Fortune-Tellers Beware : How To Foresee Legal Trouble In Your Future

If you’re a psychic, spiritualist, or fortune-teller, you’re probably used to people being skeptical of your talents. However, you may not realize that you could also be breaking the law. If you offer services as a fortune-teller, psychic, medium, clairvoyant, Tarot reader, or something similar, this is what you should know.

A few frauds make it hard for people trying to offer a legitimate service.

Many psychics offer a legitimate service and consider their talents to be spiritual gifts. They claim the right to make a living with their talents the way anyone else might. An entire community of psychics and clairvoyants exists in Lily Dale, New York, where gifted spiritualists ply their trade. A few fortune-tellers honestly admit that they are only offering readings for “entertainment purposes only.” 

However, because practices are so varied and a lot of the benefits of visiting a psychic are intangible, the industry is an easy target for con artists. For example, a recent case in New York involved a “psychic” who convinced a woman that her marital problems were the result of a demon that was inside her. She ultimately swindled the woman out of more than $60,000 for her services. In a similar case, a Florida woman was convicted of operating a far-flung network of fraudulent fortune-tellers and psychics. They succeeded in bilking various clients, including well-known novelist Jude Deveraux, of at least $17.8 million.

Cases like those, unfortunately, cast people who are legitimately trying to provide a service with their talents in a bad light. Lawmakers often react with laws designed to prevent fraud, but they can also hamper people who offer legitimate services as well.

Check your state and local laws before you open shop.

Before you open up shop, check your local laws and regulations. With all the negative attention on fortune-telling and similar spiritual services, don’t rely on your understanding of what the regulations have been in the past. For example, in Salem, Massachusetts, fortune-tellers now have to be residents for at least 12 months and pay a $50 licensing fee. Your license to practice can be revoked if you have significant complaints lodged against you. In some areas, you have to not only pay a licensing fee but also pass a criminal background check and be fingerprinted in order to practice. 

In some areas, laws exist that make all fortune-telling illegal, but they may be rarely enforced. Fortune telling is illegal in the state of New York, but psychics and fortune-tellers routinely operate in the open in places like Lily Dale and New York City. Just know that if you choose to operate outside the law, you could face potential problems down the line.

You should also be cautious about offering guarantees for your work. It’s generally wiser to be clear that, while your belief in your abilities is genuine, you cannot guarantee any specific results when working with the supernatural world.

Contact an attorney at the first sign of trouble.

Regulating a supernatural industry is difficult, but the most common charge brought against fortune-tellers is theft by deception. That’s essentially using a lie to induce someone to turn over money or property to you. If you work with others, you may also be charged with conspiracy to defraud another. These are serious charges that can result in years of jail time and fines, as demonstrated by the cases mentioned above. If you’ve been arrested or believe that you will be, it’s important to contact a criminal defense attorney, such as those found at Abom & Kutulakis LLP, as soon as possible to discuss your case.

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Classes To Take Before You Apply To Become A Private Investigator

When you become a private investigator, you’ll go through an extensive training program that will teach you the ins and the outs of this compelling profession. If you’ve made the effort to take some related classes before filing your application, however, you’ll show yourself as someone who is keen on getting the job — and you’ll be on the right path for succeeding in this world. Even if you have a law enforcement background, which is often the case with reputable private investigators, the following classes can boost your value to the agency you’re applying to.

Photography Classes

Much of what you’ll do as a private investigator involves photography. If you’ve been hired by a company to identify whether an employee on medical leave is gaming the system, you’ll need to take photos; if you’ve been hired by a married person to determine whether his or her spouse is being faithful, photos will be integral. This means that you’ll be working with high-end camera gear, which might present a learning curve for you upon being hired. Taking a course at your local camera shop or even a community college can help you get comfortable with the settings on SLR cameras so that you can take sharp, professional-quality photos in a variety of environments, including low-light situations.

Driving Classes

You’ll spend a lot of time behind the wheel of your car as a private investigator, and will often need to follow someone you’re observing in a vehicle. Taking some driving classes simply boosts your aptitude behind the wheel. While you’ll learn things such as accident avoidance, you’ll also polish your skills for driving in inclement weather — this can help you drive safely in the snow, for example, and avoid losing a target just because you’re uncomfortable driving when the roads are slippery. Additionally, you’ll improve your aptitude for things such as parallel parking, which you may need to do quickly when the target you’re following parks and begins to travel on foot.

Fitness Classes

Private investigators should have a high degree of physical fitness. Although you won’t be physically confronting a target in the same manner as law enforcement officers do, you’ll often be tasked with following someone on foot. If the person you’re following is physically fit and maintains a quick walking pace, you can’t afford to let your fitness limitations allow the person to get away. Taking some fitness classes at your local gym can help you lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your cardiovascular endurance.

For more information, contact a company like Blue Systems International.

