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REPORTAN MAL USO DE UNA BUENA LEY DE INMIGRACION

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Archive: Mar 2016

REPORTAN MAL USO DE UNA BUENA LEY DE INMIGRACION

 Artículo 16-14

¡No Se Deje! ®

En 2002, el Congreso de Estados Unidos creó la visa U para inmigrantes indocumentados que son víctimas de ciertos crímenes serios específicos.  Los inmigrantes que califican que tiene al menos 21 años de edad también pueden solicitar visas para sus esposas e hijos.  Quienes todavía no tienen los 21 años pueden solicitar a sus padres, esposas, hijos, y hermanos que no están casados y son menores de 18 años.  La ley también permite que las personas que tienen visas temporales de no inmigrantes tales como estudiantes, turistas, y visitantes reciban las Visas U.  Y, las víctimas de crímenes que se han ido de EE.UU. pueden solicitar una Visa U en sus países de origen si cumplen los requisitos bajo la ley.

 

Los legisladores de EE.UU. crearon la Visa U para ayudar a oficiales de la ley y fiscales a encontrar y condenar a criminales violentos.  Reconocieron que el temor a la deportación impedía que los inmigrantes indocumentados víctimas de crímenes los reportaran a la policía y que testificaran contra el criminal.  A consecuencia de ello, los criminales violentos son capaces de evitar las condenas y continuar repetidamente lesionando y/o abusando de las inocentes víctimas.  Proporcionarles visas a estas víctimas les permite adquirir estatus migratorio legal y autorización para trabajar.

 

Diez Mil (10,000) Visas U están disponibles por año a inmigrantes indocumentados que:

  1. Han sufrido gran abuso físico o mental como víctimas de los crímenes listados;
  2. Poseen información tocante al crimen;
  3. Aceptan cooperar con la policía y fiscales para condenar al ó los criminales

 

Algunos de los crímenes que califican para que las Visas U estén disponibles son: Violación, Violencia Doméstica, explotación Sexual, asalto Sexual, servidumbre involuntaria, Secuestro, restricción Criminal, Chantaje, Tortura, Incesto, Prostitución, Falso encarcelamiento, Perjurio y varias más.

 

Los solicitantes de Visas U deben proveer una Carta de Certificación de la agencia de la ley que demuestre que el inmigrante es víctima de un crimen listado que califica y que él/ella está colaborando en la acusación.  La Visa U otorga un estatus legal temporal por 3 años y le permita al inmigrante solicitar la residencia permanente (green card) y luego la ciudadanía de EE.UU.  Cuando se usa apropiadamente, el programa  Visa U provee muchos beneficios importantes para la sociedad Americana y para los inmigrantes víctimas de crímenes.

 

ACUSACIONES Y RECLAMOS FALSOS DE LOS INMIGRANTES PONEN EN RIESGO EL PROGRAMA DE VISAS U

 

Infortunadamente, los enormes beneficios concedidos a las personas que obtienen una Visa U ha provocado una irresistible tentación para muchísimos inmigrantes indocumentados.  Los reportes indican que se han hecho reclamos falsos a la Policía de crímenes y de ser víctima con la esperanza de obtener Visas U.  Es un crimen hacer un falso reporte de policía.  Lo más grave es que cuando las falsas acusaciones tienen éxito, las personas inocentes son condenadas de crímenes que no cometieron y frecuentemente son erróneamente enviados a la cárcel o prisión.  Personalmente he visto dos ejemplos de falsa acusación.  Un caso involucraba una falsa acusación de abuso sexual criminal y el otro una falsa acusación de violencia doméstica.  En ambos casos, la investigación reveló finalmente que los cargos eran falsos.

 

Las víctimas de las falsas acusaciones tuvieron que gastar miles de dólares defendiéndose de los falsos cargos y sufrieron una tensión emocional extrema  al saber que estaban en riesgo de ir a la cárcel por algo que ellos no hicieron.  Los reclamos y reportes falsos de crímenes hacen que la policía y los fiscales sospechen que aún las víctimas verdaderas y honestas mienten. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Abogado

 

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Misuse of Good Immigration Law Reported

Article 16-14

¡No Se Deje!

