Can Bankruptcy Discharge Casino Marker and Other Gambling Indebtedness?

Excessive gambling losses and gambling debts do lead to filing for bankruptcy. In fact, in the official forms needed to file a bankruptcy, there is a question that specifically asks about gambling losses. For the most part, gambling debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy since gambling debts are considered unsecured. Thus, they can generally be completely eliminated in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. There are of course exceptions to the general rule, one of them being from where in particular you incurred your gambling debts.

In Nevada, gambling debts are fully enforceable. If you borrowed money to gamble in Nevada knowing beforehand that you would not be able to honor the marker should you lose your bet, then the casino would have a very good claim against you that the debt was non-dischargeable in the event of bankruptcy.

If you take huge credit card cash advances at a casino a few months before filing bankruptcy, or you make material misrepresentations to obtain credit at a casino such as knowingly writing bad checks which induced the casino to extend you credit, you would certainly have problems discharging the debt. As a matter of course, any debt incurred 90 to 180 days prior to your bankruptcy filing will be scrutinized and you have the burden of proof to show the debts incurred were reasonable and necessary before they can be discharged. If they or some of them are gambling debts, it may be difficult to get them discharged. The casinos for their part would certainly raise their objections to a discharge and possibly even bring criminal charges against you depending on the amount of the checks and whether you incurred the debt by fraud or deception.

The Nevada Supreme Court has consistently ruled that casino markers are considered to be check-like negotiable instruments, which if dishonored by a bank can bring criminal bad-check charges. Even if you do manage to get your gambling debts discharged in bankruptcy, you will still be criminally prosecuted for violating NRS 205.130, Nevada’s bad checks law. Once convicted, you can get fined and/or imprisoned and you will still be required to pay restitution money to the casinos. No matter which way you cut it, in the end you really have to pay your debt back the casino.

Even if you are not a resident of Nevada, if your case goes forward, you can and you will be arrested where you are and you will be held there until your extradition to Nevada.

DUI Causing Bodily Injury Can Be Charged Against the Wrong Person

Alcohol-related accidents are a leading cause of death in all fatal car crashes. However, it is not uncommon for an innocent driver to be “deemed” at fault when they were in fact innocent just because they had a couple of drinks.

Drinking and driving, for obvious reasons, does not mix. The state of Nevada makes it unlawful to drink and drive with a BAC of 0.08% or greater for drivers over the age of 21. That, however, doesn’t mean that someone can’t have a drink or two at a bar or restaurant and still be below the legal limit.

Just how much someone has to drink to become legally “intoxicated” is not clear and precise. Factors such as sex, height and weight affect a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Therefore, it is possible for a person to enjoy a glass or wine or two at dinner and drive home with a legal level of alcohol in their bloodstream – people do it all the time.

If that person, however, had six or seven glass of wine on an empty stomach, the picture would be quite different. If they were to get behind the wheel of an automobile with a high BAC, the chances of them getting into a serious car accident are much higher than if they had been driving sober. They would undoubtedly be putting their own life and that of others at risk.

Just how much then is too much? Nobody can really answer that question. The safest answer is to not drink and drive, but in reality, people do. As drunk driving accidents pose such a serious threat to society, law enforcement and legislatures crack down hard on drunk drivers across the nation. People who are convicted of drunk driving are at risk for driver’s license suspension or revocation, jail or prison sentencing, community service and monetary fines. On top of all that, they could be required to install an ignition interlock device and face mandatory enrollment in an alcohol treatment program.

Aside from administrative penalties, drunk driving convictions carry criminal charges. Although most drunk
driving convictions are prosecuted as misdemeanors, more serious cases such as third-time convictions or DUI’s involving bodily injury or death are prosecuted as felonies in Nevada.

This means that if someone was injured or killed as a result of a drunk driver, the person responsible (namely the drunk driver) could potentially face felony consequences. In the state of Nevada, DUI causing bodily injury or death is punishable from 2 to 20 years in prison and fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. This is pretty grim considering the fact that most people charged with DUI are normally law-abiding citizens, not criminals.

The unfortunate thing to take into consideration when discussing DUI accidents causing bodily injury is that in some cases, the person who had a drink or two did not cause the accident. For example, a husband and wife are driving home from dinner in their SUV, the husband (driver) happened to have two beers at the restaurant an hour and a half earlier. While driving home, a small compact car blows through a stop sign and broadsides his SUV, killing the passenger inside the compact car.

When the law enforcement arrives, they notice the smell of alcohol on the husband’s breath. Even though he did not cause the accident, the police are too quick to pin the blame on him because there is no evidence stating otherwise. He is slapped with DUI with injury before he can even explain his case. Although he had the right of way, he winds up facing criminal charges anyway.

In this instance, it would be up to a tough DUI attorney to prove his innocence. If this example sounds too close to home, you should contact a DUI lawyer before it is too late. You don’t want to jeopardize your freedom by hiring an inexperienced or weak defense attorney. A good attorney can make all the difference in the final outcome of the charges against you.

4 Highly-Ranked Teams (2 Unbeaten) Win By a Combined Total of 12 Points

Is anyone surprised that 4 ranked football teams – 3 of them very highly ranked – won their games by a combined total of 12 points this week? You should not be surprised that No. 1-ranked Oregon, 3rd-ranked TCU, 7th-ranked Stanford and 21st-ranked Nevada struggled mightily before finally prevailing.

