It’s Time to Discuss Statutory Rape Laws

This is an uncomfortable topic, so it makes sense that we as a culture try to avoid it, but here it is: teenagers engage in behavior that we would rather they wait on. This has been true from the beginning of time.

Another uncomfortable fact: teenagers are neither children nor adults. They have to be protected (both by parents and the law), but they also need more freedom because they are not completely incapable of making decisions for themselves.

In everyday life, we accept this. We know teenagers are in a gray area. We give them the chance to drive at 16 even though they are still, legally, children in every other sense. Why are we willing to trust children with massive vehicles that can go dangerous speeds and cause great damage? Well, most people would say they aren’t children, at least in that case.

What about leaving a 16-year-old home alone? If they are children, that is surely child abandonment, yet most of us would maintain they are, again, if not quite adults, still not children anymore.

Yet when it comes to issues of sex, we as a society like to think in black and white. Under-18 is a child, and they have no business doing anything a child wouldn’t do.

On the face of it, this is an absurd point. First of all, exactly what the age of consent should be is massively different across the world and even the country. Many Western countries mark consent around 15 or 16, South Korea marks it at 20. In the States, it falls somewhere between 16 and 18. So, when is a person legally able to decide? No one really seems to know.

This is not an arbitrary point. Statutory rape laws are in place in states like Texas that don’t allow for any nuance. There are even cases, though they are rare, of two consenting teenagers, both under age, being charged. The results of a statutory rape charge can be life-shattering. According to the Law Office of Mark T. Lassiter, it can result in years in prison and massive fines.

These punishments may seem fair when the criminal in everyone’s mind is some adult in their 40s praying on the innocent, but they can affect teenagers themselves just as often, if not more. An 18-year-old senior in high school dating a 15-year-old freshman is at risk of criminal charges under this system.

This is a country that can’t really decide when a person should be an adult. At 16, we drive, at 18 we vote, smoke, and join the army, at 21 we drink. Culturally, people are still considered immature halfway through their 20s. So, when is a person an adult? It seems we can see gray on this issue for everything except one thing: sex. And that is destroying lives.

It’s time for America to have an uncomfortable conversation and get this right.

Tell Someone and Get a Restraining Order

I have a story. A friend of mine came to me recently and told me she thinks she’s being stalked by someone. This guy, it turns out, isn’t exactly an ex-boyfriend. They were acquaintances, and he took her out two or three times for some semi-romantic outings. They went to the movies, dinner, had a few chats. She told me she called it off after only a couple of dates.

Well, he’s been after her ever since. At first, it was friendly messages on Facebook and Twitter, asking to get together, and after she made it clear that wasn’t going to happen, just random chats with occasional bits of begging to give him another chance.

My friend is pretty cute, and she’s funny and easy to fall in love with, so this wasn’t that unusual for her. She has a “let them down slowly and easily” policy where she tries to slowly cut off guys who just don’t get the hint.

Well, this guy got the hint, and then he got angry about it. He started sending her angry messages about how she led him on, how he broke up with a girlfriend (never before mentioned), and how she owes him another chance. It got pretty ugly, I guess, and so she unfriended him and blocked him on all accounts.

Unfortunately, it’s still going on now. He has her address, so he’s shown up a few times. He hasn’t been aggressive or angry, but he has tried to come into her place more than once. He’s asked for more dates. He even sent her flowers at work.

I was shocked to hear all of this, obviously. You see these sorts of things in movies, but I had no idea it was happening to my friend and for so long. I consider myself a pretty support guy when it comes to my female friends. I listen to their problems, and I try to help however I can. The fact my friend thought I “just wouldn’t care” hurts, but also makes me examine exactly what messages I’m sending out to her to make her think that.

In order to support her better, I’ve been doing some research on restraining orders. Apparently, this issue is far more prevalent than I thought.

So, I want to send out a few words of advice to my female friends. If you are having a problem with somebody like this, speak up. Tell people. A lot of them are going to be more supportive than you might think. Also, go to the police or a lawyer and find out how to make this person quit. They may just seem pathetic at first, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of much worse.

I’m glad our society is starting to take these issues more seriously, and I think all of us can do more to make sure these problems go away. My friend deserves to be able to go home without worrying about someone she doesn’t want being there. All women do. We have to make this stuff stop.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Fatality

Motorcycles are a very popular mode of transportation for many reasons, including increased gas mileage, the advantages of a small vehicle, and the overall enjoyment of driving. However, motorcycles leave their drivers exposed to a multitude of risks on the road. Motorcycles present different safety issues than cars, as these vehicles do not have any outside metal to protect their passengers, and they rarely include any other safety precautions. For this reason, accidents that involve motorcycles are often very severe and frequently result in fatalities. Fox 11 Online has written an article about a recent motorcycle crash in Outagamie County that had a fatal result.

On the night of August 28th, two motorcyclists collided on Highway O in Center, Wisconsin, a small town just outside of Appleton. The vehicles were moving in opposite directions down the two-way highway and reached a curve in the road. As the westbound vehicle followed the curve, the driver collided with another oncoming motorcycle. Three individuals were involved in this crash, as the eastbound motorcycle also had a woman as a passenger. Although all three people were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, unfortunately, both drivers were killed in the accident. Although the passenger survived, she was seriously injured, and paramedics rushed her to the hospital after the crash. The sheriff overseeing the crash did not have any further information about her condition. The accident is under investigation by the local sheriff’s department, in order to better understand what caused this devastating crash.

