Time is of the Essence in Nevada Purchase Agreements

Most state courts, including the Nevada Supreme Court, recognize and enforce the integrity of “time is of the essence clauses.” The Nevada Supreme Court recognizes that at common law a tender of money, which a party is bound to pay at a certain time and place, must be made on the day fixed for payment, and not thereafter, and that relief against forfeiture will not be granted where time of performance is made essential by the express terms of the contract, stating, “[a] court of equity has no more right than a court of law to dispense with an express stipulation of the parties in regard to time in contracts of this nature.” In one case the Nevada Supreme Court did rescue the defaulting purchaser from the harsh forfeiture of foreclosure of the “installment purchase agreement” whereby, the installment purchaser (the equitable owner) was in default of a mere $63.75 in tax payments and interest, and the seller had attempted to foreclose the equitable interest of the purchaser, pursuant to a harsh and inequitable forfeiture clause. Many times the court will rescue the defaulting purchaser, as it has done in many “equitable conversion” type cases that arise under installment purchase agreements, to avoid harsh, unjust forfeitures.

“Equitable conversion” cases are those where the purchaser is purchasing property on an installment “contract for deed.” In such cases, even though the deed and “legal title” may not be delivered until all payments have been made, the “equitable title” is held by the purchaser in the interim. In one often cited contract for deed purchase, the Nevada Supreme Court rescued the purchaser from total forfeiture of the property, allowing the purchaser a reasonable time to cure, in spite of a time is of the essence clause, because the default was minor in comparison to the substantial forfeiture that would have occurred if the court had not rescued the buyer in equity. In Slobe, the installment purchaser was granted a reasonable time to cure an $8,320.28 default in light of the substantial $90,000 investment into the motel in dispute. The courts have been willing to rescue purchasers from harsh forfeitures when they have taken legal, peaceful possession, and enhanced the property, and/or made substantial payments thereon. However, in non-equitable conversion cases, the courts have not been so willing to rescue, and will require strict compliance with the “time is of the essence” provision. The Nevada Supreme Court has held that, [t]he rule is well established that in order for a purchaser to successfully sue a vendor for damages for breach of a contract for the sale of land, the purchaser must show that he has performed all conditions precedent or concurrent, or that such performance has been excused.

Even surrounding states’ appellate court decisions hold identically with Nevada case law, that a seller of real property, pursuant to a real estate purchase agreement, is justified in canceling the escrow if the purchaser has failed to perform a material part of the contract which is a condition concurrent or precedent to the seller’s obligations to perform. In one instance the purchaser of real property tendered his performance three hours beyond the specified time for performance. The appellate court ruled that the purchaser was in breach and not entitled to specific performance, because the “time is of the essence” clause and plain language contained in that purchase agreement caused the contract to expire precisely three hours prior to tendered performance.

It has been held that if neither party tenders performance by the date set for closure under a contract that provides time is of the essence, the duties of both parties are discharged by passage of that date.

Where the escrow agreement specifies a definite time for performance, performance must be made within the time limit of the agreement, and the escrow agent is without power to deliver a deed thereafter. It is well settled that performance must be made within the time limit of the escrow agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court recently held that, “this court will not rewrite the parties’ contract and will require strict compliance with the ‘time is of the essence’ provision.

Thus, Realtors, lawyers, and purchasers beware: the “time is of the essence” clause is still alive and well in Nevada and surrounding states. Most courts will rely on this clause and longstanding precedents to deny any relief to a late purchaser, based upon the sound legal principle that a purchase agreement expires by its own terms and will not be rewritten or extended by the court. The exception to the rule is applied to prevent a harsh, inequitable forfeiture where a defaulting installment-contract purchaser is rescued from a harsh forfeiture which would not be justified by a relatively minor breach which could be cured within a reasonable time. In such cases the laws of equity will intervene to promote fairness and to avoid the harsh, inequitable forfeitures that would otherwise result through a strict application of “time is of the essence” clauses. In such cases the courts have favored an action for damages over a full forfeiture of a substantial equitable interest.

How to Compare Low Cost Automobile Insurance in Nevada

If you drive a motor vehicle on any public road in Nevada then you must have automobile insurance. It’s the law – and the state of Nevada is one of the toughest states when it comes to enforcing that law, so you do not want to get caught driving without automobile insurance.

And keep in mind that if you cancel one insurance policy the state of Nevada checks to make sure that you take out a replacement policy – if you can’t prove that you’ve replaced a lapsed or cancelled policy you will be required to turn over your car’s registration and you will not be allowed to drive.

Nevada requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, but does not require drivers to carry collision insurance. However, if your car is financed then your bank or other financial institution will almost certainly require you to carry collision insurance and will further require that you carry more than the state-mandated minimum amount of liability insurance.