The reason why is simple – these 4 ranked teams only have a combined 5 wins against other currently ranked teams. In other words, their combined won-loss record is 39-2 BUT they have not played a lot of competitive teams.

With the season winding down, they are now positioned against better competition and look a lot more vulnerable.

Take top-ranked Oregon. The Ducks were ranked 1st in the nation in scoring offense (54+ points per game) and total offense (567+ ypg) and 13th in scoring defense (17+ ppg) before they ran into California. The Bears who were not ranked in any top poll except Sagarin, which rated California – a 5-4 team that has played the 7th toughest schedule in the country – as the 24th best team.

Oregon eventually won this game 15-13 (a 2-point margin), but could just as easily have lost it as a 24-yard Bear field goal late in the game was called back on an illegal motion penalty by the kicker, who missed the 29-yard attempt on this second try. A successful kick would have given California a 16-15 lead they might have held.

The Ducks scored 58 offensive touchdowns in their first 9 nine games and managed 1 against California while registering their lowest point total in 10 years.

Can Oregon be beat? Despite the hype, of course the Ducks (10-0) can be beat, and still must face Arizona and Oregon State in the state’s Civil War Game, a historically nasty game at best.

You could argue that Oregon was lucky to win, and a lot of fans, players and coaches would agree with you.

The 3rd-ranked TCU Horned Frogs were ranked 1st in scoring defense (8+ ppg) and total defense (215+ ypg), and 8th in scoring offense (41+ ppg) and total offense (492+ ypg) before they ran into the unranked San Diego State Aztecs.

TCU’s impressive statistics were primarily because they had played weak teams all year. Even last week’s 47-7 dismantling of then unbeaten 6th-ranked Utah looked far less impressive after Utah (now 8-2) was upset this week by a hapless 4-5 Notre Dame team, 28-3.

Is Utah any good? Are you kidding? The Utes unbeaten ride though the season was a fluke at best and a fraud at worst. Utah fell from 6th in the rankings to 15th last week to 25th this week. What’s next, a Utah loss to San Diego State this coming week?

TCU had a two-touchdown deficit to San Diego State and could not get in control of the game until late in the 4th quarter, holding off an Aztec charge to escape with a 40-35 victory (a 5-point margin).

All of this talk about TCU being unstoppable and its defense being unstoppable is so much hogwash. TCU (11-0) has exactly one victory over a currently ranked team this year, and that was against the imposter Utah Utes. ‘Nuff said.

The Horned Frogs final game is against a New Mexico team that is ranked 173rd among 120 Division 1-A schools. There are 58 AA teams ranked ahead of New Mexico that could probably beat the Lobos any day of the week and twice on Saturday. New Mexico should not even be playing in Division 1 this year.

All of this means the TCU Horned Frogs will end the season unbeaten at 12-0 and whining if they are not playing in the national championship game.

The 7th-ranked Stanford Cardinal (9-1) nearly lost a fistfight with unranked Arizona State before winning 17-13 (a 4-point margin). Only Stanford’s defense and a long 4th-quarter scoring drive saved the Cardinal from losing. The Sun Devils (now 4-6) played tough, leading 13-10 before Stanford’s scoring drive.

Stanford still must face California and Oregon State.

Nevada’s 21st-ranked Wolf Pack has a lot of offense and little defense, and it showed against an unranked Fresno State team that darn near won. Fresno State scored 10 points to take a 34-28 lead before Vai Taua’s 24-yard scamper put the Bulldogs away for good, 35-34 (a 1-point margin).

The Bulldogs piled up 444 yards of offense to Nevada’s 416 yards, showing just how porous the Wolf Pack defense performs. When you give up 444 yards of offense and 34 points, you better have an even better offense.

The bottom line is the 4 unbeaten teams from last week are still unbeaten but now clearly can be beaten. Auburn and TCU are 11-0, Oregon is 10-0 and Boise State is 9-0.

Six ranked teams had slow starts before winning.

Baylor led 23rd-ranked Texas A&M 30-21 at the half but the Aggies won, 42-30, by holding the Bears scoreless in the 2nd half. North Carolina led 16th-ranked Virginia Tech 10-9 at the half but the Hokies rallied in the 2nd half with 17 points while holding the Tar Heels scoreless to win, 26-10. Kansas State gave 20th-ranked Missouri a game of it, but lost in the end, 38-28.

Bo Pelini’s Nebraska Cornhuskers held Kansas to 87 yards total offense while winning, 20-3. The Jayhawks got exactly 5 first downs and were sacked 6 times. Texas held 12th-ranked Oklahoma State to a 3-all tie after the 1st quarter, but the Cowboys put up 23 points in the 2nd quarter, and went on to win 33-16.

Second-ranked Auburn scored first but then spotted Georgia 3 touchdowns before finally getting some separation in the last quarter to win, 49-31. All week long Auburn and its star quarterback Cam Newton had taken a beating in the press with allegations of wrongdoing, but Heisman-favorite Newton took it all in stride.

