For anyone thinking of filing personal bankruptcy in the “heart of Dixie”, as Alabama is affectionately nicknamed by its residents, this information is for you.
In Alabama (as well as the other 49 states), the two types of bankruptcy commonly filed by individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, a court-appointed bankruptcy administrator takes possession of any nonexempt assets, sells them, and then uses the proceeds to pay creditors. The discharge is generally entered a few months after the petition is filed.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, the individual filing bankruptcy proposes a plan to repay debts over a three to five year period. This plan must be approved by the Court, and plan payments are paid to the bankruptcy administrator, who then disburses the payments to creditors based on the terms of the approved plan. The discharge is not granted until the conclusion of the repayment plan.
If given a choice between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, most people will pick Chapter 7 because it requires no repayment of debts and is over much quicker. However, bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005 place conditions on who can actually file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, which brings us to…
Alabama Bankruptcy Fact #1
The bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005 impose a means test to determine if a person can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are two ways to pass this means test.
The first way is to compare the household income of the person filing to the state median income. The annual income, calculated using the average gross income for the six-month period prior to filing, must be below the state median. Currently, the median income for a family of four in Alabama is $55,424.
If household income exceeds the median, a person can still file Chapter 7, based on the results of a means test calculation. Bankruptcy Form 22A is used for this calculation.
Alabama Bankruptcy Fact #2
As stated earlier, the bankruptcy administrator in a Chapter 7 proceeding will take possession of nonexempt assets and liquidate them in order to pay creditors. The next obvious question – what exactly is exempt in Alabama?
Unfortunately, the answer is “not much”. As of this writing, Alabama allows a $5,000 homestead exemption and a $3,000 personal property exemption. If the homestead is jointly owned by a husband and wife, each may separately claim the homestead exemption. There are other exemptions, and the laws may change at any time, so make sure you consult an attorney before you file bankruptcy, which brings us to…
Alabama Bankruptcy Fact #3
Many people who file bankruptcy without counsel do so because of the belief that they cannot afford an attorney. Truth is, bankruptcy is a complicated legal matter and you can’t afford not to have an attorney. In addition, for those who really can’t afford a lawyer, there are sources of free help. It’s just a matter of tracking it down.
check out this page for a dependable seller that will give you the no deposit bonuses you’re looking for quickly and easily.
When it comes to Alabama Criminal Records, you might want to combine a manual check with an online one for best results. Why is this so? No doubt the Internet is a great way to garner information. For every query you type in, you will probably get a million sites that offer solutions. While this is the great thing about the virtual world, it also makes things so much harder. So looking for relevant results becomes a bit more difficult than one thinks it would have been. So much of information hits you on your screen that you can not quite decide if all of it is good, bad or otherwise. Panning it for nuggets that will be of use is of course a daunting task.
When it comes to Alabama Criminal Records, you could do a manual retrieval and then top it up as it were with an online one. Both have their advantages and it would be nice to combine both so you get good results. Let’s look at the way a search is done in an Alabama Criminal Records check. It is basically a 2-step process. Research firms usually go in for a lot of initial research. Now here is where the Internet plays a great part. This is where researchers would look for every possible piece of information relating to a particular person’s records and pore through every thing they can find. So many government agencies today maintain online records that getting information is not too tough, especially when it involves public documents. Sure, some of the sites have very little information but they do all add up to quite a bit when your research is exhaustive.
Many online sites advertise their Criminal Records skills for a fee. One such site is a legal research site that caters mainly to lawyers and it is called LexisOne. While you will have to pay for certain services they offer, what they offer free is a case tool with which you can do your own search in the AL Criminal Records. You might just find that you get a lot of useful information here about the person you are researching.
Looking for more information? Try the city and county databases of the state of Alabama. These have fairly detailed databases and their lists include sex offenders, the most wanted criminals and records of criminal cases. The counties keep an extensive record base of criminal cases so in case your subject has spent time in a particular city or county in Alabama, it would be worth your while to search through the Alabama Criminal Records that you find on these databases.