What are some of the things you can do to keep your auto insurance rates as low as possible? The job starts with the vehicle you choose to buy in the first place. If you drive a fancy, fast sports car or a big muscle car then you can expect to pay through the nose for your automobile insurance. The more costly your vehicle the more costly your monthly premiums will be to insure that vehicle.

Keep your driving record clean. Moving violations, especially drunk or impaired driving or speeding will send your monthly premium payments sky-high.

If you can keep the number of miles you drive each week as low as possible, most insurance companies offer a low-mileage discount.

Know what deductible you can afford to pay, and if you are looking for the lowest cost for your automobile insurance then be prepared to pay the highest deductible you can possibly afford.

Now get online and start comparing policies and prices side-by-side. You can’t stop after comparing insurance prices at just one website, however, since each website uses a different set of insurance companies when making its comparisons. In order to get an accurate picture and to insure that you have truly found the lowest cost automobile insurance in Nevada, you will need to make your head-to-head comparisons on at least 3 different websites.

The time spent doing this will pay off in the long run through lower monthly automobile insurance premiums for years to come.

Recommended sites for low rate insurance

Know All About Nevada Health Insurance

If you want to know about Nevada health insurance, check out the Nevada Division of Insurance, which helps to regulate the various types of insurance policies for health that are sold in the state. For the best of insurance coverage, you can even locate a health insurance company according to your choosing, with the help of the Division of Insurance.

These companies are licensed by the state and all you need to do to get started is get in touch with them through their official web site. The Division of Insurance also helps handle disputes regarding Nevada health insurance that you might have with your insurance provider. Here, you need to fill an online form and thus lodge your complaint.

The Labor Department

The US Labor Department is the body that is responsible for handling the medical insurance policies that you get through your job. These Nevada health insurance policies are taken care of by the EBSA – Employee Benefits Security Administration which creates as well as enforces the laws that should be followed by your employer while they are offering insurance benefits for health to their employees. For instance, your employer cannot single out an employee for excluding them from a certain insurance plan in Nevada on the grounds that they are terminally ill or their illness requires expensive treatment.

If the total number of employees reaches 20, the employee should be offered COBRA benefits which is actually continuation coverage in case you have left your job. The task of the EBSA is to ensure that everything happens according to the rules and that the rights of the employee are protected.

If you have anxieties regarding the practices of your employer, about carrying out their insurance responsibilities to their employees, you can get in touch with your local EBSA office. These are situations where you feel you have been terminated on unjustified grounds or that you deserved COBRA continuation, but it was not given to you.

How to Purchase Individual Health Insurance Plans in Nevada

Nevada insurers are permitted by the state to reject your insurance application for medical coverage on the basis of the status of your health. But then, you may be considered as HIPAA eligible on the following grounds:

If you have had a minimum of 18 months’ continuous creditable coverage with its last day falling under a group plan
If you have exhausted your existing COBRA continuation coverage

In case you happen to be HIPAA eligible, you can purchase insurance through the Nevada Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool Association. For doubts, you can clarify the terms with your insurance agent or Nevada Division of Insurance. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program covers kids below 19 if their family meets certain income requirements. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program offers free counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. Nevada Medicaid helps the poor obtain medical acre. Children below 19 years and pregnant women are eligible along with the aged, blind or physically handicapped people on meeting certain criteria.

Truckers And Chain Law!

Winter often means snow-covered and icy roads. Experienced truckers know that the lighter the load, the less traction the tires have. But even trucks hauling heavy loads can lose traction in the snow and ice. That’s why many states will put chain law into effect. Chain law requires truckers to put tire chains on their tires in order to gain more traction. Usually, when chains are required for trucks, cars are also required to use chains or snow tires.

Chain law is publicized by road signs and state road condition portals- websites, road condition hotlines, and the like. You’ll usually only see chain law go into effect on mountain passes, but states can require chains on any roadway that encounters dangerous winter travel conditions.

Some states require that truckers carry the minimum required chains through the winter months, even if they aren’t planning to chain up. Many states may allow cables instead of chains, but most will require truckers to carry chains. Cables are generally frowned on for being less effective.

California Chain Law

Road Conditions: 800-427-7623 (in state) or 916-445-7623(out of state)
Cal-Trans: 916-654-5741

California does not require truckers to carry chains during certain times of the year. However, when trucks enter a posted “chains required” area, they must be carrying chains. And when chain law is in effect, truckers cannot proceed without chains on their tires. Cal-Trans will set up “truck screening” areas when chains are required to make sure that truckers are carrying the minimum required chains, so that if they need to use chains, they will be able to install them.

Generally, California requires 5-axle trucks to have chains on all tires on the main drive axle, two tires on the other drive axle, and one tire on each side of the trailer- any axle.