Newton was 12-for-15 passing for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. More important, he rushed 30 times for 151 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and scored on runs of 1 and 31 yards. Onterio McCalebb added 3 touchdowns on short runs. By winning against Georgia, Auburn becomes the SEC West Division Champion and will face East Division Champion South Carolina for the SEC championship, and a spot in a BCS bowl game.

Seven other ranked teams coasted to at least 20-point victories.

The really good wins included 4th-ranked Boise State on the road over Idaho 52-14, 5th-ranked LSU at home over Louisiana-Monroe 51-zip, 6th-ranked Wisconsin at home over Indiana 83-20, 8trh-ranked Ohio State at home over Penn State 38-14, 11th-ranked Alabama at home over 17th-ranked Mississippi State 30-10, 14th-ranked Arkansas over UTEP 58-21, and 19th-ranked Oklahoma over Texas Tech, 45-7.

Among the 7 romps, Wisconsin’s was most impressive. The Badgers 83 points scored were their best offensive performance in 95 years, it was the most points by a major school this season, it matched the highest scoring total in the Big Ten Conference since Ohio State’s 83-21 victory over Iowa in 1950, and it was the most points by Wisconsin since an 85-zip win over Marquette in 1915.

Wisconsin’s Montee Bell ran for 3 touchdowns in his first career start, James White ran for 2 more, and Scott Tolzien threw for 3 touchdowns. The Badgers scored on all 12 of their possessions. Did Wisconsin run up the score? Besides Indiana, who cares?

Penn State won the 1st half against Ohio State, 14-3, but the Buckeyes won the 2nd half, 35-zip.

Five ranked teams were upset, costing virtually every one of them a more prominent bowl game invite in the weeks ahead. They included Iowa (now 7-3), Utah (8-2), Arizona (7-3), Florida (6-4) and Central Florida (7-3). All were upended by unranked teams except Florida.

Northwestern beat 13th-ranked Iowa 21-17, Notre Dame beat 15th-ranked Utah 28-3, Southern Cal beat 18th-ranked Arizona 24-21, 22nd-ranked South Carolina beat 24th-ranked Florida 36-14, and Southern Mississippi beat 25th-ranked Central Florida 31-21.

The best upset win was by South Carolina, as the Gamecocks (7-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC) clinched the Eastern Division of the SEC, and snapped a 12-game losing streak to Florida.

Southern Cal’s win put the Trojans back into the AP Poll at 20th place, and Miami’s 35-10 win over Georgia Tech gave them the 24th spot. To make room for both of these returning Top 25 teams, Florida and Central Florida (UCF) were kicked out of the Poll.

By winning, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas A&M all climbed in the AP Poll, Southern California and Miami FL climbed back into the Poll, and by losing Iowa, Mississippi State, Arizona and Utah all lost significant ground.

No. 10 Michigan State and the unranked Washington Huskies were idle this week.

Four unranked teams became bowl eligible this week by winning – East Carolina, West Virginia, South Florida and Army.

Northwestern/Nevada Friday Night College Football

Without record-breaking quarterback Brett Basanez, the Northwestern Wildcat’s offense isn’t nearly as potent as it was last season, but nevertheless, the ‘cats are off to a 2-1 start and they’ll try to make it 3-1 before Big 10 play begins with a win at Nevada.

Beating the Wolf Pack will be no easy task for the Wildcats as Nevada has looked good early despite bringing just a 1-2 record into Friday night’s game. The Pack hung with Fresno State in their opener before eventually losing 19-28, they were smoked by 30 at Arizona State, but they came back strong with an impressive 28-10 rout of Colorado State.

If Northwestern wants to be successful on the road in this one it will have to be able to put some pressure on quarterback Jeff Rowe, who lit up the CSU Rams for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 22 passing last week. Last season, I would have wrote this one off as a lost cause as the Wildcats were the 117th ranked defense in the country. That means only two other defenses gave up more yards per game last season. This season, Northwestern has shown improvement on the defensive side of the ball holding Miami of Ohio to just a field goal in its opener on the road and Eastern Michigan to just six points in last week’s win. Northwestern might not get the best push up the middle, but its ends, led by Kevin Mims, are very good and should be able to bring some heat off the corner. The secondary is a very solid unit for the ‘cats. I’ll admit they were shaky against New Hampshire, but we can’t forget that that was an emotional game as it marked the first home game since coach Randy Walker’s death, and New Hampshire runs a no-huddle offense with lots of offensive variety which is difficult to prepare for.

Nevada’s offense was very impressive last week, and the big win over Colorado State should have the Wolf Pack fired up and ready to go after another home win against a Big 10 opponent. We know that Northwestern doesn’t have the same offense that it had a season ago, but we also know that it doesn’t have the same defense. We know that Jeff Rowe is very talented passer, but he hasn’t seen ends as good as Sims and company or a secondary with as much speed. But if Rowe can find his receivers like he did last week, it won’t matter who is playing in the defensive backfield.

Don’t trust the so-called “TV experts” for this one. Take a handicapper’s word for it who has researched every area of this matchup and has found the winning angle. If you’re looking to cash in on Friday night’s college football game, make sure you’re playing who I’m playing.

