Top 5 Legal Tips Before Eloping

You want to get married on the fly, possibly in secret. But that doesn't mean you can't put some planning into your elopement. And if you want your secret marriage to last, in the legal sense at least, you'll want to be prepared.
Here is our best legal advice for eloping couples, from our archives:
1. Is It Legal to Elope?
Step one is to make sure your marriage plan is legal. As long as you're of legal age in the state where you plan to elope, you should be OK. And while you may be hiding your marriage from some people, you will need to notify the state and obtain and file the necessary paperwork.
2. 5 Questions to Ask Before Marriage
There's a certain romance to elopement, but that doesn't mean the decision to get married can't be well thought out. Sorting out financial and legal questions ahead of time can even reduce any anxiety heading into the union.
3. 5 Things to Do Before You Get Married
Even if you don't have a lot of time before..

Guns and Drugs: FAQ for Renters

Renting an apartment or house can be a tricky thing — in so many ways, it's your space; but in so many other ways, it is clearly not. Can I paint this wall? What's the limit on house guests? Why can't my pit bull live here?
And varying opinions and state laws on marijuana and gun ownership can only complicate matters further. So here are some of the biggest questions regarding guns and drugs on rental properties, for renters:
1. Can My Landlord Ban Gun Ownership?
While no one can say you can't own a gun, landlords may prohibit gun possession on a rental property, and may be able to evict you if you don't comply.
2. Can I Shoot Down My Neighbor's Drone?
The answer may depend on where, exactly, the drone was when you shot it, but as a general rule you'll want to avoid blasting your neighbor's drone to smithereens.
3. Is It Ever Legal to Shoot Trespassers?
State law can vary widely on this topic, but as a general rule, tenants and property o..

Deportation Dispute: U.S. Refusing Visas for Countries Unwilling to Take Back Deported Citizens

Most of us don't think about what happens to people deported from the United States, or where they go. But that process can be pretty complicated and require the cooperation of other nations accepting deportees. And the Trump administration is accusing four nations of being less than cooperative in deportation efforts, and using that lack of cooperation to withhold visas from citizens of those countries looking to enter the U.S.
Reuters is reporting that the State Department will stop issuing certain kinds of visas to citizens of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in retaliation for those nations not taking back their citizens deported from the United States. It's just the latest flashpoint in President Trump's immigration crackdown.
Border Back and Forth
“International law obligates each country to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security announced regarding the visa cr..

What Happens When Somebody Kills an Endangered Species?

Endangered and threatened species are protected for a reason: once a species is extinct, there's no bringing it back. (Sorry, Jurassic Park aficionados.) So the Endangered Species Act aims to protect threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, as well as the habitats in which they are found.
So what happens if someone kills an endangered species? The answer to almost every legal question is: it depends. And when it comes to endangered species, it will generally depend on who's doing the killing.
Private Citizens or Companies
The Endangered Species Act prohibits any action that results in a “taking” of a listed species, including “harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing and collecting listed species.” The Act lists species in two categories, endangered and threatened, and the penalties for violations under the ESA will depend on which category the violation involved, and how many violations a person has previously..

Top 5 Legal Tips for Teens

Teenagers seem to occupy a social and emotional middle ground: not children, but not quite adults; so much responsibility, but not all of it; independent in so many ways, dependent in others. Much of that is also true when it comes to legal grounds.
The law is a little different when it comes to teenagers, so here are some of our best legal tips for teens, from our archives:
1. Is It Legal to Move Out at 17?
Most teenagers' first order of business is to get out of the house — school, extracurricular activities, shopping, socializing, etc. Most of them also want to be out of the house permanently, but how old do you have to be before you can move out on your own?
2. Can Parents Kick Teens out of Their Home?
And then there are the teenagers who don't want to leave, perhaps to their parents' chagrin. Parents have a legal responsibility to provide for the wellbeing of their children, but how long does that responsibility require them to put a roof over their heads?
3…