In 2002, the Congress of the United States created the U-Visa for undocumented immigrants that are victims of specified serious crimes.  Qualifying immigrants who are at least 21 years old can apply for visas for their spouses and children as well.  Those that are not yet 21 can apply for their parents, spouses, children and unmarried siblings who are under 18 years old.  The law also allows people who have temporary non-immigrant visas like students, tourists, and visitors to receive U-Visas.  And, undocumented crime victims that have left the U. S. can apply for a U-Visa in their native countries if they meet the requirements under the law.

 

  1. S. lawmakers created the U-Visa to help law enforcement officers and prosecutors find and convict violent criminals. They recognized that the fear of deportation prevented undocumented crime victims from reporting it to the police and from testifying against the criminal. As a result, violent criminals are able to avoid conviction and to continue to repeatedly injure and otherwise abuse innocent victims.  Providing visas to these victims enables them to acquire legal immigration status and work authorization.

 

Ten Thousand (10,000) U-Visas are available per year to undocumented immigrants that:

  1. Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as victims of the listed crimes;
  2. Possess information regarding the crime;
  3. Agree to cooperate with police and prosecutors to convict the criminal(s).

 

Some of the qualifying crimes that make U-Visas available are Rape, Domestic Violence, Sexual exploitation, Sexual assault, Involuntary servitude, Kidnapping, Criminal restraint, Blackmail, Torture, Incest, Prostitution, False imprisonment, Perjury and several others.

 

Applicants for U-Visas must provide a Certification Letter from the law enforcement agency which proves that the immigrant is a victim of a qualifying crime and that he/she is cooperating in the prosecution.  The U-Visa provides temporary legal status for 3 years and allows the immigrant to apply for a permanent visa (green card) and then for U. S. citizenship.  When used appropriately, the U-Visa program provides many important benefits for American society and for immigrant crime victims.

 

  

FALSE CLAIMS AND ACCUSATIONS BY IMMIGRANTS

JEOPARDIZE THE U-VISA PROGRAM

 

Unfortunately, the enormous benefits granted to people who obtain U-Visas have provided irresistible temptation for too many undocumented immigrants.  Reports indicate that false claims of crimes and victimization have been made to police agencies in hopes of obtaining U-Visas.  It is a crime to make a false police report.  More importantly, when the false accusations are successful, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit and are often wrongly sent to jail or prison.  I have personally been involved with two such examples of false accusations.  One case involved false accusations of criminal sexual abuse and the other a false accusation of domestic violence.  In both cases, the investigation ultimately revealed that the charges were false.

 

The victims of the false accusations had to spend thousands of dollars defending against the false charges and suffered extreme emotional stress knowing that they were at risk of going to jail for something they did not do.  False reports and claims of crimes cause the police and prosecutors to suspect even truthful and honest victims of lying. ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

Jess J. Araujo, Esq.

 

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Four Strange Worker’s Compensation Cases

If you ever have to file for workers’ compensation, we hope it’s a straightforward case. Usually, proactive employees can identify potential problems before they get worse – such as growing joint pain – and settle for a payout that covers prescription costs and keeps them working and moving forward in their careers. Claims, however, are not always so simple. In fact, there have been some workers’ comp cases that can only be labeled as bizarre.

Drunken Employee Blames Injuries on Concrete

A longshore worker, citing the Longshore Act (specifically, “no compensation shall be payable if the injury was occasioned solely by the intoxication of the employee”), filed a workers’ comp claim for damages he suffered after falling over a rail. Unfortunately, the plaintiff was incredibly intoxicated; tests revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.25 – triple the legal limit. He had also consumed some marijuana.

But this did not worry the plaintiff. Focusing on the phrase, “solely by the intoxication of the employee,” the worker sought compensation, claiming the concrete slab caused his injuries. Needless to say, you can’t take the effect and make it the cause; the case was thrown out.