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Tips For Getting Your Workers Compensation Benefits

Workers compensation laws are in place to ensure that you are reimbursed for lost wages and medical expenses if you suffer an on-the-job injury. Yet, the insurance companies responsible for paying out your compensation will often look for any reason to deny your claim. The following tips can help you avoid issues with your claim so the insurance company will have to pay.

Tip #1: Report the injury correctly

Make a point of reporting any injury, no matter how slight, to your immediate supervisor. You should also make the report in writing. Using a medium that gives you access to delivery information and copy of the report, such as email, can be helpful if your company doesn’t provide report forms. The reason for these reports is simple – most states require that injuries be reported within a certain time frame or benefits don’t have to be paid. Reporting immediately is the best way to ensure you don’t miss the reporting window.

Tip #2: Make sure it’s medically documented

You need to seek medical treatment in order to place a claim. You may have to go to a company-approved doctor unless you need emergency treatment, so verify the requirements with your human resources department. Then, when you are with the doctor, make sure you fully explain how the injury occurred and how it is affecting you so that the doctor can record the information correctly. These medical reports can be an important factor when the insurance company is deciding on your claim.

Tip #3: Fill out an accident report correctly

All too often employers try to get the accident report filled out immediately, but this can be detrimental to your case. Make sure you have been treated and that you have a clear head (both from pain and from medication) before you fill it out. You want to make sure you record the details factually and make no errors on this form. Any inconsistencies between this form and medical reports can be used against you, even if the issue was just a minor mistake.

Tip #4: Follow the treatment plan

Finally, make sure you follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment plan completely. If you miss appointments or go back to work before you should, the insurance company will use this information in an attempt to prove your injuries aren’t severe enough to warrant compensation.

For more help, contact a workers compensation lawyer in your area immediately or visit a website like

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3 Reasons To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer After Your Dog Has Bitten Someone

One of the most common cases that a personal injury lawyer will deal with is a dog bite case, mostly because of the many ways in which he or she can help you protect yourself and your dog. This is vital as you can be subjected to a massive lawsuit or have to put your dog down if he or she has bitten someone and you do not have a proper defense. Listed below are three ways that a lawyer can help you with a dog bite case.

The Individual Was Trespassing

One of the main ways that a lawyer can help you avoid having to put your dog down is by attempting to show that the person who was bitten was actually trespassing on your property. This can apply if the person was jumping over your fence, crossing your property uninvited, or was breaking into your home. The key point to remember here is that this defense only works if trespassing was indeed occurring and that you did not invite the individual onto your property. 

The Individual Was Provoking The Dog

Another defense that a lawyer can use to protect you and your dog is to show that the person who was bitten was tormenting the dog in some way. For example, if an individual was constantly teasing, harming, or annoying your dog, then a court may decide that the dog reacted normally in order to get the torment to stop when he or she lashed out. Other types of provocation can include accidental provocation, such as stepping on the dog while he or she was asleep and startling him or her awake or surprising the dog with a loud noise nearby.

The Individual Ignored Warnings

Finally, one of the most common defenses when your dog has bitten someone is to show that the bitten person ignored multiple warnings to leave the dog alone. This can apply if you were out walking your dog and told an approaching individual not to pet the dog, but he or she approached anyway and got bitten. However, this approach will only work if you had your dog properly leashed. 

Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your dog has bitten someone in order to discuss the strength of your case and the options that are available to you. A personal injury lawyer can help by attempting to show that the bitten individual was trespassing, provoking the dog, or ignored warnings to stay away from the dog. Check out a law firm like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP to consult with a lawyer.

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3 Questions To Ask Before Agreeing To Be A Guarantor On A Bail Bond

If you are being asked to be a guarantor for a bail bond so a friend or relative can get out of jail, do not feel pressured into making a decision before first learning as much as you can about the situation. If this person doesn’t show up for their court date, you will have to pay the bail amount if you sign as the guarantor. Here are a few important things you should consider before agreeing to be a guarantor.

Does the person have a stable home address?

He or she will receive a notice in the mail as to the exact date and time they will need to appear in court. It is crucial that they have a stable home address so they can receive mail and have papers served to them. This address should match the address they have on their government-issued ID. If this person moves around a lot, is a vagrant, or is homeless, he or she may not receive notification of the court date. Of course, this would mean that you would have to pay up.

Fortunately, the bail bondsman also gets a notification of court dates of all the clients they handle. It’s a good idea to ask the bail bondsman to contact you when he or she receives notification of the court date for your friend or family member.

Are you able to reach this person at any day or time? 

Can you trust this person to answer your calls and reply to your messages as quickly as possible? Or does it usually take him or her several days to get back with you? By listing yourself as a guarantor, the bail bondsman will contact you for assistance if your friend or family member fails to appear for their scheduled meetings with the bail bondsman during the wait for the court date. The bail bondsman will also contact you if they are unable to get a hold of this person.

