China’s New National Security Law

Developments in China’s national security regulation, and contrasts the position with that existing in Australia and the USA as of 29 July 2015.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, have approved the National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China, effective as of 1 July, 2015. The concept of national security is of extreme importance, especially due to the interconnectivity of contemporary society and the ability of each country and their economy and security to be linked to events across the globe, therefore impacting on every individual worldwide.

The national security law is divided into seven chapters that include the following:

(a) the guiding principles;
(b) the definition of national security;
(c) the functions and responsibilities of the National People’s Congress and the various branches of the government;
(d) the key elements of the national security regime such as intelligence collection, risk assessment, conducting national security reviews, and responding to states of emergency;
(e) the mechanisms for allocating resources to national security work;
(f) the obligations of citizens and corporations in assisting the government in protecting national security; and
(g) the supplementary provisions.

The National Security Law encompasses a broad concept of national security in comparison to its more conventional 1993 national security law prior to the enactment of the current National Security Law, which was designed mainly to defend China against espionage activities. The new National Security Law covers matters in relation to politics, the military, the economy, finance, culture, technology, territorial sovereignty, cyber-security, ideology, religion, as well as matters extending beyond the borders of China to include the polar regions, the international seabed, outer space and cyber-space.

In particular, Article 2 of the National Security Law provides the definition of national security to refer to the relative absence of international or domestic threats to the state’s power to govern, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, the welfare of the people, sustainable economic and social development, and other major national interests, and the ability to ensure a continued state of security. However, the following articles provide for the discussion of politics, the military, the economy, finance, culture, technology and territorial sovereignty, therefore broadening National Security Law’s definition of national security beyond the conventional and narrower concept of merely national defense.

Due to the National Security Law’s broad scope of application, there is concern amongst the business community in relation to the additional restrictions and scrutiny on business activities in China on national security grounds, especially in terms of the National Security Law’s involvement in economic development, which may have serious implications if in addition to the existing laws and regulations, commercial activities and investments are also regulated under the broad and unclear perspective of national security. Although such broad provisions contained in the National Security Law will be further clarified through implementing regulations, the National Security Law is still extensive on implications but lacking in specifics, therefore causing uncertainty in terms of practical application and impact.

Foreign investment

One of the main concerns relates to foreign investment and the additional restrictions and scrutiny placed on foreign activities in China. Specifically, Article 59 of the National Security Law provides the State will establish national security review and oversight management systems and mechanisms, conduct national security review of foreign commercial investment, special items and technologies, internet information technology products and services, projects involving national security matters, and other major matters and activities that impact or may impact on national security. While this requirement is not particularly new because the Chinese government already conducts national security reviews in various areas and investments under existing laws and regulations, foreign companies are mainly concerned of any new national security review regimes in relation to foreign investment and IT products and services which may be introduced via the National Security Law.

Prior to the enactment of the National Security Law, the national security review requirements on mergers and acquisitions involving acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors was imposed through the Circular on Establishing the Security Review System for Mergers and Acquisitions of Enterprises within China Involving Foreign Investors, whereas any greenfield non-M&A establishments involving foreign investors were left alone with no applicable national security review requirements. However, the Tentative Measures for National Security Review of Foreign Investments in Free Trade Zones enacted earlier in 2015 did a pilot run of a national security regime in China’s free trade zones, which were Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and involved the application of the regime to mergers and acquisitions transactions as well as other foreign investments, including greenfield investments.

Due to the enactment of the National Security Law, it may be expected that the full regime required currently only for the free trade zones will be implemented nationwide, therefore widening the reach of the authorities to enforce and further scrutinise foreign investment. Also, the consequence of having such a broad definition for the concept of national security may potentially indicate the legislature’s intent on expanding the National Security Law’s scope of application to additional sectors, along with the current listed 57 industry sectors. Therefore, foreign investors will now have to be careful to ensure the requirements of the national security regime are followed.

Furthermore, Article 59 provides for the national security review of Internet information technology products and services, the scope and procedures of which are not defined in the National Security Law. Therefore, this provision has the potential to go beyond any mergers and acquisitions plans, greenfield investments or specific investment plans. This provision has the potential to cause significant entry barriers for international suppliers of IT products and services into the Chinese market, and along with the draft Anti-Terrorism or draft Cyber-Security Law; the Chinese government have many avenues through which they can scrutinise foreign products and services.

Foreign Investment Law

China already has laws regulating foreign investment, therefore the National Security Law will be complementing the draft People’s Republic of China Foreign Investment Law, which was released on 19 January 2015 by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) for public opinion. Foreign investment is particularly important to an economy, and it is essential in providing the capital to assist the creation of productive enterprises, therefore China’s attempt to finally revamp the legal regime in relation to foreign investment illustrates their acknowledgement of foreign investment to the growth and sustainability of China’s economy.

The draft Foreign Investment Law is extensive, and provides for the following:

(a) the definition of foreign investors and foreign investments;
(b) the regulation of foreign invested projects and associating entry permits;
(c) the procedures for national security review of foreign invested projects;
(d) the creation of an information reporting system for foreign investment;
(e) the promotion and protection of foreign investment and coordination and handling of complaints in relation to foreign investment; and
(f) the liability for any breaches.

The definition of foreign investors is broad, as it is not limited to foreign nationals or foreign incorporated entities, but includes enterprises incorporated in China which are controlled by foreign investors, therefore extending the Foreign Investment Law’s reach in regulating foreign investment. Also, the definition of foreign investment goes beyond the traditional methods of foreign investment activities, as in addition to greenfield projects, foreign invested entities, the acquisition of shares, the Foreign Investment Law also covers the holding of certain rights and interests over assets owned by, or voting rights, in a domestic enterprise. Specifically, foreign investment refers to any of the following investment activities conducted, directly or indirectly, by foreign investors:
(a) establishing domestic enterprises, which are enterprises incorporated in China in accordance with Chinese laws, which can either be enterprises with foreign investment, or wholly domestic owned;
(b) acquiring shares, equity interests, certain rights and interests over assets, voting rights or other similar interests and rights in a domestic enterprise;
(c) financing, with a term of one year or more in any domestic enterprises in which one or more foreign investors hold an interest or right described in the point above;
(d) obtaining the concession rights to explore or develop natural resources in China, or obtaining concession rights to construct or operate infrastructure facilities in China;
(e) acquiring land use rights, ownership of buildings and other real property rights in China; and
(f) controlling or holding interests or rights in any domestic enterprise through contract, trust or other arrangement.

Therefore, the concept of foreign investment is relatively broad under the Foreign Investment Law, which gives room for the government to regulate over an increasing number of activities in China.

The existing national security review regime will be integrated into the Foreign Investment Law where MOFCOM will review foreign investor(s) applications for an entry permit. MOFCOM or its provincial counterparts will consider a proposed foreign invested project requiring an entry permit in relation to the implications such a project may have on national security, and if necessary, MOFCOM may suspend the entry permit review and require the foreign investor(s) to submit an application for national security review. In this process, the State Council will set up an Inter-ministry joint meeting for national security review, which is jointly set up by MOFCOM and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and in the two-step review approach, the general review will decide whether the proposed foreign investment is likely to jeopardise national security, and if so, the special review will examine in details and decide whether the proposed foreign investment will or may jeopardise national security.