Undocumented Worker Flees Immigration Services and Suffers Heart Attack

In a similar feat of logic, a lumber mill employee suffered a fatal heart attack and a compensation claim was filed against the employer. Unfortunately, the worker had used false documentation to come to the US from Mexico. His heart attack occurred as he attempted to escape a suspected immigration services raid.

The state considered whether or not the workers were at an increased risk due to potential immigration raids, whether that risk was inherent or incidental, and if it was risk assumed by other employees. The court found the heart attack was not related to the individual’s employment.

Pizza Deliverer vs. Panhandler

Not all bizarre claims end with a rejection. The delivery industry has plenty of issues to contend with; traffic accidents, dog bites, and assault are risks that come with the territory, and they are issues that workers’ compensation laws specifically address. In this case, an employee safely traversed the roads, delivered the goods, and was heading back for his next order when he was engaged in an altercation with a panhandler who was being kicked out of the restaurant. The court emphasized the worker’s version of events, which pointed out he was not looking for any trouble. The delivery person suffered a punctured lung during the tussle and was awarded compensation.

Assistant Manager vs. Hitman

Employees may be assaulted by patrons, robbers, or even other workers on the job. But they usually don’t expect to be involved with a professional assassin.

This issue began when the plaintiff, who suffered PTSD, called a coworker to discuss a work-related issue. However, the co-worker’s husband thought the assistant manager was having an affair with his wife. The next logical step in his mind was to contact a professional to have the man killed. Luckily, the paid assassin plan didn’t work out, however, the husband did reach out to the plaintiff’s supervisor about the suspected infidelity.

The employer then launched an investigation into the issue and attempted to have the assistant manager transferred to a new location. The court found that a connection between the worker’s harassment and the attempted assault intensified the plaintiff’s PTSD, which was grounds for a successful workers’ compensation claim.

Reach Out to a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney

We certainly hope any workers’ compensation claims you file aren’t so complicated. Unfortunately, people do crazy things, and businesses do harass employees and otherwise treat them unfairly. When this is the case, you deserve justice. For help navigating the complex workers’ compensation laws in California, reach out to our team of workers’ compensation lawyers in Orange County today.

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The Pros and Cons of Settling a Workers’ Compensation Case

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a long, tiring process, especially if your case is rejected. It is often more difficult, however, to know when a claim should be accepted or challenged. After extensive treatment and emotional anxiety, it may be tempting to accept whatever amount you are offered and move on. You may be presented with a fair amount, but it is still important to know your rights and ensure you make the right decision.

Workers’ compensation cases vary from person to person, and the settlement offer may be exactly what you need. Before making a choice, however, review the following pros and cons. Reach out to an attorney immediately if you feel an employer or insurance company is not taking your rights seriously.

Know When to Settle – And When to Fight

When an agreement is reached between you and the claims adjustor (or a judge weighs in and submits an order about your claim), the case is officially resolved. Though all agreements are reviewed by a workers’ compensation administrative judge, it’s important to know whether to accept to the terms or walk away. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

  • Pro: No more litigation. After agreeing to an amount, which could be one lump sum or a figure paid each week or month, you can start collecting. Furthermore, you will receive these benefits without going to trial. Though it could be tempting to fight for more, you may not get the result you expect. Court processes are also typically slow, and you will not have to wait for your day in court to start collecting payments.
  • Pro: You can revisit the terms of the settlement while collecting. If you do accept a payment, you can still reopen negotiations for a higher amount or request a different pay plan, for example, a lump sum instead of weekly checks.
  • Pro/Con: Recompense in exchange for future benefits. An insurance company may attempt to negotiate a settlement amount in exchange for voiding rights to future benefits. This is a tough call; you may never need these services, so you could settle now and start collecting. However, giving up your rights should never be taken lightly, especially if you are tempted with what seems like a good settlement.
  • Con: You could end up with less than you deserve. This includes more than just a low amount; a settlement agreement may stipulate that you give up rights to future medical treatment or certain provisions, like paying for prescription drugs.
  • Con: Reopening a case in the future could lead to a lower award. Though you may renegotiate with the insurance company, a judge may not agree with your request, in fact, he or she may feel a smaller amount is more appropriate for your damages.
  • Con: An insecure future. Settling for a lump sum may be appealing, but you need to carefully consider the long-term costs of your injury. Can you stretch that lump sum across a lifetime of prescription refills and potential surgeries in the future? It is entirely possible to quickly spend an initial award and have nothing left for ongoing treatment.