Another source that you could go to for Alabama Criminal Records is the Department of Forensic Science in Alabama. Here, you will find records of all the cases that have been closed and they are accessible for free online. This is a great source to search for Alabama Criminal Records and you will find it pretty easy to navigate as all you have to do is to enter the desired criteria. The better the values you enter, the better results you will get. So keep that in mind when you are doing your search. This is invaluable for cases of long ago that have been closed.
Deciding to get married and building a family is not as easy as we think it is when we are at the peak of our emotions right after a heart-warming marriage proposal. We can never be sure if the relationship we have with our partners today will stay as it is even after several years of being together or if we are going to end up divorced like so many these days. Whether we are in a happy relationship or not, we should find a reliable family lawyer.
A family lawyer can help us with so many different, valid family concerns. A family lawyer would be able to help you with asset protection, which usually happens through prenuptial agreements. He/she can help you secure your child’s future in so many different ways; child support, paternity, child custody, grandparents’ rights, property division and restraining orders. He can also help you build a family by working on your longed-for adoption if you and your partner decide on taking this route. A family lawyer can also help you in securing your properties and investments through effective estate planning.
Because of the very important things that a family lawyer can help you with in your life, it is very important that you carefully choose the lawyer that you are going to work with. Choosing a family lawyer is not as simple as it might seem. We must admit at some point that we need someone who has more knowledge than we do – especially with regards to the law. We need someone who is capable of seeing and handling things that we tend to overlook when we are emotionally troubled and our thinking is clouded.
In choosing a reliable family lawyer there are quite a lot of things that you need to look into. The first thing of course is their professional eligibility. You have to make sure that they have the professional capacity to work with you. They should have a license and should have passed all required examinations that prove they are indeed capable of being your lawyer.
The next thing that you should consider is of course the cases they have handled. You definitely would not want to entrust your family’s future to someone who has not been doing anything but losing cases, right? You have to make sure that the lawyer you will be working with has the guts to promise you and your children a good future even after a failed relationship with your partner. They should be capable of giving you and your children the protection you need in cases of emotional and physical abuse.
With marriage issues and family problems being very common these days, it is inevitable for every lawyer – even in Alabama – to have a lot of clients and requests. Despite knowing this, when we hire a family lawyer, we would like to feel that we are the only people they have in mind. Time is not really a big issue, but dedication is. When you choose a family lawyer make sure that they are someone who is dedicated to everything they do.
Those looking for investing in a home at an affordable rate in an attractive state, look no further than Alabama foreclosures. Alabama offers excellent job opportunities and good quality of life. Foreclosures are available at steep discounts. One should be armed with necessary information while trying to invest in Alabama Foreclosures.
Alabama is a state located in the South Eastern USA. It ranks 30th in land area and second in size of inland waterways in the U.S. Alabama is called the ‘The Heart of Dixie’. The capital is Montgomery and the largest city is Birmingham. The state has invested substantially in healthcare, aerospace, banking and education. In 2008, gross product of state was $170 billion and per capita income was $29,411. Alabama produces electronics and aerospace products, especially in the Huntsville area, the site of NASA George. C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US army command station.
Alabama is part of the fastest growing industrial corridor of the nation. The economy is led by heavy industry especially auto manufacturing industry with names such as Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz and Toyota manufacturing located here. Alabama ranks 4th in the nation in output of automobiles. Birmingham’s economy was changed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) investing in medical research and bio technology. Huntsville leads in technology sector and in 2005, Forbes ranked it number one in the nation for number of engineers employed.
Alabama Foreclosures are the best way to make an investment in the Alabama housing market. Most properties in Alabama foreclosures are there because of either of two reasons: 1)The home owners have defaulted on mortgage payments forcing the bank to foreclose their property or 2) home owners are delinquent on taxes, so the government repossessed the home. Repossessed Alabama Foreclosures properties often end up at Alabama auction where they are sold for steep discounts.
You need to make some preparations while approaching Alabama auctions:
• Keep cash ready: Come prepared with at least a part of the cash ready as auctions often require immediate cash payments.
• Find out all information: Try to get all information about the property by driving to the neighborhood, questioning neighbors, ascertaining conditions etc.
• Have an idea of the market: Before you weigh the list of different properties on auction it is better you know about the rates of home values in different parts of the market so that you can identify a bargain.
• Have an idea of local laws: Get familiar with local Alabama laws and procedures so that buying and selling properties is facilitated. Use the services of an Alabama realty lawyer.
By following the right procedures, there is great potential for making profit by investing in Alabama foreclosures.
You hear people all the time saying that something is a piece of cake. You also hear some people giving their plan as clear as day without having attempted something. This is the case when it comes down to bankruptcy help. Some people fill out the forms without the help an attorney and wish they had just spent the money getting a pro to do it for them. The forms have to be filled out correctly and completely. Also, the forms have to be filed.
It is good to have connections when it comes down to different things. Knowing different types of people can get you into the door quicker than if you knew no one.
Some expenses are wise to have. If you are filing for bankruptcy, then you should strongly consider hiring an attorney. Yes, you have enough financial problems and it already seems like a strong burden. It would be a burden of another kind if you attempt to fill out that paperwork without any experience or knowledge. Save yourself the heartache and pain and let a skilled person do it for you. You need to get a bankruptcy lawyer who is an expert on the legal system. It would be to your benefit if you got a lawyer who knew the bankruptcy laws and can explain how they fit in your situation.
Over time things change. Things normally change for the better. Each Alabama bankruptcy law used to have a simple process that many in this situation could handle. Now, it has grown to a rather complex and intricate jumble of words and procedures. Even some legal minds don’t know how to process some claims if they don’t have enough experience.
Many years ago people could just file the forms, appear before a judge, and their financial history would be erased. Boy, have things changed! Now, it is very difficult to file for bankruptcy and not all debt is forgiven. That’s why it’s is crucial to make sure you get an expert in the field to give you the best chance of getting some resolve. People who file for bankruptcy do not lose their houses. That should make you sleep better at night!
It’s common for us to meet with homeowners who have had their homes wrongfully foreclosed upon by a lying mortgage company. If the foreclosure has already gone through and you try to contact a bankruptcy, or even a family lawyer, you will likely be told that since it’s after foreclosure, there’s nothing that can be done to save your home. This is not always true for every foreclosure!
After a foreclosure, you are in a legal and economical hole, probably depressed, and are at a huge disadvantage. But the game isn’t necessarily over. For example, in Alabama, foreclosures occur outside of court. Since there wasn’t a judge to decide that the mortgage company foreclosed against you, there is only the mortgage company’s lone decision that they foreclosed on you. These are the very same mortgage companies that are responsible for systematic fraud against homeowners, but still had to be given billions of taxpayer dollars to be bailed out of their own mess due to incompetence.
Big businesses don’t run the country and don’t have the right to decide when they have obeyed the law and when they have met the terms of their contract with you. To evict you from your home, they use two main tactics: intimidation and lawsuits. When they sue you in Alabama, they must come to court and a judge (or jury, if you want) will decide if they actually upheld their contract and followed the law in your foreclosure. While in court, we can also bring to light any instances of fraud or unlawful behavior that the mortgage company may have exhibited.
To recap, just because your home has already been foreclosed on doesn’t always mean you’re out of options. If you are located in Alabama and believe your foreclosure was wrongful, you have the opportunity to bring the case to court where a judge and/or jury can decide if the mortgage company foreclosed wrongfully.
Divorce in Alabama is a statutory remedy, that is, the Alabama legislature has enacted law permitting divorce as a remedy to either spouse for both fault-based and no-fault-based reasons. (Section 30-2-1 of Alabama Code). The fault-based grounds, to wit, adultery, abandonment, insanity, drug or alcohol addiction, and so on, are widely known and common-sensical. The addition of “incompatibility” and “irretrievable breakdown” have allowed spouses to divorce without alleging the fault of the other. (Sec. 30-2-1(7) & (9)). This addition made divorce, in many cases, a more viable option for spouses who simply did not wish to remain married.
Divorce actions are the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts of the various counties of Alabama (Sec. 30-2-1). While a divorce action may be filed in any county in Alabama, venue is proper in either of two places: in the county where the defendant resides or in the county where the parties lived at the time of separation (Sec. 30-2-4). If the defendant is not a resident of Alabama, then venue is proper in the county where the plaintiff resides. However, in this latter scenario, the Court’s jurisdiction may be limited to the “res” of the marriage; that is, the Court may only be empowered to terminate the marriage and not divide property. The extent of the Court’s power will depend on numerous factors including, but not limited to, the location of the property of the parties and where the parties were married. Venue may be waived.
