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Anchorage Legal Issues Blog

Alaska DUI stops and field sobriety tests

When police officers in Alaska make a DUI stop, they may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test. If the driver fails, they may then use these results as probable cause for a DUI arrest.

The first thing you need to know is that the law does not require you to take the test. This is different from the breath test after a DUI arrest, which the law does mandate and you may face significant penalties for refusal even if you do not get a DUI conviction.

Why your workers' comp claim was denied

Theoretically, workers' compensation aims to provide injured workers with a fast, uncomplicated way to get the health benefits they need. In practice, some applicants encounter roadblocks during this process.

If you receive a notice that your claim was controverted (denied), the denial can stem from a mistake you made or from the insurer's disagreement on fundamental issues. You may be able to appeal this decision; consult your lawyer as to your chances of success on appeal.

Modifying a child support order in Alaska

Alaska courts will include a child support order in the final divorce judgment. The court determines support amounts and schedules based on official guidelines as well as its own assessment of the child's best interests.

Sometimes, circumstances change and the terms of the original order no longer work well for the parties involved. However, failing to comply with a support order can result in considerable trouble and even lead to jail. Therefore, it is important to seek an official modification of the order and not just adopt informal changes, even if everyone agrees at the moment.

Using marijuana is legal in Alaska but driving high is not

Each year, more and more states legalize marijuana medicinally, recreationally or both. In Alaska, both are legal. However, the state still has laws regarding its proper use. Only those who are at least 21 years old can possess or use the substance, but they must not do so in any public area, especially on federal property, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

The highest focus, though, tends to be on how marijuana affects driving. It is still a substance treated much like alcohol, prescription medicine and illicit substances. Knowing and following Alaska law regarding marijuana and driving can prevent you from getting into trouble.

What happens to property in an Alaska divorce

Beginning the divorce process means thinking about property division as well. While some spouses may come to an agreement about who gets what, others may need to fight it out in court.

In Alaska, the law adopts an equitable distribution approach. This means that rather than dividing everything equally, the court decides on a division that would be most fair to both parties.

How to file a workers' compensation claim in Alaska

When you suffer an injury at work, your first concern is probably for your health and safety. However, what follows right after is the worry about the financial consequences of the accident. How will you pay for the medical bills? When can you go back to work, if at all? Will you have lifelong health problems or need long-term care?

Workers' compensation exists to address this situation. Your employer is responsible when you get hurt at work, and you are eligible to receive assistance to ease the financial burden. Here is what you need to do to receive these benefits.

Are prenuptial agreements good or bad?

Congratulations on getting engaged! Amid all the wedding planning activities, there is one thing to consider. Should you get a prenup before saying I do? The practice has become increasingly common, but you are unsure if it is the right thing to do.

Opposers argue that prenups discourage couples from working things out by making divorce easy, while supporters claim that prenups can provide marital security and prevent harmful contention if divorce happens. The truth is that prenups can be good or bad depending on your situation.

What benefits do you receive through workers' compensation?

When you receive an injury while working, it is imperative you report the incident right away to your employer, seek immediate medical care and follow your treatment plan. Taking these first steps can significantly increase the chances of your workers' compensation claim going through so you can receive benefits.

The benefits you are eligible for depend on the circumstances of your case. The following are the different benefit categories in Alaska.

  • Temporary partial disability: This applies to when your injury affects how much you can work but does not prevent you from working altogether. You will recover and be able to work normally again. Financial benefits will only last until you heal, with a maximum of five years.
  • Permanent partial impairment: This category covers injuries that are more severe and long lasting, such as an amputation. You receive a lump payment based on percentage of physical loss. If you are re-entering the workforce, payments will occur every two weeks instead.
  • Temporary total disability: Some injuries are serious enough to totally disable you, but thankfully not for the rest of your life. You can receive benefits during your recovery.
  • Permanent total disability: When you cannot work at all ever again due to the bodily harm you have sustained, you are eligible for long-term financial compensation. However, factors such as age, impairment, education, training abilities, industry and employment options all affect qualifying for this classification.

How breathalyzers may provide false positives

If police officers stop you and suspect a DUI, they will likely ask you to take a breathalyzer test. People who get a result of blood alcohol content exceeding the legal limit of 0.08 percent often assume there is no point in fighting the charges that ensue. How can you argue with machine-generated, scientifically-backed results?

The truth is that breathalyzers can deliver inaccurate results for a number of reasons. Experienced defense attorneys know to examine all aspects of a case and build a solid strategy. Speaking with a lawyer, rather than just assuming the worst, may reveal you have a stronger defense than you thought.

3 biggest mistakes you can make in a divorce

Nobody gets married with the anticipation that they will eventually get divorced. You are optimistic and in love, but the unfortunate truth is that divorce is a frequent occurrence. Its commonness is likely little comfort if you are in the midst of a separation, but it is important not to lose sight of the future as you go through this process. Too many people become susceptible to stress and make regrettable mistakes.

There are several mistakes, in fact, that can seriously damage your case. Whether you are separating amicably or dealing with a contentious court battle, you should always be aware of the consequences your behavior may have. Avoid the following three errors that could be costly to your case.

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