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This past week, Conaway & Strickler’s Meg Strickler and Chelsea Thomas tried a capital case in Fulton County Superior Court.  Our client was facing life in prison. Ms. Thomas and Ms. Strickler were able to secure a NOT GUILTY verdict. The jury deliberated just 30 minutes.

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You spent all those hours and training to pass the Georgia Board of Dentistry only to turn around and have that license threatened by something you do to help your patients. As a dentist, you focus on keeping your patient’s oral health in good order and helping them achieve a better smile. Unfortunately, when the state examiners show up, it can be difficult to know what to do. 

Know the rules 

The Georgia Board of Dentistry has 11 board members who determine the current rules and regulations. Not only do they handle the rules, but they also approve licensing and renewals for the state. While the National Board Examination administers the exam, you must go through the board to obtain a license. Dentists must also submit to HIPAA guidelines because they handle patient information. Understanding the various rules on what procedures and prescriptions you can administer can help you avoid negatively impacting your license. 

Right now, in Georgia and throughout the United States, investigators are watching people and keeping track of their activities on the internet. There is a great deal of information out there, however, and these investigators do not always get everything right.

Additionally, law enforcement officers sometimes overstep their bounds. At Conaway and Strickler, P.C., we make it our mission to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. One of the ways we do this is by performing our own investigations.

There is an old saying it goes something along the lines of “what is good for one is good for the other.” We make a point of employing equal or superior techniques to state and federal agencies during our own examinations of the facts. We see this as the minimum requirement for a successful case. 

As is the case with most people in Atlanta, the thought of committing a federal offense has never even crossed your mind. The thought of playing a prank, however, may just have. You have probably heard before that damaging or destroying public mailboxes is a crime. Yet what you (and likewise many of those who have come to see us here at Conaway& Strickler, PC) may not be aware of is that it is a federal crime, and one that authorities take very seriously. 

Indeed, according to the Cornell Law School, destroying a mailbox is a federal offense that is punishable by either fines or imprisonment of up to three years (or a combination of both). Per the US Postal Service, the fines associated with this defense can be up to $250,000. Not only is damaging, defacing or destroying a mailbox punishable under this statute, but so too is entering or breaking open a mailbox (that is not yours) to gain access to others’ mail. 

You have probably seen or heard of stories of rowdy teens or young adults hitting mailboxes with baseball bats or putting firecrackers inside of them. You likely dismiss these as childish pranks, yet the damage that they cause and the impact that such an act can have is very real. Thus, it is not an acceptable defense to a charge of destroying a mailbox that you or someone you know was simply trying to play a joke. 

Your involvement in a corporate crime at your workplace in Georgia can lead to several consequences including the loss of your job, loss of integrity and a significant blow to your reputation. Often, regardless of the misbehavior, you were caught committing, chances are there are at least a few people who have lost their trust in you completely. Recovering their trust and showing that you are not the same person is going to take considerable time and commitment.

Unfortunately, your reputation infiltrates many components of your life, especially important ones where family, friends, potential coworkers and other professionals are tasked with making a decision about whether or not you can be trusted to perform a certain way. Rebuilding the way people think of you is critical to your being able to grow and maintain relationships. According to Entrepreneur, you have the potential to prevent your involvement in crime from destroying your reputation entirely, but only if you begin making amends right away. One thing you should begin doing is setting realistic goals of how you will overcome your mistakes and fix the way people see you. 

Depending on the crime you were involved in, you may be required to pay legal consequences including fines or jail time. Being timely and responsible in the way you pay your dues is critical to your ability to begin recovering from your mistakes right away. The more willing you are to take responsibility for what you have done and refrain from placing blame on anyone else, you can show that you are serious about making a change. 

Taking a selfie is a common and popular phenomenon for people in Georgia and throughout the country. While many selfies are fun, they can be illegal if they contain sexual images and/or nudity of someone who is underage. If obtained in the wrong hands, a well-intentioned selfie can be the subject of a child pornography charge.

FindLaw discusses how teenagers, especially, participate in producing, possessing and distributing child pornography without even realizing it. Both teenage girls and boys take selfies of a sexual nature and send it to their boyfriend/girlfriend. This, in and of itself, in many states constitutes child pornography. If the receiver of the picture then forwards it on to others, this can become an even bigger issue. Once a sexually explicit picture passes state or international borders, it becomes a federal offense. Every person who is in possession of the selfie can potentially face charges for child pornography. 

Some may argue that purposely taking a naked photo of oneself and sending it to someone else is anyone’s right and it falls under the First Amendment. However, the United States Department of Justice reports that there is not protection regarding child pornography images and that they are illegal. In contrast to what some may believe, child pornography pictures do not have to depict a minor participating in sexual activity or acting against his or her will.

When people are charged with using, distributing or selling drugs in Georgia, the penalties for such behaviors can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding their case, as well as how badly their actions may have affected other people. Drug abuse is a prevalent epidemic and one that many experts believe can be prevented with education and awareness beginning at a young age. 

When people make active efforts to inform their children of the dangers of drugs before they are ever introduced to them, it can make a considerable difference in how they respond if they are faced with a situation where they are offered to partake in drug use of some kind. According to KidsHealth, one way that parents can discuss the dangers of drugs with their children is by discussing how significantly drug use can affect the growth, response and function of a person’s brain.

Particularly in young people, drug use can have a long-term impression on their mental health and stability. Parents can also share how these decisions may impose a threat to other parts of the body, detract from their child’s ability to focus in school or sports and their child’s ability to maintain healthy relationships with other people.  

There are many ways that Georgia residents can fall victim to identity theft. When this happens, it can be costly, both financially and timewise. It can take a while to restore credit scores and reputation with financial institutions. It is important that everyone understands how identity theft can occur so individuals can take steps to prevent it from happening.

According to USA.gov, the most typical types of identity theft are medical ID, tax ID and social ID theft. With medical, someone uses another person’s health insurance or Medicare number to get medical care. Thieves steal social security numbers for multiple reasons, but a common one is to file tax returns in a false manner. In social identity theft, thieves use someone else’s name and pictures to set up fake social media accounts.

The two most vulnerable age groups to ID theft are seniors and children. There are numerous ways someone can prevent being a victim of identity theft. These include:

If you are actively employed in Georgia and are a recipient of income each on a consistent basis, you are required to fill out a tax return each year. The information you provide will be processed and verified by officials with the Internal Revenue Service who will verify that you are not missing anything on your forms that could indicate you are not filing your taxes properly. At Conaway & Strickler, PC Attorneys at Law, we are committed to advocating for people who have been accused of federal crimes. 

Tax evasion is an example of a federal crime that can leave you facing serious legal consequences for failing to properly file and claim your taxes with the IRS. While seemingly insignificant, your decision to avoid paying your taxes can actually have detrimental consequences. According to Financial Web, if you miscalculate your taxes or fudge numbers in your favor and what you are reporting cannot be effectively backed by supporting receipts, you could be accused of tax fraud or evasion. For this reason, it is critical that you double-check your work if you are filing your own taxes, and even compare your records with the paperwork you have received if you had your taxes filed by a professional. 

If you have deliberately refrained from paying your taxes, you could be fined anywhere from $100,000, to $25,000 for every year that you were delinquent on your taxes. Additionally, depending on the length or severity of your crimes, you could be sentenced to serve time in prison. 

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