Eight 2009 Bowl Teams Lose by 20 Or More Points, None Worse Than Nevada

Eight of the 34 bowl game losers-or approximately 25 percent-lost by 20 or more points, none worse than Nevada’s 45-10 drubbing at the hands of the rising Southern Methodist University Mustangs in the Hawaii Bowl. For SMU coach June Jones, it was homecoming all over again.

Jones coached the Hawaii Warriors for 9 years prior to becoming SMU’s coach. At Hawaii, Jones inherited a team that had lost 18 straight games. He left Hawaii with a 76-41 season record, took the Warriors to 6 Bowl games and won 4, had three 9-win seasons, and one each 10-win, 11-win and 12-win season while competing in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference).

Jones inherited a dismal SMU program that was so bad that even this year 91% of football fans picked them to lose the Hawaii Bowl. Despite the fact that June Jones suffered through a tough 1-11 first season, his Mustangs finished this year at 8-5 and in a tie with Houston for 1st place in Conference USA’s West Division title race.

Southern Methodist was so dominate in the Hawaii Bowl that the Mustangs led 31-0 at the half. SMU’s freshman quarterback Kyle Padron racked up a school-record 460 yards, going 32-for-41 with 2 touchdowns. Mustang Emmanuel Sanders had 7 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Aldrick Robinson caught another 9 passes for 176 yards. Padron won the Hawaii Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Award.

SMU’s Shawnbrey McNeal gained 63 yards on 12 carries (5.25 yards per carry) and scored 3 times on the ground. Both teams ended the season with 8-5 records.

Jones was used to competing in bowl games while coaching at Hawaii, and his leadership took SMU to its first bowl game in 25 years. The Mustangs, a 12-point underdog going into the Hawaii Bowl, will not likely be rated so low next time around, and knowing June Jones, there will be a next time for SMU and the Mustangs.

No. 20-ranked Nebraska not only beat 22nd-ranked Arizona, but shutout the Wildcats 33-0 to record the first shutout in the 32-history of the Holiday Bowl. Coach Bo Pelini’s Cornhuskers made history of their own as the shutout was the first for Nebraska in 46 bowl appearances.

Bo knows defense, and his defense has been led all season by tackle Ndamukong Suh, the AP College Football Player of the Year and a Heisman finalist. Nebraska was so dominate on defense that Arizona did not get into the Cornhuskers’ side of the field until the 3rd quarter. Nebraska held the Wildcats to 6 first downs, 109 total yards of offense and 51 plays, forcing Arizona to punt 9 times.

No one should be surprised by Nebraska’s superb defensive effort in this bowl game. The Cornhuskers ranked 7th in the nation in total defense (among 120 teams) and first in scoring defense, allowing only 10 points per game. Nebraska ended the year at 10-4, notching its first 10-win season since 2003. Arizona was 8-5.

Unlike Alabama a year ago, Florida knew how to overcome a devastating loss. A year ago, the Crimson Tide lost to Florida in the SEC Championship game, and Florida went on to win the BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma, 24-14. Alabama then played Utah in the Sugar Bowl and got their butts kicked, 31-17.

This year Alabama beat Florida in the SEC Championship game, 32-13, and then went on to win the BCS National Championship game against Texas, 37-21. Florida met unbeaten Cincinnati (12-0) in the Sugar Bowl and upset the Bearcats, 51-24. There was no letdown for the Gators.

Tim Tebow, Florida’s all around superstar and the best-known college football player in the nation, had arguably the best game of his career. Tebow passed for a career-high 482 yards and rushed for another 51 to compile 533 total yards of offense, breaking Vince Young’s BCS record of 467 yards set against Southern California in the 2005 Rose Bowl. The awesome Florida offense finished the day with 659 yards of offense.

The Bearcats had forced Tebow to win the game by passing as they stacked the line of scrimmage-a tactic that Alabama had used to beat Florida in the SEC title game, but Cincinnati did not have the same caliber of defensive players as Alabama and the Bearcats failed miserably.

Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner, completed 31 of 35 passes and threw touchdown passes to Aaron Hernandez, Deonte Thompson and Riley Cooper. He also ran for a touchdown. Florida’s senior class players officially became the most successful senior class in SEC history, winning 2 national championships in 2006 and 2008, and compiling a 48-6 record during 4 seasons for a 89% winning percentage.

The win was the 13th of the year for Florida (13-1), making it the first major college team in history to win 13 games in consecutive seasons. The loss was the second straight for Cincinnati in BCS bowl game competition; the Bearcats lost to Virginia Tech 20-7 in last year’s Orange Bow.

In fairness to the Cincinnati players, their coach Brian Kelly quit the team in early December to take the coaching job at Norte Dame. Kelly had called plays all season for the Bearcat offense and his absence was noted. Interim coach Jeff Quinn was left to prepare the team for its biggest game ever, and the loss meant Cincinnati’s unbeaten season came to a screeching halt.

Houston blew into the Armed Forces Bowl with its quarterback Case Keenum, the nation’s leading signal-caller with 5,671 passing yards, 44 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

Houston had earned a right to swagger-the Cougars’ led the nation in offensive production, averaging 563 yards a game, and also were tied with Boise State for the nation’s top scoring offense, averaging 42 points a game.