The position in Australia

The Australian government is extremely open to foreign investment as it assists in building Australia’s economy and enhances the wellbeing of Australians by supporting economic growth and prosperity, as well as create jobs, encourage innovation and promote competition.

Australia’s foreign investment framework is implemented through the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) and the Australian government’s foreign investment policy, which clarifies several aspects of the legislation and imposes additional obligations which do not have the force of law but with which overseas investors are expected to comply. Under the Act, the Treasurer reviews investment proposals on a case-by-case basis to make a decision as to whether the proposals are contrary or supportive of Australia’s national interest. The Treasurer relies on advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), who works with applicants to ensure Australia’s national interest is protected; therefore, maximising investment flows while protecting Australia’s interests.

Australia’s foreign investment rules regulate investment proposals by foreign persons, who are generally:

(1) an individual who is not ordinarily a resident in Australia; and
(2) a corporation where a foreign person (including associates) holds 15% or more of the issued shares, units or voting power or where several foreign persons (including associates) hold 40% or more of the issued shares, units or voting power.

Under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975, the Treasurer has the power to review and block the following proposals by foreign persons:

(a) most acquisitions of interests in Australian urban land;
(b) any acquisition of a substantial interest, which is where a foreign acquirer and its associates would hold or control 15% or more of the issued shares or units or voting power, in an Australian corporation, or an increase in a substantial interest, where the value of the assets of that corporation exceeds $248 million;
(c) any acquisition of an aggregate substantial interest, which is where a group of unrelated foreign acquirers and their associates would, after the acquisition, hold or control 40% or more of the issued shares or units or voting power, in an Australian corporation where the value of the assets of that corporation exceeds $248 million;
(d) any acquisition of an Australian business where the assets are valued at more than $248 million;
(e) any acquisition of control of an Australian corporation where the assets of the corporation are valued at more than $248 million;
(f) any acquisition of a substantial or aggregate substantial interest in an offshore corporation which has gross assets valued at more than $248 million, where the assets of that corporation that are comprised of Australian land, Australian mineral rights or shares in an Australian corporation constitute 50% or more of the total assets of that corporation; or
(g) any acquisition of a substantial or aggregate substantial interest in an offshore corporation, where the assets of that corporation that are comprised of Australian land, Australian mineral rights or shares in an Australian corporation constitute less than 50% of the assets of that corporation, but those Australian assets are valued at more than $248 million.

Furthermore, there are separate legislation providing additional requirements for foreign investments, including requirements such as:

(a) foreign investment in the banking sector must be consistent with the Banking Act 1959, the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act 1998 and banking policy;
(b) total foreign investment in Australian international airlines is limited to 49 per cent;
(c) the Airports Act 1996 limits foreign ownership of airport offered for sale by the Commonwealth to 49 per cent, with a 5 per cent airline ownership limit and cross ownership limits between Sydney airport and Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports;
(d) the Shipping Registration Act 1981 requires a ship to be majority Australian-owned if it is to be registered in Australia; and
(e) aggregate foreign ownership of Telstra is limited to 35 per cent of the privatised equity and individual foreign investors are only allowed to own up to 5 per cent.

The national interest of Australia is one of the important considerations when considering a proposal, therefore each proposal undergoes an examination to determine if the proposal is contrary to Australia’s national interest, and while the term ‘national interest’ is not defined under the relevant legislation, the national interest criteria includes:

(a) the impact of the proposal on national security;
(b) the impact of the proposal on competition;
(c) the impact of the proposal on other Australian government policies including tax and the environment;
(d) the impact of the proposal on the economy and the community; and
(e) where the investor is a foreign government investor, the character of the investor, and in particular, whether it operates on a transparent commercial basis, is subject to adequate and transparent regulation and supervision and adopts good corporate governance practices.

Under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975, the Treasurer has 30 days to consider an application and make a decision. However, the Treasurer may extend this period by up to a further 90 days by publishing an interim order, which is issued under circumstances where a proposal is complicated or if insufficient information has been provided.

The position in the United States of America

The United States, as the largest foreign direct investor globally and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment, has always sought to find a balance between embracing an open market and regulating over national security simultaneously. Therefore, because of the US’s spread of economic activity across national borders, the US has important economic, political, and social interests at stake in the development of international policies regarding direct investment, as well as ensuring their laws on foreign investment in relation to national security are of the highest quality.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), the inter-agency committee of the US Government responsible for reviewing national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations, was established in 1975 and operates under the discretion of the President and is chaired by the secretary of the Treasury. The CFIUS includes the heads of many departments, including the justice, homeland security, commerce, defense, state, and energy departments, as well as the US trade representative and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Initially, the authority of the President to suspend or prohibit certain transactions was initially provided by section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 by a 1988 amendment known as the Exon-Florio amendment. However, the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (FINSA) substantially revised section 721 to provide for national security reviews of foreign investments. The FINSA maintains the narrow scope of CFIUS’s review process by focusing solely on genuine national security concerns and not broader policy concerns posed by mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers that could result in foreign control of a US business, and follows CFIUS’s efficient timeline by requiring CFIUS to conclude a review in 30 days and an investigation, if needed, in a subsequent 45 days.

In relation to an investigation, the CFIUS can conduct an investigation of the effects of a transaction on the national security of the US, and take any necessary actions in connection with the transaction to protect the national security of the US. This applies in cases where a review of a transaction results in a determination that:

(a) the transaction threatens to impair the national security of the US and that threat has not been mitigated during or prior to the review of a transaction;
(b) the transaction is a foreign government-controlled transaction; or
(c) the transaction would result in control of any critical infrastructure of or within the US by or on behalf of any foreign person, if the Committee determines that the transaction could impair national security, and that such impairment to national security has not been mitigated by assurance provided or renewed with the approval of the Committee; or
(d) the lead agency recommends, and the Committee concurs, that an investigation be undertaken.

With regards to national security, the President or the President’s designee may, taking into account the requirements of national security, consider, amongst other things:

(a) domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements;
(b) the capability and capacity of domestic industries to meet national defense requirements, including the availability of human resources, products, technology, materials, and other supplies and services;
(c) the control of domestic industries and commercial activity by foreign citizens as it affects the capability and capacity of the US to meet the requirements of national security;
(d) the potential effects of the proposed or pending transaction on sales of military goods, equipment, or technology to any country identified by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense as posing a potential regional military threat to the interests of the US;
(e) the potential effects of the proposed or pending transaction on US international technological leadership in areas affecting US national security;
(f) the potential national security-related effects on US critical infrastructure, including major energy assets;
(g) the potential national security-related effects on US critical technologies;
(h) the long-term projection of US requirements for sources of energy and other critical resources and materials; and
(i) such other factors as the President or the Committee may determine to be appropriate, generally or in connection with a specific review or investigation.

If CFIUS finds the transaction does not present any national security risks or relevant provisions of the law provide adequate and appropriate authority to address the risks, CFIUS will advise the parties in writing that CFIUS has concluded all action under section 721 with respect to the transaction. However, if CFIUS finds a transaction presents national security risks and relevant provisions of the law do not provide adequate authority to address the risks, CFIUS may enter into an agreement with, or impose conditions on, parties to mitigate such risks or may refer the case to the President for action, in which case the President has 15 days to act.


