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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sexting and Exchanging Pictures

Attribution: http://thephilfactor.com/tag/sexting/
Sex and children...always a testy topic. However, there was a rather probing question asked on a recent lawyer board, and while answering it, I thought it would be good to add this to the blog. It is an interesting question, and certainly a timely one. There have been several reports of students "sexting" to each other, and in several instances, this has led to felony and/or misdemeanor charges for the transmitting of underage materials across wires (i.e. phone to phone, or on the computer). With the prevalence of instagram, snapchat, and other social media "insta-gratification" apps, the ability to snap a quickie and send it often overcomes common-sense; and frankly, some of the arcane laws still on the books, penalize the very children they are meant to protect (there has to be irony in that somewhere). We are looking to defend a sexting case in DC or VA, and would be interested in speaking to anyone going through this now.

Question: If I am 17 and I sent nude pics to a girl who is 21, what happens? She sent nude pics of herself first and then asked me for pics in return. I sent them and now she threatens to report it. My face was in none of the pics so it can't really be proven they were of me.

On to your question. She can absolutely get a protective order against you for sending underage photographs to her via phone. And stop this nonsense about "they can't see my face." Unless you used someone else's phone, it came from your phone, and arguably...it's you! If you DID use someone else's face, then you're in a heap more trouble, because you are transmitting under-age material on another person's phone without permission. And if they did give you permission, then you're both in trouble...you get the idea.

Essentially, transmitting underage pictures is a no-no. She could seek a protective order against you, or worse accuse you of child pornography (VA 18.2-374.1:1). Her sending you pictures is arguably contributing to the delinquency of a minor (see generally VA §18.2-371 -- note, you didn't have sex with her, but she did contribute to corrupting you, which arguably falls under 18.2-371). Additionally, if she sent pictures and sought to entice you into engaging in sexual activity (depends on the pictures, and the communication), she could also be guilty of §18.2-374.3(B) (enticing a minor). The government might throw in a VA §18.2-370 (encouraging a minor to participate in filming or exposing himself; however, this is more of a stretch, as it usually needs to involve some kind of gain on the part of the bad actor). As a rule though, prosecution of females for sending pictures to males, when the female is over 18, is not as common.

In DC, the relative code is DC Code §22–3010 (enticing a minor) and 18 U.S. Code §2252 (child pornography). There are others, of course, but these are the two most relevant to this topic.

Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions. If you think you might be charged with anything related to child pornography, sexting, enticing a minor, or similar crimes, you absolutely must reach out to us immediately. No matter how understanding the police or detectives may be, speaking to them without an attorney is death to your case.
Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
Lili O'connell, Esq.
Charles Hatley, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Appealing a visa denial from a consulate or embassy

Recently, a colleague of mine asked for help with a non-immigrant visa that was denied at the consulate in Islamabad. Now, I have written in the past about B1/B2 denials, and how to overcome them. If you need help with that, give me a ring or email us. But what about other types of visas? In 2014, we had a rather special case, which will serve to illustrate this topic well.

A client, we'll call him Bob, came to us regarding his nephew, Sal. Sal was denied entry into the United States on a diversity visa (this would have led to a green-card, or legal permanent resident status). His denial was based on the alleged use of khat. We filed to have that determination overturned. While it was successful, it turns out, he was not eligible to come to the US for other reasons (don't get me started on, "things that your client conveniently forgets to tell you that later screw-up your case"). I thought, however, because my colleague asked for guidance on how to appeal an embassy or consulate denial, I would post my answer here. To wit:

The proper application is to request the consulate/consular officer reconsider the application per 22 CFR §42.81(c) which reads:
c) Review of refusal at consular office. If the grounds of ineligibility upon which the visa was refused cannot be overcome by the presentation of additional evidence, the principal consular officer at a post, or a specifically designated alternate, shall review the case without delay, record the review decision, and sign and date the prescribed form. If the grounds of ineligibility may be overcome by the presentation of additional evidence and the applicant indicates the intention to submit such evidence, a review of the refusal may be deferred. If the principal consular officer or alternate does not concur in the refusal, that officer shall either (1) refer the case to the Department for an advisory opinion, or (2) assume responsibility for final action on the case.

Need help with writing the appeal? Give me a ring! Happy to assist in reviewing or drafting the documents for the embassy. You send it to the non-immigrant email address for the given embassy, and I made a point of contacting the ombudsman at the State Department as well.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
Lili O'connell, Esq.
Charles Hatley, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Do you have to pay taxes on divorce settlement amount?

I recently answered a question on a legal bulletin board, and I thought the topic was relevant for our broader practice audience.
I recevied 444,000 as a divorce settlement; I am liable for the taxes on this amount?

Short answer: probably.

More complex answer: Did you already have this money in your accounts? If so, then probably not. Dividing money already accounted for on previous tax year filings is not taxable again. However, withdrawing money from pensions, or drawing a gross "alimony" settlement at once...yes. So, as always, it depends. Alimony payment may be deducted from the payor (the one who pays), and is taxable to the payee (the one who receives).

Your divorce settlement or order should always include language that states:
"Any and all taxes related to the payment of any sum under this agreement is the responsibility of the party receiving such funds and will be fully deductible by the payor to the maximum extent permitted by law."

In fact, this statement doesn't cover any new ground. However, it ensures that you don't mistakenly miss something that will end up causing litigation later (i.e. someone thought that the cash-out of the IRA would be taxable to the payor, not to the individual receiving the money...etc.).

If ye olde taxes are due, to minimize impact (ouch), you need to speak to a tax advisor -- either a CPA or a lawyer. Now, your divorce attorney ought to have spoken with you about this before taking a lump sum settlement. So, check with him or her, first. However, anytime you have a potential taxable event of $50,000 or more, you need to be very careful. Such large, one time actions, tend to draw the attention of the automated checking systems at the IRS. $444K? Almost surely would.

If you need help reviewing a divorce decree or settlement agreement, contact us! You need to have those documents professionally reviewed, and a strategy developed to address that type of potential income.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
Lili O'connell, Esq.
Charles Hatley, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com