Unfortunately, Houston was playing Air Force. Do you how quickly a fighter jet can destroy an offense on the ground? The Air Force Academy Falcons came into the game with the nation’s 5th best passing defense.

And the result? Air Force dissected Houston, 47-20. The Air Force secondary held Houston and Keenum to 222 yards passing and intercepted 6 passes. Defensive back Chris Thomas ended up with a busted-up nose, but he also had two picks and 12 tackles. Teammate Anthony Wright had 3 picks. Keenum had only 6 picks in the first 12 games this year.

The Air Force running game was led by Jared Tew with 173 yards on 26 carries (6.65 ypc), and Asher Clark with 129 yards on 17 carries (7.59 ypc). Both Tew and Asher scored twice.

I was the least surprised guy on the face of the Earth that Houston took a beating. The Cougars are ranked 111th among 120 teams in total defense, and only 95th in scoring defense. A quote by Keenum after the defeat was hilarious: “We’re going to take this into the off-season and we’re going to use it as motivation.”

Here is a better idea, Case. Tell your coach, Kevin Sumlin, to recruit some high school kids that can play defense.

Houston football is going nowhere at 1,000 miles an hour. Unless Kevin Sumlin figures out that he needs to play defense to win big time, he may win some games but his Cougars will not be a serious contender for anything worth talking about. Houston ended the season at 10-4; Sagarin had them ranked at 53rd in the country. Even Mississippi State with a 5-7 record was ranked higher at 45th.

Oregon State had its own problems. The Beavers never recovered from their Civil War showdown against Oregon, losing to the Ducks 37-33, and losing the right to play in the BCS Rose Bowl. They had to settle for the Las Vegas Bowl and getting clubbed by Brigham Young, 44-20.

This was a huge surprise, not the loss, but the loss by 24 points. The Beavers are one of the dirtiest teams in the country, and have been known to be downright vicious on the field. BYU’s Max Hall had his way with them, going 19-of-30 for 192 yards and 3 TDs. BYU ended the year at 11-2; Oregon State was 8-5-I would not want to be the team that plays them in their opener next year.

South Florida’s Mike Ford ran for 207 yards (10.4 ypc) and a touchdown, and freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels went 14-of-22 for 217 yards and 2 TD passes as the Bulldogs tore through Northern Illinois, 27-3, in the International Bowl at Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s largest city.

The bowl win was the second straight for the Bulls, who beat Memphis 41-14 in last season’s St. Petersburg Bowl. This year’s game was tied 3-all at the half, but South Florida won the 2nd half, 24-0.

Freshman running back Ryan Williams ran for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead 12th-ranked Virginia Tech past Tennessee, 37-14, in the Chick-fil A Bowl, boosting the Hokies to 10-3 and giving them their 6th straight 10-win season. Virginia Tech outrushed Tennessee (7-6) in the game, 229 to 5.

Williams became the Hokies’ single-season record-holder with 1,655 yards, and also set Atlantic Coast Conference records with his 21 rushing TDs and 22 total TDs. Virginia Tech won the Orange Bowl last season, and now has back-to-back bowl victories for the first time in school history.

Tennessee was out to lunch in this game, and its first-year coach-Lane “Here Again, Gone Again” Kiffin-promptly dumped Tennessee for a better gig at Southern California. Peter Carroll left USC to take the coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. There is nothing like loyalty to build a little trust and confidence, or so they say in Tennessee.

Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers’ freshman multi-threat receiver, scored twice from a wildcat formation and caught a touchdown pass to lead the Scarlet Knights over the University of Central Florida (UCF), 45-24, in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Tom Savage, another freshman, threw for a career-best 294 yards and 2 TDs.

Their coach, Greg Schiano, was effusive in the victory, “That’s 4 straight bowl wins, 5 straight bowls,” said Schiano, who has brought Rutgers from nothing back to contention during the last 9 years.

Sanu is the first Rutgers player in 17 years to run for a TD, pass for a TD and catch a pass for a TD in the same season. When you can run, pass and catch for touchdowns, you are a legitimate triple threat.

UCF coach George O’Leary said after the game that the Rutgers defense was better than his offense. The Scarlet Knights held Central Florida to 35 yards rushing and allowed only 4-of-15 third-down conversions, forcing Central Florida to punt 8 times.

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley

Read more of my 2009 college football coverage, including:

Fourteen consecutive weeks of NCAA Division I wrap-ups covering the top teams and key upsets.

Fourteen consecutive weeks of Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll (heck, I figure I am as good at picking them as the writers and coaches who pick the AP Top 25 and the Coaches’ Top 25 Polls, plus, I add some humor to lighten the load).

Coverage of the Washington Husky and Michigan State Spartan football programs, including Washington’s stunning 16-13 upset of Southern California early in the season.

