Boating Under the Influence: A Serious Violation of the Federal BUI Law

BUI or boating under the influence is another major cause of accident that continues to injure or claim the lives of hundreds of individuals. The Boating Safety Resource Center, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division’s official website, says that BUI is deadly; that drinking would impair a boat operator faster than it would impair a car driver; and that 1/3 of all recreational boating accidents are due to alcohol impairment. Because of the dangers brought about by BUI, those who violate U.S. BUI laws face the possibility of a jail term, huge fines and revocation of operator privileges.

The federal BUI law enforced by the United States Coast Guard is applicable to all types of boats, including the largest ships, rowboats and canoes; it even includes foreign vessels sailing through U.S. territories and U.S. ships on the high seas.

Drinking alcohol or liquor, while on sea, can affect a boat operator’s balance, coordination, vision and judgment, much faster than when alcohol is consumed on land. This is due to the overall sea environment, which includes the sun, wind, sea water mist or spray, engine noise, vibration and motion. Thus, due to alcohol impairment, capsizing boats and drunken passengers falling over board are common cause-of-death reports.

The threatening effects of alcohol when it is consumed while on sea include:

  • Deterioration of judgment and cognitive abilities, rendering wise assessment of situations, processing of information and making good choices, much harder;
  • Impairment in physical control, resulting to failure to make timely reactions to dangers, lack of coordination and problem in balance;
  • Decrease in peripheral or night vision and depth perception, difficulty in identifying colors, especially green and red; and,
  • Failure to pull self out of the cold water, causing hypothermia and death.

According to the Flaherty Defense Firm, “Thousands of people come from all over the country every summer to vacation in Destin. One of the most popular things to do is rent a ski boat, pontoon boat, or a jet ski and take it out to Crab Island or Norriego Point to have a great time along with the hundreds of other boaters, yolo boarders, and swimmers. Unfortunately, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers and the Coast Guard station themselves right in the midst of all the fun. They are looking for anyone who shows any signs of having had too much to drink.

Once they have zeroed in on a suspect, they will approach the boat, tie it off to their boat, and board. They will do this under the guise of a “vessel safety check.” They will make sure the boat has a sufficient number of flotation devices and other required safety equipment. But before they leave your boat, they will ask if anyone has been drinking. They will search the boat for empty containers or open containers of alcohol.

The penalties for a BUI charge are very similar to the ones for a DUI. If this is your first or second offense, BUI is a first degree misdemeanor offense. The potential punishment ranges from 6 to 9 months in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. If convicted, you will also be required to serve probation, complete community service hours, attend alcohol awareness classes, and have your boat impounded.

If you are accused of Boating Under the Influence that resulted in an accident that caused serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a felony BUI offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

A BUI case demands the right response, such as hiring a skilled and experienced BUI defense lawyer to meet the accusations against you head on.”

Traumatic Brain Injuries: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The human brain is one of the most important organs in the human body because everything in our body is controlled by it. Thus, any harm to the brain that causes a change in the way it functions will affect the way the whole body works.

Anything that causes a sudden jolt or a violent blow to the head, such as a car crash, an explosion, or a sports-related accident, can make the brain collide with the internal wall of the skull. This, in turn, can result to torn nerve fibers, bruising of the brain and/or bleeding which can result to intracranial injury, more commonly known as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Besides the accidents mentioned above, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also lists the following as possible causes of TBI:

  • Falls, which are common among children adults above 75 years old;
  • Non-motorized pedal cycles or accidents involving bicycles;
  • Violence, being shot or stabbed on the head; and,
  • Smashed piece of skull penetrating the tissues in the brain.

The severity of a traumatic brain injury depends on which part of the brain has been affected and the extent of the damage – whether the injured area is widespread or affects only a specific part. For purposes of classification, severity is identified as mild, moderate or severe.

Mild TBI patients usually experience temporary headaches and confusion, but a severe case can lead to amnesia, coma, unconsciousness, disability, or even death. In treating a TBI patient, various methods are introduced. One series of continuous treatment includes:

  • Initial treatment that is intended to stabilize the individual right after a TBI-causing accident occurs;
  • Rehabilitative care center treatment, which is aimed at restoring the patient to daily life;
  • Acute treatment for the purpose of minimizing secondary injury and life support; and,
  • Surgical treatment, but if only necessary, to prevent secondary injury. This is done to ensure the continuous flow of oxygen and blood to the brain.

The law firm Evans Moore explains that a traumatic brain or head injury is perhaps the most problematic injury that one can sustain. This is because a brain and head injury can cause life-altering and permanent disabilities or side effects. Over 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, hospitalizing 275,000 and killing 52,000 people. These individuals may suffer cognitive, emotional, and other difficulties that require ongoing care and treatment, at great expense.

