Providence Legal Issues Blog

Severe liver injuries and seatbelt use

Rhode Island residents may incur liver injuries if they are in a motor vehicle accident. However, wearing a seat belt can help reduce the severity of the injuries and significantly affect the costs and consequences that result from the accident according to researchers. The researchers examined National Trauma Data Bank patient data from 2010 to 2015. The patients consisted of individuals who were at least 18 years old, involved in a motor vehicle accident and either deceased upon a

Is there any difference between assault and battery?

If you face assault and battery charges in Rhode Island, you need to be aware that these are two separate crimes. Be sure to check your citation carefully to see if the officer really cited you for both, or just one. While assault and battery are similar in nature, they are not exactly the same. Consequently, the prosecutor must prove different things in order to 

How equality in a marriage may protect it from divorce

More couples in Rhode Island are beginning marriages on equal footing than in past years, but many people still start out with the traditional arrangement in which the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is responsible for household chores and childcare. According to a study by researchers in Sweden, if these roles change and the wife begins making more money than her husband, the couple could be more likely to divorce. This may happen for a few reasons. The wife may have been f

Driving app study shows states with most distracted drivers

Rhode Island residents are more likely to be distracted by their phones while driving than the national median, according to data released by the makers of driving safety app Everdrive. However, the data showed Mississippi drivers are the most likely to use their phones while behind the wheel. Everdrive tracks the road habits of users as they drive, and the makers of the app gathered data from 300,000 users to find out how often they used their phones while driving. They found that

Divorce and child visitation schedules

Divorcing Rhode Island parents who are creating a schedule for child custody and visitation have a variety of options open to them. While a common visitation schedule is one in which the child spends alternating weekends with the noncustodial parent, there are many other arrangements that are possible and that take into account different types of work obligations. For example, while the weekend visitation schedule usually runs from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday, the 

How divorced parents can help children adjust

Parents in Rhode Island who get a divorce can take a number of steps to help their children adjust. For example, parents should keep an eye on their children for signs of anxiety or depression and offer them healthy ways to cope. It is important for parents to encourage their children to build a relationship with the other parent and not interfere with that relations

How to avoid the label of "Disneyland parent"

Co-parenting is likely to be a challenge, even if you and your ex-spouse get along relatively well. You both may have some differences your childrearing philosophies and ideas on which household rules and discipline techniques to implement. Not surprisingly, one of you might end up being seen as the “good” parent while the other is the wet blanket. This is especially true for parents in Rhode Island who spend a great deal of their parenting time lavishing gifts on the children or

Are you one of those who thinks buzzed driving is safe?

You may have gone out to dinner and had a glass of wine or two, or had only one beer when you went to the bar with friends. You may feel relaxed and fuzzy, but you are sure that you are under the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, so you figure you are safe to drive. However, you and other Rhode Island residents may want to reconsider driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, whether it is a legal amount or not. Buzzed driving is not the same as drunk

NHTSA encourages teens and adults to stop distracted driving

Getting a driver's license is an exciting time for a young person in Rhode Island, but smartphones and entertainment consoles in vehicles create hazardous distractions. Distracted driving includes reading or writing text messages, talking on a phone or adjusting console controls. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has organized ongoing safe driving campaigns that target teens and their parents to warn them about the fatal consequences of taking their eyes off the ro

Professor says autonomous cars should not drive like humans

Rhode Island drivers who follow research into autonomous vehicles might know that a self-driving car hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian in March 2018. According to one Arizona State University professor, whose work in part involves developing computer systems such as those used in autonomous vehicles, there is an inherent flaw in the model of teaching self-driving cars to behave like humans. In the Arizona 

Talking on cellphone increases risk of crashing

Rhode Island motorists are aware of the dangers of texting and driving. However, a meta-analysis published in the journal Human Factors found that talking on the phone and talking to other passengers while driving is also hazardous. The analysis looked at 106 experimental studies that examined the performance of motorists who were either talking on the phone or talking to other passengers. Each study included a baseline measure of the drivers' performance when not speaking to ot