The Best Defense

As with all States, the state of Nevada has very serious consequences for anybody charged or arrested of a suspected offense, and whether convicted or not the impact on your life can have long-lasting, sometimes disastrous repercussions. A good Domestic Abuse Attorney will work towards getting municipal, federal or state criminal charges reduced to lesser offenses or dismissed altogether. Primarily focusing on defending the accused, a domestic violence attorney and his office will sometimes cover municipal, state and federal crimes, and will provide the best possible defense no matter what the charges are. While your lawyer might specialize in domestic battery, he will usually be qualified to defend all types of criminal charges. These charges can include, but are not limited to:

• Assault
• Appeals
• Battery
• Bail Hearings
• Drug Offenses
• DUI’s
• Fraud
• Probation Violations
• Sex Offenses
• Theft Crimes
• Trespass

In the State of Nevada, being charged for battery is considered to be an enhancement crime, and after receiving a conviction an individual is open to further enhanced penalties on any subsequent convictions. If a third conviction is obtained within seven years there is a mandatory prison sentence given in Nevada Department of Corrections.

A first offense conviction for battery in Nevada is not permitted to be removed from a criminal record for seven years minimum. One conviction means that the individual is denied their Second Amendment right to bear arms. It can also be a major factor if you are involved in any child custody hearings or proceedings.

A first offense battery conviction in Nevada also means a two-day minimum stay in jail and confinement of up to six months, a $1000,00 fine, forty-eight hours minimum community service, and battery counseling for six months.

If a second offense for battery is obtained within seven years of the first one it will mean a ten-day minimum stay in jail with a confinement of up to six months, and a fine of up to $1000. It can also, include a minimum community service arrangement of one hundred hours and battery counseling of twelve months.

If a third offense for battery is obtained within seven years of the first it is then classed as a category C felony offense and will mean imprisonment for one to five years in the Department of Corrections in Nevada.

Ensuring that you get the best lawyer possible for your case can mean the difference between a possible custodial sentence and your charges being dismissed. A good lawyer will, at trial, focus on any possible motives of the accuser, and hopefully demonstrate that the charges are unwarranted or unfounded.

If you have been arrested or charged with domestic or spousal battery, it is extremely important that you make sure you do not make any statements or answer questions without your lawyer being present. It is always best to let your lawyer make any such statements on your behalf, rather than you make one while you are in an emotional state or in the tense settings of an interrogation room or police station.

Who Can I Choose As My Doctor Under the Workers’ Compensation System – The Defense Base Act

This article is made available for educational purposes only, to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. This should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Who can I choose as my doctor under the Defense Base Act?

This is a question I am not asked frequently enough. The answer is simple – you can choose any qualified physician under the sun to treat your injuries. That is a flexibility not offered under most state workers’ compensation systems. For instance, in the State of Georgia, where our office is located, you would only have a choice from a list of doctors your employer posts at your work place. Under the Defense Base Act, depending on the type of injury you suffered, if the doctor you choose is a licensed surgeon, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, osteopath, or chiropractor, then you have made a valid initial choice of physician.

The reason why I am not asked this question very often, is that most injured contractors only contact an attorney AFTER something has gone wrong with their case, like that their benefits are stopped or reduced or a medical procedure is denied or delayed. One reason why this is unfortunate is that while you have amazing flexibility in choosing an initial physician, those same rules limit your ability to change doctors.

If your first choice of physician refers you to some other specialist, for instance a family doctor who refers you to a orthopedic specialist for a back problem, the insurance company must honor that referral. Also, if your doctor retires, you can choose a new one.

However, outside of those situations, you are pretty much stuck with your first choice. Once a claimant has made his initial, “free choice” of a physicians, he may change physicians only upon obtaining prior written approval of the employer, insurer, or the Department of Labor. It is likely that if you do not like your doctor or what he is telling you, the insurance company probably loves him.

One situation we have run into recently, is where the insurance company actually recommends a doctor to the injured employee. Sometimes this is done by the insurance company’s “Nurse Case Manager.” A Nurse Case Manager often just ends up being a spy for the insurance company. He or she will be assigned to your case and theoretically their job is to facilitate your medical treatment. They may even convince you to allow them to come to your doctor’s visits and speak privately with your doctor. However, no matter how pleasant a human being they appear to be, they are first and foremost an employee of the insurance company. Their paycheck comes from the same place as your weekly check and your medical expenses. Their interests are not necessarily in line with yours.

In a recent case, the Nurse Case Manager mentioned this “great” doctor they knew whose office was nearby to our client. Little did he know that this doctor is one of the “go-to” doctors one major insurer sends claimants to for “independent” medical evaluations when they seek to challenge a claimant’s case. To our industry, this conversation is the equivalent of offering to sell you some beachfront property in Nevada.

They managed to fool the unsuspecting injured contractor into picking this doctor as his one free choice of doctors. You can guess how well that has worked out for him. He had no clue of this doctor’s reputation and had no clue he likely could not change doctors without the insurance company agreeing. While you have a wealth of options available to you upon your return to the United States or your home country, when you pick your doctor please do some research, talk to friends, or make some calls. Don’t just pick them out of the phone book and double check anyone the insurance company recommends.

New Statutory Defenses in New York For Homeowners Who Are Fighting Against Mortgage Foreclosure

During the past several years, the New York legislature passed new laws that are intended to provide additional protections to homeowners who are facing the threat of mortgage foreclosure. These legislative changes are intended to protect owners of residential properties by requiring that additional notices be sent to homeowners both before and during the foreclosure process. The underlying goal is to decrease the number of properties lost through foreclosure by ensuring the homeowners are aware of their rights to file answers in response to foreclosure complaints. The notice requirements have been strictly interpreted by the courts, and have resulted in the dismissal of foreclosure actions that were filed by lenders who did not comply with the specific dictates of the new laws.