Today, many countries have legislation and regulations in relation to foreign investments in order to ensure the protection and security of a country’s economy and national security. While most countries regulate over foreign investment and national security within a narrow scope of national defense only, China’s National Security Law has expanded national security concerns from the main area of national defence into a wide range of geopolitical, cultural, and economic issues, and is controversial due to the potential for abuse of power. Foreign companies in China will have to deal with further uncertainty when conducting business operations as a consequence of China’s attempt to handle security-related matters with a national law that seeks to keep pace with the challenges presented by issues such as globalisation and information technology.

Understanding Assault Law

If you have been accused or arrested for assault, it is important that you understand what assault is under federal or state law and that you get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Wikipedia defines assault as: “An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal and/or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law.”

You can actually be prosecuted criminally as well as being sued for civil damages so you want to seek counsel sooner rather than later. The law is designed to discourage people from aggressively attacking another person whether physical contact is actually made or not. Actual physical contact is not required for a completed assault. An assault can occur if someone attempts to strike someone with the present ability to carry out the assault. A good example of an assault without a touching would be if one pointed a gun at another. It is clear that the person would be afraid because people are always afraid when threatened by someone pointing a gun at them.

In criminal cases, assaults may be prosecuted anywhere from simple assaults charged as misdemeanors to attempted murder with different allegations and/or sentencing enhancements. The prosecution can charge assaults in many different ways depending on the circumstances. For example, if a weapon were used, the assault may be enhanced by use of a weapon allegation and corresponding sentencing enhancements as well as making the crime a violent felony, for future sentencing enhancement purposes.

In many states, criminal codes treat assault as a misdemeanor that can be handled with fines or possibly a year in jail. If the assault charge is found to involve physical injury, that raises the stakes to aggravated assault. The charge may then become a felony and can result in sentences of 10-20 years in prison depending on the facts and the criminal history of the accused. This can also increase the size of civil awards substantially.

Understanding the elements of a criminal charge of assault requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will examine the facts of the case and compare them to the elements of the statute charged and render you an opinion as to whether the prosecution can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt; because if the state fails to prove any one element of the charge, you are entitled to an acquittal. This would be difficult for a non-attorney to understand.

The legal elements of assault also may vary from state to state. In general, assaults are general intent crimes. In some situations, for example, if a defendant puts intent at issue by claiming that the assaultive behavior was an accident or was a misunderstanding, the prosecutor must then prove intent by using the accused person’s prior bad acts, regardless of whether or not any charges were filed on the
prior occasion. While, in some cases, assaultive intent may seem hard to prove, you do not want to be out there on your own. Your criminal defense attorney is your best source of information and defense against these charges.

If you end up before a jury by pleading not guilty, how your defense case is presented in court will make the difference in an acquittal or being found guilty. If the circumstances of the assault charge are disputed, you may have a jury trial. In any case, you need an experienced and well respected criminal defense attorney on your side.

Another serious and life- long consequence of an assault conviction is deportation for permanent lawful residents or those who have no legal right to be in the United States. Generally, any crime of violence that has as an element “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another (Title 18 United States Code § 16) where the term imposed is at least one year, whether or not any or all of that term is stayed or suspended at time of sentencing” constitutes an “aggravated felony” under Federal Immigration law. Certain offenses defined as misdemeanors under State Law may be considered “Aggravated Felonies” under Federal Law. Any conviction of a non-citizen for an “aggravated felony” as defined under Title 8 United States Code § 1101(a) (43) will result in removal/deportation, exclusion and denial of naturalization. For example, if a non-citizen who has lived here his entire life and has a family in the United States, is convicted of a misdemeanor assault and receives a probationary term of three years, he may be facing deportation as an additional consequence of the assault conviction.

Roseline D. Feral has 28 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. She has tried more than one hundred jury trials, both in Federal and State courts. She has the experience and professional reputation to help you defend yourself against a charge of assault. To obtain her help, call her at 619-232-1010 for a thirty minute free consultation.

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Family Law Attorney Chicago Dream World Vs Real World

The word Divorce conjures up an image of pain and anxiety in every one’s mind. The good thing is that today’s society no longer consider divorce to be a stigma and does not look down upon women who are single and divorced. If anyone is getting divorced it doesn’t look odd for divorce has become a way of life. It is not only the young couples who are just married who run the risk of divorcing, but even those who have been married for decades tend to divorce too.It has become common for us to see our relatives and friends who have been couples and married for over twenty years breaking up suddenly. It is when such a thing happens to someone close to you that you get affected and go into a thinking mode about the fragile human relationships and life .

Women have always risen above their self and putting themselves behind, they have looked at playing the perfect wife, the perfect mother and the home maker. With today’s generation, women believe in themselves, wish to pursue their dreams and make a mark in their chosen field of interest.Every girl grows up believing in the fairy tale weddings and wanting to meet a prince charming who will swipe her off her feet. But then once she is through with her college and takes up a job, her understanding of life begins to change. If her parents happen to divorce at this time, she is thrown into another world suddenly or her world comes crashing down. This does happen in real life and it happens to many.

Despite the realities, the girls still dream of Mr. Perfect and find a partner to get married to. The romance and the wedding bliss does manage to keep them going for a while and after sometime they fall into a normal routine life. It is then that the reality of life and relationships begins to emerge. Even if the man turns out to be the perfect man of her dreams, the fact of the matter is that she has evolved and her own ideas of perfect relationship are no longer relevant in the real world.

In many cases women manage to work hard and build a successful career for themselves, maintain a home and manage their family too. The day begins with playing multiple roles and attending to multiple tasks till the end of the day. Somewhere down the line the time comes when suddenly she finds that he husband has moved away from the relationship and when this reality strikes, he decides to leave home. He leaves the home and she is left wondering whatever happened and where did she fail?. She remembers all of the sacrifices that she made for his sake. She would have given up all that she has and move to another town to start a new life all over again, just because she wanted him to go ahead and start his new business in new town.But in reality, she has been a super woman all through. The actual fact is that the man has not been able to accept graciously the fact that his wife has been a super woman and an achiever. Somewhere along he would have started drifting away from the relationship but she would not have realised it. But then coming back to the present reality, the relationship is over. Even if the couple consider continuing with their marriage, it is pointless and will not survive for long.In such a situation is Divorce not warranted? Think for yourself.

How to Choose An individual’s Tungsten Engagement Rings

All that is definitely everlasting is usually shift. It goes for the purpose of weddings overly. Over the years people have went out of the classic bright wedding ceremony turn out to be even more ambitious utilizing their themes or templates. Wedding bridal ring is forgotten inside foray and one of your thoughts instantly rising in popularity could be the tungsten ring.This chemically ideal time period just for tungsten jewelry will be tungsten carbide considering they are manufactured from an ingredient who has the two tungsten and also h2o. Eliminate the h2o and along with the engagement ring is certainly not even more than a run-of-the-mill type of material without having the even more good taste which in turn is just not a product you choose.

Tungsten Rings

Tungsten carbide is among the most difficult materials in the world, next only to gem. The reality is stones should be found in that producing steps involved in this specific necklaces. Using a terrible afternoon, you may virtually sludge hammer apart at the wedding band without having stressing regarding denting this rock band. While you might n’t want everyone believing that you might have went marked chattering mad.A regular disbelief who adheres to the following the reality is that in case an important tungsten carbide diamond ring can get caught on the ring finger, you’ll want to suffer a loss of the two. Less than. That bridal ring is generally easily cleaned up and removed by just a health care professional. With no, your personal handy doesn’t have to be minimize as well as yanked from along the way.These are somewhat heavy because the product may be a significant combination. Despite the fact that they often a bit of becoming accustomed to, shipment be transporting a powerful hippo with your kids finger which means you should not discount these individuals down as of this time.

Cobalt Wedding Rings

Re-polishing is undoubtedly possibly not from the tungsten carbide thesaurus. Many people preserve the main gleam. I trapped myself going to express individuals years softly even so the issue is really because you shouldn’t time in any respect. Clearly, not really concerning visual appearance. What longevity can you become?Sparkling magical best talks about home furniture regarding tungsten carbide. Still, if you happen to need this added air flow about program and class, charcoal tungsten carbide companies are definitely the strategy to use. This differentiation between the raven charcoal group of musicians along with a beautiful gem into position might be above lovely. Incidents where curse in which precious stones look bigger on black this fabric. Nevertheless Let me leave that to be able to determine.

Tungsten Wedding Rings

Tungsten is definitely chemically inert consequently it isn’t going to interact with high sodium mineral water or even the sun’s rays. Put differently, there’s really no need to worry concerning rust. It is additionally hypo-allergenic which suggests anyone can use them, even especially those with very sensitive body. Nonetheless, be cautious about construct y carry cobalt. In truth, jog for the mountains if you found 1 because they purpose major pores and skin pain. Typically the safe substitute made use of by nearly all jewelers might be impeccable.It in contrast should not be resized. Still, quite a few jewelry retailers do offer your entire life make certain in order to change an individual’s call when needed. If you can’t guarantee how the dimensions of a person’s ring finger will not likely change as time passes, you need to locate one.The prevailing inconvenience wherever tungsten carbide wedding rings in order to is the fact they’re not smear free of cost. You will have to take it off every once in a at the same time to freshen up the application using a smooth fabric. That’s about that to perform to make it giving the impression of its brand new.

A Guide to Retirement Home Activities

Need help making a decision about Assisted Living or Independent Living?

If you and your parents have decided it is time to move them into an assisted living facility it is very likely you’ve started doing your research. When selecting the right senior care it is very important that you investigate a number of different things. We all know the list of minimum important services assisted independent living locations offer such as housekeeping services, laundry services, and dining services. Bearing this in mind there is certainly so much more that can be given to the senior care residents to enhance their life and the enjoyment of their stay.

A senior living facility is there to look after the emotional well-being of their clients in addition to a senior’s medical needs. It is for this reason you should look for a facility that offers some incredible indoor and outdoor activities for each and every person in the senior home. The residents of the facility should have a say in the activities that are offered and there should be offerings for seniors at all levels of physical abilities.

A retirement facility will offer a variety of healthful and fun activities for their residents.

We would like to take the time to discuss some of the activities that independent living residents would appreciate on a daily basis. While there is a large list full of many exciting activities, it is by no means all-inclusive. These are just ideas to consider and things to look for when searching for the ideal facility in your area. We find that retirement facility residents enjoy variety, so an ever changing schedule based on the residents’ needs and wants is ideal. Of course, the facility should take care to keep the activities that are well received as well. The independent living facility should conduct ongoing assessments of the opinions of their residents to make sure that they are providing exactly what the seniors desire and eliminating some of the misses.

Remember, activities should be both indoor and outdoor because fresh air is important. More than likely, the more often residents spend time outdoors the happier and healthier they are. Getting the opportunity to move around and stay physically active is important to daily health. On top of getting out and about and moving some muscles on a daily basis, residents will have a chance to socialize when participating in regular activities. This also contributes to the emotional well-being of everyone in the retirement facility.

Mental, physical and emotional well-being should all be a priority at the facility you choose.

Very much in line with promoting the emotional well-being of assisted living residents, look for a facility that offers spiritual services and things like Bible study groups for those who would love to attend. You may find at some facilities that these activities wind up being the most popular. And sometimes residents love to just be able to kick back and enjoy themselves, which is why facilities should also offer things like karaoke night, billiards and bowling, bingo, as well as movie screenings with concessions. These are the kinds of activities you should expect to find at the best assisted and independent living facilities in the country, and some places will go the extra mile to make sure they offer things others would not even think of. Some of the additional activities you may find in your research are pet therapy, exercise classes, and even scheduled weekly trips to the local shopping malls or community events.

The decision process is difficult so information is the key.

We know going into a retirement home can be a very difficult process for both the senior and family members. Look for a facility that will do absolutely everything humanly possible to make sure the process is not only painless but extremely enjoyable. Visit every facility in your area without your senior loved one and decide on the top two or three facilities. Then bring your loved one to see them. Make your senior part of the process if possible and they will receive the decision better and more than likely have a smooth transition. All facilities should offer a free guided tour and give you the opportunity to meet their staff and taste their food. We know if you follow this advice the process should go smooth for you.

Driving Under The Influence: Understanding The Concept

Drinking and driving is a serious offence in the US. If you are caught with a high blood alcohol concentration, you can face imprisonment and a fine. It is important to understand this law in order to be able to fight any charge against you.

Laws Related to Drinking and Driving

In Florida, if you are found with a blood alcohol concentration that is either 0.8% or above, it is considered to be illegal. This limit is considered to be the standard limit across the United States of America. However, the law is a little different for those who are driving commercial vehicles. For them, the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) has to be below 0.4%. The law is even less tolerant of individuals who are under the age of 21 and they must have a BAC of below 0.2%.

So in simple terms, how much alcohol does that amount to? The best possible solution is not drink at all if you are planning to drive. Even though there is no exact measure as to how much alcohol makes up the 0.8% limit, a lot of studies show that each drink you consume could increase the concentration in your blood by 0.5%. This means that if you have 2 drinks, you will probably be over the limit.

What Penalties Could you Face for Driving Under the Influence?

There are three forms of punishment that you are likely to face for a DUI conviction. These include a fine, imprisonment and community service. A combination of all three is usually given to those found guilty of this offence.

The fine can start at $500 for a first time conviction and go up to $2,000 for a fourth conviction. Imprisonment can be up to 6 months for the first conviction and up to 5 years for the fourth conviction. Community service can start at 50 hours and increase based on the number of convictions. The vehicle of the driver may also be impounded and the court could make it mandatory to pass a DUI test. The driver’s license will also be suspended.

As for those who are found guilty of this offence and are under the age of 21 years, there is a no tolerance policy and they will be subjected to punishments that are more severe than the prescribed penalties for those above the age of 21 years.

Why do you need an Attorney?

There are a number of reasons why you should hire a good DUI attorney if you are caught driving under the influence.

Firstly, it may be possible that you have wrongly been charged and your attorney may be able to drop the charges.

Secondly, for first time convictions, it is possible to plead for reckless driving instead so that your punishment is not as severe.

