It was fun, but Matt is Back in the law saddle again!

Hi, Matt O’Connor from the O’Connor Law Office PC to talk to you today a little bit about the experience I had with the television show and what that means for me going forward. A lot of people ask me if I’m still going to practice law and the answer is absolutely, positively yes! It was really fun having time off to do the TV show. It was hard work on the days that I did work. It was also great opportunity to see a lot of the country and I enjoyed that. But I missed practice of law. I missed the opportunity to help people. To get down and dirty in the trenches and fight for what’s important both to my clients and for myself. You know when I read things that the average cost of a divorce now is $20, 000, I know I still have a fire to practice law because that’s absolutely ludicrous sum. We’re not talking about dividing Rockefeller’s estate. There’s no need that it needs to protract into that of litigation. It costs people that much money. Or when I hear about insurance companies that are trying to get people to settle their personal injury claims for less than the medical bills. Or somebody who’s a first-time offender getting sentenced to jail or prison because they don’t have a good lawyer. Those are reasons that definitely keep my fire stoked and why I’m going to continue practicing for a long, long time. Mainly because it’s what I love to do. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid. I’m not going to give that up because I also had the opportunity to do some acting and play for a while this summer. It was great, it was like a vacation. I enjoyed it and I came back more invigorated and dedicated to practicing law than I probably was before. So Look out! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to assist each and every one of my clients. Oftentimes people ask me about the super lawyer accolade and all that stuff but really the reality is I’m only as good as my next case. I’m always good as the dedication I put in each and every day on each every case. Because that’s what is important to the client that is paying me. That has put their life in my hands and I’ve always and still do take that very, very seriously. So I’m looking forward to another 20 years of practicing law. Probably by then, at least, I hope I have hair. I’m guessing it will probably be pretty gray by then. I will have definitely earned it. I hope that answers any questions everybody had. I look forward to serving you or your friends or family members or people that you would like to refer me as my source of business has primarily always come from former clients who have received good work from my firm. That’s how I continue to grow my practice and have great clients work for every day. Thank you again for all your support and for your kind wishes I look forward to the rest of 2015 and 2016. Thank you!

What is mediation and why is it a great way to solve a dispute?

To follow is the transcript from the video below. To see more videos by Matt O’Connor, subscribe and visit his YouTube Channel.

From the O’Connor Law Firm, I am a Rule 17 certified mediator here in Missouri and what that means is I’ve gone through the formal training to be an official, I guess what you call it, certified mediator. Which allows me to assist people in resolving disputes which can be really good thing in terms of saving money, time, and a lot of hassle and heart.

Now, a lot of people have a misconception about what mediation is and the process that it goes through. So first I want to tell you what’s not. It is not an arbitration. An arbitration is where someone other than a judge, what’s called an arbitrator, hears both sides of an argument, and they can present evidence, things of that nature.

Arbitration is not Mediation

And then the arbitrator makes a decision. That is not what a mediator does. A mediator listens to both sides and facilitates resolution. They don’t decide the case. You don’t have to sell it. Here’s how it works. There are several types of cases that could be mediated, like a divorce case, whether it involves the property or custody or visitation or who gets what percentage of a retirement fund, things of that nature.

The mediator will sit down with both sides at the beginning and go through what the expectations are. This is what the mediator will do. And in this process he will separate the parties and talk to each of them individually going back and forth between the parties until they come to an agreement or don’t come to an agreement. The rule is that a good agreement is one that everybody equally dislikes.

Mediation usually has the same result as court cases

So for example, in a car accident case, where someone is injured in an auto accident and insurance company and person or the plaintiff was injured wanted to resolve the value of the claim, the mediator would go back and forth on the value of their claim. They would look at things like the medical bills, the risk of future injury, pain and suffering, how much work time they lost. And they would look at the jury verdict services and see what that is worth and also the time value of the money. What does that mean? Ten thousand dollars today is worth more than ten thousand dollars two years from now.