Making the Right Decision

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney is a remarkably valuable asset at this time. Though you can negotiate and decide on your own, these specialists know the ins and outs of state law and can quickly tell if a settlement offer is worth your time. Protect your rights and only agree to a payout that fully covers all costs associated with your injury with expert advice from a legal team that has a proven track record of success.

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IMMIGRANTES LATINOS USAN LEY ANTI-DISCRIMINACION Y OBTIENEN $500,000

Article 16-12

¡No Se Deje!

Las leyes Federales contra la discriminación protegen a todas las personas en este país, independientemente de su estatus migratorio (incluyendo a inmigrantes indocumentados), de la discriminación injusta e ilegal.  Las leyes laborales contra la discriminación disponen que es ilegal que los patrones tomen alguna decisión laboral, basados en la raza, color, nacionalidad de origen, religión, discapacidad, o sexo de la persona.  Es ilegal discriminar en cualquiera de las situaciones de la relación laboral incluyendo la contratación y despido, al fijar el monto del salario, asignaciones laborales, reclasificación, despido selectivo, entrega de beneficios como seguro de salud, permisos de ausencia por incapacidad y enfermedad y otros aspectos y condiciones laborales.  Y, los fiscales federales registrarán cargos criminales contra cualquiera que use la fuerza o la violencia para interferir con estos derechos. La oficina que hace valer estas leyes es “Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”-EEOC (en español Comisión para Igualdad de Oportunidades de Empleo).

 

En días pasados la EEOC registró dos casos de discriminación a nombre de 2 Latinos contra LANDWIN MANAGEMENT CO.  que tomó posesión de la administración del Hotel Hilton en San Gabriel, California.  En el primer caso, la EEOC acusó a  LANDWIN de DISCRIMINACIÓN POR NACIONALIDAD porque reemplazó a un empleado Latino muy experimentado y calificado por un empleado chino menos experimentado y menos calificado.  La Discriminación por Nacionalidad incluye el excluir ilícitamente a alguien por su LUGAR DE NACIMIENTO, ASCENDENCIA, CULTURA, LENGUAJE, y NOMBRE O ACENTO AL HABLAR.  La EEOC identificó y representó a mas de 2 docenas de ex-empleados de Hoteles Hilton que creen experimentaron discriminación ilegal.

 

En el segundo caso, la EEOC acusó a LANDWIN de permitir que ocurra ACOSO SEXUAL impropio en el hotel.  Empleadas que trabajaron en el departamento de amas de llaves (housekeeping)  reportaron que sus supervisores las abusaban verbalmente y las llamaban prostitutas.  Ellas también alegaron que los representantes de la Administración del hotel ignoraban sus quejas.  Los funcionarios gubernamentales usualmente registran casos Civiles por Discriminación, como estos, cuando existe una “costumbre y práctica” (más de un incidente) de violaciones del mismo empleador. Y, se registran casos cuando los empleadores tienen una política de discriminación e inmoralidad constante.

 

LANDWIN CO.  aceptó pagar un total de  $500,000.00 a los dos reclamantes Latinos en estos casos.  LANDWIN también aceptó una Orden Judicial que les exige reclutar a trabajadores Latinos, proporcionar entrenamiento anti-discriminación a sus empleados y contratar consultores de  EEOC para verificar el avance del acatamiento.  La compañía hizo esto porque sabía que la EEOC tenía suficiente evidencia para ganar el caso de llegar a un juicio y que una corte podría ordenarles pagar aún más.

 

Abogados privados y del EEOC han dicho que muchas víctimas de discriminación laboral ilícita se resisten a reportarlo por la errónea creencia que esto llevará a la deportación. A menos que las víctimas de discriminación ilícita registren quejas formales, los empleadores abusivos continuarán discriminando a inocentes Latinos y a otros grupos minoritarios protegidos.  Si usted cree que podría ser víctima de discriminación, consulte con un abogado inmediatamente. Muchos de los mejores abogados proporcionan consultas gratis.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Abogado

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LATINO IMMIGRANTS USE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW TO WIN $500,000

Article 16-12

¡No Se Deje!

Federal anti-discrimination laws protect all persons in this country, regardless of immigration status (including undocumented immigrants) from unfair and illegal discrimination.  Employment anti-discrimination laws make it illegal for employers to make any employment decisions based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sex.  It is illegal to discriminate in any part of the employment relationship including hiring and firing, setting the rate of pay, work assignments, classification, layoff selection, provision of benefits like health insurance, disability and sick leave and other terms and condition of employment.  And, federal prosecutors will file criminal charges against anyone that uses force or violence to interfere with these rights. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces these laws.

 

The EEOC filed 2 discrimination cases on behalf of 2 Latinos against LANDWIN MANAGEMENT CO. which took over the management of the Hilton Hotel in San Gabriel, California.  In the first case, the EEOC accused LANDWIN of NATIONAL ORIGIN DISCRIMINATION because it replaced a very experienced and qualified Latino employee with a less experienced and less qualified Chinese employee.  National Origin Discrimination includes illegally excluding someone because of his/her BIRTHPLACE, ANCESTRY, CULTURE, LANGUAGE, and NAME OR SPEAKING ACCENT.  The EEOC identified and represented more than 2 dozen former Hilton Hotels that they believe experienced illegal discrimination.

 

In the second case, the EEOC accused LANDWIN of allowing improper SEXUAL HARASSMENT to occur at the hotel.  Female employees that worked in the housekeeping department reported that their supervisor verbally abused them and called them prostitutes.  They also alleged that Management representative ignored their complaints.  Government officials usually file Civil Discrimination cases, like these, when there is a “pattern and practice” (more than one incident) of violations by the same employer. And, cases are filed when employers have a policy of discrimination and repeated misconduct.

 

LANDWIN CO. agreed to pay a total of $500,000.00 to the two Latino claimants in these cases.  LANDWIN also agreed to a Court Order requiring them to recruit Latino workers, provide anti-discrimination training to its employees and hire EEOC consultants to monitor compliance progress.  They did this because they knew that the EEOC had enough evidence to win the case if it went to trial and that a court could order them to pay even more.

 

EEOC and private employment law attorneys say that many victims of illegal employment discrimination are reluctant to report it because of the mistaken belief that it will lead to their deportation.  Unless victims of illegal discrimination file formal complaints, abusive employers will continue to discriminate against innocent Latinos and other protected minority groups.  If you think that you may be a victim of discrimination, consult with an attorney immediately.  Many of the best attorneys provide free consultations.  ¡NO SE DEJE! ®

 

Jess J. Araujo, Esq.  

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Independent Medical Reviews in California

When a dispute is raised regarding a denied workers’ compensation claim, the original medical treatment is evaluated through California’s independent medical review (IMR) program. The recently reformed law addresses any injury that occurred in the past. Many states process workers’ compensation claims through the court system, but by allowing physicians and healthcare experts to asses these rebuttals, IMRs have proved an excellent cost-saving initiative.

IMR in California

These reviews help businesses, medical facilities, and insurance companies facilitate claims, but the process can still be a bit confusing for newcomers. And for employees who have been injured, dealing with a denied claim is still challenging. Here are a few questions and answers to help you understand this process:

How do you file a request for medical treatment through this program?