In 2008, the New York Legislature amended the Real Property Action and Proceedings Law (known as the “RPAPL”) to require that a 90-day notice be sent to residential borrowers for high-cost, subprime or non-traditional loans. Under the 2008 amendment, 90-days notice is a perquisite to the filing of a mortgage foreclosure proceeding, and it applies to subprime loans that were consummated between January 1, 2003 and September 1, 2008. The foregoing time-period is clearly intended to cover the period during which it is believed that the most abusive lending practices occurred. The statute defines non-traditional loans as those which are interest-only and/or have variable rates. Under the statute, “subprime loans” are those with interest rates above a certain threshold, which is determined based on a formula that is set forth in the statute.

Most recently, in November, 2009, the New York legislature voted to extend the 90-day notice requirement to all types of home loans – not just subprime mortgages. The bill also gives protections to renters living in foreclosed properties, allowing them to stay in their homes for the full 90-day notice period or the length of their leases, whichever is longer. The legislature also enacted new requirements relating to summonses that are served in foreclosure cases. RPAPL § 1320 is labeled “Special summons requirement and private residential cases.” This section requires that a particular notice be included in the summons in residential foreclosure cases of three units or less. The notice consists of a warning to the borrower that a default in answering could lead to the loss of the borrower’s home. The precise text that must be included in the summons is set forth in the statute.

When filing an answer to a mortgage foreclosure complaint, a homeowner should assert, as an affirmative defense, that the lender failed to comply with the special summons requirement applicable to foreclosure cases. The filing of an answer form in response to a foreclosure complaint will ensure that the dismissal of a lender’s summons and complaint which fails to include the new, mandatory warnings. In the alternative, a homeowner may assert his or her rights under the new law by filing a motion to dismiss the foreclosure action.

While it may seem obvious that a foreclosure action can result in the loss of the subject property, the reality is that historically, many homeowners do not file answers to foreclosure complaints. With the new laws, the legislature and courts seek to emphasize the need for homeowners to take quick action by filing and serving an answer to the foreclosure complaint. The hope is to give homeowners, particularly those who are burdened with subprime loans, a chance to stop foreclosure and reach an alternative solution not involving the loss of their properties.

The foregoing RPAPL amendments are just a few of the various statutory provisions that have been enacted to protect residential property owners in New York from the loss of their homes in foreclosure. In addition to the new foreclosure defense legislation, the courts in New York have become increasingly vigorous in ensuring that homeowners actually receive the required notifications. Judges have not hesitated to dismiss foreclosure cases that were filed in violation of the new laws. The key is for a homeowner to actually answer a foreclosure summons and complaint, thereby ensuring that the lender’s complaint is subject to the judicial scrutiny. In this manner, homeowners have the chance to stop foreclosure.

As a result of the changed laws and procedures, homeowners are more likely to succeed in their efforts to defend against the loss of their homes through foreclosure. Although the foreclosure crisis in New York is not as severe as in some states (e.g. Nevada and Florida), the statistics give ample cause for concern. As of November, 2009, it is estimated that 12% of New York homeowners are delinquent in their mortgage payments. Meanwhile, New York suffers from a 9% unemployment rate, giving reason to believe that the rate of foreclosures will continue to be high. Thus, the defensive measures enacted in New York represent an effort to deal with an ongoing crisis that shows no sign of abating in the near future, and which will continue to affect individuals and neighborhoods throughout the state.

States That Give Car Insurance Discounts for Defensive Driving

There are many car insurance companies out there wanting your business. And some will tell you if you take a defensive driving course, you can get a discounted rate. How much? And for how long? Is this state-mandated?

The good news is several states are launching programs that require an insurance discount be given for taking defensive driving. Then there are states that endorse a discount, but leave it up to your insurer. It would be nice if the answer were a simple yes or no if you took the program, but because all states have different laws, there is no easy answer to the question: “Do I get a car insurance discount for taking online defensive driving or traffic school?”

First off, taking online traffic school and defensive driving programs can keep your insurance premiums from rising. How so? Well most people take these courses for a point reduction from a recent traffic ticket. Therefore, if you complete the course you will have those ticket points dismissed and your insurance will not see that as part of your driving record.

See below to find out what your state may allow, or even mandate, if you are eligible for completing online defensive driving:

Arizona – Takes off points to avoid insurance increases. Check with insurer on taking for a discount.
Florida – Takes off points to avoid insurance increases. Check with insurer on taking for a discount.
Georgia – Mandatory state discount of 10% for 3 years.
Idaho – Takes off points to avoid insurance increases. Check with insurer on taking for a discount.
New Jersey – Mandatory state discount of up to 10% for 3 years (based on insurer’s discretion).
New York – Mandatory state discount of 10% for 3 years.
Michigan – Takes off points to avoid insurance increases. Check with insurer on taking for a discount
Missouri – Takes off points to avoid insurance increases. Check with insurer on taking for a discount
Nevada – Some insurance companies offer a discount.
North Dakota – Mandatory state discount for 2 years (based on insurer’s discretion).
Texas – Mandatory state discount from 1-10% for 3 years (based on insurer’s discretion).
Delaware – Mandatory state discount of 10% for 3 years and 15% for renewal course after first 3 years.
Virginia – Allows insurance discount for 2 years depending on provider (cannot redeem if taking for point/court order purposes).