This horrific accident has no doubt had a large effect on this community and the drivers’ friends and loved ones. Although there is nothing we can do to reverse the effects of this event, it seems that we cannot help but to wonder what caused this accident to occur. Perhaps the westbound driver became distracted and lost control of his motorcycle, maybe the motorcycle dangerously malfunctioned and the driver could not avoid a crash, or perhaps even unsafe road conditions caused the vehicle to move erratically. We can see retrospectively, in each of these possible circumstances, actions could have been taken beforehand to prevent this accident from ever happening. Another person’s negligence may have caused this fatal accident, and if circumstances were different these drivers may still be alive.

For the passenger who survived this accident, the recovery period will likely be long and painful. Not only will she be facing the physical injuries that she sustained, but she must also manage the emotional pain of this loss, and the financial consequences of her care. Unfortunately, after most serious accidents, victims face significant medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages from time away from work. However, these individuals do not have to pay these costs alone. According to this Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer, financial compensation obtained through a lawsuit can help accident victims recover from some of the losses. Although this money will not take away the grief from an accident, it can help individuals manage one element of their devastation.

Manhattan Beach Divorce

The ongoing familial conflict between Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin has been a recurring news story for several years now. Often, it seemed like it was resolved before a new piece of evidence popped up, reigniting the drama once again. Now, though, it seems like that may finally be coming towards an end. After Weiner’s latest sexting scandal, Huma Abedin has finally filed for divorce, and Weiner is facing possible jail time. The controversy has been more important as it may seem at first glance- some people think that resurgence of it during the 2016 election was one of the blows that sunk Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But now, we’re finally going to get a conclusion.

According to this article in the New York Post, the family initially filed to have the divorce held in secret, with their names stricken from the record of the case documents. Huma said that she wanted to keep the case secret in order to spare their child from any possible distress. But the judge wasn’t so sure that it would held. He said that because the case was already such a public one, taking names from the record would have little impact on the visibility of it. As such, the case will proceed as normal.

Huma isn’t unjustified in her concerns though. Even “regular” divorces can have quite an impact on a child, particularly a young one. They may not understand entirely what’s going on and feel lost, confused, or abandoned by their parents. When the case is as public and tumultuous as one like this, things can be even worse. The events will come under much more intense scrutiny. Everyone the child meets will know about and have an opinion on the state of their parents’ marriage. An environment like that, filled with constant negative messages, feeling like one of the key foundations of their life is being dissolved, can be terrible for a child. The desire by the parents to protect their kids from these feelings is a natural one. Unfortunately, it’s often not that simple.

Of course, not all divorces are equal. These Manhattan divorce lawyers talk about some of the many different types of divorces, and the various paths families have to ensure everything is worked out as smoothly as possible. Contested divorces, in which couples cannot resolve their priorities in the divorce without the help of a court, can be some of the most stressful for a child. But mediated and collaborative divorces, in which couples either work with an attorney or with a mediator outside of court in order to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, can be much less stressful on the family.

Not every divorce is going to be as tumultuous as that of Weiner and Abedin. But not matter the context, it will almost always be one of the most stressful and difficult times in people’s lives. For the sake of their children and their own happiness, it’s important for couples going through it to understand their options and pick the one best for them.

BAC Level Readings based on Bottles of Beer Consumed

BAC Level Readings based on Bottles of Beer Consumed

Americans love to drink and drive – this is embedded in the nation’s culture. Proof and the reason behind this is shown by Barron H. Lerner, MD, PhD in his book, titled, “One for the Road.” This is the reason why many Americans still drive while under the influence, despite the risk of a DUI or DWI charge that is punished by heavy fines and imprisonment.

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), however, is a serious traffic offense, whether the charge is a misdemeanor (for first time offenders and without causing any property damage or physical injury) or a felony (imputed on repeat offenders, or first time offenders whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is way above the 0.08% limit, for those with a child passenger or who injures/kills someone in an accident) .

Based on a blood alcohol concentration measurement chart released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following number of beer bottles would result to the following BAC level (This measurement caters to a 160-pound man who would consume the indicated number of bottles of beer within one hour. Since individuals have different tolerance levels to alcohol, however, there are those who would already experience slower reflexes even after just two bottles):

  • 2 bottles of beer = 0.02% BAC
  • 3 bottles of beer = 0.05% BAC
  • 4 bottles of beer = 0.08% BAC – the BAC limit in all US states
  • 5 bottles of beer = 0.10% BAC
  • 7 bottles of beer = 0.15% BAC

Based on CDC records, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2010 due to driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs; the number of deaths due to alcohol- impairment was 10,322 in 2012 and 10,076 in 2013.

For many Americans, a few bottles of beer with friends or colleagues or a shot of 80-proof liquor (vodka, gin, whiskey, rum), especially during weekends or holidays would definitely not hurt; rightly so, but only if they do not drive afterwards.

It is true that majority of those who are charged with DUI are first offenders who never even suppose that the amount of alcohol they consume will impair their driving ability and lead them into an accident that may injure someone and damage properties.

According to a West Columbia DUI attorney, however, “A DWI/DUI can be deemed a felony-level crime for many reasons, especially in South Carolina. If anyone is seriously injured due to the accident, it is almost automatically considered a felony. Any child passenger involved in a drunk driving accident also greatly increases the likelihood of being charged with a felony DUI. Furthermore, a third DUI offense is automatically deemed a felony-level crime. A felony elevates the range of punishments for a crime, so establishing a strong defense to preserve your freedom becomes all the more important.

The courts already do not take DUI cases lightly, and when a child is involved, the stakes are drastically increased. All drunk driving cases involving children are subject to additional fines and jail time, and these additional penalties are mandatory if convicted for the original offense. Even if you are not convicted of the DUI, a mandatory 60-day license suspension might be imposed. In some states, a child is said to be anyone who is under the age of 16. An attorney may be able to help you reduce or completely avoid these additional DUI penalties.”

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