A preliminary checkup identifies what is medically necessary for the affected party and whether or not a workers’ compensation claim should be approved. This is called a “utilization review.” If an injured employee is denied treatment and compensation at this point, he or she can request an IMR, which is essentially a second look at the accuracy of the utilization review.

To submit a request for an IMR, workers must:

  • Submit an IMR application form, which can be picked up from a claims adjustor.
  • Attach a copy of the utilization review in question.
  • Send the documents within 30 days of the preliminary checkup.

Who pays for IMRs?

Companies required by California law to provide a workers’ compensation program and compensate workers for work-related injuries pay for these additional reviews. The amount a business pays depends on when the requests are submitted, when the results are needed, and how many medical professionals are needed to review the claim. Though these are somewhat expensive (approximately $350–$515 per IMR), it is an incredibly affordable alternative to court hearings.

There are three types of IMRs, which affect turn-around times and costs:

  • Standard IMRs, involving non-pharmacy or pharmacy-only claims
  • Expedited IMRs, involving non-pharmacy or pharmacy-only claims
  • Terminated IMRs, which are terminated and dismissed and may be sent to a medical professional for further review

What happens after an IMR?

If the utilization review is eligible for an IMR, a Notice of Assignment and Request for Information will be sent out. This simply informs the parties that the review has been approved for an IMR. Medical records must then be provided for the assigned evaluators. Next, these specialists will review the claim to determine whether or not the utilization review was accurate. Based on their findings, an employee’s claim will be rejected or damages will be deemed eligible under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The worker will then receive a payout offer, which he or she can accept or renegotiate.

Fighting for Your Rights as an Injured Worker in California

IMRs are an excellent way to dispute a workers’ compensation claim without going through the court system. However, simply requesting an IMR doesn’t mean your claim will be approved. While this is an important process, you may still not receive the compensation needed to fully recover; you may need to pursue additional legal actions to account for medical equipment, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with an injury.

If you run into this problem, reach out to an experienced legal team in California as soon as possible. There are many details that can affect your claim, such as whether or not the IMR application form was fully completed and filed with the correct application type (e.g., expedited or regular). Submitting this information inaccurately can significantly affect the results of your claim. For the best possible settlement, work with experts in the field. Start with a free consultation by reaching out to us today.

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Puestos de Control de Conductores Ebrios atrapan más Inmigrantes Sobrios que Conductores Ebrios

Artículo 16-11

¡No Se Deje! ®

Muchos Departamentos de la Policía Municipal rutinariamente montan Puestos de Control de Conductores Ebrios para identificar y enjuiciar a conductores ebrios.  Un reporte del respetable Programa de Reportajes Investigativos de la Universidad de California reveló que estos “puestos de control” tienen mucho más éxito aprisionando vehículos de inmigrantes sobrios que arrestando conductores ebrios.  Como resultado, las ciudades de California recibieron una participación de más de  $40 millones de dólares en gastos de remolque y multas de la policía en 2009 de parte de conductores sin licencia.  Los cobros de remolque son compartidos entre las compañías de remolque y las ciudades.

 

Debido a la enorme cantidad de dinero que las ciudades reciben de los cobros por aprisionamiento de vehículos, no es sorpresa que más vehículos son aprisionados cada año.  En 2007, 15,700 vehículos fueron aprisionados en California.  Este número aumentó a 17,900 en 2008, y a más de 24,000 en 2009.  Los gastos por remolque y multas pagadas por los propietarios de vehículos fueron entre $1,000 a $4,000 según los registros financieros de varias ciudades.  Las ciudades también cobran a los propietarios de vehículos un promedio de $155 y le cobran a las compañías de remolque costos de franquicias.