Divorces often involve questions of property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. While these subjects are due their own articles, it is worth noting that, in regards to property division, Alabama courts apply the doctrine of “equitable distribution,” to wit, the Court possesses the authority and power to divide the property of the parties equitably and fairly. Thus, the Court is empowered with great discretion and will often consider the financial status of the parties, the length of the marriage, the reasons giving rise to the divorce, and so on in making its determination.
A divorce is, often times, an agreed-upon choice. And, in such instances, both parties agree that the marriage should end and divide the property amicably. If there are children, then the parties will also decide issues of custody and support. There is no requirement that a Court make these decisions; but, the Court must approve them. This type of divorce–where all issues are agreed upon–is often referred to as an “Uncontested Divorce.” They are significantly quicker and oftentimes much less expensive than the alternative.
For additional local doctor visit lighthousetreatment.
Hiring a foreclosure defense lawyer is very serious. You should feel free to do research and talk to different lawyers until you find the one that suits you. Here are seven general questions that are good to ask prospective lawyers. You will probably think of more questions, but these are a good start.
1. How many foreclosure cases have you litigated in court against the mortgage company (filing bankruptcy doesn’t count)?
At one point, every lawyer is new and doesn’t have litigation or foreclosure experience, but there’s nothing wrong with you asking about their level of experience when it comes to dealing with litigation against mortgage companies. Ask if the lawyer has actually been in court, sued a mortgage company (or even thought about suing a mortgage company), or defended a homeowner against an eviction action or ejection after the foreclosure sale of the home.
Litigation is notorious for bringing up surprises, so a lawyer with litigation experience will have knowledge of some of the tricks mortgage companies use. However, the right lawyer for you might not have much experience.
2. How often do you attend seminars or classes to learn the latest strategies and tactics of mortgage companies?
Some areas of law change much more than others; however, foreclosure and home loan laws have changed drastically. Cases from just five years ago are very different from the way that same case would currently be handled.
For example, instead of mortgage companies holding mortgages for 30 years or until the home is resold or refinanced, there are now companies that immediately sell the loans to a “depositor” company that then sells the loan to a Trust. The Trusts don’t normally actually own the loans, so any threats of foreclosure would be unjust if they don’t own the loan.
Attending classes and seminars isn’t necessarily mandatory to be a good lawyer, but keeping up with the latest legal developments on the real estate front is certainly an asset.
3. What kinds of materials can you give me so I can learn more about foreclosures (such as brochures, books, audio files, videos, etc)?
Some foreclosure defense lawyers feel that you, the consumer, don’t deserve “free” information and should rely entirely on their expertise. They are afraid that you will take the information and then not hire them. Still, other lawyers offer online blogs, videos and articles to inform you. You have to decide if you’d rather entirely trust the defense lawyer’s judgment or do personal research. There’s no real right or wrong answer, it’s just a personal preference.
4. Are you licensed in Alabama (or the state in which you live)?
This may seem like an strange question, but some lawyers with no foreclosure experience are using the nationwide foreclosure crisis for personal gain by scamming and cheating people. Unlicensed lawyers often claim they can “scare” mortgage companies into backing down, which is ridiculous when they can’t even practice law in the state. Be sure to specifically ask if they are a licensed lawyer who can stop your foreclosure in your state.
5. Do you have one method in foreclosure defense efforts or multiple approaches?
Some lawyers just have one approach and others have a variety of methods. When choosing foreclosure defense lawyer, it also depends on the outcome you’re pursuing, such as having the foreclosure reversed or stopped, obtaining a mortgage modification, or if you want to file bankruptcy and still pay your monthly payment to keep your home. It’s important to find out which category you’re potential lawyer is in so you can decide if that method best corresponds with the outcome you’re after.
6. Is litigation the best way to deal with my foreclosure?
Litigation isn’t always the best option and different lawyers will have different opinions. If you have legitimate claims against a mortgage company, then litigation is the way to go, but if you’re simply behind on mortgage payments then it isn’t. For example, if you’re behind on house payments and can now afford to make the mortgage payment as well as the amount of back-payment, then bankruptcy might be the best option.
