strategically lay out a case that will result in a finding of NOT GUILTY. You will also be given an opportunity to contact an Attorney before being asked to submit to a sample of breath, blood, or urine. While in many cases it will be difficult to reach an Attorney because of the time of day in which the alleged offense occurs, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try, an Attorney may just surprise you. That Attorney can further advise you on whether to submit to any further testing.

Step Three: Set back and wait. The fact of the matter is that these cases are hard to prove by prosecutors because they require the testimony of a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert). Most officers are not trained in such, in fact there may only be around one (1) - three (3) DRE's per police force in the area, and some police forces have none. Make sure you inquire of your attorney their knowledge of the role a DRE plays in a DWI by Drugs Case.

No matter, the situation, you are always better off consulting legal advice. Just make sure the advice you recieve is sound. Springfield Missouri Attorney Joel Harris, may be just the Attorney you need to make your life a little bit easier.

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Harris Law
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