 

Registros oficiales revelaron que LAS CIUDADES CON GRAN POBLACIÓN LATINA ESTAN APRISIONANDO VEHÍCULOS 3 VECES MAS QUE LAS CIUDADES CON POCA POBLACIÓN LATINA.  En las comunidades no-Latina, la policía aprisionó en promedio 7 vehículos de conductores sin licencia por cada arresto de conductor ebrio.  En las comunidades Latinas el porcentaje es usualmente mucho peor.  En Montebello, la policía aprisionó 60 vehículos de conductores sin licencia por cada conductor ebrio arrestado.  Representantes de la Ciudad y la Policía insisten que los lugares de los puestos de control no son designados específicamente para focalizar a comunidades Latino/Inmigrantes. Pero, en la ciudad de San Rafael que solamente tiene el 25% de Latinos, 10 de 12 puestos de control de conductores ebrios fueron colocados en calles que rodean vecindarios Latinos.

 

Inmigrantes indocumentados son las trágicas víctimas de estos así llamados “puestos de control de conductores ebrios”.   Aunque ellos no son “conductores ebrios” y no cometieron ninguna violación de tránsito, sus vehículos son aprisionados por 30 días, luego deben pagar cobros de remolque excesivamente altos o perder sus vehículos permanentemente.  Irónicamente, los conductores ebrios arrestados en los puestos de control pueden sacar sus vehículos del “corralón” al día siguiente.

 

El Decreto de Calles Seguras de California que autoriza aprisionar los vehículos de conductores sin licencia tenía el propósito de hacer las calles más seguras quitando los vehículos de conductores sin licencia.  Pero los conductores ebrios, que claramente hacen las calles aún más peligrosas, no pierden sus vehículos.  Tales resultados parecen injustos e ilógicos. La ley también podría ser inconstitucional de acuerdo con varios expertos legales.  Una Corte Federal de Apelaciones ha sentenciado que los oficiales de policía no pueden aprisionar un vehículo si la única violación es conducir sin licencia. Una Corte Federal de Distrito de menor rango ha sentenciado que el aprisionamiento está permitido porque es un castigo por conducir sin licencia lo cual es un crimen menor (misdemeanor) en California. Aún así, los criminales deben ser hallados culpables antes que el castigo (el aprisionamiento) pueda ser impuesto legalmente. Esa decisión fue apelada ante la misma Corte Federal de Apelaciones que sentenció que el aprisionamiento no está permitido.  Departamentos de Policía Municipales continúan aprisionando los vehículos de los conductores sin licencia. California Highway Patrol (Patrulla de Autopistas) ha dejado de aprisionar los vehículos de los conductores sin licencia. ¡NO SE DEJE!®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ABOGADO

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Drunk Driving Checkpoints Trap More Sober Immigrants Than Drunk Drivers

Article 16-11

¡No Se Deje!

Many Municipal Police Departments routinely set up Drunk Driving Checkpoints to identify and prosecute drunk drivers.  A report by the well respected Investigative Reporting Program of the University of California revealed that these “checkpoints” are much more successful at impounding the cars of sober immigrants than arresting drunk drivers.  As a result, California cities received a share of more than $40 million dollars in towing fees and police fines in 2009 from unlicensed drivers.  The towing fees are shared between the towing companies and the cities.

 

Because of the enormous amount of money cities receive from impounding fees, it is not surprising that more cars are impounded each year.  In 2007, 15,700 cars were impounded in California.  This number increased to 17,900 in 2008 and to more than 24,000 in 2009.  The towing fees and fines paid by vehicle owners range from $1,000 to $4,000 according to the financial records of the various cities.  The cities also charge the car owner an average fee of $155 and charge the towing companies a franchise fee.

 

Official records revealed that CITIES WITH LARGE LATINO POPULATIONS ARE IMPOUNDING CARS AT 3 TIMES THE RATE OF CITIES WITH SMALL LATINO POPULATIONS.  In non-Latino communities, the police impound on average 7 cars of unlicensed drivers for every drunk driving arrest.  In Latino communities the ratio is usually much worse.  In Montebello, police impound 60 cars of unlicensed drivers for every drunk driver arrested.  City and Police representatives insist that the locations of the checkpoints are not specifically designed to target Latino/Immigrant communities. Yet in the city of San Rafael which is only 25% Latino, 10 of 12 drunk driving checkpoints were established on streets surrounding Latino neighborhoods.