Also the cost of litigation is factored in. For example, if you’re in a divorce and you spend twenty-five thousand dollars on your lawyer, and it takes you a year and a half to two years to get divorced and go through the whole process. You end up obtaining, let’s say, sixty percent your spouse’s 401K. That is fifty thousand dollars. You may be up twenty-five thousand dollars, but you had to go through that whole process in the meantime. Most cases turn out about the same no the matter how much you spend on your lawyer over time.

Skilled Mediation saves time, money and heartache

So you want to keep in mind the value of mediation is to bring the parties together with a skilled mediator, to point out the strengths and weaknesses in the case. You also have a reasonable loose prediction of what the judge may or may not do in the case and that’s important to know.
That’s why you want to have a mediator who has experience both in the area or field of practice and in the courts where your case is pending. For example, I practiced in Jackson, Cannon, Platte, Clay, and all over the Kansas City metropolitan area and cases throughout Missouri and elsewhere and the different jurisdictions. So I tend to know what the judges propensities or habits are on different legal issues so I can share that with people that I’m helping mediate.

If you can spend thousand dollars or eight hundred dollars on a mediator and resolve a case
in a day versus spending ten thousand dollars over a year fighting about things, you can see the value of mediation. So I encourage people to consider mediation as a viable alternative. Plus the best part about mediation, it gives you control. When you have a judge decide a case you don’t have control. Once you present your evidence, it’s up to the judge. He or she is going to decide the facts of the case.

And if it’s about the children? Their future is in the judge’s hands. If it’s about your pocketbook? Your injury or a contract dispute or things of that nature, that’s all in the judge’s hands. And in a mediation, you can control the outcome. You know that you’re going to get X number of dollars on a car accident case, or you’re going to have a certain parenting plan if your parent is going through a divorce.

It gives you the ability to know what the outcome is and that’s the value of mediation. It saves you time, hassle and money. It is in your best interest to learn more about it. And that’s what mediation is.

What to do if you are stopped for a DUI?

Matt O’Connor is with The O’Connor Law Firm PC. He has been a licensed attorney for over 20 years. The O’Connor Law Firm has an office here in the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri at 523 Grand Blvd., Suite 1B.   Hi.  Matt O’Connor from The O’Connor Law Firm in Kansas City Missouri here to offer you a few tips on the do’s and don’ts when you’re polled over for a suspected DUI or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. First, at the outset let me tell you it’s a lot cheaper to take a cab even if your cab ride is across town and its  bucks because by the time you get done paying for lawyer,  the classes that you have to take, the inconvenience you lose your license for, anywhere from  two  days, or if you don’t blow, a year. The cost a cab starts looking like a pretty good comparison so I concur that everybody do the same thing that I do and that is if you have one drink or two drinks especially, take a cab. Really, if you’re going to have one and plan ahead take a cab there so you don’t have to worry about your car the next day. So, back to the tips.

What do you do if you’re pulled over?

Well, first of all you maintain your cool and have your license and registration handy.  I wouldn’t recommend fishing around in your glove box until the officer tells you to do so.  So let’s start from the beginning. The officer pulls you over. A lot of times they will have you step out of the car and usually that’s for officer safety realize everything you are doing is most likely on videotape so now’s not the time to be funny.   Now is not the time to practice your stand-up comedy routine standing by the side of the road with the officer who wants to give you the field sobriety test. And what you do if you know that you’re over the legal limit? It does not take much to be over the legal limit. Let’s say you’ve had five drinks in a couple hour period of time, you’re likely going to be over the legal limit.

So do you take the field sobriety test at all? Do you take the breath test?

It depends on what county you are in. I can offer too specific of advice but if you are in Platte County here in the Kansas City metropolitan area, or Cass County in the outlying counties you definitely we want to make sure you go ahead take breath test.  If you don’t take a breath test there is a high probability that your license will be revoked for a year. If it is your first time and there is not an accident involved you can keep your license. In Jackson and Clay County but there’s some hoops you have to jump through so it’s not always a guarantee. Again that only applies to people who’ve never had an alcohol contact, which means being arrested for suspected drunk driving or someone if you happen have not been involved in an accident there’s an accident they will not offer you those two diversion type programs in Clay and Jackson County. So let’s say you take the field sobriety test. You want to make sure that you listen to the officer’s instructions very carefully and follow through. If you have any known physical ailments or deformities make sure you state those clearly and inform them of that at the time. If you have an astigmatism or other disorders of the eye that will affect the horizontal gaze nystagmus that is where they hold the pen or the finger generally   Twelve-fifteen inches from your nose and you track it.  What they’re looking there is what’s called a lack of smooth pursuit. The theory is that medically if you are intoxicated your eyes will tick, tick, tick, back with the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. If the officers did that in the proper way. Again, it’s got to be 12-15 inches from your nose to be accurate. There’s a lot of the little details that have to be accurate in order for the field sobriety test to hold up in court. But generally it is extremely difficult to give those results up for now because a lot of it is based on officer observation. So get the heel to turn he’s got the horizontal gaze nystagmus there is no ABC test. I have seen some officers who give that but it is not on standardized tests so it is little bit odd if you ever get that. There’s the walk and turn test as well. And again remember you’re on video so it’s not time to be funny. Concentrate on trying to perform test as well as you can. When you get to the police station now they may give you a portable breath test at the scene which you do not have to take again but again that’s a decision you should make after contacting a lawyer.  But let’s say you’ve not taken a portable breath test in you’re at police station and they’re firing up the data master, which is the machine which will read your blood alcohol content.

You Have 20 minutes to call a Lawyer!

