May is National Good Car Keeping Month

May is “National Good Car Keeping Month” and serves as a reminder to auto owners to keep their vehicles in good repair. Vehicles that are not well-maintained run less efficiently than cars that are properly maintained and are also more prone to break-downs. A vehicle that is in ill-repair can also cause a serious accident, which can in turn result in serious injuries or even death. Drivers need to be able to make a quick stop and swerve to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians or even wildlife. Keeping your car in good repair is not only good for your car—it is good for you and your fellow motorists. To keep your car running at its best, make sure to schedule or perform a tune-up which includes completing the following tasks:

  1. Change oil and filter: Car manufactures use to recommend that an owner change the oil in a vehicle every 3,000 miles or so. However, with technological advances in the areas of both engines and oil, that guideline is no longer true for most cars built in the last ten years. Many cars can go 5,000 to almost 10,000 miles between oil changes. To make sure you are doing best by your car, always consult the owner’s manual. The same advice holds true about changing your vehicle’s oil filter.
  2. Check all fluids: Oil is not the only fluid your car needs to function at its best. When checking fluids make sure you not only check and top off the oil, but also inspect the transmission, brake, radiator, power steering, and windshield wiper fluids. If you do not feel comfortable checking or filling these fluids, be certain to have your mechanic check them on a regular basis.
  3. Check for leaks: A leak is easy to spot—usually it is a puddle in your driveway or garage. However, with all the different types of fluids it can be difficult to tell which fluid is the one leaking. One easy way to determine the culprit fluid is to place a large piece of cardboard or of newsprint underneath the vehicle and wait. Once you have collected the drips you can examine the color and odor of fluid, which should help you narrow down which fluid is leaking. Leaks are not only bad for your driveway—they also can cause slick spots on the roadways—which can lead to an accident. Be proactive and have a leak fixed or repaired as soon as possible.
  4. Inspect and rotate tires: Tires can make all the difference in the ability to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision. If you are uncertain if your tires need to be replaced, you can check the amount of tread with a tire tread gauge or have your mechanic check the tires at your next tune-up.
  5. Take a look under the engine: You do not have to be a certified mechanic to recognize trouble. Even an amateur can spot a cracked hose or corrosion on a battery. While looking under the hood, take a minute to also check the air filter. If it looks dirty replace it or clean it with a little compressed air. The life expectancy of an air filter is around 6,000 miles depending on how and where you drive.

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries after an automobile accident, you do not have to tackle this situation alone. The experienced team of Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at the Handle Law Center and ready and willing to help you receive the compensation you are due. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys, please contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924. At the Handley Law Center, we are passionate about providing injury victims with outstanding legal services.

Oklahoma DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Lessons to Learn from a Bad Situation

Driving under the influence or “DUI” is a serious offense. However, in most first time DUI offenses the charge is considered a misdemeanor. Under certain circumstances, a person arrested for DUI can be charged with more than a “simple” DUI. These additional charges can also take the simple DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony, and as such greatly increase the penalties the individual faces. A real example of what could have been a simple DUI- but turned out as something much more severe, took place earlier this month. The facts as reported by local news are as follows:

A man was pulled over in Oklahoma City by police on suspicion of DUI after a police officer observed the man cross the center line. The man and his vehicle smelled of alcohol and the man agreed to submit to a Breathalyzer test. The test revealed that the man had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was more than double the legal limit. At the time of incident, the man also had a minor child inside the vehicle. The man was arrested and the child was later released to family members. The man was charged with DUI with a child in the vehicle, drug possession (he had a bag of a powdery white substance on his person at the time he was booked at the jail), driving on a suspended license and child endangerment.

To better understand the consequences the man could face, it is best to break the penalties down by the individual charges, as follows:

  • DUI:  In Oklahoma it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC at or above .08 percent. If this is the man’s first offense, he could face between 10 days and one year in prison; fines of up to a $1,000; and revocation of his driver’s license for 6 months for the DUI charge alone.
  • Aggravated DUI: Based on the above facts, the man had a BAC at or above .16. This fact alone means that the man could be charged with an aggravated DUI. A DUI is considered “aggravated” if the person has a BAC at or above .15 percent. A person charged with an aggravated DUI faces all of the penalties of a simple DUI plus aggravated penalties. These additional penalties include completion of drug/alcohol assessment and evaluation; installation of an ignition interlock device; and not less than one year of supervision and random alcohol testing. The only good thing about having a DUI designated as “aggravated” is that it will not impact whether the DUI is considered a misdemeanor or a felony offense.
  • DUI with a child inside the vehicle: In 2009, Oklahoma lawmakers made it a felony offense for a person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child is present in the vehicle. Child endangerment resulting from a DUI carries with it a penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • Drug possession: A first-time possession is usually charged as a misdemeanor, however, possession of drugs such as cocaine or heroin are automatically charged as a felony. A person with a felony drug charge can face between two and ten years in prison and monetary fines up to $5,000.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you need to speak with an experienced Oklahoma DUI Defense Attorney at once. Only a seasoned DUI attorney can advise you of your rights and unearth all of your defenses. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924. The skilled attorneys at The Handley Law Center will guide you through the legal process and make certain that your rights are protected. Do not settle for second best—contact the Handley Law Center today.