California has three Chain Conditions they enforce.

R-1 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.

R-2 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles under 6,500 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on all four wheels. Chains for one set of drive wheels must be carried by four wheel-drive vehicles using snow tires.

R-3 Chain Law:

Chains are required on all vehicles without exception.

Colorado Chain Law

Road Conditions: 511 or (303) 639-1111(out of state)/877-315-7623 (in state)

Chain law applies to commercial vehicles- if the truck has a gross weight rating of 10,001 lbs and the combined vehicle weight rating (truck and trailer) is 26,001 lbs, if the truck has a weight rating of 26,001 lbs, or if the vehicle is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver).

Drivers are required to carry chains on I 70 from mile marker 163 to mile marker 259 from September 1st through May 31st. If you are caught on this stretch of road during these dates without chains, you may be fined $50 plus $13 surcharge ($73).

New Fines! If chain law is in effect but you choose not to put chains on, you may be fined $500 plus $157 surcharge ($657). If chain law is in effect but you choose not to put chains on and you wind up blocking the road, you maybe fined $1000 plus $313 surcharge ($1,313).

Colorado has two levels of Chain Law they enforce.

Level I Chain Law:
All single-axle combination vehicles must chain up. This means if the truck has only a single drive axle (as opposed to duals), chains are required. All drive tires must be chained.

Level II Chain Law:
Chains are required for all commercial vehicles.

Idaho Chain Law

Idaho Road Conditions: 511 or 888-432-7623

Idaho does not require that truckers carry chains during winter months. However chains may be required to continue travel during winter weather.

Montana Chain Law

Montana Road Conditions: 511 or 406-444-6339 or 800-226-7623

Montana does not require that truckers carry chains during winter months. However, if you choose to travel without putting chains on your tires in a posted “chain area” and you get into an accident, you will have a large fine to pay. Montana requires that all tires of one drive axle be chained when chain law is in effect.

Nevada Chain Law

Nevada Road Conditions: 511 or 877-687-6237

Nevada has roadside signs that state “When Flashing, Chains or Snow Tires Required.” If the lights are flashing, chains are required to continue travel. Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs are required to use chains.

North Dakota Chain Law

North Dakota Road Conditions : 511 or 866-696-3511

There is no mandatory chain law in North Dakota.

Oregon Chain Law

Oregon Road Conditions: 511 or 503-588-2941

During winter weather, trucks are required to carry the minimum amount of chains they would need to don. Oregon doesn’t require that chains be carried between certain dates, but chains are required to be on the truck during winter weather conditions.

During a Conditional Road Closure, drivers are required to install chains on their tires to continue travel.

Oregon uses road signs to inform drivers of the chain-up requirements ahead. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Carry Chains or Traction Tires,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be carried on the truck. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Chains Required on Vehicles Towing or Over 10,000 GVW,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be installed on the tires to proceed. If the sign says “Snow Zone, Chains Required, Traction Tires Allowed on Vehicles Under 10,000 GVW,” the minimum required chains for your truck must be installed on the tires to proceed.

South Dakota Chain Law

South Dakota Road Conditions: 511 or 866-697-3511

South Dakota does not require truckers to carry chains but there are times when travel will be restricted for trucks without chains on the tires.

Online Sports Gambling Laws

Prior to delving into the world of sports betting online, many people stop to wonder if they are breaking any state or local laws. In most states, and even the federal government, have legislation about whether its legal or not to gamble online.

Who Regulates Sports Betting?

The regulations of gambling in the US were entirely discretionary per state until recently. The start of online gambling created confusion about jurisdiction. Who runs the laws of cyberspace? Most current gambling laws were meant to apply to general gambling laws, long before the internet existed. Thus the application of those laws to online gambling are open to broad interpretation.

US Regulation of Sports Betting

Most people ask “Is it legal to run a ports betting operation offshore and take action from clients in the US?” The US will most likely argue it is not legal. However, no bills have yet been passed to prevent any such activities from happening. In recent years, attempts to pass bills of this sort have failed.

The government has placed responsibility of gambling legislation at the hands of individual states. Some states have considered legalizing online gambling but have failed. Some states also have added legislation that prohibits the advertising of online casino (Illinois is one such state). Only three states – Nevada, Louisiana and California prohibit citizens from betting beyond state borders. Such laws are loosely enforced. In fact, most states consider gambling violations misdemeanors with the majority focusing on operators as opposed to the gamblers themselves. To avoid breaking US laws, most internet sportsbooks are located offshore in foreign countries along with their servers!

To be clear, the US government has been trying to pass legislation to deal with the regulation of online gambling. But, because there are so many grey areas regarding who has authority over cyberspace activities, these attempts have been unsuccessful in passing. It’s becoming clear that the US will not be able to effectively legislate online gambling as of now but that’s not to say what the future may hold…

So, Can I Bet Sports Legally?

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “pre-nup”, or “premarital agreement”, is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing marital assets, and alimony will be dealt with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple’s property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or subsequent marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were “in derogation of marriage”, meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You’re in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other’s marriage commitments.

What’s in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or might acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, i.e. are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you might want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to preserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in “fidelity clauses” being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse needing public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage cannot be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into by both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under “duress,” a legal term meaning “pressure.” Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will constitute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly constitute duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the biggest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional stress of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was canceled. It’s not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constitutes duress, see “Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements”.

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into “knowingly.” The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband’s assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not constitute full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party deliberately or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one’s financial information would constitute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, unless this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would be presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include whether the disadvantaged party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not coerced into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantial business experience and acumen, and (4) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband’s attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife’s business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is “unconscionable” if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court doesn’t lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, and gave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionability, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party might reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.

Your Cell Phone as a Beacon

Last night was a pretty typical weeknight at my home, I drove home from work
and filled up with gas before I got home, I left my house again at around 5:30
to take my son to his Karate lesson. While I was out I stopped by the local
library to return some books and then swung over to the dry cleaners to pick up
my shirts and slacks and some stuff for my wife. I picked up my son from his
lesson and we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some bread and milk on
our way back to the house.

Now, you aren’t the first people to know my whereabouts that night. Because I
had my cellular phone with me, the cell phone company that provides my cellular
services knew where I was at the entire time. They tracked me with my cellular
telephone.

How is this possible?

It is possible because people who use their cell phone need to be able to make a
call whenever and wherever they may be located at the time they dial the number
on their phone. Therefore, the cellular companies must be able to route the call
to the nearest cellular tower, which in turn sends your call to the satellite in
space, which sends your signal to the person you are calling. The tower that
handled the call is typically logged (and stored indefinitely) on the wireless
provider’s computers, though it’s not noted on the customer’s monthly bill. In
order for the cell phone company to know what tower you are at, they must be
able to track the signal from your cell phone when it is on.

In the expanded age of advanced communication and the literally thousands of
issues of privacy that it has since spawned, many people would be horrified to
learn that they can be tracked by the phone company via their mobile phone. The
phone companies claim this is a integral part of the service they provide,
privacy advocates say that this is just another way large corporations have
invaded our lives.

Wading into the fray over this controversy concerning your cell phone is another
larger and important player: law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies are now
utilizing the technology of tracking cellular signals to catch criminals and
terrorists. A few cases of dangerous criminals being tracked and caught while on
their telephones have been documented and law enforcement is now fighting with
the cellular companies to ensure its continued use.

Have we lost our privacy by cell phone tracking or have we just gained a
valuable tool for law enforcement to use in keeping us safe? Do the cell phone
companies need to know where you are in order to provide their service, or have
they found, as some privacy advocates claim, a backdoor into your life, your
locations, your shopping habits?

Part One: Mobile 911.

According to the TechTV Show “Talkback”, Cell phones show where you are, and
that is simply part of their design. Without the ability to pinpoint where the
signal from your phone is coming from, calls could never be connected. Because
cell phones decry the use of wires, and the users making the calls are often on
the move, the call and the receiving signal are not at a fixed location.
Therefore, the signal from the cell phone must be tracked.

Cell phone service areas are divided into “cells,” each of which is serviced by
a base station. When you make a call, your cell phone selects the strongest base
station it can find, which is usually the closest station to you.

If you move out of the coverage of one base station, your phone switches to the
next strongest available base station (which usually means you move into a new
cell). The system always knows your location relative to the nearest cell.

This occurs even when your phone is on but not being used. For efficiency’s
sake, an idle cell phone sends out a message on the access channel so that the
system will know where to direct the page if you get an incoming call. The
system knows where you are. In an urban area, each tower covers an area of
approximately 1 to 2 square miles, so a caller’s general location is fairly easy
to pinpoint.

The proliferation of cellular phones and their usage gave birth to a very unique
problem: How would emergency operators track callers who called 911 on their
mobile phone? Dialing 911 from a traditional, wire-based telephone, allowed the
operator to track where the call was being placed, so that an emergency response
could be sent. On mobile phones, the people calling in the emergency had no idea
where they were, and the 911 operators had no way of exactly pin pointing where
the calls where originating.

Enter e911. According to the web site “Webopedia” , E911 is “short for Enhanced
911, a location technology advanced by the FCC that enables cellular phones to
process 911 emergency calls and enable emergency services to locate the
geographic position of the caller. When a person makes a 911 call using a
traditional phone with ground wires, the call is routed to the nearest public
safety answering point (PSAP) that then distributes the emergency call to the
proper services. The PSAP receives the caller’s phone number and the exact
location of the phone from which the call was made. Prior to 1996, 911 callers
using a mobile phone would have to access their service providers in order to
get verification of subscription service before the call was routed to a PSAP.
In 1996 the FCC ruled that a 911 call must go directly to the PSAP without
receiving verification of service from a specific cellular service provider. The
call must be handled by any available service carrier even if it is not the
cellular phone customer’s specific carrier. Under the FCC’s rules, all mobile
phones manufactured for sale in the United States after February 13, 2000, that
are capable of operating in an analog mode must include this special method for
processing 911 calls. ”

In an article entitled “How cell phones reveal your location” published on the
Slate (http://www.slate.com) web site, with e911, emergency operators were able
to track calls from wireless phones in less to one or one half of a mile from
where the call originated. The technology was so successfully that the
government made it a law that all cellular phones carry the technology that
enables calls to be tracked. This law is called the Wireless Communications and
Public Safety Act of 1999 (911 Act) and signed into law by President Clinton on
October 26, 1999. According to the law, 95 percent of all cell phones must be
E911 compliant by the end of 2005.

In compliance with the new law, and to better improve the service with its
customers, many cell phone handsets are now equipped with Global Positioning
System chips, which determine a caller’s coordinates by receiving signals beamed
down from a satellite array. The chip factors together the signals’ different
arrival times to calculate the phone’s coordinates, using a mathematical process
known as trilateration. At present, however, GPS data is typically not recorded
for non-emergency purposes, unless the user has explicitly signed up for a
location-based service.

Part Two: The Hacker and the Terrorist

Kevin Mitnick was a hacker. That is to say, he was king of all the hackers.
Mitnick, “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw,” eluded the police, US
Marshalls, and FBI for over two years after vanishing while on probation for his
1989 conviction for computer and access device fraud. His downfall was his
Christmas 1994 break-in to Tsutomu Shimomura’s computers in San Diego,
California. Shimomura just happened to be the head of computing technology at
the San Diego Super Computer Center. Less than two months after having his
computers hacked, Shimomura had tracked Mitnick down after a cross-country
electronic pursuit. Mitnick was arrested by the FBI in Raleigh, North Carolina,
on February 15th, 1995.

Mitnick was charged in North Carolina with 23 counts of access device fraud for
his activities shortly before his arrest. In California, he was charged with an
additional 25 counts of access device, wire, and computer fraud. On March 16,
1999, Mitnick plead guilty to five of these counts and two additional counts
from the Northern District of California. He was sentenced to 46 months and
three years probation. He was released from prison on January 21, 2000, being
eligible for early release after serving almost 60 months of his 68 month
sentence.

How was the FBI able to capture “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw”? By
tracking down a signal from his cell phone.

Luke Helder was going to set off some bombs. Specifically, he was going to set
off bombs in mailboxes across the United States until the locations of his bombs
made a “smiley face” pattern across the map of the U.S. He probably would have
accomplished his morbid feat had he not made one crucial mistake; he turned on
his cell phone.

According to USA Today, as soon as he activated it, FBI agents quickly
triangulated his position between two rural towns and had him in handcuffs
within an hour, according to Nevada authorities. The fact that another motorist
spotted Helder in passing helped authorities, but the cell phone signal was a
dead giveaway

“We got a call from the FBI at approximately 3:20 p.m. that the cell phone that
(Helder) had been known to have had been activated somewhere between Battle
Mountain and Golconda,” said Maj. Rick Bradley of the Nevada Highway Patrol. “We
started hitting Interstate 80.”

Bradley said tracking down Helder without the pinpoint location provided by the
FBI would have been tougher, given the sprawling region.

“It’s really a rural area. There’s not that much police presence,” Bradley said.

Cell phone triangulation is a well-known tracking method within the wireless
industry, said Michael Barker, an equipment sales manager for Cell-Loc, based in
Calgary, Alberta. His company provides tracking services to help people who are
incapacitated and unable to dial for help.

and out of cell tower range.

According to Slate, Location data extrapolated from tower records is frequently
used in criminal cases. It was vital, for example, to the prosecution of David
Westerfield, who was convicted of murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in San
Diego. The killer’s cell-phone usage revealed a bizarre travel pattern in the
two days following the girl’s disappearance, including a suspicious trip to the
desert. In cases like this, wireless providers will not release a user’s records
without a court order, save for rare instances in which a kidnapping has taken
place and time is of the essence.

Domestic crime is not the only arena of law enforcement that is utilizing the
tracking of mobile phone signals, the FBI and CIA have been using this technique
in an effort to capture public enemy number one: Osama Bin Laden.

Author Dan Campbell, writing in the October 2001 issue of Telepolis Magazine,
describes how the world’s most wanted man, coordinated his attacks via his
mobile phone.

“Between 1996 and 1998, when the America’s embassy in Kenya was bombed, the FBI
found that Osama bin Laden and his staff had spent nearly 40 hours making
satellite phone calls from the mountains of Afghanistan. The calls, which can be
sent and received from a special phone the size of a laptop computer, were
relayed via a commercial satellite to sympathizers in the west.

The satellite phone appears to have been a huge convenience for the world’s most
wanted terrorist. He was billed for thousands of minutes of use over two years,
those records indicate, and used it to issue a fatwa in February 1998 that
called on Muslims to kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world.

Even now, as US forces move in for the kill, bin Laden’s satellite phone has not
been cut off. But calls to the terrorist leader are going unanswered. His
international phone number – 00873 682505331 – was disclosed during a trial,
held in New York earlier this year. Calls to his once-active satellite link now
hear only a recorded messages saying he is “not logged on”. ”

Indeed, when bin Laden associates went to trial in April on charges of bombing
U.S. embassies in Africa, the prosecution used billing records for calls from
that phone to connect them to bin Laden–but not intercepts of conversations.

Apparently, the FBI are not the only individuals aware of the fact that the
tracing of mobile phone signals can be used to track down an individual’s
location. With American forces closing in on him during the battle of Tora Bora
in late 2001, Osama bin Laden employed a simple trick against sophisticated
United State spy technology to vanish into the mountains that led to Pakistan
and sanctuary.

According to CBS News, A Moroccan who was one of bin Laden’s long-time
bodyguards took possession of the al-Qaeda leader’s satellite phone on the
assumption that US intelligence agencies were monitoring it to get a fix on
their position, said senior Moroccan officials, who have interviewed the
bodyguard, Abdallah Tabarak.

Tabarak moved away from bin Laden and his entourage as they fled, using the
phone to divert the Americans and allow bin Laden to escape. Tabarak was later
captured at Tora Bora in possession of the phone.

The use of Cell phone triangulation and the tracking of other mobile signals
appear to be an effective weapon for law enforcement, one that many agencies are
going to be reluctant to give up. But does the use of technology come at a
price: the sacrifice of privacy and civil rights of the people using mobile
technology.

Part Three: Cell Phone Commercials

The ability to track a person using their cell phone has not been lost on
marketing professionals looking to find a new avenue into consumer buying habits
and preferences. The ability to track individuals’ movements through their
mobile signal has very appealing commercial potentials. For example:

∑ Your phone will be able to tell you where the nearest hospital, shopping mall,
or McDonald’s is located

∑ Merchants could automatically send you location-based advertising and special
offers when their technology senses you’re near their stores

∑ If you’ve pre-loaded their phone numbers and personal information, your phone
could alert you when a friend or family member is in the area

“Advertisers are eager to use location services to alert you when you pass near
a store that might be of interest. Such services are likely in some form, but
carriers are proceeding cautiously. They’re aware you may not want to see ads
for McDonalds every time you pass by the golden arches. Carriers don’t want to
annoy users because it’s so easy to switch providers”, says Allen Nogee, a
senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group said on the CNN web site.

The idea of advertisers and law enforcement knowing where you are at any given
moment and where you have been has naturally rubbed privacy-advocate groups the
wrong way. While there is some upsides for the use of this technology, privacy
groups say the potential for abuse of this technology is very high and very real
and they would like to see some provisions built into cell-phone tracking laws
that allow for the privacy of the consumer not to be compromised.

“There certainly need to be better emergency procedures [for cell-phone calls],”
says David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center
in Washington, D.C during an interview with ABC news. “But once the technology
exists, there has to be some way for users to control how the info can be used.”

Sobel says while the FCC mandated the E911 program, federal legislators haven’t
put into place how that information may be used or who would have access to it.

“The Justice Department and FBI do routinely get information from cell-phone
service providers,” says Sobel. But, “There are lingering question on what the
legal standard is to be used to get location information from cell-phone
providers. There is nothing in federal law that addresses that issue.”

According to Sobel, another large privacy issue that might be at stake is not
only the information that is being delivered by using this technology, but the
technology itself might be violating the privacy of mobile communications just
by the way the technology works.

“The e911 rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission govern the
emerging form of telecommunications known as “packet mode” communication. Law
enforcement agencies already have the authority to demand information that
identifies a phone call as long as it is separate from the call’s contents.
However, with packet-mode communication technology, data containing the numbers
cannot be separated from data containing phone conversations. Thus when police
agencies demand phone number data, phone service providers will have to give
them data containing conversations as well,” said Sobel.

Sobel and lawyers from two other organizations are asking the U.S. Court of
Appeals in Washington, D.C., to block the FCC rules. “The FBI is seeking
surveillance capabilities that far exceed the powers law enforcement has had in
the past and is entitled to under the law,” Sobel said.

Similar legislation for the ability to track movements using mobile technology
has met with stiff resistance in other countries. According to ZDNET UK
(http://www.zdnet.com) in the United Kingdom, civil liberties advocates are
outraged at the implications of the newly passed Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act, which could allow British law enforcement agencies to trace the
movements of mobile phone users with a minimum of accountability. Privacy
advocates have vowed to have this law over-turned in this country, but in the
meantime, the British government plans to fully extend and incorporate this law
into British law enforcement, no matter what privacy groups say.

“The whole point of RIP (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) is to
update surveillance,” a spokeswoman from the British Home Office said. “If you
haven’t broken the law then you’ve nothing to fear.”

Conclusion: Cell Phone Spam?

Law enforcement agencies, already beleaguered by an out of control handgun
problem and a across the board rise in crime in the United States, coupled with
the fact that they must now deal with the horrifying specter of terrorism in
their cities, will not be too quick to give up a powerful new weapon in catching
criminals, especially not one that will essentially tell them where they are
exactly. Any fight that privacy groups may put up will ultimately prove to be
futile to lawmakers in Congress, who want to be seen as giving law enforcement
every chance they can to be effective.

However, privacy groups have a legitimate point in their fears that a technology
of this sort is ripe to be exploited unless the lawmakers take action to limit
the very personal data offered by this tracking technology. Email is a perfect
example of a technology that, in its infant stages, was seen as revolutionary
new form of communication. Now, email systems are so overloaded with spam coming
in from not only the United States but also from Russia and Nigeria, that
congress has acted to implement new laws to stem the tide.

Cell phones now have the ability to send and receive photographs, how much
longer will it be before advertising, in full color begins to find its way to
your telephone? The outrage of having “cell-phone spam” may be so great that he
consumer uproar will cause any type of mobile technology to be severely limited
by law, perhaps even stripping out some of the positive aspects such as those
used by law enforcement.

Judgment Enforcement State By State

This article is a general guide. Laws change often. This is not a substitution for researching and keeping current with the laws of your state. While it is legal to enforce judgments in all 50 states, some states make it harder than it should be.

In the beginning, it was one’s right to purchase a judgment and enforce it. Over time, government and legal organizations in some states, (usually a Bar Association) have or soon may try to, put restrictions on the rights of people (who are not a lawyers) to enforce a judgment.

The future-pay purchase method is when the judgment enforcer pays the original judgment creditor an average of 35 to 70 percent of the amount recovered from the debtor.

The future-pay purchase is usually best for the original judgment creditor because they get 35 to 70% of the amount recovered from the debtor. In contrast, judgments purchased for cash up-front have average sale prices of 1% to 7% of the face value of the judgment.

Some states do not allow the standard future-pay purchase method. Such states have specified that judgments must be purchased outright with no continuing obligation. Other states have mandated that only a collection agency can enforce judgments for others.

In some states, instead of passing laws, there are “only” strong opinions of high-ranking legal organizations. Even if only an opinion, in courts, these opinions can affect the rights of judgment enforcers.

If you enforce judgments, you must check the laws of your own state. With that said, here is a general summary of the laws that impact how judgment enforcers must work in each state:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, and California: No Special Restrictions (NSR).

Arizona and Colorado: To recover judgments, you should be a licensed as collection agency. Note that in Arizona, a corporation can represent itself in court.

Connecticut and Delaware: NSR.

District Of Columbia: Government employees are not attachable. (The Feds protect their own.)

Florida: The opinion of the Florida Department of Banking and Finance is that to recover judgments, you should be a licensed as collection agency. But the Bar, and Florida state law, does not mandate this. In Florida, corporations can represent themselves in Small Claims court, for matters up to $5,000.

Georgia: NSR.

Hawaii: Assignees Of Record cannot domesticate judgments into this state.

Idaho: To recover judgments, you should be a licensed as collection agency.

Illinois and Indiana: NSR.

Iowa: The Iowa Bar Association says judgments must be purchased for cash up-front.

Kansas: Wage garnishments are not allowed by Assignees.

Kentucky: This state is Judgment Enforcer friendly.

Louisiana and Maine: NSR.

Maryland: The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation says judgments must be purchased for cash up-front.

Massachusetts: To recover judgments, you should be a licensed as collection agency.

Michigan: Small claims judgments cannot be assigned.

Minnesota: The Minnesota Department of Commerce says that you must either buy judgments for cash up front or be a licensed as collection agency.

Mississippi: No special restrictions.

Missouri: Small Claims judgments (3K and less) in this state cannot be Assigned. This might be raised to 5K soon.