You have twenty minutes to contact the lawyer and generally people don’t get pulled over for DUI between 9-5. So, is extremely difficult to reach a lawyer.  Especially if you don’t have one’s cell phone number handy. So during that period of time you should use that time to try to reach a lawyer. You’re considering in trying to reach a lawyer also used start back factoring in how many drinks you had and then whether or no stalling can stall the task but if you have the minutes try to reach a lawyer. You can try to do this in your head your own retrograde analysis and that is: was I drinking a lot more toward the end so the longer I wait the higher my blood alcohol content is going to be or is a situation that if you take the test immediately, is it going to be better? All those things should be running through your head at this point as well as why in the world that I get behind the wheel when I was intoxicated? So let’s say you blow over the legal limit what’s going to happen then?  Well they’re going give you a temporary driving privilege.  You have about 30 days from the time you see that in order to request your administrative hearing.  What’s an administrative hearing? That’s when you and/or your lawyer can go through the police reports, and any information received from the packet that’s received for from the police department or the highway patrol it goes to the department of revenue. That’s a point where your lawyer would make any notes as to things that were defective in the field sobriety test. Making sure that the machine that was used for the breath test was calibrated. All those things, very technical, very specific type issues. You have a right to a hearing. How the hearing works is you can you do it in person or you can do it over the telephone.  Again that’s a decision you should make after consulting with your lawyer. But make sure you request that hearing. If you don’t within that time period you can request it late. There are some advantages to request the hearing even though the chance of success on the administrative hearing is very, very slow very slight. I would say in as a rough guesstimate. Most of the stops and determinations are upheld by the Department of Revenue. You can appeal it later in there some options there as well. But at the beginning stage you want to request a hearing here’s why: You can then sort of budget your time ahead that you’re going to be without your license because that’s the odds-on what’s going to happen. In Missouri we have what’s called the hard. So, once you have the hearing for your driver’s license whether it should be suspended or not. Your license will be suspended for 90 days. The first thirty of which you cannot drive at all and it is a crime to drive during that 30 days. To driving while suspended it’s going to get you in more trouble so really can’t drive during that period of time. After that thirty days you can then have what’s called ‘a limited driving programs’ for another 60 days. So the total is ninety. In the last of it you can drive to and from work, doctor’s appointment, things of that nature, as long as delineated in the temporary or your driving privilege that last days. So what’s likely to happen in court? Well, any trained monkey lawyer can likely get you what’s called a ‘suspended imposition of sentence’ and they’re going tell you, “don’t worry about it. It’s not going to show up on the record.” Well, the arrest is always going to show up on the record. It’s nearly impossible to get those expunged in Missouri. There are some procedures but it is very unlikely. So the plea to a DUI, while not a conviction, if you get the suspended imposition of sentence, you’ll be on probation for two years. You’ll have to probably do some community service. You have to go to the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Victim Impact Panel and you’ll have to complete program called say top which is a substance abuse traffic offenders program. It’s quite pricey. It’s two phases: There’s initial phase where the evaluation and they determine what treatment should be implemented for you. Most time it’s just another class and things of that nature unless your blood alcohol level was really high and there are some extenuating circumstances that they believe warrant a more serious treatment alternative up to and including in inpatient treatment. That is often not used. So, I wouldn’t sweat that one at the outset. So, you go to court, your lawyer works out a resolution with the prosecutor. You’re on probation, most likely. You’re going to have to pay some fines. And the way that works is if you notice when you get a DUI you’re going to get two tickets. You’re going to get the ticket for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and another ticket for failure to maintain lane or speeding whatever the initial reason was that the officer pulled you over. Why they do that is because they stick you with a higher fine on what they call the companion ticket; the speeding, the failure to maintain a lane, things of that nature. That way they can assess a fine it generates revenue for the court whereas on the suspended imposition sentence on probation for the DUI they don’t get anything for that except the court costs and that’s why there’s two tickets if you’ve ever wondered. One thing I want to also talk about as everybody has this misconception there’s a big difference between DWI, DUI etcetera, etcetera. Well, actually neither are correct. If you look at the statues in Missouri and you can go to their website for the Department of Revenue Driver’s License Bureau they have them all listed out there: it’s operating a motor vehicle that renders you incapable of safely doing so is kind of paraphrasing what the statute says it has nothing about DUI or DWI so don’t bother with that debate because really neither matters its operating a motor vehicle in an impaired condition is the key language there. So, I hope this answered all of your questions. One thing I do want to point out before I conclude this though, is if you refuse to take the test then you go to court but you have to file that petition within the court within 30 days. So make sure that if you refused to take the breath test that you have retained a lawyer or yourself have petitioned the court to review that refusal. Because if you don’t you lose your license for one year and again it’s not just part of the year it’s the entire year and if you drive while that license is suspended its another crime called ‘ driving while suspended’. So or driving while revoked you want to make sure that you are not driving under these circumstances and you also want to make sure that you get your hearing request in a timely manner. So, again reminding you the best advice I can give is: take a cab, have a designated driver, and save yourself a lot of expense and risking others on the highway that’s the best way to do it. I would prefer not to have any DUI clients, it would be nice but in reality, I guess, that’s just not the way the world works. This has been Matt O’Connor from the O’Connor Law Firm with tips on what to do when you are pulled over for DUI and the implications thereof.    

How to Ask a Lawyer Questions

Matt O’Connor is with The O’Connor Law Firm PC. He has been a licensed attorney for over 20 years. The O’Connor Law Firm has an office here in the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri at 523 Grand Blvd., Suite 1B.

The question that a lot of people probably don’t know how to ask and really get a good answer, is how to talk to a lawyer? When you have a legal question and you call an attorney how do you organize yourself? This happens to me. Every day I get a call from an individual and there’s usually a lot of anxiety and a lot of emotion involved.

So the first thing you do is you sort of organize your thought process. You have to understand that we as lawyers, as annoying as it may come off sometimes, we’re trained to analyze problems. So we’re going to ask you questions when you call.  So make sure you have kind of a concept. You can pigeonhole it or characterize it.