Thirdly, it is important to apply for a work permit and hardship license only within 10 days of the arrest. The attorney will inform you about all of the options available and get the best deal possible for you.

The Law Office of Philip Averbuck is a well-known criminal defense attorney office who fights all kinds of charges ranging from domestic violence to DUI. This law office believes in representing the accused to the best of their capacity and trying to get the case dismissed or the best possible deal for their client. Also check out our new page on Driving Under The Influence.

The Latest Development and Tax Issues of Islamic Bond Market in Hong Kong

Islamic finance is one of the fastest growing sectors in the international financial market. Given the strategic importance and influence of the Middle East investors, Islamic finance is increasingly in demand by investors wanting investment and financing products compliant with Islamic law (known as “Shariah”).

During recent years, a number of Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Singapore have captured a large portion of Islamic finance activity in the region and have changed their tax law to cater for this. In order to maintain competitive edge as an international financial centre and to enhance investment flows between Mainland China and the Middle East, the Hong Kong government have already enforced some amended tax and stamp duty legislations to facilitate the Islamic bond (known as “Sukuk”) market development in Hong Kong.

What is Sukuk?

Sukuk are a form of Shariah-compliant financial product, which essentially replicate the financial profile of a bond, but without the receipt or payment of interest (known as “Riba”), which is forbidden under Shariah.

A company hoping to raise finance through Sukuk shall normally issue certificates to investors for cash and identify assets that are then ring-fenced in some way. Essentially, the concept of Sukuk is similar to the securitization of assets. It is a process in which assets are pooled together, repackaged as tradable certificates of investments and transferred to a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Then the SPV funds the purchase of assets by way of issuing Sukuk to investors. The investors shall be able to earn revenue produced from the underlying assets during the life of the Sukuk.

Sukuk have a defined period of investment and provide investors with a relatively foreseeable stream of income or return, which is similar to conventional bonds. Sukuk, however, are distinguished from conventional bonds in that they do not represent the beneficial ownership of a debt instrument but tangible assets. As such, the risk and liability of the underlying asset rather than the risk of insolvency of debtors will be borne by the Sukuk holders. Moreover, the performance or the operation and management of the underlying asset, which are not fixed ex-ante, shall determine the return of the Sukuk holders. Nevertheless, Sukuk can be structured in a number of different ways and usually involve complex structures and multiple transfers of underlying assets, which may also give rise to different levels of risk, predictability of returns, periods of investment, types of assets and liquidity, that is, the tradability in the secondary market.

Most of the Sukuk issued are the leasing type (known as “Ijarah Sukuk”). Under an Ijarah structure, assets such as buildings, land, machinery and property are sold to a SPV using funds raised from investors. Lease income are paid by the issuer to the SPV, which are passed to investors until maturity when the issuer repurchases the assets.

The latest development of Sukuk in Hong Kong

Hong Kong issued its first USD 1 billion inaugural five-year Sukuk in September last year which used the Ijarah structure that has underlying tangible assets of 100 percent in the issued amount. The second government Sukuk to raise USD 1.1 billion in May this year used a structure called the Wakalah, which has one-third of assets invested in selected units in an office building in Hong Kong, and two-third of the assets underpinned by Shariah-compliant commodities.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which handled the issue on behalf of the government, confirmed that the issue was popular and it received USD 2 billion in orders from 49 global institutional investors including central banks and sovereign funds among others. The orders were double its USD 1 billion issue size. The five-year bond was priced at 1.894 percent, which was lower than last year’s issue and was 35 basis points over 5-year US Treasuries. This new government Sukuk was listed on June 3 in the stock exchange of Hong Kong, Nasdaq Dubai and Bursa Malaysia. Buyers of the Sukuk included 42 percent from the Middle East, 43 percent from Asia and 15 percent from Europe. 23 percent of the bonds were sold to central banks or sovereign wealth funds while the rest to banks or fund managers.

The tax issues of Sukuk in Hong Kong

The key uncertainties arising from Sukuk transactions are that the arrangement itself operates in the form of equity finance but is in substance similar to debt finance. If the tax consequences of the constituent transactions are determined based on their legal form rather than their economic substance, simply applying the tax laws in the old days would undermine the economic purpose of the Sukuk transactions giving rise to the effective tax cost of the Sukuk transactions being largely higher than that of a conventional bond financing transaction.

To allow Sukuk to receive the same tax treatment, the Hong Kong government introduced legislative amendments to the Inland Revenue Ordinance and Stamp Duty Ordinance, thereby ensuring that Sukuk can enjoy the same treatment as traditional debt securities, which essentially involved an exemption from Profits Tax and Property Tax and a remission of Stamp Duty, achieving a level playing field for the development of Sukuk in Hong Kong.


The legal, taxation and regulatory frameworks in Hong Kong are readily available for supporting Sukuk issuance. The development pace of the Hong Kong Sukuk market will be market-driven, subject to a number of factors including the development of global Sukuk market, investor demand, funding cost, the availability of different fund-raising channels, etc.

As a mature financial centre, Hong Kong is well-positioned to develop as a Sukuk market. Hong Kong government has proved its commitment to provide the tax and regulatory framework to promote the industry. Hong Kong is already well-placed to provide a gateway for investors who are interested in Asia, particularly Mainland China, by structuring Shariah-compliant financial instruments with underlying Asian assets.

New Child Car Seat Laws in New Jersey

The correct car seat for your child can be a lifesaver when installed and utilized accurately.


The proper use of child care seats is the most effective method to protect children in the event of a car accident. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that infant and child car seats reduce the risk of infant deaths by 71%, and 54% for toddlers ages one to four.

In order to keep children safe in the event of a car accident, modifications and recommendations to car seat laws are necessary to coincide with new car safety technology and related research findings. New Jersey recently amended its current child car seat laws with changes in effect starting September 1, 2015.

New Jersey’s most important update to the car seat law complies with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation that children remain in rear facing car seats until the age of two. Keeping the car seat rear facing for as long as possible significantly reduces the risk of small children being fatally injured in car accidents, according to the AAP.

South Jersey Car Accident Lawyers explain New Jersey Child Car Seat Law Amendments
Two year olds and under that weigh less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear facing restraint system that has a five point harness

Four year olds and under that weigh less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a rear facing five point harness system until the child outgrows the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications OR a forward facing car seat that has a five point harness

Eight year olds and children under 57” tall must remain in a five point harness restraint system until they outgrow the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications.

Child car seats should always be placed in the middle of the vehicle’s back seat for the best possible protection. In the event that a car does not have a rear seat, the side passenger airbags must be disabled prior to placing a car seat in the front. Never place a rear facing car seat near an airbag; the force of the airbag deployment will harm a child.

The state of New Jersey addresses child safety in car accidents as a top concern; therefore, it is important for parents to determine the age and size appropriate seat for their child. In addition, correct installation and use is necessary in order to provide the best protection for a child. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic and Safety found that three out of four child car seats are not properly secured or restrained. Refer to the manufacturer’s height and weight specifications and installation instructions when purchasing a child car seat.

Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Florida

Most people are aware of penalties that people face for possessing, selling, manufacturing, or delivering a controlled substance. However, many others are surprised to learn that Florida also criminalizes the possession, sale, manufacture, or delivery of certain types of paraphernalia.

Under Florida Statute § 893.145, drug paraphernalia is defined as being “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing” a controlled substance into the human body. Examples of paraphernalia listed under the statute include, but are not limited to the following examples of items that may be used, intended for use, or designed for use in certain controlled substance activities:

Kits for manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances or planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived.

Isomerization devices for increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or testing equipment for identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of, illegal drugs.

Scales and balances for weighing or measuring illegal drugs.

Diluents and adulterants for cutting illegal drugs.

Separation gins and sifters for removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, cannabis.

Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices for compounding controlled substances.

Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers for packaging small quantities of illegal drugs or containers and other objects for storing, concealing, or transporting illegal drugs.

Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects for injecting illegal drugs into the human body.

Objects for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing cannabis, cocaine, hashish, hashish oil, or nitrous oxide into the human body, such as bongs, roach clips, various pipes, or many other types of objects.

There are multiple crimes listed under Florida Statute § 893.147 that a person may be charged with relating to paraphernalia. These include:

Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for any person to use or possess with intent to use paraphernalia.

Manufacture or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a third-degree felony for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver paraphernalia.

Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia to a Minor – It is a second-degree felony for any person 18 years of age or over to deliver paraphernalia he or she knows or reasonably should know will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal an illegal drug, or inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body to a person under 18 years of age. It is a first-degree misdemeanor if the alleged offender sells or otherwise delivers hypodermic syringes, needles, or other objects which may be used, are intended for use, or are designed for use in injecting substances into the human body to any person under 18 years of age.

Transportation of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a third-degree felony for any person to use, possess with the intent to use, or manufacture with the intent to use paraphernalia, knowing or under circumstances in which one reasonably should know that it will be used to transport a controlled substance or illegal contraband.

Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for any person to place any advertisement in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication, knowing or under circumstances where one reasonably should know that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as paraphernalia.

Retail Sale of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and a third-degree felony for a second or subsequent offense if any person knowingly and willfully sells or offers for sale at retail any paraphernalia, other than a pipe that is primarily made of briar, meerschaum, clay, or corn cob.

While drug paraphernalia charges can certainly have very serious consequences, alleged offenders usually have multiple defenses in these cases. In addition to questioning the grounds on which law enforcement may have seized the alleged paraphernalia, there are often questions about who actually possessed the alleged paraphernalia and whether the paraphernalia was actually used for an illegal drug as many times these types of equipment, products, and materials can have other lawful purposes.

Andrew Stine is a criminal defense attorney at the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A. in West Palm Beach. He aggressively defends clients against charges involving manufacture, delivery, transportation, advertisement, retail sale, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia as well as many other drug crimes. Stine is licensed in state and federal courts in Florida, and he represents clients throughout Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, and more.

Drug Recognition Experts

When a person is suspected of driving under the influence, law enforcement officers are tasked with determining the level of the driver’s intoxication. In many instances, a person could be asked to submit to a breath test if he or she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. If a person is intoxicated by a controlled substance, an officer trained in detecting drug use could be required.

Drug Recognition Experts, or DREs, are police officers who have undergone extensive training to recognize drivers who are under the influence of drugs or narcotics. Rather than simply administering a chemical test of a person’s breath at a traffic stop, these officers must use other tactics to determine if the driver is under the influence of a drug.

The DRE program is used by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.There are a series of steps a person must complete before he or she can become a DRE.

One of the major aspects of DRE training is two weeks of classroom instruction. This allows the officer to study the seven drug categories, eye examinations and conducting the field sobriety tests. Officers also learn the examination of vital signs, case preparation, courtroom testimony and Curriculum Vitae preparation.

Officers then are required to take a written examination and pass with a score of 80 percent or higher. They also must complete 12 evaluations on drug-impaired subjects under the supervision of a trained DRE. The officers must identify a person under the influence of at least three of the seven drug categories and earn a minimum 75 percent toxicological corroboration rate.

For the final step, an officer must pass a knowledge examination and be approved by two DRE instructors. If the officer completes the requirements, he or she becomes “certified” by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, or the IACP.

The DRE evaluation involves a 12-step process that officers must administer if they suspect a person of driving under the influence of a drug or narcotic. The officer cannot make a conclusion based on one aspect of the steps, but on the overall process.

The 12-step process can include:

1. A breath alcohol test;
2. Interview of the arresting officer;
3. Medical evaluation to determine if the impairment is the result of a medical impairment;
4. Examination of the eyes, such as a horizontal gaze nystagmus;
5. Divided attention psychophysical tests, including the one-leg stand and finger-to-nose test;
6. Examination of vital signs, including pulse rates, blood pressure and temperature;
7. Dark room examination to estimate the suspect’s pupil size;
8. Examination of muscle tone;
9. Examination for injection sites;
10. Questioning the suspect and documenting his or her statements;
11. Documenting observations and opinions of the evaluator; and
12. Blood or urine tests to determine intoxication level.

Once the assessment is complete, the officer can make some sort of conclusion as to whether the driver is impaired by a controlled substance and, if so, what the substance would be. This determination then could be used in charging the person with a DUID or even as evidence in the case. Drivers still can fight these charges, and an experienced drugged driving attorney can help.

David Coolidge is a criminal defense lawyer and founder of Coolidge Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. David represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, drugged driving, marijuana offenses, drug charges and more in the Research Triangle and surrounding communities. He has extensive knowledge of drunk and drugged driving cases, and he has taken several courses on field sobriety testing and DWI cases.

Does America Have to Follow International Laws?

Attorneys often experience a passionate client coming into their office and insisting that they have a case based on something they read about happening in another country. In other instances, people will invoke rights they believe they have under treaties or international agreements like the Geneva Convention. Thus, many wonder whether American courts must follow international laws?

Sadly, the question is a mix of politics and law, so a definitive answer is difficult to manage. Generally speaking, if the United States is the party to a legal action, it is supposed to be bound to the obligations to which it has agreed in treaties with other nations. For example, if the United States has an extradition agreement with another nation, it should be obligated to follow that treaty. That would mean having to turn over an individual accused of a crime that would also be a crime in the United States. For the most part, the US will abide by such agreements. But, there have been instances where the government has refused to turn someone over for trial for political reasons.

Similarly, the United States is fairly notorious around the world for only abiding by international agreements when it finds them convenient. For example, when the United States invaded Iraq despite a vote against such action by the United Nations Security Council. That vote should have precluded military action by the United States, but the US proceeded anyway, later seeking the support of several other nations to legitimize the move. Other examples have included conducting military actions on the sovereign soil of foreign nations during peacetime, engaging in espionage, and disregarding agreements regarding the environment.

However, contrary to what many believe, there is no actual international law. What is commonly referred to as international law is really just a conglomeration of treaties, precedents derived from international dealings, and contracts. There is no international body that truly enforces international agreements, except to the extent that the United Nations may authorize member states to use coercive or even military sanctions. Even then, some nations, such as those on the security council, have broad de facto immunity. Thus, many international laws only apply to these countries to the extent that they agree to be bound by them.

These issues can be even more frustrating for individuals trying to determine how to proceed in disputes against persons and entities from other countries. Questions can arise as to whether the laws of another country can be enforced in an American courtroom. While it may surprise many, the answer is actually yes, foreign laws can be enforced in American courts under some circumstances.

Most commonly, these cases deal with contractual disputes where parties agree to be bound by the laws of a foreign nation, but where the transaction occurs on American soil. In some cases, it can also happen when foreign governments engage in business in America with American citizens.

Generally speaking, the parties in such a case must ask the court to determine whether the foreign laws apply and if they do, whether they can be enforced in an American court. Foreign laws will only be enforced if they do not directly contradict the laws of the United States such that enforcement would create a domestic law violation. Thus, a contractual agreement that relies on aspects of sharia law to interpret its terms may be entirely valid, while a contract to enforce an agreement that amounts to human trafficking would not be.

These cases often become incredibly complicated, and often lead to appeals, regardless of the outcome, given the uncertainty involved in applying overlapping and possibly conflicting legal standards. Thus, it is critical to contact an attorney if dealing with this type of dispute. An attorney will be able to help a party navigate the difficult political and legal considerations involved with such disputes, and be best prepared to respond to subsequent attacks on the decision, whether on appeal or issues with enforcement. To find an attorney in your area that may be able to help you with such a dispute, visit and use the attorney search function.

Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

Family law attorneys specialize in a variety of cases, including cases that involve divorce, child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support and guardianships. There are many reasons to hire a family law attorney and many benefits that can be reaped when retaining the services of a legal professional.

Familiarity with Cases If you receive paperwork regarding a family law matter or you initiate a proceeding regarding a family matter, you are likely a novice who has never dealt with the issues at hand previously in your life. Even if you have contested the matter on a previous occasion, your familiarity with the family court system is likely limited. Family lawyers are familiar with all aspects that pertain to cases and will know how to handle paperwork that you receive.

Procedural Issues Family attorneys are aware of various civil procedures that can affect your case. Each state has its own set of rules pertaining to how a party can be properly served with papers pertaining to family law cases. Attorneys are also aware of jurisdictional restraints and will comply with these restraints so that your case is not immediately thrown out. These matters are very important and can dictate whether a subsequent ruling is valid or not. If a party was not served properly or if the court does not have jurisdiction, the case must start all over and any decisions that were made in the interim will be overruled.

Knowledge Family lawyers make their living convincing judges and other parties of the merits of his clients’ cases. They are knowledgeable about all aspects pertaining to family law and the various elements that must be proven in each family law case. For example, a lawyer must prove that a change in custody is in a child’s best interest. This standard is determined based on numerous factors, including past physical violence, alcohol abuse or drug abuse, the child’s relationship with both parents, the amount of time that he has spent with both children and other factors. Most lay persons do not have this knowledge of the law and do not know which information may be relevant during court proceedings.

Stakes One of the most important reason to hire a family attorney is to protect your rights. The stakes of these type cases are often high, including children being removed from the home by a child protection services agency, losing custody to another parent, losing assets through a divorce or not being able to protect a family member who is not capable of caring for himself. When the stakes are so high, it is important to hire a professional who can handle these matters and advocate for your rights.

Likelihood of Success Hiring a family lawyer increases the likelihood that you will succeed in your case. Judges recognize when parents hire attorneys that they are serious about the family law matter and are willing to sacrifice financially in order to pursue a matter in which they believe. A party who does not have adequate counsel is less likely to be taken seriously.

Level Playing Field When one party has an attorney and the other party does not have his own legal representation, this can quickly cause an imbalance of power and bargaining power. The party with legal counsel will likely intimidate the other party and will have an advantage inside and outside of the courtroom.

Hiring a family law attorney increases the resources that you will have access to for your case. A family law attorney has access to paralegals, researchers and investigators who will help to prove the necessary elements of your claim and handle your case. Attorneys can use decisions from prior cases to help guide the court in making a decision that is advantageous for you. Attorneys will also help complete paperwork and comply with filing requirements.

Broward County Drug Court Program

Drug courts and corresponding programs have become popular tools used throughout the country to aid drug offenders and help end the cycles of drug abuse and criminal activity. The programs generally serve as ways to rehabilitate a person, rather than simply punish the action through criminal proceedings.

Counties throughout Florida have been active in creating and using these systems, such as the Broward County Drug Court. The court is the third oldest drug court program in the nation, and for more than two decades it has worked alongside organizations to help rehabilitate thousands of offenders. This often has served as an alternative to jail or prison.

The Broward County Drug Court provides a network and a supportive system of rehabilitation that requires offenders to comply with supervision and treatment guidelines. The court works with Broward Sheriff’s Office, Department of Corrections, and the State Attorney’s Office to monitor and treat those in the program.

However, there are certain requirements a person must meet to be eligible to enter into the program. Some requirements include:

• The defendant must be at least 18 years old;
• He or she must have no prior felony convictions;
• He or she must be charged with a second or third degree felony as defined in Florida Statute Section 893.13;
• The charge must allege the purchase or possession of a controlled substance; and
• The charge does not allege he or she intended to sell or deliver a controlled substance.

In some instances, if a person is charged with a substance abuse charge, such as obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription, he or she also could be eligible for the program if the other requirements are met. This also could apply if a person is charged with solicitation to deliver a controlled substance or tampering with evidence involving a controlled substance.

When a person is arrested for a qualifying offense, he or she is screened immediately to determine if they could potentially be enrolled in the drug court. If a person is accepted, he or she would not waive his or her constitution rights, except the right to a speedy trial. Once in the program, the defendant would enter a plea of not guilty without having to admit any culpability.

Participants are enrolled in a multi-phase outpatient treatment program. The program consists of weekly or daily therapy, counseling and education sessions, in addition to frequent drug tests to ensure participants remain sober while enrolled in the program.

Participants also could be required to attend hearings before a judge, either bi-weekly or 30 days. A strict rehabilitation program entailing vocational, educational, family, medical and other support services also could be required for Broward County Drug Court participants.

If a participant successfully completes the program, he or she could have the charges against them dismissed. This means having a clean criminal record and avoiding the penalties associated with the charge, such as jail or prison time and other sanctions. Failing to comply with the rules of the program could result in facing the initial criminal charges.

Participation in drug court programs can be beneficial to those facing criminal charges in Broward County. Following the rules of the program and the necessary steps could mean avoiding a lifetime of consequences. A Fort Lauderdale drug defense attorney can review the facts of the case and help offenders determine their eligibility in the program.

Steven Bell has more than a decade of legal experience as a criminal defense lawyer. He is a founding partner at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, and the firm represents clients facing  drug charges, DUI, violent crimes, marijuana offenses and more in Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and surrounding areas.

How to Protect and Save Assets that Remained in Crimea

As a result of the illegal annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, many owners of the property and assets in the Crimea have gotten quite difficult issue: how to protect and save these assets?

Many Ukrainian companies and foreign owners have owned assets in Crimea. Because of the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation quite difficult issues about protecting or rescuing these assets appear.

One of the main obstacles for saving business assets is the fact that Ukraine has closed access to all state registries about the property in Crimea. According to this decision, in addition to positive moments (it helps to preserve the information in state registries about the property from illegal actions of third parties), there are negative moments, as a result of this action the notary (who makes real estate transactions according to Ukrainian law) cannot work with documents for property in Crimea. Ukraine blocked access to registers of property rights on real estate, individual acts, personal data of owners of real estate, information about enforcement proceedings, etc. This led, in fact, to “freeze” of all assets in Crimea. On the other side, Russian state registries have not started their work yet, and the legal nature of the information from these registries about the property in Crimea raises more questions than answers.

It is well known that the most valuable assets, first of all, are real estate, it is impossible to move it from Crimea to other territory. So we can offer the following list of actions to protect and save assets.

First of all, it should be understood that in this situation the main value acquire title establishing documents for the real estate on tangible media that will make possible justifying your right for some property. According to this you need to put in order all title establishing documents and other documents of title for the property in Crimea, including title establishing documents for land-property, and try to get any other documents using all methods (even semi legal). As it is not a secret that the search for and provision of documents in Crimea “retroactively” has become a kind of business for clerks. We should not forget that not only property documents can be useful but also the documents establishing other facts, such as documents about using of mineral resources, the exclusive rights of commercial structures, etc.

It is possible to initiate lawsuits with these documents for returning of material losses or return/refund business after the establishment of Ukrainian jurisdiction over Crimea. There are no reason to non-accept the title establishing documents for the property in Crimea issued by Ukrainian state institutions in the past. That is why such kinds of documents will be accepted by courts, including international courts. All these documents may be the evidence of guilt of Russia as a state which encroached on the property of third parties in Crimea and created the conditions for violations of the right for private property (which is guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950 and Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention).

European Court of Human Rights (referred to as “ECHR”) believes that the defendant is always the state that actually holds an annexation, as in this case such state brings its jurisdiction in the occupied territories. There are some cases in ECHR with affairs of the state arbitrariness (look at case №20680/92 dated November 15, 1996 “Tsomtsos and others v Greece”, №19385/92 dated November 15, 1996 “Katikaridis and others v Greece”), denial of access to the property (look at case №15318/89 dated December 18, 1996 “Loizidou v Turkey”). The last case is very interesting due to the fact that the ECHR fully rejected arguments of the Turkish government that the political situation in Cyprus had justified a permanent denial of access of Greek Cypriots people to the property located on the territory controlled by Turkey. The ECHR stated that the establishment of actual barriers can be considered as a violation of the European Convention in the same way as a based on the law restriction which is very similar to the situation with Russian annexation of the Crimea.

However, if we consider the option of assets protection through the ECHR, the application to the international court have to be sent after the exhaustion of protecting rights and interests at the national courts, including the highest level. And the case “Loizidou v Turkey” can be very useful in this situation, because circumstances indicate that firstly we have to apply to national authorities of Russia as an aggressor-state. At the same time, we should not forget about the criterion of an effectiveness of national courts which the ECHR uses in considering of individual applications. According to this criterion, courts should be effective not only in theory but also in practice, i.e., available at the time of trial, they have to be able to satisfy the claim, and to have a reasonable prospect of a positive outcome.

There is the opinion that it is possible to apply a complaint directly to the ECHR, due to the fact of absence of effective remedies in Crimea for Ukrainian property and property rights. The position of the European Community concerning the evaluation of the actions of Russia is obvious. We can use the case of Catherine Rakhno like an example. It is about the abduction of her husband Eugene Rakhno in Crimea. The complaint was quickly transferred from the ECHR to governments of Ukraine and Russia for communication. We would like to note that the deadline for applying an individual application to the ECHR is only six months. Do not forget about it. Therefore, if you want to apply to the ECHR without decisions of national institutions, you should prepare substantiation (including some of the documents) that, to a certain point of time, there was no evidence of risk for property and rights for it, and these risks and threats have come just now.

We should also consider the protection of investments made in Crimea. Firstly, the investor who had invested in Crimea has to check whether the country of his/her residence or the country of his/her entity’s residence has a bilateral agreement with Russia on mutual protection of investments. For today, there are a lot of such agreements between Russia and other economically developed countries, including the United States of America, Netherlands, Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Armenia. Moreover, many agreements require protection against direct and indirect investments. If yes, then this investor has an opportunity to protect their investments and property rights in Crimea through application to international arbitration. Unfortunately, Russia has signed but not ratified the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, so it is impossible to use such legal instrument like the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID, Washington) for the protection of investments in Crimea.

Summing up, we can say that the issue of protection of assets and investments in Crimea is rather complicated and time-consuming. At the same time, foreign owners of assets and investments in Crimea can use more possibilities to protect their rights and interests, and so advise to take an advantage of such opportunities and to collect necessary documents and evidence for further legal protection in international court institutions.

The Difference Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

There are two comprehensive categories of law used in the United States legal system: civil law and criminal law. Although separate types of cases, some crimes can be both a civil and criminal violation of law. Continue reading to learn the differences between civil and criminal law, as well as, examples of such cases.

Civil Law

Civil law is the area of the American legal system that manages disputes or wrong-doings between private parties. A common example of such cases involve injuries. If someone is wrongfully injured by another person demonstrating negligence or malicious intent, they can ask the courts to decide who is at-fault and if the negligent party should pay remuneration to the injured person. The same goes for family law and divorce cases, disagreements over property ownership, breach of contracts, wrongful terminations, and more.

Anyone found guilty of a civil crime or infraction will not be subjected to jail time, government fines, or capital punishment. Instead, most civil litigations end with a negligent party being order to compensate the injured party for their losses and any additional damages caused by the defendant’s negligence. Recompense is often times paid by the defendant’s insurance provider, but sometimes, they must pay out of pocket. If they have no money, assets, or insurance, an injured person may not receive any recompense, even if it is court-ordered.

As for burden of proof, civil cases and criminal cases differ greatly. In civil law, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their damages or the negligent act of the opposing party. Once the plaintiff party reveals their proof of negligence, the defendant also has a burden to disprove the plaintiff’s proof and convince the courts of their innocence. In a civil case, a plaintiff and a defendant must hire and pay for their own attorney, or choose to defend themselves. Only in criminal cases will the state offer a lawyer for free.

Criminal Law

In contrast to civil law, criminal law involves crimes against the state, government, or society in whole, rather than a private party or person. Criminal violations, like felonies and misdemeanors, are subjected to state and federal punishment; therefore, guilty person’s face jail time, governmental fines, and in extreme cases, the death penalty. Although a murder is a crime against a person, the crime itself goes against state and federal law, therefore making it a criminal case, rather than a civil one. These cases go to a jury trial where defendants are prosecuted by the state. In criminal litigation, defendants are allowed to appoint their own attorney, or have one appointed to them by the state if they cannot afford to pay for one themselves.

In criminal law, the burden of proof shifts to a more complex principle. First, it is always up to the state prosecutors to provide evidence in order to prove that a defendant is guilty. All people are innocent until proven guilty, so the defendant has no burden of proving their own innocence at all in a criminal case. There are a few exceptions to this rule, in the case of insanity claims and self-defense claims. The state has the responsibility of proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a defendant is guilty of the crime in question. There has to be virtually 100% certainty that a defendant is guilty for a jury to hand down a guilty verdict.

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