Motel 6 Accused of Reporting Guests to ICE

Normally if you're concerned with ice at a hotel, it's locating the nearest machine to your room. There was a different concern for guests at two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix, Arizona — that employees were calling ICE to report guests who may be in the country illegally.
A recent news investigation found at least 20 Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests made at those locations, and some of those arrested claim no one else knew they were there. So how did immigration enforcement know?
Motel Snitch
The Phoenix New Times broke the story, recounting the tale of Manuel Rodriguez-Juarez, who checked into a Motel 6 on I-10 after an argument with his girlfriend:
The front-desk clerk told him that he needed to show identification in order to reserve a room. Rodriguez-Juarez handed over the only thing he had — a Mexican voter ID card. Six hours later, he was lying on the bed, watching TV, when he heard a knock at the door. He opened it. Three agents from Immigrations and Cu..

What Is Prejudgment Interest?

When you win your court case, you will generally receive monetary damages. Damages come in a few different forms, such as those meant to pay back medical bills and those meant to compensate for lost wages or pain and suffering.
In a court case, a party seeking a judgment, or a monetary award, can also be entitled to prejudgment interest if they win. Prejudgment interest is essentially additional money that a court can award based on the interest that the judgment would have earned over the period of time from when the claimant was entitled to receive those monies.
Can I Get Prejudgment Interest?
Whether or not your type of case will allow you to claim and collect prejudgment interest will depend on your state's laws.
Sometimes, certain types of cases will just not qualify. Generally, the amount of monetary damages, or the damages for which interest is sought, must be certain. For example, in a contract dispute, the amount of money in dispute will usually be rather specific and..

Staying Out of Trouble Online: 5 Recent Developments in Internet Safety

The internet has gobbled up everything from our shopping to our social lives, to the point that even the most committed luddites have trouble staying offline. But as many of us know, going online can get you into serious legal trouble.
Many of us just accept that internet use comes with some risk to our privacy, personal finances, and even psychological wellbeing. But here are some of the most recent developments in internet law, and some ways to minimize or eliminate those risks:
1. Will the Email Privacy Act Become Law?
While many of us consider email as the online equivalent of a handwritten letter, the law — especially in the criminal context — treats them quite differently. Even though police would need a search warrant to open letters or pull documents from the desk in your home, they don't need one to scan your emails or download them from the servers of whichever email service you use.
2. Can Social Media Sites Use Your Content in Ads?
Don't want that lovely fa..

Can You Be Fired for Having Your Period at Work?

'Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them,' said Alisha Coleman, 'but I never thought I could be fired for it.' It's not a legal question often asked, but Coleman should know better than most. She was fired from a 911 call center in Georgia, allegedly after experiencing heavy menstrual symptoms related to the onset of menopause while at work.
With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, she is now suing her former employer, the Bobby Dodd Institute, for gender discrimination. “I don't want any woman to have to go through what I did,” Coleman stated.
Working Woman
According to her suit, Coleman was experiencing symptoms of premenopause at the time of her firing, which can include “irregular and unpredictable sudden onset menstrual periods, which could be heavy at times.” In August of 2015, Coleman “unexpectedly experienced a sudden onset of her menstrual period that resulted in her accidentally leaking menstru..

DeVos Plans to Dismantle Standards for Campus Sexual Assault Investigations

Donald Trump's new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced plans to rescind a six-year-old policy issued by Barack Obama's administration that advised colleges and universities on how to handle sexual assault allegations on campus. “Washington has burdened schools with increasingly elaborate and confusing guidelines that even lawyers find difficult to understand and navigate,” DeVos told a crowd at George Mason University. “That's why we must do better, because the current approach isn't working.”
But DeVos wasn't as clear about what the new approach would look like as she was about rebuking the old approach. So where does that leave victims, alleged abusers, and schools trying to meet their legal obligations?
Out With the Old
In 2011, Obama's Department of Education issued what is known as a “Dear Colleague” letter, addressing the requirements of colleges and universities under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in regards to sexual violenc..