Child custody can be complex during divorce

For parents in Rhode Island going through a divorce, dealing with child custody can be one of the most difficult and emotionally challenging parts of the process. During the course of negotiating a custody agreement or going through court hearings, a set of custodial rights for both parents will be established. When the court makes decisions about each parent's role in caring for the children, it will rely on a number of factors and background materials, including the arguments of the att

Daylight saving time linked to drowsy driving

Drivers in Rhode Island may be feeling more drowsy than usual after daylight saving time. With the loss of an hour, this is to be expected, but a recent AAA study has emphasized how this one hour can impact drivers' performance. Drowsy driving, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of all car wrecks in the U.S., becomes more common after daylight saving time. The most important step is to get to bed earlier in order to make up for the loss. No amount of caffeine can cure drowsine

Will Rhode Island legalize marijuana in 2018?

If you are a Rhode Island resident who enjoys smoking an occasional joint, you probably are keeping your eye on how the “fight” to legalize marijuana in our state is going. Rather well, actually. Just this past week, Rep. Scott Slater filed a bill in the Rhode Island House of Representatives which, if passed, will allow you to cast your vote this November to 

Financial planning can ease divorce pain

While many Rhode Island residents headed for marriage could not be further removed mentally from divorce court, some pragmatic individuals consider the possibility of divorce even before marriage. It is commonly accepted that health and life insurance policies are a practical hedge against unwanted circumstances. Those who make early divorce planning a priority simply see it as another type of insurance they hope to never use. A number of 

Divorcing parents can maintain their parent-child bond

For Rhode Island parents going through a divorce, the issues that can often be contentious are those related to their children. Issues of child custody and parenting time can be some of the most heavily debated. However, facilitating a positive co-parenting relationship and a close parent-child bond for both parents can be an important means for them to provide support for their children regardless of their own relationship issues. In the United States, one out of every three childr

Fatal car crash increase discovered around 4/20 holiday

Although Rhode Island has not legalized the recreational use of marijuana, that doesn't prevent people from joining in the April 20 celebrations that have been going on across the nation for more than 25 years. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, though, this self-proclaimed holiday may be responsible for an increase in fatal car crashes. The conclusion isn't a surprising one since, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use 

Avoiding revenge is the best policy in divorce

Rhode Island couples headed for divorce court may be tempted to use the litigation process to facilitate a quest for vengeance against a disappointing spouse. Aside from the folly attached to paying lawyers many thousands of dollars are other reasons why such a course of action is imprudent at best and destructive at worst. The path to a better post-divorce life does not generally run though the type of battlefield contemplated by parties seeking revenge for past wrongs. While there

Can I veto my ex dating a specific person?

When a married couple divorces, it often happens that one spouse starts dating another person. Furthermore, it is natural for the other spouse to not approve of the new romantic interest. You may be wondering whether you can veto your ex dating a specific person you dislike because you have children. The answer is no, you cannot. However, because children are in the picture, there is some gray area.

Tax law changes to have significant impact on alimony

Rhode Island spouses considering divorce may be particularly troubled by the potential financial implications of ending a marriage. From real estate division to spousal support, financial issues can be contentious aspects of a divorce. With the signing into law of tax reform bill in December 2017, there are major changes to spousal support scheduled to go into effect in 2019 that could have significant implications for divorces in the future. U.S. federal tax law has taken a uniform

Paying for insurance after a divorce

When a Rhode Island resident gets a divorce, it may impact his or her ability to get insurance. It may also play a role in how his or her child gets insurance. For adults, the first option may be to apply for insurance as per the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, or COBRA. If a spouse worked for a company with 20 or more employees, the other spouse may be entitled to COBRA for up to 36 months after the divorce. However, coverage through 

Tougher DUI penalties could be coming

A study just released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine is giving a push to efforts by drunk driving activists to lower the threshold for DUI penalties in the United States. The journal article states that lowering the blood alcohol content to .05, combined with other measures, would reduce the number of drunk driving-related deaths. Approximately 10,000 people die on American roads annually in alcohol-related incidents. Safety officials believe that ado

Can I refuse a DUI chemical test in Rhode Island?

Each state has different laws regarding driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, known as DUI and DWI. In Rhode Island, for example, the legal limit for blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration, known as BAC, is .08 percent, which is also the "per-se" BAC level in all states.  However, some states have lower zero-tolerance levels, and the DUI procedures and protocols for stopping a driver, conducting DUI testing and arresting a d

What to keep in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement

The good news is that Rhode Island ranks 36th among the states with the highest divorce rates. While ending a marriage isn't as common here as in many other states, there are still times when a union of this nature needs to be legally dissolved. Regardless of the circumstances involved, one of the first steps in this process is making an attempt to negotiate a fair settlement between parties. Prior to negotiations, it's often beneficial for both parties to know where they st

Steps to consider if you receive a DUI in Rhode Island

If law enforcement arrested you on a DUI charge, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. A DUI arrest can throw your life into a tailspin, especially if this is the first time you have been arrested and this is your first contact with the criminal justice system. The way a DUI charge proceeds through the justice system is specific and not always straightforward. Here is some information to help you better understand what happens after a DUI charge and how you

Divorce in January

Divorce filings in Rhode Island and the rest of the country tend to increase during the first month of the year. While a University of Washington study has determined that the majority of divorces occur during the months of March and August, the divorce courts still have to deal with the significant increase in divorce filings immediately after the start of each new year. According to many legal practitioners, this trend is attributed to the idea that people prefer not to get divorc

New Years can be high time for divorce

For people in Rhode Island looking to end their marriage, the turn of the year can often be accompanied by new divorce filings. The January of every New Year brings a sharp uptick in the number of couples across the United States who choose to file for divorce. This increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including the stress of the holiday season and a choice to wait until after the family events of the winter holidays are completed before filing. It can even reflect people's

Divorce can lead to extended family relationships

The definition of family is changing for people across Rhode Island, especially after an increasing number have had their marriages end in divorce over the past decades. A divorce doesn't mean an end to the growth of a family, however. Instead, remarriage after divorce can bring together stepparents, half-siblings and stepchildren into a more expansive family framework. Nearly a third of all households headed by an adult under the age of 55 in the United States include at least

Understanding how a hardship license works in Rhode Island

One of the most inconvenient and frustrating challenges in life has recently happened to you - you lost your driver's license. Whether the state revoked your license because of a DUI or because you refused to submit to a chemical test during a traffic stop, losing the right to drive has seriously impacted your ability to get the most important things done in your life. You still have a job to get to, as well as errands to run and appointments to keep. Can a Rhode Island 

Divorce and Social Security payments from an ex-spouse

When people in Rhode Island divorce a spouse they were married to for more than 10 years, it may be possible to draw Social Security payments on that spouse's work history. The divorce must have been at least two years ago, and both people must be over the age of 62 for a person to start collecting this payment. A calculation known as the Primary Insurance Amount is used to determine how much a person receives in Social Security payments. This is the best 35 earning years of a p

Tips for divorced parents to stay positive during the holidays

The holiday season may be difficult for newly single parents in Rhode Island with strong emotions as they try to reconcile favorite traditions with their parenting situation. Although former spouses may have conflicting desires when it comes to spending time with family over the holidays, parents should focus on helping their children adjust to splitting holiday celebrations between two households. Parents need to resist the temptation to buy the love or forgiveness of their childre

What to consider during the divorce process

It may be necessary for Rhode Island spouses to have a team assembled to help them through a divorce. This team will typically include a CPA or some other financial adviser as well as a therapist. Friends and family members may also make up a part of this support system. Those who don't have a team ready to go when they divorce may want to take time to assemble one. One of the most important decisions a person may make when it comes time to 

How alcohol really affects safe driving

Impaired driving or driving under the influence of alcohol continues to be a serious problem in Rhode Island and across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day 28 people die in car crashes involving a drunk driver. CDC offers information on drunk driving and how it can be prevented. One key to prevention is educating drivers on just what being drunk does to their ability to drive. Legally, drunkenness is measured by blood alcohol content. The legal

Racial disparity in criminal sentencing

A fair and effective criminal justice system is important to most Rhode Island residents. The United States currently leads the world in incarceration, with more than two million people currently incarcerated. This is a 500 percent increase in four decades. However, a study by the US Sentencing Commission shows an apparent disparity in the time served by Afr

To stay or to go: Children and divorce

Parents in Rhode Island who are in unhappy marriages may struggle with whether they should try to stay together for their children's sake or if it would be better to get divorced. There are several reasons that should prompt people to go through with their divorces and others that might indicate that remaining together is worthwhile. If there is 

Are you more at risk for a DUI when you visit home?

Many Americans move out of their hometowns at some point but love visiting. For example, you might feel crazy to pass up your parents' delicious cooking for a holiday, or perhaps the thought of attending a high school reunion appeals to you. Whatever the reasons you have for traveling back home, it is possible you could be at higher risk for a DUI while there. Here is a l

Preventing wildlife collisions

Rhode Island drivers who regularly commute during the evening should be aware that, with the end of daylight saving time, it gets darker much earlier. However, this occurs during the peak of the animal mating season, making this time even more dangerous for drivers. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, around 3,300 wildlife collisions

When divorce might be the right choice

Although Rhode Island couples may find ending their marriage to be painful, in some cases, it may be the best choice. Around half of marriages end in divorce, and a couple who is able to accept that it is not a sign that they have failed may be able to negotiate the divorce more productively and move on. There are a few circumstances in which it may become clear to a person that divorce is the best option. For example, if there is abuse, leaving the marriage may be the right choice.

Online dating has some positive implications

Online dating may help to bring harmony into relationships, according to one study. Dating websites can encourage Rhode Island residents to meet people of different backgrounds from outside their own social networks. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that of relationships that begin online, only 5.9 broke up. Furthermore, only 7 percent of couples analyzed for the study divorced or separated after getting married. This compares to 7.6 percent who broke up a

Cellphones linked to accidents, but too little data gathered

Some Rhode Island residents may have been among the approximately 100 people per day on average who died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. Traffic fatalities are up after years of decline, and experts say it cannot be fully explained by people driving more or an increase in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many experts believe that the distraction of smartphones is to blame, but the way that accidents causes are tracked and recorded provides too little data. In the

Is there ever a reason to leave the scene of an accident?

Getting into a car accident can often seem like a nightmare — it happens so fast, and you will likely be in shock immediately following the crash. Regardless of who was at fault or how the accident occurred, all drivers involved must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. You might be wondering what happens if you leave before this point. The answer depends on a number of factors. The Daily Courier cites a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety which foun

Different DUI tests you may have to take

If Rhode Island police suspect you of drunk driving, they will pull you over and look for a reason to arrest you and give you DUI charges. When no apparent proof or symptoms of intoxication are available, law enforcement can determine impairment through tests. Knowing what these tests include and what your rights are can help you prepare for a DUI stop or fight the test results and DUI charges

Why plea bargains arent true justice

As there are a large volume of criminal cases in Rhode Island and across the country, plea bargains are seen as a way of easing a judicial burden. However, a plea bargain may mean that someone who could be innocent is now a convicted criminal. While a plea may mean a shorter sentence or lower legal fees, it may not be the best way to resolve the matter. One way to get outcomes that better reflect the rights of citizens is to increase the number of judges and courtrooms available to

Divorcing at a later age

Older Rhode Island couples who decide to end their marriage may find that it can be financially difficult. This is often due to the fact that older Americans have a limited amount of time to recover financially. Because marital assets become far more important for those near retirement age, the cost of the divorce can actually go up as former couples try to get the most out of property division. After the age of 50, most individuals have maxed out their earning potential and their e

Car accidents and locations

Driving while tired and on a long trip is sometimes the cause of accidents that Rhode Island motorists are involved in. However, many accidents occur only a short distance from home, usually less than 25 miles away. Most people tend to travel close to home. People often rely on the memories of the neighborhood sometimes to help them get from a destination to their home. This type of thinking can sometimes cause drivers to be less attentive to the road and the hazards around them. Th

Working at bars could increase likelihood of divorce

Bartenders in Rhode Island and blackjack dealers in Atlantic City have an uncomfortable statistic in common. According to an extensive research study presented by, workers who earn their paychecks in the nightlife and casino industries tend to experience some of the highest divorce rates among American couples. Professionals employed as software engineers and data scientists are among those who are the least likely to get divorced, and it is important to understand what these

Data show reduced accident rates with daytime headlight usage

Permanent running lights are not mandated by the federal government, so drivers in Rhode Island and other states may find that this particular safety feature is not factory-installed on the majority of vehicles that are available for purchase. However, some studies regarding the use of headlights during the day are showing that the technology has helped reduced accident rates by as much as 10 percent. This finding has caught the attention of some lawmakers, who are arguing in favor of new leg

When it is safe to leave the scene of an accident?

Under Rhode Island law, any driver involved in an accident or who had reason to believe he or she was involved in an accident must stop. For example, leaving the scene when someone is hurt can lead to penalties such as driver's license suspension, fines and imprisonment. If stopping at the scene itself would be unsafe, drivers are allowed to stop as close as possible, and they should t

Shared parenting may be best for all

While shared parenting arrangements are becoming more common in Rhode Island, a majority of child custody cases are still resolved with an award of primary physical custody to the mothers. Shared parenting may be a much better alternative for both the children and the parents, however. Shared parenting is a type of child custody arrangement in which the parents share equal

Crash avoidance technology may save lives in Rhode Island

Many newer vehicle models have crash avoidance technology systems either as options or that come as standard features. These systems are meant to help to prevent some of the common types of preventable accidents, including single-car crashes, side-swipe accidents and head-on crashes. One organization was interested in finding out how effective collision avoidance systems are in reducing the accident and injury rates for these types of avoidable accidents. The 

Opting for a divorce lawyer over mediation

Rhode Island couples often consider alternatives to litigation, such as mediation, when it comes to ending their marriage. However, there are situations in which it will be necessary to seek out the services of an attorney to ensure that one's rights and interests are being protected. In order for 

Women should take charge of their post divorce finances

Rhode Island women who are considering divorce may be thinking about how their finances will be affected in the future. Due to realities such as the pay gap and gender roles, women often have a harder time than men becoming financially stable after their marriage ends. The median income for women is about 82 percent that of men. Depending on the race or profession of the woman, the discrepancy in wages can be even bigger. This means that after a divorce, it is more likely that a wom

Why police make false DUI arrests

One unfortunate reality of law enforcement is that police officers have flaws. They are human. They may even make serious mistakes and issue false arrests for a variety of reasons, some malicious. For example, perhaps one police officer does not like how a driver responded to a question after he pulled him over, and the officer decides to charge him with DUI. Another officer might target racial minorities by inventing reasons to pull drivers over. 

2nd car crash for Rhode Island man results in criminal charges

Police investigators in Richmond had to piece together the events of a single-vehicle crash that killed a 37-year-old woman. She had been the passenger in a car driven by a 36-year-old man from Charlestown, who authorities found walking on the side of the road four hours after the accident. After providing the man with medical treatment at Kent County Hospital, law enforcement charged him with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He has been jailed without bail because of violatin

Device developed to alert fatigued drivers

Drivers in Rhode Island may have the opportunity to purchase a device that will alert them when they are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel. The Steer, a device that is worn on the wrist and that was developed by Creative Mode, measures sweat and heart rate to determine when a person is falling asleep. First, it delivers a vibration, and then it shocks the driver. At this point, the driver should find a place to rest and pull over. The founder of Creative Mode says that he did

Fair warning: Rhode Island drunk driving penalties are stiff

In Rhode Island, driving while intoxicated is a term based on a blood alcohol content reading of 0.08 percent or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with driving under the influence with a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.08 percent. The penalties are significant, and they vary depending on BAC level and the number of offenses. In addition, if a drunk driver is responsible for seriously injuring or killing someone, the DWI or DUI misdemeanor becomes a felony.

IIHS links higher speed limits with increased fatalities

Lawmakers in Rhode Island have chosen not to raise speed limits above 65 mph even on busy interstate highways, and their cautious approach likely saves dozens of lives each year according to a leading road safety group. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has studied how higher speed limits have impacted traffic accident fatalities in the United States, and it has concluded that road deaths rise by about 4 percent for each 5 mph increase. The nonprofit group also says that higher speed

Consequences for a first offense DUI in Rhode Island

A first offense for driving under the influence in Rhode Island comes with varying penalties depending on the facts of your case. If you are facing charges for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions. You are likely wondering whether you will face jail time or how expensive your fines will be. Each conviction is unique, but we can get an idea of the penalties from 

Career could play a major role in the decision to divorce

Rhode Island couples may be more likely to divorce depending on their career choices, shows an analysis of U.S. census data. The highest rate of divorce for people across the United States was experienced by first-line enlisted military supervisors. They had a divorce rate of 30 percent. An array of other professions were slightly less likely to 

Common myths about divorce

Rhode Island couples who are getting a divorce may receive advice from others, but that advice might not be based on facts. For example, it is not possible for both parties to be represented by the same attorney. Another possible misconception is that a person's pension is protected. Divorce is one of the exceptions, and it may be divided even if only one person has worked outside the home. While it is possible to l

Fourth of July top source of summer car accidents

Many Rhode Island families look forward to summer vacations, but traveling during the first four days of July exposes people to the highest risk of motor vehicle accidents. When the Travelers Companies, Inc. analyzed accident claim data between 2012 and 2016, the company identified the Fourth of July holiday as more dangerous than Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. An insurance company vice president said that Indepen

First steps in resolving a car crash

A Rhode Island motorist's immediate actions following a car accident could play a part in determining just how well that person's best interests will ultimately be protected. Before calling an attorney, drivers who have been involved in an accident that wasn't their fault should take certain steps while still at the scene. Some accidents may only be minor. After 

Rhode Island House unanimously passes expungement bill

The Rhode Island House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on June 8 that would allow judges in the state to expunge the criminal records of individuals with as many as five misdemeanor convictions. A similar bill stalled in the Senate in 2016 after clearing the House. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is championing the bill, and the measure has a diverse group of supporters ranging from civil and minority rights advocates to members of the gun lobby. Expunging criminal rec

A guide to domestic abuse restraining orders in Rhode Island

If you think you are dealing with domestic violence, it is crucial for you to know your rights to protection. You might have questions about filing a restraining order, including where you file, what it entails and if you are dealing with what the law terms as domestic abuse. The purpose of this post is to answer all of these questions and give you a path to safety. Your well-being is the top priority in this type of situation. Keep reading to learn about 

Options for child support agreements

For Rhode Island parents who have minor children and who are getting a divorce, there are several ways that child support may be decided. The court may enter a child support order, but before this, parents have a number of opportunities to make their own decisions about support. Informal negotiations may be carried out either with or without attorneys present, or the attorneys themselves may do these negotiations. Collaborative law and mediation provide the opportunity for more form

Providence Woman Facing More Than DUI Charges After Driving Drunk

Taking a chance with drunk driving could have you facing much more than just DUI charges. A Providence woman recently found that out when she was pulled over for speeding and running stop signs at 1:00 am on Friday, June 2nd. When the police pulled her over, they found f

New Bill To Protect Domestic Abuse Victims From Gun Violence

New Bill To Protect Domestic Abuse Victims From Gun Violence Domestic violence is a scourge that affects the lives of too many people. When violence is part of a couple’s or family’s home life, women, children and men are put at risk. Any steps that can be taken to protect people from the threat of domestic violence, should be taken. Yet, he

How nesting changes the shared custody paradigm

Rhode Island parents who are contemplating a divorce have several options when it comes to raising their children. In many cases, a child will live with one parent during the week while living with the other on the weekend. While a specific custody arrangement may differ from that format, it still requires a child to live in two different homes. Nesting is a new form of 





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Nicholas J. Hemond
Attorney at Law

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Providence, RI 02903

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