Oklahoma Motorists: Train Safety 101

In March of this year, a 24 year old man was killed in Grant County Oklahoma when his pickup truck was struck on the tracks by an oncoming train. Although motor vehicle accidents involving trains are far less frequent than those involving another motor vehicle, the results are almost always fatal. Therefore, it is important that all motorists refresh themselves on how to safely operate a vehicle on and around train tracks. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when approaching train tracks:

  • Do not linger on the tracks: It is common when a motorist is in heavy traffic to find him or herself inching along a snail’s pace. Although it may seem at the time that you hardly moving, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings. You do not want to find yourself stopped, with no place to go, on train tracks.
  • Assume that a train cannot stop: Although the old saying implies that “assuming” is never a good thing assuming a train cannot stop is a good example of when it is safe to assume. When crossing train tracks, always assume that if a train comes through that it will not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting you, and take the necessary steps to avoid harm to yourself or your passengers.
  • Trains move faster than you think: Other safe assumptions are to assume that the train is moving faster than you think and likewise that you are not faster than the train. Every year people are killed attempting to cross train tracks despite warnings that a train is approaching the crossing. These motorists often think that they are fast enough to cross the tracks before train reaches the crossing. Do not play this game of Russian roulette with your life and the lives of your passengers. Although it may cause you to be late in arriving to your destination to wait for a train to pass, remember that being on time to any event is not worth taking this gamble.
  • Get out of the car!: If you find yourself in the very unfortunate situation where your vehicle has stalled on railroad tracks you need to act quickly. Although it may be tempting to spend a few minutes trying to determine why your vehicle has stalled, it is also the wrong decision. Your first priority should not be your car, but to get you and all of your passengers out of the car and off of the tracks safely. Once everyone is away from the tracks, contact your local law enforcement.  
  • Teach your children train safety early: It is difficult to find a small child who is not fascinated by trains. Although trains make a fun toy, trains and children do not mix. It is important as a parent to take each and every opportunity to teach your child that train tracks are not a safe place to play, even if they do not see a train coming or think they can move off the tracks fast enough to avoid an incoming train. Train tracks are also private property and your child could find him or herself in trouble for trespassing.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a train or automobile related accident, you need an experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney. Contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. As an injury victim you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Trust the skilled injury attorneys at The Handley Law Center to provide with you excellent legal services both in and outside of the courtroom. The team of professionals at the Handley Law Center care about you and are determined to obtain the money you deserve.

Buzzed Driving = Drunk Driving in Oklahoma

It is Friday night and you are at a bar with friends enjoying the fact that the work week is over. It is getting late and your friend says that he is heading out and grabs his car keys off the bar. You ask if he is okay to drive and he replies, “yeah, I am fine, just a little buzzed. I will grab a cup of coffee on my way home” and heads out the door. Regrettably, many people do not realize that buzzed driving is drunk driving. A person does not have to be falling down drunk to be above the legal limit to drink and drive.

In Oklahoma and across the country it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 percent. Unfortunately, there is no magic number of drinks a person can enjoy and still be able to legally operate a motor vehicle. One person may be above the .08 BAC limit after one drink, while another person may be able to enjoy two or more drinks before reaching the .08 limit. A person’s BAC can be affected by various factors including, but not limited to:

  • Amount of alcohol in a drink: It may sound obvious but the stronger a drink, the more alcohol the drink contains and the more alcohol a person ingests. A standard drink is considered to be one 12 ounce beer, one ounce of 80 proof spirits (vodka, whiskey, rum, etc.) or one 5 ounce glass of wine. However, a mixed drink made by one bartender may have one ounce of spirits while another bartender may make the same drink with more than one ounce of spirits.
  • Time: A person that spreads out the number of drinks over a longer course of time will have a lower BAC than if that same person consumed the same amount drinks in a much shorter time period.
  • Body size: A person’s body size and overall body type plays a factor in his or her BAC. A petite person who has one drink will have a higher BAC than a person with a large frame that consumes the same amount of alcohol.
  • Gender: Research has shown that on average a woman will have a higher BAC than a man after consuming the same amount of alcohol.

Although, a person cannot change his or her gender or his or her body frame, there are things a person can do to change how his or her body processes alcohol. First, before consuming alcohol take inventory of any medications that you are currently taking. Certain medications can affect how a person processes alcohol. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist before mixing any drug with alcohol.

Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach should also be avoided. A person who consumes a drink on an empty stomach will have a higher BAC than if that same person consumed the same drink on a full stomach. The last important thing to understand about BAC is that there are certain things that do not affect BAC. Drinking a cup of coffee or taking a cold shower may make a person feel more awake and less “buzzed” but it does not change a person’s BAC.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) you need an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Only a skilled Oklahoma DUI Attorney can properly advise you of the relevant law and protect your interests in the courtroom. Contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. The seasoned attorneys at The Handley Law Center will make sure that you understand your legal options and guide you through the legal process. Do not delay, contact The Handley Law Center today.

Could Money Sway You to Stay Married?

Contrary to popular belief, the decision a person makes to end his or her marriage is often not an easy or quickly made decision. Sometimes popular media makes it out to seem that divorce is just a “knee-jerk” reaction for couples experiencing a difficult time in the marriage. But for many individuals, especially for those with children, the decision to file for divorce comes after much thought and soul-searching. Individuals contemplating divorce not only have to determine if they are emotionally ready to split from their partner, but they also have to figure out if they are able to do so financially.

Divorce itself can be a very costly process. Depending on the duration of the divorce and whether the case settles easily with an agreement between the parties or whether the case ends up being decided at trial, the court costs, amount of attorneys’ fees and time taken off of work to attend court dates can really add up. Divorce is also expensive in that it creates two new households from the previous household. Since two people living in one household can live much cheaper than two people living in separate households, a person considering filing for divorce must also factor in whether that person can afford to separate from his or her spouse. In some cases, a spouse that is ready to file for divorce cannot file simply due to limited funds.

Money is also one of the major reasons why some couples are headed for divorce in the first place. If you are a “saver” married to a “spender” and funds are tight, money may be the root cause of the majority of your marital troubles. One Oklahoma House Representative thinks he has an idea that will not only encourage more Oklahoma couples to stay married but will also reduce the state’s overall divorce rate.

Republican Rep. Tom Newell has introduced House Bill 2870, which if it becomes law, would give married couples who file jointly, an income tax deduction. The former pastor hopes the bill will encourage couples to stay together by giving couples tax incentives that are directly related to the number of years the couple has been married. For example, a couple that has been married 3 years would receive a $200 deduction, while a couple that has been married for 9 years would receive a $600 deduction. A couple would not be eligible for the proposed tax deduction every year, but only in tax years when the couple has reached certain “milestone” years of marriage. The deductions would be available when a couple reached 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 or more years of marriage. A couple that has been married 50 or more years under the proposed legislation would be eligible for a $2,400 income tax deduction—the maximum amount. House Bill 2870 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Revenue and Taxation in February, so it will move on to the full House Appropriations Committee.

Remember, that you are the only person who knows if and when the right time is to end your marriage. If you have made the decision to file for divorce, the next step is schedule a consultation with an experienced Oklahoma Divorce Attorney. At The Handley Law Center we offer individuals the opportunity to meet with one of our skilled family law attorneys at no cost, for a completely confidential consultation. During this meeting you will not only gain a better understanding of your legal options but will also be given the opportunity to address financial concerns as well. With The Handley Law Center you are never alone. One of our compassionate attorneys will be by your side throughout the divorce process. To schedule your free consultation contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.

7 Things You Can Do to Make Visitation Easier for Your Child

In divorce, parents walk away from the court proceeding with one parent being deemed the “custodial” parent and the other the “non-custodial” parent. Both parents agree to follow a signed parenting agreement. Most parents believe that once the parenting agreement is signed by the judge and the divorce is finalized that relations with the “ex” will become easier. The good news is that in many cases, relations do improve and things do become easier. However, the number one source of problems of recently divorced parents stem from visitation. With this in mind, the following are a few tips that every custodial parent should follow to help make visitation as easy as possible for your child:

  • Mum is the word: During a visitation exchange pleasantries are okay, but should be kept brief, especially if there is still tension between you and your ex. Do not use visitation exchange to discuss potentially volatile subjects like missed or late child support payments or reimbursements for medical expenses.
  • Think before involving another person: If you and your ex are not on good terms, it may be tempting to have another person be present at the visitation exchange or to have him or her go in your place. Before involving another person, think carefully about how your ex will react to this person and if this person can be trusted to be civil. For example, sending a new significant other could make matters worse not better.
  • Follow the schedule: It is important to follow the visitation schedule as written. If you or your ex needs to make a one-time change to the schedule make sure that is specified in writing so that both parties understand the change. Problems can occur when changes are verbal and there is not a clear understanding of when and how the changes will work.
  • Prepare your child: Make sure that your child understands when he or she will be spending time with the other parent. Reminders are often helpful and can help prepare especially young children for the transition.
  • Make plans on “your” parenting time: If the visitation schedule provides that your ex has parenting time with little Johnny every Wednesday evening from after school until 8:00 p.m. do not sign little Johnny up for an activity that meets on Wednesdays after school.
  • Review and review again: Visitation schedules often contain provisions for parents to alternate holidays. For example, your parenting agreement may provide that for the Thanksgiving holiday mother has the children in “odd” years and the father has the children in “even” years. At least once a year sit down with your visitation schedule and write down the dates on a calendar. Make sure that you understand when the children will be with you and when they will be with your ex.
  • Talk to your attorney: Children’s schedules and parent’s schedule can change. If the changes will necessitate a change to the visitation agreement contact your attorney as soon as possible.

If you are a custodial parent who is experiencing visitation problems one of the best things you can do is to seek the advice of a seasoned family law attorney.  Oklahoma Family Law Attorney Fletcher Handley and The Handley Law Center have more than 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of others. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys, call The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. The attorneys at The Handley Law Center pride themselves on providing clients with superior legal services. To make sure that your legal rights are protected, do not delay, call us today.

Tips for Selecting the Right Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney

Have you ever considered who you would hire to represent you if you were seriously injured in an accident? If the answer is “no,” do not worry, as you are not alone. The overwhelming majority of people do not plan to be in an accident, much less seriously injured in an accident, so they have no reason to have an attorney in mind just in case the unforeseeable were to happen. However, State-wide accident statistics suggest that at some point, you or a loved one may need to hire an Oklahoma personal injury attorney, as accidents can, and do occur more often than you may think.  If that time is now, here are some factors you should seek out when searching for a qualified injury attorney:

  • Significant area of his or her practice is on injury law: Okay, so you do not know a skilled personal injury attorney, but you really liked the attorney that handled your divorce. Keep in mind that attorneys tend to focus their practices to a few key areas. Even if your divorce attorney did a bang up job on your divorce, if he or she does not handle a significant amount of injury cases, he or she is not going be able to deliver the same level of performance with an injury case. You want to hire an attorney who knows and understands injury law. Only an experienced injury attorney can help you weigh your options and obtain the compensation you deserve.
  • Skilled negotiator and litigator: You want to hire an injury attorney who is not only a fierce negotiator but also a trained litigator. An attorney who is comfortable in both arenas has the best likelihood of achieving the best possible outcome in your case. If you know that your attorney is capable both in and out of the courtroom, you will be able to sleep easy whether your case should settle or proceed to a trial.
  • Highly recommended: Chances are that you may know of a friend, relative or even a co-worker that was injured in an accident. Talk to him or her and see if he or she is willing to you a recommendation. Ask him or her what he or she liked and disliked about the attorney and/or the firm that handled his or her case.
  • Forthright and honest: If an attorney you meet in your search starts promising you the sun, the moon, the stars and oceanfront property in Arizona, run not walk out of the office. Every case has both strong and weak points. An honest attorney will not promise you results. Instead he or she will use his or her experience in handling cases similar to yours to give you an idea of possible outcomes.
  • Has the “it” factor: After you meet with several injury attorneys you will most likely develop a gut feeling about one or more of the attorneys. If the attorney meets all of the above criteria then you have to at some point just trust your instincts. Choose an injury attorney you feel you can trust. Find someone who is hardworking and values not only your case but is compassionate towards you.

Contact The Handley Law Center Now!

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident you owe it to yourself to find the right Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney. Only an experienced Oklahoma Accident Attorney can provide the representation you need to obtain the results you deserve. The attorneys at The Handley Law Center have represented countless injury victims. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924. At The Handley Law Center we understand how an injury can affect and change your life forever. You can trust the attorneys at The Handley Law Center to maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.