Car Accident Questions for a Lawyer

Let’s say you’ve got a question about an auto accident. You say, “You know I’ve got a question about an auto accident here’s what happened.”  I can give an example of what happens if call my firm and say you’ve been in an auto accident. We’re going to ask you:

  • Where it occurred?
  • When it occurred?
  • Who was found at fault?
  • What your damages are?
  • What are your expectations?

So maybe you can organize your thoughts in that regard. That way you can take some notes, especially if you’re interviewing lawyers. You want to be able to ask good questions over the phone. Now keep in mind you’re not going to get good legal advice over the phone. It is nearly impossible for an attorney to give you really accurate legal advice over the phone unless it is one of those rare circumstances where it is a clear-cut question.

Should I talk to the Police?

If you call me and you ask me, “Should I talk to the police? They are questioning me? They think I’ve been involved in a crime.” I’m going to tell you “No, don’t do it. The best legal advice I can give you know how to talk to police officers is – don’t.” Not because there’s anything wrong police officers. If they’re trying to have you make a statement against yourself it’s probably not the time to do that. You don’t help them make the case by giving a statement. Especially under circumstances where you may not know all circumstances.

So, if you’re calling, for example, let’s say that your parent has an issue with regard to their estate or trust. You’re probably better off calling to set up an appointment so you can bring your parent in or have your parent go in and talk to the lawyer because they’re going to be the client. Otherwise you get that translation game. Like the telephone game. Where you’re telling one person some information; they’re relaying it to another.

Very ineffective way to relay very important information and advice. And as silly as it sounds, when you’re calling for legal advice, give the attorney a second to actually give you the legal advice. And again, I understand that people are very uptight and emotional and there’s a lot of anxiety when you call an attorney and ask for legal advice. But it happens all the time. I’ll get people and I try to answer the question and they just keep talking and talking, talking, talking over it.

When you ask a lawyer questions- take notes and listen for answers

So make sure you allow yourself to pause and absorb that legal information and then feel free to ask questions back. So for example, let’s say you’re calling about a divorce case and with regard to custody. You’re trying to find out the jurisdiction that I’m in, “What’s the usual parenting plan involved?  Do they do three days on, four days with the other parent?” That kind of thing. And take some notes about how  the attorney responds to it and what their advice is.  So you can do some follow-up questions. There’s always the general rules but you have to understand the law.

Every circumstance, every happening, every occurrence is a little bit different it’s never going to be exactly the same so that’s why details are important. And again much more than you can just get over the phone. So, best advice is before you call an attorney find out sort of what area law you’re looking at.  I don’t trust most of the internet for your research.

Should I use Google for Legal Questions?

You want to rely on a trained professional not just some Google search for legal information. So let’s say you’ve got a question about personal injury, a slip and fall case. You might look up some circumstances about that. Sort of brush up on what you know and then call the attorney and say, “Hey listen. I was walking at this certain place and it was icy, I fell and as a result of that I was injured. What can I do?” And then be sure to take notes and follow-up questions.

And we know that your time is valuable and certainly the attorney’s time is valuable, that’s why we charge for our time. So the more you can focus your questions and focus what you’re asking before you call the lawyer, you’re probably going get better legal advice. And again just take time to absorb the information and then ask a follow-up question. And always, when you come meet an attorney bring the documents with you. If you received notices from the court, have them with you when you come. If it’s a question about a contract, of course have the contract with you. Always bring those documents with you and think ahead a time what questions you’re going to have.

  • How much is this going to cost?
  • What can I expect?
  • How long will it take?
  • What’s the court process like?

So you can sort of reduce the level of your own anxiety and have some expectations as to how the process works. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you have a pen and paper handy so you can write down some little notes for later.

You think back, “Wait did the lawyer to me that? Did he tell me this?” So you can refresh her memory as to what the conversation was about. OK.  That’s my advice on how to call a lawyer and ask for advice. Hope this has been helpful.