El Reno Family Law Attorney Discusses Six Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

Divorce is not something any person wants to do, but in some cases, it is something that needs to be done for the sake of all family members. Although divorce is often seen as an ugly and expensive ordeal that is filled with drama, it does not have to be that way. A divorce does not have to be cost prohibitive or even contentious. In some cases, couples decide to end their marriage in the most amicable of ways—through an uncontested or an agreed upon divorce. If you are planning on filing for divorce and wondering if an uncontested divorce is the right option for your family, consider the following benefits:

  • Takes less time: A divorce case that proceeds to trial can take months or even years from the date of filing to the date of judgment. Conversely, an uncontested divorce can be completed in less than 90 days, depending on the parties’ desire to complete the case quickly and both agreeing to sign waivers of the 90 day statutory waiting period.
  • Less expensive: An uncontested divorce will cost each party far less in attorneys’ fees than a contested case. An attorney can spend numerous hours preparing a case for trial, in addition to the time the attorney spends in the courtroom. These hours can lead up to a hefty bill for both spouses.
  • Customized parenting/visitation agreement: When a case proceeds to trial, the judge hearing the case makes all of the final decisions with respect to asset division, visitation and custody. Judges, who are under a lot of pressure to move cases on their docket, do not have the luxury of time to craft a parenting plan that is completely unique to the needs of parties and their children. However, parties that have an agreed upon divorce, can truly customize how they will parent their children going forward.
  • Less uncertainty: A huge source of stress in a contested divorce is of course the final outcome. People are in constant state of worry over the following: how the judge will rule, when they will see their children, and whether they will be granted enough assets to survive. The unknown can cause a great amount of anxiety and fear. Unlike a contested divorce, the parties in an uncontested divorce decide themselves how assets will be divided and how parenting decisions will be made. Having control over these aspects of the divorce—eliminates the uncertainty and therefore a lot of stress.
  • An overall “nicer” divorce: In general, cases that proceed to trial can become quite ugly. The parties are not only upset with each other—but the stress of the process can leach into other areas of their personal lives, like at work. Parties that work together, even via attorneys, often experience less stress, since the primary goal is to reach a settlement and not to “win”.
  • Easier on the children: Although most parents try to shield their children from the divorce process as much as possible, children are not clueless to what is happening around them. Parents that are less stressed amid the divorce process will be better able to help their children cope.

If you are considering filing for divorce and are wondering whether an uncontested divorce is the right option for your family, you need to speak with a seasoned family law attorney. El Reno Family Law Attorney Fletcher Handley and The Handley Law Center have more than 30 years of experience representing clients in divorce and other family law related matters. 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 will take the time to explain your options and carefully weigh whether an uncontested divorce is possible in your case.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorney Answers Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Uncontested Divorces

Divorce does not have to be an expensive or lengthy process. It also does not have to be hostile or filled with litigation. Some couples opt to end their marriage by choosing an uncontested divorce. If you are interested in keeping your divorce as simple and as civil as possible, an uncontested divorce may be the right option for you. The following are the top three most frequently asked questions about uncontested divorces in Oklahoma:

  1. What is an “uncontested divorce”? An uncontested divorce, also known as an agreed divorce, is a divorce in which both spouses are in agreement about all issues related to the divorce. In other words, to have an uncontested divorce both spouses must be in agreement as to: 1) how all assets, including real property, bank accounts and retirement accounts will be divided; 2) how all debts, including loans and credit card debt will divided; and 3) child support, child visitation and child custody. If the parties agree on all issues with the exception of child custody, or with whom the child will primarily reside with, the mother or the father, then the parties do not have an uncontested divorce. However, there is an exception to this basic rule. If a person who wants to file for divorce does not know the whereabouts of his or her spouse and he or she cannot be reasonably located, then an uncontested divorce may also be an option.
  2. If I want an uncontested divorce, do I still need to hire an attorney? In Oklahoma, a person filing for a divorce is not required by law to be represented by an attorney. However, in most cases it is a good idea for a person to at least consult with an attorney before choosing to represent him or herself. This is especially true if the parties have minor children and will need to prepare a custody and visitation plan. It is very important to have an attorney draft these documents as it can be difficult to make changes to these documents at a later date. Couples with extensive property, including real estate and retirement assets, should also strongly consider hiring an attorney. These assets usually require additional paper work to be completed in order to transfer the property between spouses. For example, in order for one spouse to receive a portion of the other spouse’s pension plan or 401(k) plan, a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) will need to be drafted and approved by the plan administrator before being signed by the judge.
  3. To save money, can my spouse and I use the same attorney? In the state of Oklahoma it is against the law for an attorney to represent both spouses in a divorce. To save money, one spouse can choose not to hire an attorney, but the attorney representing the other spouse cannot give the spouse without an attorney any legal advice. Therefore, in many cases both spouses in an uncontested divorce choose to hire an attorney.

If you are planning on filing for divorce and have questions about uncontested divorces, then you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney. A seasoned Oklahoma Family Law Attorney will not only be able to explain all of your options but also help advise you as to which options are best for you and your family. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our family law attorneys, call The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. If an uncontested divorce is the right option for you, the attorneys at The Handley Law Center will do whatever is necessary to help you achieve this outcome.