Does the person have reliable transportation to get to the courthouse?

You and this person you are helping may do everything right but still get thwarted by something like a vehicle breaking down while on the way to the courthouse for the hearing. If he or she does not have reliable transportation, consider giving them a ride to the courthouse or sending a taxi service to them so they can be on their way without any hitches. Visit for more information.   

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Five Things Criminal Defendants Should Know About Deferred Adjudication

Those facing a criminal conviction aren’t limited to the options of pleading either “guilty” or “not guilty”. There are also often certain plea deals available that can minimize the penalties a criminal defendant will face as a result of charges. One such plea deal is a deferred adjudication.

The following are five things defendants should know about deferred adjudication if they’re attempting to fight a criminal conviction:

Deferred adjudication is a way to enjoy a lesser sentence while pleading guilty.

With deferred adjudication, a defendant will agree with the court to accept certain requirements for a given period of time before a formal decision is made on the defendant’s sentence.

Deferred adjudication is not necessarily available in every case.

It’s important that criminal defendants are aware of the fact that deferred adjudication may not be available in every jurisdiction. However, if deferred adjudication is not available in a certain jurisdiction, that jurisdiction might offer a similar plea deal agreement like a diversion program.

Also, some states use a different term for deferred adjudication. For example, deferred adjudication is known as “probation before judgment” in the state of Maryland. 

If a defendant pleads “guilty” through deferred adjudication, it’s possible that no criminal conviction will go on his or her record.

One of the biggest advantages deferred adjudication offers to criminal defendants is that it can prevent a criminal conviction from going on the defendant’s record.

For example, in the state of Texas a deferred adjudication will not result in a criminal conviction on the defendant’s criminal record. Instead, the case will be dismissed once the defendant successfully fulfills the terms of the agreement. 

Deferred adjudication may require community service, probation, and restitution.

A variety of different requirements can be included in a deferred adjudication agreement. These requirements will be determined by the court.

Of course, the defendant’s lawyer can assist in negotiating these terms and in giving the defendant advice on whether or not the terms being offered are reasonable. 

Defendants should always discuss deferred adjudication with a lawyer before seeking such an agreement with the court.

Criminal defendants who are fairly certain that they will be found guilty in court almost always stand to benefit from negotiating a deferred adjudication agreement. However, such an agreement may not be in the best interests of a defendant who can be reasonably confident of being found not guilty.

It’s important that defendants discuss the deferred adjudication with their lawyers before pursuing such an agreement with the court. To learn more, contact a law firm like Mesenbourg & Sarratori Law Offices.

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What You Need To Know If You’re In A Motorcycle Accident That Involves Lane Splitting

Lane splitting happens when a person who is riding a motorcycle drives down the middle of the lanes in the road — between two lanes of slow-moving or stopped cars — to bypass traffic. If an accident occurs when a motorcycle driver is splitting lanes, it might be difficult to determine which driver is actually liable for the accident because there are several different factors that need to be considered.

Your State’s Lane Splitting Laws

California is the only US state that has deemed lane splitting legal, and it’s only legal for motorcyclists to split lanes if it’s done safely — which is determined by the police investigating the accident and the court. Even though California is the only state that has ruled lane splitting legal, many states don’t have laws that specifically prohibit it. Because of this, it’s typically a good idea to discuss your options with a motorcycle accident attorney if you’re involved in an accident that involved lane splitting, especially if someone was injured.

Determining Liability

Because lane splitting isn’t seen as a legal maneuver in most states, the motorcyclist is often considered liable for accidents that involve lane splitting. This means if you were driving a motorcycle between lanes of traffic and an accident occurred, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to recover costs for damages. However, if you can prove that the other driver played a role in the accident, there is a chance that you may be able to recover all or some of the costs incurred by the accident. Your lawyer will have a better chance at winning your case if you can prove that you’re an experienced motorcyclist with a good driving record, you weren’t speeding or weaving between lanes at the time of the accident, and the other driver did something dangerous that caused the accident — like changing lanes abruptly without signaling.

What to Do if You’re in a Motorcycle Accident That Involved Lane Splitting

If you’re involved in an accident that occurred while you were driving between two lanes of vehicles, you need to make sure you don’t do or say anything that could be considered an admission of fault. After all, chances are, the deck is already stacked against you — you don’t want to make the situation worse. So when you speak to the police, stick to stating the facts. While it’s important to make sure the passengers in the other vehicle are okay and to exchange insurance information, you should avoid apologizing or saying anything else that could imply that you’re at fault in case you need to file a personal injury claim later.

Even though it may be difficult to win a personal injury claim for an accident that happened while you were driving a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic, it isn’t impossible. So if you’re involved in an accident, you should talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.

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