Disrupt Your Thinking

IMG_2921Today I made a conscious decision to disrupt my daily routine and try a new coffee shop. It led me to a place that felt incredibly warm, as if nature existed inside the space.

And while I was the only patron for some time, the energy was explosive and I felt as if surrounded by members of my community.

There is a table with a prayer bucket where you can place your requests. A place to write anonymously in several journals just to express your thoughts and feelings. A place to see the faces of the children from #MSD killed just weeks ago. And a place to read what people are thinking.

I felt almost selfish for wanting to get a snapshot of the minds of the people in my community. I thought maybe I’d learn something about them and what they want from others so I can use it to my advantage in business, social and philanthropic efforts.

But when I say little moments have the power to move us in unexpected, powerful ways, I say it after being moved.

Once I began perusing through the content left on the table top, I knew it was different than reading the news, or hearing stories on television, or listening to protest testimonies. It was different because the words were written without care for who’s eyes it’d be exposed to, if anyone at all. The words were spontaneous, unedited, and raw.

I was most moved by the commitments nearly every writer expressed:

  • to offer the same love for friends to strangers,
  • to offer more compassion and understanding, to anyone you meet,
  • to share kindness exponentially, without concern for receiving the same,
  • to spread awareness about the issues that affect our communities in silence (like mental health),
  • to forgive without reserve but demand positive change wherever possible, and
  • to remember the “why” behind choosing to make such commitments at all.

I am not ashamed of the benefits I received today by engaging in this little moment nudged by selfish motivations.

What if trying to reach the community, in all our efforts, continued to be motivated by these commitments?  Would that make us better business owners, service providers, proponents for change, advocates for awareness, and pioneers for innovative solutions all in the name of improving each of our respective and deserving communities?

Create Opportunities Where None Exist

America added a significant event to her lifetime story on March 24, 2018 when hundreds of thousands of people gathered to March for Our Lives.”  While many shared feelings of desperation, anxiety, or eagerness stemming from tragedies experienced in their communities, most shared feelings of hope and excitement for the inspirational paths the emerging leaders and change seekers in those same communities are forging with resilience and powerful energy.  The composition of protesters didn’t have to be ALL young people to know that people are inspired by the youth leaders we are seeing triumph through their pain.

Seeing beautiful faces and hearing resounding voices of young people who have yet to reach voting age tells an inspirational story.

What happens when students in America effectively learn about their Constitutional rights and the rules of law that govern America? If taught correctly, it encourages them to think about how their lives are improved or restricted by them, and what options are available to influence positive changes. What happens when students in America are not learning these important concepts? They miss out on understanding the power of their voice and their vote, and they don’t participate in government wisely.

Civics education in America is not nearly what it should be.  Many students across the country are without opportunities to actively participate in frequent and relevant discussions about the Constitution, the rules of law, and the impact of both on their families, their friends, and their vision for their lives.

The March for Our Lives was not just a display of unity on a particular social or legal issue, it was a display of commitment and desire by America’s youth to actively participate in the structure of democracy that makes America amazing.  Now is the time for us to commit to America’s students and help them stay aware and knowledgeable about important issues and the power they have to effectuate change in their communities, their cities, their states, and their nation.

Understanding why the United States education system is failing to provide these opportunities is less important than how we can improve the way things get done.

Lawyers are one group of people in a position to impress upon our education system creative ways to improve knowledge among students. An article in The Young Lawyer magazine published Winter 2018, “How You Can Help Engage Students in Civic Education” written by Erik Carlsen-Landy, briefly discusses a few ways lawyers can get involved.  One suggestion is to volunteer in local schools by coaching debate teams or moot court teams.  This option might have minimal impact on the entire problem as participation on these teams tends to be from students with an existing interest in civics.  Another suggestion is to volunteer to teach about the U.S. Constitution or participate in Law Day two days out of the year, they limit learning to two specific days of the year, and the Constitution and rules of law are governing us every day. A third suggestion is to find local and national organizations that promote civics and legal education and volunteer.  This is a broad suggestion that requires researching different groups, finding a perfect match, and having dedicated flexibility in scheduling based on the events promoted by the group selected.

In many communities, existing opportunities to volunteer on projects like these are non-existent which is why Carlsen-Landy’s final suggestion appears to be the most promising: create an opportunity if none exists.  This is most promising because it encourages people to act on their ideas and bring them to fruition, no matter how big or small and all it takes is a focus on the demographic of young people who will inevitably become the face of our nation. We have the chance to empower our young people with the tools they need to make informed decisions and become wiser than preceding generations.

D. CARR LAW is building upon it’s Legal Literacy Initiative which focuses on free legal educational opportunities for youth to become informed, to respectfully discuss, to collaborate, and to share.

Students everywhere are ready to learn more and make a difference.  But what opportunities will you create in your communities to help them do that?

Share your initiatives with us, invite us to join you, and don’t stop creating!

 

WHY DOES D. CARR LAW SPECIALIZE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE?

Think of it like this: most doctors are trained in general practice areas, and they become good at doing a little bit of everything general.  But you wouldn’t go to a general practice doctor to receive the best care for a unique medical problem requiring surgery with severe consequences if done improperly or not completed quickly with an effectively executed treatment plan.  

Hiring a lawyer should absolutely have the same selection process.  So if you have a specialized and unique legal problem involving false accusations and unfair charges of domestic violence, you’ve come to the best attorney to receive the best representation.

HOW IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFINED IN FLORIDA?

Pursuant to the Florida Statutes for 2016, domestic violence is defined as follows:

741.28 Domestic violence; definitions.—As used in ss. 741.28741.31:

(1) “Department” means the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

(2) “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

(3) “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

(4) “Law enforcement officer” means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision thereof who meets the minimum qualifications established in s. 943.13 and is certified as a law enforcement officer under s. 943.1395.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARREST AND CONVICTION? 

There are legal consequences and there are consequences that affect the personal, professional, and financial aspects of someone’s present circumstances and future. Such consequences include those named above, and the following (although not limited to either list):

  • jail
  • prison
  • mandatory counseling
  • heavy monetary fines and fees
  • mandatory periods of probation and constant monitoring for a certain amount of time
  • a conviction record
  • immigration consequences (risk of deportation/removal from the United States)
  • gun ownership/possession privileges revoked
  • family relationships negatively impacted
  • romantic relationships negatively impacted
  • losing custody of children or court ordered supervised visitation

SHOULD I BE AFRAID I’M GOING TO LOSE EVERYTHING?

Domestic violence charges negatively impact your reputation more than some charges, regardless if charged as a misdemeanor or felony.  A domestic violence conviction can ruin your hopes and dreams.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Some employers, especially public or state employers, can terminate you or reject your application 
  • professional licenses may no longer be available to you
  • child custody (keeping, losing, or fighting for)
  • renting or leasing 
  • finding employment
  • reduction in earning potential

WHAT DEFENSES ARE AVAILABLE TO ME TO FIGHT THE CHARGES?

While it depends on the circumstances and every case has different facts, here are some examples of defenses:

  • accidental injuries: no harm was ever intended
  • self-defense: you were not the one to initiate or instigate a physical confrontation and you were attacked or threatened first
  • self-inflicted injuries: the alleged victim harmed himself/herself and is falsely blaming you
  • allegations are falsely made: motivations to lie include but are not limited to family court matters, child custody battles, money dispute, revenge or anger, pending divorce, threats to abandon the relationship, claims of infidelity

HOW CAN I IDENTIFY WHETHER I HAVE A GOOD CASE AND CAN BEAT THE CHARGES?

While no guarantees can ever be made about the outcome of a case, it is crucial to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence defense to have the facts and circumstances of your case reviewed and evaluated.