If someone else was at fault for the traumatic brain or head injury that one has sustained, he/she may be eligible to receive financial compensation that should cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that are related to his/her injuries.

The Cost of Cheating with Taxes

On September 25, 2015, Keisha Lanier, leader of a large-scale identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) conspiracy, was sentenced to 180 months in prison plus three years of supervised release after she was found guilty of tax refund fraud amounting to $24 million.

Keisha, with the eight others who were convicted with her, filed at least 9,000 false federal income tax returns (between January 2011 and December 2013) for $24 million in fraudulent tax refunds claims. She was also ordered by the court to forfeit more than $5.8 million of the close to $10 million that the IRS paid out tom her.

In June of the same year, a Tampa couple was also sentenced after being convicted of massive ID theft tax fraud scheme. The husband, James Lee, was sentenced to 324 months or 27 years in prison plus five years of supervised release, while his wife Eneshia was sentenced to 138 months in prison and three years of supervised release

The couple pleaded guilty to filing false tax return claims amounting to $3 million in refunds. Besides the false claims, the couple also pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

From October. 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015 (the government financial year), the IRS initiated 776 investigations into tax-related identity theft and obtained 774 jail sentences through the help of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit.

The IRS’ Criminal Investigation has one of the highest conviction rates among all of federal law enforcement agencies. ID theft tax fraud scheme, however, is not the only problem the IRS faces. It also suffers heavy losses due to tax evasion. The latest estimates have shown, in fact, that between 2008 and 2010, the federal government lost an average of $458 billion per year.

According to a Milwaukee tax fraud lawyer, the possible consequence of a Tax Fraud & Evasion conviction are prison time and severe fines, besides the potential to change just about every aspect of your life. Though the criminal process can be frightening, there is still the opportunity of facing the charges against you and defend your rights to protect your future with help from a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney.

Toxic Chemical Exposure in the Workplace

Workers in manual labor industries are some of the most vulnerable individuals in the United States. As evidenced by data compiled by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration, these risk-heavy occupations such as manufacturing, mining, and construction leave workers vulnerable to a host of different hazards, leaving as many as 3 million individuals injured or ill in 2014. Among these hazards common in these workplaces is toxic chemical exposure.

There are many toxic substances to which workers can be exposed while on the job. Some of the most commonly used substances in high-risk occupations include chloroform, benzene, mercury, trichloroethylene, nickel, asbestos, and cadmium metal. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to different medical conditions, many of them chronic and easily fatal. Because of toxic chemical exposure, many workers develop diseases like Hodgkin’s disease, mesothelioma, leukemia, and some other types of cancers. These substances can also cause people to get injured at work. Accidents involving these chemicals can lead to severe third to fourth degree chemical burns that could leave victims temporarily or permanently disabled.

Considering these consequences, combating prolonged exposure to harmful substances should remain a priority in workplaces across America. Fortunately, there are several precautions that employers can take to protect the well-being of their workforce. Providing workers with proper safety gear and equipment is one easy way to do this. Reducing worker exposure through rotating shifts can also be a helpful method. Designating specific areas solely for use of harmful substances can also help protect workers from risk factors.

All in all, however, it’s clear that employers have the responsibility to create a safe working environment for everyone in their employ. Employers that fail to provide this basic standard are at risk of being found negligent. Workers that become injured due to lack of proper safety protocols in the handling of toxic substances may turn to a legal professional to ask about filing a civil case against their employer.

The Law On Overtime Pay Under The FLSA

In cases when an employee renders overtime work, it is assumed that they would be paid by the employer for the excess hours beyond the 40 hours per week requirement. The amount to be paid to employee for the overtime work is set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, an employee who performs overtime work should be properly compensated by their employer or else they face fines and penalties.

Unfortunately, according to the website of Williams Kherkher, many businesses are not paying their employees overtime wages which is in violation of the FLSA. Under the law, employees must receive overtime pay for the hours they worked for that goes beyond the 40 hours in a week. The rate of overtime pay is 1.5 times their regular pay rate. Overtime pay is no9t required for works on weekends and holidays or regular rest day, unless overtime work hours are rendered on those days.

The FLSA sets the fixed and regularly recurring period of an employee to 168 hours per workweek. The overtime need not have to be on a calendar week and can begin within any hour of the day. Different workweeks can be established for different employees or group of employees. Overtime pay earned in a particular workweek should be paid on the regular payday for the period they were earned.

For overtime during weekends or night, it will all boil down to an agreement between employer or employee. The FLSA does not require overtime pay during weekend or night. The FLSA also lays down the fines and penalties for companies that will refuse to pay overtime wage to their employees. They could be facing criminal prosecution or imprisonment for their non-compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Overtime pay violation has a three-year statute of limitations. So make sure to file within the time limit.