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Stop Speeding! It’s Not Worth It!

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fighting a traffic ticketSome people want to do one thing when they get behind the wheel: drive fast. Maybe it’s from a lack of excitement in their lives. Maybe they played too many racing video games growing up. Maybe they just have a heavy foot. Regardless of the reasoning, speeding can kill.

Everyone goes through it. Usually, a week or two after you first get your license and you have that freedom for the first time in your life, you want to risk it all by going too fast. Some of the more mature individuals realize — fairly quickly — that speeding is not worth it. You could end up killing yourself or someone else, end up wrecking your vehicle, go to jail or pay hefty fines. There is no way around it. It’s NOT worth it.

Some people, unfortunately, have an urge to speed well into their adult driving lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 16-year-old or a 55-year-old, people driving excessively fast are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road.

Speeding tickets, though everyone complains about them, are one of the best possible outcomes you can have after speeding. You’re going to have to pay a fine, yes, but hopefully, that’s how you will learn to stop driving fast and putting others at risk.

The National Highway Traffic Security Administration reports that the annual collective cost for speed-related accidents is approximately $40.4 billion. Every year about 41 million speeding tickets are issued at about $150 per fine, equaling out to over 112,000 speeding tickets per day.

People just don’t get it. That’s too much speeding. We all need to stop speeding and take better care of our roads, our cars, and ourselves.

Fighting a Traffic Ticket
However, there are circumstances when a speeding ticket is not just or fair. Fighting a traffic ticket doesn’t have to be an excruciating event. It’s important to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer before taking a ticket to court so you know what to expect.

Every situation is different, but some tips for traffic court include waiting patiently, dressing professionally, consulting with your traffic lawyer, and respecting the judge.

Fighting a traffic ticket can also be done by challenge the ruling of the ticketing officer. If you can prove that your driving was either legal, necessary to avoid serious harm, or that it was a mistake of fact, you might be able to get out of the ticket. Drive safe out there!

Bankruptcy Help: Which Kind to File?

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bankruptcy helpAre you considering filing for bankruptcy but don’t know where to start? Lawyers and attorneys can provide bankruptcy help, but first, take a look at your current situation and think about what you need.

There are some common scenarios that happen time and again that require people in difficult debt situations to seek out bankruptcy help. If any of these situations sound familiar, see our answers to determine which of the different types of bankruptcy filings is right for you.

  • Situation: I Need to Wipe Out My Debt.

    Answer: Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is what’s known as “liquidation.” The court will work to eradicate any unsecured debts — meaning your credit card, personal loans, and medical bills.

  • Situation: I Need to Find a Different Way to Repay My Debt.

    Answer: Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This method is about “reorganization,” and while some debt may be eliminated or reduced, others will still need to be repaid in time.

  • Situation: I Have a Low Income or Little Disposable Income.

    Answer: Chapter 7. This only works for people who have little to no extra income after paying their monthly living expenses and have no assets to sell for debt repayment. While the fee for filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is only $306, bear in mind that it will stay on your credit report for 10 years afterwards and takes around six months to complete.

  • Situation: I Own Property or Have a Disposable Income.

    Answer: Chapter 13. Many people with financial assets cannot file for Chapter 7. You can only exempt a certain amount of property when you file for bankruptcy; the more nonexempt property you own, the higher your payments will be.

  • Situation: I Have Nondischargeable Debt.

    Answer: Chapter 13. If you owe money in taxes, student loans, or child and spousal support, they will not be wiped out by a Chapter 7 filing.

  • Situation: I Need to Stop a Mortgage Foreclosure.

    Answer: Chapter 13. This is another difference between Chapter 7 and 13. A mortgage lender will be forced to accept your new payment plan, provided you can demonstrate adequate future income.
When you need bankruptcy help, take a moment to assess your own conditions, needs, and assets before you schedule a meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. That way, you can ensure the process not only runs smoothly, but gets the results you need to move forward with your life.

A Boom and Then a Bust: Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

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bankruptcy lawyerIn 2013, there were over 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States. Of those bankruptcy cases, 8,980 were Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, which usually means that it is a business or partnership filing. But, as any bankruptcy lawyer can tell you, the vast majority of cases are individuals filing for themselves. Check out this list of high-profile, famous people who couldn’t handle their money.

M.C. Hammer: Once upon a time, Forbes estimated that M.C. Hammer’s net worth reached $33 million, but that all came tumbling down in 1996, when he filed for bankruptcy due to his too luxurious lifestyle and huge staff (costing around $13 million).

Burt Reynolds: Alongside M.C. Hammer was Burt Reynolds, who was driven into bankruptcy after his failed restaurant venture and costly divorce from Loni Anderson.