To contact Matt O’Connor for a consultation call (816) 842-1111.

What to Do if You’ve been in a Car Accident?

No one ever plans on being in a car accident. Preparation and knowledge is the key to minimizing your pain and suffering. Knowing what to do if you are ever involved in a car accident, can ensure that your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

The O’ Connor Law Firm with the tips on what to do if you’ve been in an automobile accident. These come right from the Missouri Department of Revenue so they are pretty objective tips and you can also look them up on the web if you want a reference later.

Keep in mind that right after an accident you don’t want to admit fault and you don’t necessarily want to accuse the other person either, you should be more interested in gathering information, that is the names of the witnesses, who saw the accident, of course writing down the other drivers name, getting their insurance information, their address if you can, also their telephone number.

Your first concern after that should be seeking medical attention, if you’ve been injured. Now keep in mind for this portion, a lot of people when they are in an accident because of the heightened arousal and excitement from the accident, go into a state of shock. And what that does is it prevents your body from feeling the pain, it allows you body to survive, at least in the short term, through that trauma. Because of that a lot of people make the mistake of not seeking medical attention immediately. So give yourself the opportunity to seek medical treatment, if you are hurt.

If the next day you feel like you’ve got some issues, a soreness or something is not right with your body, be sure to seek medical treatment. Once you have sought medical treatment, also keep a list of symptoms, things that are going on with your body so you can provide that to your follow up physician.  If you have any visible injuries, bruising, scarring, scratches, things of that nature, have a friend take a picture of that as well.

Remember not to make a statement to the other person’s insurance company. A lot of times the insurance company will call you and want to make a recorded statement. Not a good idea following an accident. The details of the accident may not be perfectly clear in your mind and you may want to consult a lawyer before you decide to do anything with an insurance company.

It is certainly your right to settle your case without an attorney but the research shows that people fair better and are treated more equitably if they do hire an attorney to review their case. Especially when you’re talking about settling a case that may give up your rights to bring any lawsuit later and you may not even be aware of the full nature of your injuries. So those are just a couple of the tips to keep in mind if you’ve been injured in a auto accident.

If you have been in a car accident and are seeking legal advice, contact The O’Connor Law Firm as soon as possible at (816) 842-1111

Why an Experienced Lawyer Matters

I’m Matt O’Connor, Attorney at Law here in Kansas City, MO, here to answer your question today, “Why do you want to hire an attorney with experience in your particular matter?” Just like in baseball, you don’t start off in little league being able to hit an 89 mile per hour slider. Or you may not know that in the later innings of a baseball game the pitcher tends to throw more fastballs. It takes years of practice experience to build the instincts and the knowledge base to be able to advise your client on the judges’ tendencies. Because ultimately, how the judge rules on legal issues and what the jury believes in terms of facts and how you present the case are ultimately what is going to be persuasive and win your case.

A good lawyer knows the law but a great lawyer knows the judge

There is a phrase that I don’t particularly like because I think people misunderstand it and that is “A good lawyer knows the law, a great lawyer knows the judge.” That is true. But not in the way people take it. It doesn’t mean that the judge is out playing golf with the lawyer and that’s how that works. No, what that means is a great lawyer knows the tendencies of the judge and how they will rule on certain legal and evidentiary issues. And that takes years of experience. Judges are retiring and changing, being promoted, one may go to the court of appeals and a new judge may replace them and you constantly have to be updating on how each judge rules on your case. And that comes from years of experience. That can’t be replaced.

The importance of Hiring an experienced Jury Trial Lawyer

And having cases in front of a jury. If you’ve never tried a jury trial as a lawyer, there is a whole lot of nuances to how to question a witness or what may be persuasive to the jurors or even where to stand when you’re arguing a case. There is a ton of things that come from experience that can’t be replaced. And that’s why you want to hire a lawyer with experience. You want to make sure that your lawyer is familiar with the law, the jurisdiction that you’re in and certainly the facts and circumstances of your case. And that only comes from hard work, and experience, It can’t be replaced. And that’s why you want to hire a lawyer with experience.

It’s called a Law Practice for a Reason

The reality is that it takes years of practice and that’s why they call it the practice of law. And you want to make sure that your lawyer has the experience in the courtroom that you’re going to be appearing in. With the case that you have. There is no substitute for experience and that is why they call it the practice of law. And we have signs in our office that remind us every day at The O’Connor Law Firm that these aren’t files, these are people’s lives and you need to make sure that your life in the hands of a lawyer with experience.

Can a DUI Affect Your Custody Case?

Anyone who is a DUI lawyer knows that legal issues often overlap one another. Such is the case with a person who is divorcing and has a DUI in their background. It’s the job of the DUI lawyer to help advise their client about how this history may affect their custody case.

Custody issues are nearly always complicated, and a DUI only makes the situation more difficult. Depending upon the circumstances, a DUI may cause a judge to recommend that the other parent get sole custody or it may simply affect certain visitation conditions. A DUI can have wide ranging effects on the future. From being barred from seeing your children as often as you wish to having to submit to supervised visitation, a DUI may lead to severe limitations.

DUI Charges and Custody

When you need a good advice from a  Lawyer, trust the O'Conner Law Firm, P.C. 512 Walnut, Kansas CIty, MO  64106.

A number of factors will determine whether or not, and to what degree, a DUI affects custody cases. A DUI lawyer can provide counseling regarding how to handle DUI charges. If a case is currently pending, a DUI lawyer may be able to get them reduced to a misdemeanor or even dismissed. Though the arrest is still of record, a case that is reduced or dismissed is only likely to help your situation.

If the charges are relatively old, then it can be difficult to say how much they will affect a custody case. A DUI lawyer can take a look at the circumstances and provide an opinion about whether or not DUI charges from several years ago are likely to be relevant. Someone who was arrested a decade ago and has never been in trouble since may not see much relevance to their custody case. However, in acrimonious divorces, a mistake made years earlier can cause a major headache.

A Results-Driven Kansas City DUI Lawyer

A good DUI lawyer can also work in tandem with a divorce attorney to handle current charges. With input from both attorneys, it’s possible to craft approaches that respond to custody issues and DUI charges. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help to make sure you’re protected. Call (816) 842-1111 to set up a consultation.


Is a Business Obligated to Remove Snow and Ice?

A blanket of snow is one of the most beautiful sights the winter affords. However, snow can be treacherous. Many people call upon the services of a personal injury lawyer after a slip and fall accident that involves snow or ice.

Avoid Slip and Fall Accidents

Just Finished Cleaning The Sidewalk

Driveways, sidewalks and other public walkways can all be hazardous during or after a storm. If someone falls because of slippery conditions, it isn’t always easy to say whether or not someone else is liable for the damages. In most instances, there is plenty of room for a personal injury lawyer to argue either way. How can a business owner or an injured party know if the property owner is liable for injuries suffered in a winter weather related slip and fall?

In the aftermath of such an accident, perhaps the most important thing to do is to contact a personal injury lawyer. Most states make laws regarding how businesses must handle ice and snow on their property. Moreover, many local municipalities may dictate where responsibility for snow and ice removal lies. To complicate the situation even further, other factors, like the terms of a lease or rental agreement, may also stipulate whether or not a tenant is responsible for removing ice and snow.

Personal Injury Lawyer for Slip and Fall Accidents

Clearly, there are no answers in this situation. That’s why the assistance of a personal injury lawyer is indispensable. An experienced personal injury lawyer routinely handles cases involving slip and fall accidents that involve icy or snowy conditions. He can provide advice about whether or not a business owner’s efforts to correct slippery conditions were reasonable. However, if such a claim is made, it may ultimately be up to a jury to decide whether or not, and how much, compensation may be appropriate.