Mature driver programs offer a course that will provide a discount for drivers 55 and up. California, New Jersey and Florida all have online mature driver programs that will give you a state-guaranteed insurance reduction for 3 years.

Did your state not fall under this list? Not to worry, there are still programs for you to take, but your best bet is to check with your insurance company first before you sign-up. Usually if you provide the name of the school and website, they will be able to verify what discount, if any, you can receive. Then it is just a matter of providing proof of completion (usually a certificate given by the school) to the insurance company to redeem your discount. Visit http://www.americansafetycouncil.com to find an online course for your state.

Women’s Self-Defense Tips and Tactics: What to Hit Him With!

In the realm of women’s self-defense training, there are generally two very different theories. One says that a woman can learn the same techniques, tactics, skills and strategies as a man – that self-defense is no different for men and women. The other “camp” says that the only thing that a woman needs to know is how to deliver a well-placed kick to the groin and she’s home free.

And I say that they’re both full of it! Self-defense for women is unique in that there are many strategies, tactics, skills and self-defense techniques that can be applied equally well by both men and women, there are certain things that women should avoid, and others that only they will need to worry about.

Also, as I have pointed out in many other articles and self-defense courses and programs, kicking a man in the groin, if not done correctly, could leave the female defender lying in a crumpled heap on the floor, wondering why her instructor’s so-called “guaranteed, never-to-fail” women’s self-defense trick failed so miserably.

To clarify and to set you on the right track for success, this article will focus on weapons, both armed and unarmed, that you should add to your women’s self-defense arsenal.

Effective Body Weapons for Striking in Women’s Self Defense:

Hands: There are many ways to shape the hand for striking. Some are better or worse, depending on the target area on your assailant’s body. As a rule of thumb, strike hard parts of the body like the skull with the base area of your palm. It provides you with the same kind of damaging force as a clenched fist, while simultaneously resulting in less chance of breaking your hand or receiving cuts from striking the chisel-like ridges on head and face. Use your clenched fist and fore-knuckles for soft spots in the torso like the sternum. A fist would devastate the throat, but harder to get at compared to sneaking in a strong karate-like chop with the edge of your hand.

Elbows and Knees: Both are much harder than the hands and can inflict serious injury to the head area, torso area and any weak points in the skeleton from the groin up. And since self-defense for women is usually at closer distances than attacks on men, the elbows and knees are in better positions for delivering the kind of knock-down blows you’ll need to get this bigger, heavier attacker off of you!

Feet: Great for striking the groin area and below. Using the foot in a stamping like fashion, crushing the toes or smaller bones in his foot with the bottom of your heel is the goal. Striking higher than the groin, like you see in arts like karate, tae kwon do, and in many movie scenes is a serious no-no. Kicking the upper body or head is only recommended if your attacker is already kneeling, bent over, or on the ground where he can’t take advantage of your raised leg if you miss.

Hand-Held Self-Defense Weapons and Everyday Items for Women’s Self Defense:

Kubotan: A Kubotan is a short piece of metal, often sold in the form of a self-defense keychain. Combining this very effective weapon, with a training class where you will learn simple yet effective techniques and striking methods is highly recommended, as long as it is legal in your State or Province. If not you could use a similar item that looks less threatening and legal to carry.

Keys: A good strong key from your key ring, or the entire set, held in the hand while walking to your car or doorway can be very effective. While many women’s self-defense courses will teach you to place the base of the key in your palm and let the key portion rest between your index and middle finger, this is actually not as strong as simply holding the key the same way that you would to open a lock. Of course you can also hold a fob or other part of your key chain and use the keys in a flailing manner.

Ink Pen: A strong solid ink pen (preferably metal frame) is a great tool for stabbing soft tissue areas. The face would be a good area as well even though it is hard because of facial sensitivity. A pen is one of the best weapons and makes a great substitute for the Kubotan self-defense key chain.

Other Objects: Anything that is solid, with a little weight, and that fits in your hand, or something you can grasp tightly will do in an emergency. Good examples include: rocks, bricks, glass bottle, pool ball, book, knife, hairbrush, or how about your purse! I’ve heard many instructors have their female students go through their purses during a women’s self-defense course, looking for all the weapons inside.

The reality is this… if you don’t already have it in your hand when the attack starts – forget it! But, that being said, I have a wife and sisters. I’ve seen what many women put in their purses.

Hell! if I was carrying something like that…

I’d just use the purse!

Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas, and is by no means all the answers. There are many ways to protect yourself. The important thing to remember is to always be in the proper mindset and to have the survivor’s attitude when it comes to effective women’s self-defense designed to save your life and give you the greatest advantage!

Effective women’s self defense requires more than just a few “karate moves.” It involves the ability to think strategically, and understand how to defend yourself with as little wear-and-tear on you as possible – against an attacker who will be bigger, stronger, and determined to succeed!