Monday

29

July 2013

Wednesday

5

June 2013

Question: Is The Money From A Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?

Written by , Posted in Tax Law

Answer:
Personal injury settlements are not taxable.

The majority of time that settlements are taxable is when the settlement is meant to replace income, like in an employment discrimination claim or lost profits claim for a business. If a portion of the settlement was meant to reimburse time lost from work than that portion could be taxable.

Also, if you itemize deductions and you claimed medical expenses in previous years as an itemized deduction that were later reimbursed by the settlement then that amount would be taxable. A note on damages awarded for emotional distress. These are taxable unless the emotional distress stemmed from a physical injury.

Also, punitive damages awarded as a part of the settlement are taxable as “other income”. For more information refer to IRS Publication 4345.

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Monday

3

June 2013

Question: Is It Illegal To Go Through Someone’s Trash?

Written by , Posted in Common Law

Answer:

As a general rule, it is legally permissible to go through the trash of another person. However, there are a couple nuances worth noting. First, if the person going through the trash is a police officer or one who is acting on the behalf of a police officer, then United States Supreme Court case law is quite clear: it is legal, constitutional, and not even considered a “search.” (see California v. Greenwood, 486 US 35). The Supreme Court has consistently held that an expectation of privacy does not give rise to Fourth Amendment constitutional protection unless society is prepared to accept that expectation as objectively reasonable. Therefore, since the Court did not believe society was prepared to accept an expectation of privacy in the garbage we put out to the curb for collection as objectively reasonable, it is not unlawful for an officer or his agent to go through such trash. Second, a private citizen will not likely go to jail for simply rummaging through the trash of another person. However, if he does anything that the state he lives in finds unlawful during the course of his rummaging, he could face criminal charges, serious penalties, and even jail time.

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Thursday

30

May 2013

Question: Is It Illegal To Listen To The Police Radio?

Written by , Posted in Communications Law

Answer:
In almost every state, it is legal to listen to police radio communication inside of your home using a police scanner. However, local laws can make it illegal to listen to a police scanner without a permit. For example, in the City of Los Angeles, listening to a police scanner without a permit is unlawful.

Using a scanner outside of your home gets tricky. For example, mobile police scanners are illegal in New York. In states where mobile scanners are illegal, exceptions require approval by local law enforcement and sometimes even the FCC.

Downloadable applications that can turn a mobile phone into a police scanner are becoming popular entertainment. However, please be sure to check with local law enforcement before you listen to police radio communication outside of your home.

Lastly, always use common sense. Don’t listen to a police scanner in front of law enforcement. While it may be legal in your city or county, it can agitate a police officer who is in ear shot.

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Wednesday

29

May 2013

Question: Is It Illegal To Postdate A Check?

Written by , Posted in Consumer Law

Answer:

It is not illegal to post date a check. BUT, many state laws are based on the Uniform Commercial Code which has a provision that states that a bank can process a check even if the written date on it has not yet come due (meaning, just because you post-dated it doesn’t mean it’s illegal for it to be processed early). The “post-date” is not illegal, but also isn’t worth much as far as ensuring the check processing date either.

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