Protect Yourself This Winter

Few winter weather slip and fall accidents have straightforward answers. A person injured in a fall on an ice patch at a business may be entitled to compensation. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help to make sure you’re protected. Call (816) 842-1111 to set up a consultation.


What Are “No Refusal” DUI Checkpoints?

In November of 2014, several Missouri law enforcement agencies conducted one of the first “no refusal” DUI checkpoints in the state. The operation netted a dozen drivers for DUI. Law enforcement agencies have been using checkpoints for years. However, this checkpoint was different because of its “no refusal” policy.

Advice From a DUI Lawyer

Dui Checkpoint

If a suspected drunk driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, the police must obtain a warrant for a blood test. The police coordinate with judges or prosecutors in advance so that they can be reached by telephone upon a refusal to take a breath test. In some situations, a nurse is present to draw the blood. Elsewhere the suspect may be taken to the jail for the test. Stories of restraint chairs being used are rampant.

As a DUI lawyer, there are many issues with this “no refusal” policy. While any DUI lawyer would agree that drunk driving causes multiple tragedies every year, the legality of forcing someone to submit to a blood test on the spot is troubling at best. The Fourth Amendment rights of any American citizen may be violated by this policy. A DUI lawyer would be forced to argue against the propriety and legality of this search in the aftermath of an arrest at a no refusal checkpoint.

Missouri has an implied consent law stating that anyone arrested on suspicion of DUI implies their consent to blood alcohol content testing of the urine, breath or blood. Police have the option of choosing which tests to give, and they may choose to test by two different methods, but no more. Ordinarily, drivers can refuse to submit to testing, at which time they are granted an opportunity to consult with their DUI lawyer. However, in a no refusal situation, the driver is given no choice to talk to a DUI lawyer before the test is conducted.

Get the Defense You Deserve

If you were arrested at a no refusal checkpoint, contact a DUI lawyer today for a consultation. The O’Connor Law Firm has the know-how to get you the results you deserve. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help to make sure you’re protected. Call (816) 842-1111 to set up a consultation.


Child Custody and the Holidays: How to Cope

Like everyone, a divorce lawyer wishes for peaceful holidays. Unfortunately, anyone who has worked as a divorce lawyer knows how rarely this happens. That is especially true where child custody is concerned.

The Key to Peaceful Holiday Child Custody

A divorce lawyer knows that the key to happier holidays is a well thought out custody agreement. Ideally, any custody agreement would spell out how the holidays will be handled. As a divorce lawyer, it’s my job to come up with creative, often one-of-a-kind custody schedules for the holidays. It requires time, patience and negotiation at the time of drafting, but as much of a headache as it can be, these agreements save years of pain and frustration.

Handling the Tough Custody Questions

Father with children working on laptop computer at home

The holidays are special, and every parent deserves to spend some of that time with their children. It’s important to understand that the holiday schedule supersedes the normal schedule that prevails for the rest of the year. If you don’t have a holiday custody arrangement already in place, consider contacting a divorce lawyer to have one drawn up. Even when ex-spouses generally have an amicable relationship, the discussion about where the kids will spend the holidays can be heated, and it’s beneficial if each party is represented by a divorce lawyer to mediate the proceedings.

As a divorce lawyer, I’ve seen many holiday custody arrangements that work when they are divided according to even or odd years. For instance, the mother has the child on Christmas Eve in even years and on Christmas Day in odd years. Some arrangements are very precise, specifying not just the date, but the allowed hours. In the above scenario, the mother may have the child on Christmas Eve until 9:00 pm. Some custody arrangements even detail whether the mother will drop the child off with the father or if the father will pick the child up.

Holiday Help from a Divorce Lawyer

A divorce lawyer can help you craft a holiday custody agreement that works for your family. Call today to schedule a consultation. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help to make sure you’re protected. Call (816) 842-1111 to set up a consultation.