 

Undocumented immigrants are the tragic victims of these so called “drunk driving checkpoints”.   Although they are not “drunk driving” and did not commit any moving traffic violations, their vehicles are impounded for 30 days then they must either pay outrageously high towing fees or lose their cars permanently.  Ironically, drunk drivers arrested at these checkpoints can remove their cars from the tow yard the next day.

 

The California Safe Streets Act which authorizes impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers was intended to make streets safer by taking the cars of unlicensed drivers.  Yet drunk drivers, which clearly make streets even more dangerous, do not lose their vehicles.  Such results seem unfair and illogical. The law may also be unconstitutional according to some legal experts.  A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that police officers cannot impound a vehicle if the only violation is unlicensed driving.  A lower Federal District Court has ruled that impounding is allowed because it is punishment for driving without a license which is a crime (misdemeanor) in California.  Even so, criminals must be convicted before punishment (impounding) can be legally imposed.  That decision appealed to the same Federal Appeals Court that ruled impounding is not allowed.   Municipal Police Departments continue to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers. The California Highway Patrol has stopped impounding the cars of unlicensed drivers. ¡NO SE DEJE!®

 

JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.    

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Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

The use of alcohol or drugs can complicate a workers’ compensation case, but it does not usually prevent an employee from collecting benefits. Whether you are concerned about the prescription your physician gave you for chronic pain or you have a history of recreational drug and alcohol use, this is what you need to know.

Failing a Drug Test After a Workplace Accident

Your employer may require you to take a blood or urine test if injured on the job. If company policy mandates drug testing after a workplace accident, you may not have the ability to refuse the test. An individual can test positive for certain drugs without being physically impaired. A positive result does not automatically bar an employee from securing benefits.

To disqualify an employee from claiming benefits, an employer would need to prove that the employee was impaired at the time of the accident and that the drugs or alcohol in his or her system were the primary cause of the incident.

If you test positive because you were on a prescribed medicine but were not taking more than the prescribed dosage, you can still collect workers’ compensation benefits. An employer must follow strict testing guidelines for a blood or urine test to hold up in court. Any violation of an employee’s rights or uncertified testing may render the results invalid in a workers’ compensation claim.

On-the-Job Alcohol and Drug Use in California

In the state of California, privacy laws protect employees from random or unexpected drug testing. An employer needs to have a realistic reason for testing and use fair measures. The type of job and substance and the circumstances all play a role in when and how an employer handles the situation.

Most employers do not have any reason to question an employee’s legal or illegal substance use until the substance starts to interfere with daily work. For example, over-the-counter sleeping pills have a range of effects on users. Some individuals can take one every night and feel refreshed and ready for work the next morning. Other users may experience extreme drowsiness or impairment well into the next day. An employer may have a valid reason to test an employee who demonstrates impairment during the workday.

Proving Your Right to Compensation After a Positive Test Result

An employee trying to obtain workers’ compensation benefits may need to address allegations of intoxication before the claim can move forward. There are several ways to refute the findings of a drug or alcohol test:

  • Discredit the employer’s testing methods.
  • Prove that the accident would have occurred despite any level of impairment.
  • Use witness testimony, recordings, and any other evidence to prove the employee was acting reasonably at the time of the accident.
  • Provide a scientifically plausible reason why a test might have shown a false positive.

Testing positive for drugs or alcohol may present an obstacle during a workers’ compensation claim, but it is very unlikely that it will prevent a successful settlement. In some cases, it may reduce the amount of total benefits you can collect. If you are concerned about the results of a drug or alcohol test after a workplace injury, consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

Finding a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

At DiMarco Araujo Montevideo, we understand the complexities of privacy and alcohol and drug testing in workers’ compensation cases. We know what an employer needs to present legitimate evidence against an employee, and are prepared to investigate your case fully. If another factor caused your accident, having alcohol or drugs in your system should not affect your ability to collect fair compensation. For more information, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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