Montana and Nebraska: NSR.

Nevada: The Bar Association of Nevada says to recover judgments, you should be a licensed as collection agency.

New Hampshire: No special restrictions.

New Jersey: The Bar Association of New Jersey says judgments must be purchased for cash up-front.

New Mexico and New York: No special restrictions. Note it’s not simple or cheap to domesticate default judgments to NY.

North Carolina: Wage Garnishments generally not allowed.

North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon: NSR.

Pennsylvania: Wage Garnishments generally not allowed.

Puerto Rico and Rhode Island: No special restrictions.

South Carolina: Wage Garnishments generally not allowed.

South Dakota and Tennessee: No special restrictions.

Texas: Wage Garnishments generally not allowed.

Utah, and Vermont: No special restrictions.

Virginia: The Bar Association of Virginia says judgments must be purchased for cash up-front.

Washington and West Virginia: No special restrictions.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions says to enforce judgments you must be a licensed as collection agency.

Countries and Their Drinking Laws

The United States has the highest drinking age of all other countries in the world. Most countries allow people to drink at a much younger age than they do in the United States. Ask a Nevada DUI Attorney and he or she will probably tell you this does not sound like it would be a good idea. A Nevada DUI Lawyer may think this because hundreds of people get pulled over every year because they are inebriated when driving. In America, hundreds of people are killed each year by drunk drivers. Americans tend to get behind the wheel when they are under the influence because the public transportation is limited. This applies to young people because in the United States younger people drink more often than older people and these young people are more likely to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. However, in many other countries, the means of transportation are a lot different. In this article, we will take a look at the drinking ages of two countries and why they are able to have a younger drinking age than the United States.

In Germany, the legal drinking age is 16 for beer and 18 for liquor, although these are not always strictly enforced. Now, in Germany, the consequences for driving under the influence are much different than in the United States. A person is required to serve no less than two years in prison if they are found to have been driving while intoxicated. In the U.S., there is no minimum requirement of prison time for the first offense. The reason this drinking age may be reasonable for Germany is that they have a much better public transportation system than in the U.S. It is much easier for people to choose to take public transportation if they are intoxicated rather than drive a car as opposed to the United States where many cities do not have adequate public transportation.

In Canada, the legal drinking age is 18 or 19, depending on the province, and this is pretty strictly enforced. In this country, the drinking age is higher than it is in many European countries, like Germany, but it is lower than the United States. Again, as is the case with Europe, many Canadian provinces have better public transportation than is available in many U.S. cities. Another reason that some speculate the drinking age is what is in Canada is to cut down on binge drinking at universities. The theory behind this logic is that when it is legal, people are less likely to do more of it, because it is not as “exciting” as if it were illegal.

As our world becomes smaller and smaller it can be a wise thing to look at other countries to see what their laws are and how they work. However, when you look to different countries it is important to keep their laws in context and try to understand why their laws work better than they might in the United States or vice versa.

Radar Detectors – Their Benefits and Knowing the Law

Have you ever had a speeding ticket? If so, owning a radar detector may be just what you need. They make motorists aware that their speed is being detected by a police or law enforcement officer. This device alerts drivers so they can reduce their speed to avoid speeding tickets. Below are some additional benefits and laws associated with owning a radar detector.

BENEFITS

One of the best benefits of owning a radar detector is money savings. Having just one speeding ticket can be very costly. First, there is the cost of the ticket based on the number of miles you exceed the speed limit. Then, if you choose to fight the ticket you would incur lawyer and/or court costs. Finally, you may lose wages during time spent in court. All these events can add up to a lot of money.

Another benefit is time savings. Getting pulled over for a speeding violation is time consuming as you wait for the police officer to process your license and issue the ticket. Having a detector can help you avoid these situations and get you to your destination on time.

You can also save a great deal of stress. If you get pulled over for speeding you could be late for work, an important meeting, or being home with your family. All of these situations can create a lot of stress. Owning this device can help eliminate some of this stress from your life.

Finally, many owners agree that using a radar detector has a positive effect on their driving behavior. When drivers are alerted by this device it helps them become more conscious about keeping within the speed limits. By becoming more aware of the speed limits, vehicle operators often become safer drivers.

KNOWING THE LAW

Law varies from state to state, but radar detectors are generally legal in private vehicles in all locations except Virginia, Washington DC, and on US Military Bases. According to federal law, the radar detector is illegal in commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds and all vehicles over 18,000 pounds. In addition, radar/laser scramblers are not legal to use in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC and Canada.

There are many benefits that come with owning a radar detector. They help reduce the incidence of speeding tickets which saves money, time, and stress and also help to improve and maintain a clean driving record. Knowing what areas allow the use of them is also important for avoiding unwanted traffic violations.