Providence Legal Issues Blog

The inaccuracy of eyewitness identifications

Some people in Rhode Island who are facing criminal convictions may have been misidentified by witnesses. According to a co-director of the California Innocence Project, the process used to identify people is flawed.

He says eyewitnesses tend to choose someone from a photo who most closely resembles the person who committed the crime. Then, when the lineup occurs, the eyewitness chooses the person who was in the photo. The repeated identifications reinforce the idea in the mind of an eyewitness that this is the person responsible. By the time of the trial, the person may be very confident.

Can a DUI affect where you travel?

A DUI on your record will result in both short- and long-term issues. There may be legal ramifications that extend beyond injuries drivers may sustain, which could have easily happened recently in Warwick, Rhode Island when police arrested several drivers for going the wrong way down a road. 

For the most part, you will be able to travel to most countries following a DUI conviction on your record. However, it really depends on whether the state charged you with a misdemeanor or felony for the drunk driving incident. 

Explaining the increase in gray divorce

If an individual in Rhode Island or elsewhere gets a divorced over the age of 50, it is known as a gray divorce. The reasons why older Americans are ending their marriages aren't surprising; one man said that his wife was spending too much money and was unable to control herself. Despite imposing spending limits, she would find ways to circumvent them. Ultimately, he decided that the marriage needed to end.

In another case, a woman cited a husband who blamed her for a lack of satisfaction with his life. She chose to give him his life back by filing for divorce. These reasons for getting divorced may seem relatively normal given the perception that a rise in gray divorce is fueled by a change in what marriage means.

Tax law changes impact spousal support payments

Changes in tax law that were adopted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late 2017 can have an impact on how people in Providence handle their divorces. As of 2019, people who conclude their divorce settlements will handle taxation differently than they have since 1942. While alimony payments were tax-deductible to the payers in the past, these payments will no longer be deductible from the higher-earning former spouse's income for tax purposes. In addition, the recipient of spousal support paid income taxes on the funds; now, the recipient will receive the funds tax-free.

This reversal of the tax treatment of alimony payments will not affect people who conclude their divorce before midnight on December 31, 2018. The existing rules will apply throughout the length of their divorce settlement. However, for people who divorce after that time, the new rules will govern how their spousal support funds are handled. The rules have sparked consternation from many people seeking a divorce, especially as they essentially mean that the IRS will receive a higher tax bill.

Dealing with educational costs during a divorce

Even happily married parents in Rhode Island may find the idea of paying for their children's college education daunting. When they are considering divorce, however, the planning process can be even more complicated. That's why divorcing parents should plan together and as part of their separation agreement to reach an understanding about how higher education costs will be handled between them.

TD Ameritrade estimates that around 40 percent of American marriages conclude in divorce, but over 66 percent of married couples do not have a plan to handle their finances in case of widowhood or divorce. College expenses can be particularly steep, and they continue to climb. The College Board notes that every year, university costs escalate around 3 percent. While private universities cost around $46,950 per year, including room and board as well as tuition and fees, public universities cost around $20,770 annually. Developing a plan, including specialized savings accounts like 529 accounts, can be important for parents in any situation.

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 arrival or shortly after in a hospital.

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 convict you of either or both.

For either assault or battery, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt not only that you intended to commit the crime, but also the act(s) by which you committed it. However, both the intent and the requisite act(s) are different for assault as opposed to battery.

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 focusing on supporting her husband's career and taking care of the home and children, so the transition can be a difficult one. Sometimes, the husband may become angry and controlling. He may suspect his wife is having an affair or demand that she turn the money she earns over to him. In other cases, husbands enjoy being able to ease off on their own demanding jobs but do not pick up any more of the childcare or chores their wives have been doing. This can lead to resentment from the wife who is now juggling those same duties along with her career.

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 Mississippi drivers used their phones during 47 percent of their drives. Drivers in Louisiana and Alabama were close behind, using their phones for 45 percent and 44 percent of their trips, respectively. On the other hand, drivers in Vermont, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington were the least likely to be distracted by their phones while driving. This is probably related to the fact that these states have all banned the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel in an effort to reduce distracted driving crashes.

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 custodial parent might travel on weekends and have trouble getting back on Sunday evenings. The visitation could be extended to Monday. A Wednesday night visit of a couple of hours with the noncustodial parent might be added, or this could even be an overnight.


Nicholas J. Hemond Attorney at Law
1 Turks Head Place, 12th Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-648-6509
Providence Law Office Map