Larry King: In the early and mid-1970s, Larry King had managed to collect $352,000 in debt, especially after being publicly accused of grand larceny, by no one less than his former business partner. He was offered his eponymous show the very year (1978) in which he filed for bankruptcy.

Mark Twain: The famous and iconic American writer Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) did get fairly rich from his published works, but he made some seriously bad investments that sunk him deep into debt. Before he declared bankruptcy in 1894, he assigned his copyrights to his wife and got rid of his publishing house.

Ulysses S. Grant
Once the legendary president left Washington, he settled down in New York and invested a large chunk of his money into a Wall Street firm, of which his son was one of the owners. His son’s other partner, unfortunately, embezzled a lot of its investors’ money, causing the company to have to declare bankruptcy — Grant soon followed.

People have been declaring bankruptcy in America for almost 200 years at this point, and it doesn’t look like an institution that is likely to go away. Indeed, as long as personal wealth can accrue and the free market remains, people will become bogged down with debts and expenses. And it doesn’t always mean that a person was irresponsible with their money, either — bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills affected an estimated 2 million people in the United States during 2013. If you find yourself wondering how to file for bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to contact a bankruptcy lawyer today.

Gone Broke: 5 High Profile Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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bankruptcy attorneyIn 2013, there were a lot more Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings than Chapter 11 — 728,833 to 8,980 to be exact, out of the estimated 1,071,932 total filings. Chapter 11 bankruptcies, however, tend to be of a much larger scale than Chapter 7, which are usually personal cases. As any bankruptcy attorney will tell you, Chapter 11, which also often referred to as a “reorganization plan,” is most often used to reorganize a business, corporation, or partnership, so as to allow the organization to continue doing business but to pay back debt at a reasonable rate. Check out these high-profile Chapter 11 filings — more people and well-known companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy help than you probably expected:

Enron: The massive energy giant Enron filed for Chapter 11 in 2001 after it was destroyed by a scandal caused by its fraudulent accounting practices. At the time, it’s value was at $65.5 billion.

General Motors: In June of 2009, at at a value of $91 billion, GM went down. The historic automobile giant was delivered its final blow after the financial crash after years of weakened sales.

Washington Mutual:The now infamous domino effect of the 2008 financial crisis, catalyzed by Lehman Brothers, toppled over Washington Mutual on its way down. When regulators seized the company, customers had already withdrawn $16.7 billion over 10 days — one part of the biggest rush on a bank since the Black Tuesday.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
In 2001, California’s largest energy company, PGandE, became a victim of the state’s energy crisis. Blackouts became common and energy costs skyrocketed, which many people blamed on the state’s deregulation of the energy industry in 1996. Enron, also on this list, worsened the crisis by cutting off power in a deliberate move to manipulate prices. At the time of bankruptcy, PGandE was valued at $36.15 billion.

Thornburg Mortgage
Thornburg was liquidated at a value of $36.5 billion after the housing crisis. Even though the company “specialized in making mortgages larger than $417,000 to borrowers with good credit,” they couldn’t save themselves from the subprime mortgage bubble.

Some of these companies restructure and bounced back; some had to liquidate their assets and completely dissolve. All of them relied heavily on their bankruptcy attorney for help with when and how to file for bankruptcy.

Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Basics

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bankruptcy proceedingsNot many people know the ins and outs of bankruptcy proceedings. We’ve all heard of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but what do they really mean? What is the difference between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy? What about the difference between Chapter 7 and 11?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
  • At over 700,000 filings in 2013, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States. It takes about six months to complete. Chapter 7 handles the liquidation of assets. Anything owned that isn’t protected under bankruptcy laws will be sold off to pay back creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, and costs about $300 to file.

  • Did you know? In 2012, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star Gary Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
  • In 2013, over 300,000 Chapter 13 bankruptcies were filed. Whereas Chapter 7 bankruptcy focuses on liquidation of assets, Chapter 13 sets up a repayment plan. Bankruptcy proceedings are held to determine how you’ll repay your debt to creditors. These repayment plans typically last between three and five years, depending on the amount of debt. Another contrast to Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that, since liquidation does not happen, typically you can keep all of your assets.

  • Did you know? Sherman Hemsley, better known as George Jefferson from All in the Family and The Jeffersons filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1999.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings are more complex than the previous two. In 2013, only about 9,000 Chapter 11 bankruptcies were filed. It is similar to Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the sense that both allow a company to remain in business. Chapter 11 allows debtors to reorganize and restructure their debt. Due to its complexity, there are far fewer bankruptcy lawyers that handle Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • Did you know? Famous businessman and politician Donald Trump has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy four times since 1991.

If you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments.