• Bankruptcy and the State of Collections

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 30, 2014 | 10:29 am

    A recent story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune andMinnesota Public Radio reported that about 1 in 3 Americans is incollection, meaning that  they have accounts that are behind or indefault.

    Why is this number so high in a time of economic recovery?  Even whenwe are not in recession, millions of Americans either make in incometoo low to pay their bills, or have unexpected high expenses, usuallymedical bills that they cannot pay, even with a decent income.  Becausemost of the benefits of recent economic expansion have gone to the topincome brackets and large corporations, including the financial servicesindustry, most of the middle and working classes have seen stagnantincomes and increased expenses.

    What does this mean to you?

    If you cannot pay your debt do not feel ashamed, you are not alone. When you are in collection your credit drops, meaning it will probablynot get much, if any worse by your filing bankruptcy.  Take a look atbankruptcy as an option to get out from under your bills and get out ofcollections.

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  • Child Support and Family Law

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 16, 2014 | 10:31 am

    Few issues get people as firedup as child support.  Just about every week people tell me that thechild support they are paying, or getting in their case is too much, ortoo little.

    Child Support in Minnesota is calculated based on a formula that considers theincomes of both parents, though the income of the parent paying supportis given more weight, the parenting time schedule and the cost of insurance for the children and childcare.  The personalexpenses of the parents are considered by the courts, but rarely havean impact on how much support is paid. 

     Bottom line, maintaining two households ismore expensive than one.  When families split, everyone usually has lessmoney to cover their expenses.  Raising kids is expensive enoughwithout paying to keep two households.  Child support is a source offrustration because, in most  cases, both the parent paying support andthe parent getting support have a lower standard of living than theyenjoyed when they were together. 

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  • Minnesota Criminal Law, Expungement, and DWI

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 13, 2014 | 09:33 am

    It is easy when charged with a crime to focus on the short term issues, whether you will go to jail, how much of a fine you might pay or how much your attorney will cost.  Facing a misdemeanor where you will not go to jail, and the fine will be fairly small, it is tempting to save money by not hiring an attorney and representing yourself.  

    The problem with that approach is the long term impacts of a conviction, which can cost tens of thousands in lost work opportunity, loss of work licenses, and other impacts that do not have a cost, loss of the right to hunt, being labeled as an offender, etc..  

    I cannot tell you how many times people have called me after they have plead guilty and been convicted wanting to take their plea back because their conviction has cost them a job or employment opportunity, a license or the chance to go hunting.  It is usually not possible to undo a conviction after the fact, and even trying usually costs more than the cost of representation in the original case.

          
    Saving money is great, but be careful about saving a little now and paying a lot more later.  

    If you need help sorting out a criminal charge, including DWI, in Minnesota call the skilled attorneys at Ed Shaw Law in Brainerd, Minnesota at 218-825-7030.  


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  • Law and Technology: The bridge to an efficient future

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 9, 2014 | 10:28 am

    I have never beenknown as a cutting edge tech guy.  I do not have cable TV, rarely use mysmart phone for anything but making calls, and would much rather beoutside than in front of a screen.  But, how people do business and uselegal services is changing, and the legal profession needs to be on thecutting edge.  With considerable help from my associate Andrew Wipper,my office is updating our systems to provide the most efficient serviceto our clients.

    Our judicial system has its roots in 13th century England, and thefounding of this country.  Rule of law is critical to a free society. While the judicial system is making some changes to reflect currenttechnology, when I go to the courthouse I am amazed by some of theoutdated practices that I see.  A court reporter is still paid to writedown every word said in the courtroom.  That made sense back in thehorse and buggy days, but not now when quality video recording is easyand inexpensive.  Parties to cases and others are not even allowed torecord the proceedings in any way!  Why not allow recordings, and havean official recording instead of paying someone to record what was said.

    In most courthouses, people are not allowed to bring cell phonesin.  Cell phones can ring at annoying times, but other institutions dealwith them, and the judicial systems customers, those who have businessin the courthouse, need to stay in touch with their families and oftenkeep schedules on their phones.  My clients see and comment on thesepractices, and they are not impressed.  

    Believe it or not, the Minnesota Rules ofCivil Procedure allow faxing as proper service of legal papers, but notemail!  Fax was hot technology in the 80’s, but how many people do youknow who own a fax machine now?  Email was routinely used by most of usin the 90’s when Bill Clinton talked about building a bridge to the 21stcentury.  The judicial system needs to take that bridge. 

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  • Criminal Law - Search & Seizure, Cell Phone Searches

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Sep 16, 2014 | 10:26 am

    Drop the phone and slowly back away.


    Hot off the presses, the United State Supreme Court, in a decisionextending 4th Amendment protections to the 21st century, ruled this weekthat police cannot search your cell phone without a warrant signed by ajudge, even if you are arrested and charged with a crime.  (Read thedecision here). With the ever increasing use of cell phones and with how much data wenow store on these devices it is important to understand how cell phonesearches could affect you criminally.
    The decision in Riley basicallystates that the police can still seize your phone when they arrest you,but they cannot look at the call logs or any other information withoutthe warrant.    
    Suppression is not automatic, you have to make a formalrequest to the court following certain procedures.  This decision hasbeen touted as a major win for privacy advocates as noted in Newsweek and in other major news organizations.  
    If the police searched your phone without awarrant you can ask that the evidence they got off of the phone besuppressed, meaning that they cannot use it against you in court.If yourphone has been taken by any law enforcement agency or you have beencharged with a crime get legal advice right away.  If police ask tosearch your phone you have the right to say “no.”  If you say “no” tocell phone searches by the police, your next call should be to yourattorney.

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  • Criminal Law, DUI and Aitkin County

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Sep 9, 2014 | 10:23 am

    Aitkin County is one of Minnesota’s hidden treasures. Great fishing, hunting, lakes,woods, and one of the best state parks in the state, Savanna Portage. Aitkin County is also famous for some of the most aggressive lawenforcement in the state. Prosecutors there often seek stifferpunishments than in other parts of the state, and I have seen peopleaccused of crimes in Aitkin for actions that I do not consider a crime,and that I have never seen pressed in any other county. Tourists andlocals alike are often surprised to be on the receiving end of AitkinCounty justice.

    What does this mean for you, a resident or visitor to Aitkin?  Beaware that you can get involved in the court system for actions that youmay not consider a crime, and that minor criminal offenses may betreated differently than you expect.  If you find your itineraryincluding a trip to the Aitkin County Courthouse, get good legal helpright away.  Better to leave on probation than to stay at the countyjail. 

    If you need help with an Aitkin County criminal matter or DUI/DWI, contact us at Ed Shaw Law today - 218-825-7030.  If you need immediate help with an Aitkin County criminalcharge, call our on-call line at 218-251-3217. 

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  • Bankruptcy Avoidance: Debt Management

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Sep 9, 2014 | 10:13 am

    Bankruptcy Avoidance: Debt Management

    People often ask me if they should avoid filing bankruptcy because it will damage their credit. The best thing you can do foryour credit if you have debt that you cannot pay is to declarebankruptcy.  If you do not pay the debt, your credit will get bad andstay bad until you pay it off, which usually takes many years, sometimesdecades.  

    Filing bankruptcy eliminates the debt, and allows your credit tostart getting better immediately.  You will be eligible for most homeloans in 3 years, for car and other loans sooner.  Most people who filebankruptcy have better credit afterwards than those in a similarsituation who do not. 

    Stay tuned for the next blog entry, tips from my banker friend about how to rebuild your credit fast, at no cost to you.

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