But if you’ve been the victim of bogus charges and fees or fraud and are planning to stay in your home, then litigation is the best route. When you’re in litigation and suing the mortgage company, you and your foreclosure defense lawyer will be facing corporate lawyers for the mortgage company who are trying to protect the company. If found guilty of bogus charges or fraud, the company’s reputation will be damaged and will then have to face the wrath of a jury of consumers…no one in the company wants that to happen, so litigation makes the company speed up the process of fixing your problem. Someone with actual authority will be handling your issue, not a random person in a cubicle who won’t return your calls.
7. How are you paid- by an hourly rate, flat fee, etc?
This is a very legitimate concern that you should feel free to discuss with your potential lawyer. Some lawyers charge an hourly fee, some a contingency fee, and others charge a flat monthly fee. Some even offer a combination approach that allows you to pay a monthly rate and also a contingency fee. It really just depends on the lawyer and it’s important to understand that there are many methods of payment to get you the right lawyer at a rate that you can afford.
If you have been injured in Alabama at the hands of another person’s carelessness you may be able to file a lawsuit against that person and receive financial compensation. This is known as an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. Every case is unique. Talking with an Alabama personal injury lawyer will clear up any specifics about your claim.
What You Have to Prove
When seeking financial compensation for Alabama personal injuries you and your attorney must prove four (4) things in order to succeed. They include:
The person who caused your injury owed you a responsibility, otherwise known as a ‘duty’. For example, in a car accident lawsuit, the at fault driver had a duty to all other drivers and pedestrians to drive safely.
The person failed to carry out that responsibility or duty. You must prove that what the person did to cause your injury was reckless or negligent.
You must prove you were harmed or in other words suffered ‘damages’. Damages are not limited to physical injuries. Rather, they can include mental or emotional injury, lost wages, pain and suffering, current and future medical bills and more.
The other person’s failure to carry out the duty they owed caused your injury. For example, if you are injured at an amusement park and you are injured on a faulty ride, you must prove the ride caused the injury as opposed to your own recklessness.
If any one of these cannot be proved beyond a responsible doubt you will not be able to win any type of Alabama personal injury claim.
Time Limitations for Filing a Claim
The general time frame for filing an Alabama personal injury lawsuit is 2 years. However, there are some technicalities involved and different time frames, known as the statutes of limitations. Below are the different Alabama personal injury statutes of limitations:
Medical Malpractice Statute – You have 2 years to file an Alabama medical malpractice claim with the exception of the discovery rule. If you lacked knowledge of the harm caused to you by a medical staff and discover it between 2-3 and a half years after the malpractice you still have six months to file a claim. A claim cannot be filed in Alabama for medical malpractice after 4 years even with the discovery rule.Children under 4 have until their 8th birthday to file claim with a maximum of 4 years.
Defective Product/Product Liability Statute – You have 2 years to file an Alabama defective product (product liability) claim, but the discovery rule applies to exposure to, or ingestion of, harmful substances. With the discovery rule the statute of limitations will not start running until you should have discovered the injury. For example, if your lungs are injured by inhaling harmful fumes you may not discover your injury until you develop lung inflammation. However, if you develop a cough, for example, and don’t see a doctor for several months or years later the statutes may have began running when you developed that cough.
Fraud Statute – If any type of fraud was used (and can be proved) in preventing you from learning of the cause of your injury and in turn filing an Alabama personal injury claim the discovery rule applies. You have 2 years from the the time you learned of the fraud or withheld information to file your claim.
Disability Statute- Insane, or incompetent people have 3 years after removal of disability. If plaintiff has multiple disabilities, the SOL does not run until all disabilities are removed. Disabilities apply even if a guardian is appointed. The statute of limitation does not run during the absence of the one who cause the injury.
These are general guidelines and every case is unique. If you think you fall under one of these statutes or have a general claim you should waste no time contacting an Alabama personal injury lawyer.
Alabama DUI Law
Being arrested for drunk driving in Alabama has consequences just like in the rest of the United States. Not only can you face criminal charges for driving under the influence, you will also have to deal with the hassle of dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles and possibly having your license suspended or revoked. That is why it is so important for you to contact an Alabama DUI lawyer as soon as you’ve been arrested for drunk driving. Getting legal representation as quickly as possible will help you to document all of the facts of your case while they are fresh in your mind and, while it will not guarantee a positive outcome, it gives you the best chance of winning your case.
There are two ways in which someone can be prosecuted for DUI in Alabama. One of them refers to how impaired someone’s driving ability is because of their use of alcohol or drugs. This is called driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and means that the driver is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. The other occurs when someone is driving with a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit of 0.08%. Even if a person does not seem to be impaired at this level, it is still against the law to operate a motor vehicle if the level has been exceeded. In this case, a person can only be prosecuted based on blood alcohol testing, not on the way he or she was operating their vehicle.
Alabama is one of the states where driving the car is not the only way you can be charged with DUI. In Alabama, having control of the vehicle and being able to operate it in any way makes just being in a car while you’re under the influence grounds for prosecution. This means that if you consume alcohol and then get in your car and fall asleep or wait for a sober friend to come and drive you home, you have a chance of being charged with a DUI. This is exactly why you need to contact an Alabama DUI lawyer immediately after you’ve been charged with a DUI. Having a qualified Alabama DUI attorney on your side can help you to document what has occurred and proceed with your case. An Alabama DUI lawyer also has access to expert witnesses that you may not have access to as a layman. Having these experts on your side can make the difference between a successful case and an unsuccessful one.
Refusal of Chemical Testing
Refusal to submit to chemical testing can also affect the way your case is handled by the prosecutor. Under Alabama DUI law, refusal to submit to this type of testing leads to a 60-day suspension of your license, regardless of whether you were actually guilty of driving under the influence or not. During this suspension period, you have no opportunity to apply for a restricted license that can help you get to work, medical appointments, or other important places. Refusing to submit to chemical testing can really make life difficult, especially if you have children or other dependents to care for and transport where they need to go. Refusing these tests can also make your court case more difficult, as the prosecutor will argue that your refusal to take the test was because you knew you were guilty of DUI. Contacting an Alabama DUI lawyer can help you at this point because a skilled attorney can refute these claims.
Alabama DUI Penalties
DUI penalties have been heightened as drunk driving has become more of a problem. In Alabama, the possible penalties depend on the number of previous DUI convictions a person has had. This number also determines whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or a penalty. If a person has no previous DUI offenses, the first offense can result in penalties including fines from $600 to $2,100, 1 year in a county jail, 90-day license suspension, and mandatory substance abuse program attendance. In Alabama, the period of determining whether an offense is a first offense is five years. If someone was convicted of a DUI in 2000 and later prosecuted for another DUI charge in 2006, the 2006 charge is considered a first offense because it occurred more than five years after the offender’s actual first offense. If a person was convicted of a DUI on May 15, 2001 and is arrested again for a DUI on May 13, 2006, that person will face the penalties associated with a second DUI offense even though they fell just one day short of the five-year period. A first DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor in Alabama.
Second DUI offenses within that five-year period are also considered misdemeanors. The penalties for a second offense increase and can include up to $5,100 in fines, license suspension for one year, court ordered treatment programs, and a minimum jail time of 5 days up to 365 days. The court can also allow an offender to perform 30 days of community service as an alternative to the five days of jail time. Third DUI offenses have increased penalties that include up to $10,100 in fines, a minimum of 60 days of jail time, license suspension for three years, and mandatory substance abuse programs.
Offenders who commit a fourth offense are facing charges of a class C felony. If the offender is convicted of a fourth offense, the penalties are much stiffer than for misdemeanor DUI. The minimum amount of jail time is one year and one day and can go all the way up to 10 years. The license suspension period is 5 years in length and fines can be up to $10,100. Court ordered treatment programs are also a part of the penalties for this level of offense. The court may also order that an ignition interlock device be placed in the offender’s vehicle. This device requires offenders to breathe into a Breathalyzer-like device before attempting to operate a vehicle. If any amount of alcohol is measured, the offender will not be able to start the vehicle. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Alabama, contact an Alabama DUI attorney to give yourself your best chance of limiting the penalties in your case or winning your case outright.