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Hugh Michael Ruppersburg

Hugh Ruppersburg’s Answers

9 total

  • How should my son plead to an MIP charge - such that we can potentialexpunge it from his record during/after arraignment ?

    Our 18 year old son was arrested in Athens, GA for an MIP - he was not grossly intoxicated, did not have any evidence of an open container, was not breathalized. I bailed him out. He appears for arraignment on Monday. We financially qualify for...

    Hugh’s Answer

    Unless there are very aggravating circumstances, the Solicitor's Office in Athens will allow your son to enter the pre-trial diversion program. If he complies with all the conditions of the program, which are usually paying a fine, community service and staying out of trouble for 6-12 months, the charges will be dismissed. The Solicitor also usually agrees to allow his arrest to be expunged, meaning that it won't show up on a criminal background check if he applies for a job.

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  • Dui driver totaled 5 month new car 2012 elantra limited. None are for sale used yet. Drunk has State Farm can I get punitive dam

    Had to use my Geico ins. (Great) can I get punitive damages? Only a fractured thumb. To cover new down payment and car tax & title?

    Hugh’s Answer

    Punitive damages are usually tough to get and it's up to a jury to decide whether to award them. However, DUI cases have a greater possibility of punitive damages than most car wrecks. Some of the factors a jury might consider in deciding whether to award punitive damages are how drunk the defendant was, whether he or she has had previous DUIs, how sorry he or she seems, how bad the wreck was and how injured you were.

    Punitive damages are usually capped at $250,000, meaning that you cannot recover more than that amount in punitive damages. If the jury finds the other driver was DUI, punitive damages are not capped and you can recover an unlimited amount of punitive damages.

    As a practical matter, if you have only minor injuries it's going to be tough for you to get punitive damages.

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  • Do attorneys have certain doctors they prefer to use because they have accounts with them and can pay them after the settlement?

    I was involved in a head on collision where the other drive crossed the center line of the roadway. I had Liability insurance but none for uninsured motoirist, nor do I have any personal health insurance

    Hugh’s Answer

    Some doctors will treat patients on a "lien." This means that the doctor will treat you and perform surgery even if you can't afford to pay him right away. When you settle your case, you would be required to re-pay the doctor out of the settlement.

    There are also lending companies that will pay for the cost of your medical treatment and surgery. You would be required to pay them back out of any verdict or settlement. However, these can involve very high interest rates, so beware.

    A local personal injury attorney will know which doctors and lending companies work with people in situations like yours.

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  • Can I sue a store after I fell in the parking lot and broke my tibia?

    I went to a store and right outside the door I slip and hit my leg in a concrete step. It had just finish raining and I guess the yellow pain they had on the step was slippery because it looked like it was recent paint. A guy who worked there help...

    Hugh’s Answer

    Slip and fall cases in Georgia, particularly involving rainy and wet conditions, can be hard to win. Georgia law says that the average person should know that outdoor surfaces like steps can be slippery when wet, which makes it tough for you to prove your case. However, if the stairs were slippery because they were recently painted, were painted with an improper material or there have been other falls on those steps, you may have a case.

    Like the other answers have said, call a local personal injury lawyer. He or she will be able to investigate your case and tell you whether you have a claim.

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  • What is the punishment for theft by taking for a first time offender?

    I have been charged with theft by taking. The amount was $2,600... Was asked to return and returned all but $400 dollars... What can I expect as a first time offender.... I turned myself in

    Hugh’s Answer

    Theft by taking of more than $500 is a felony with a punishment of up to ten years in jail.

    As a practical matter you're not going to get ten years in jail. However, your sentence will depend on the facts of your case so it's hard to speculate on what to expect. If you have a clean criminal record, pay back all of the stolen money and turned yourself in, those are all facts that will help you get a lesser sentence.

    You need to hire a good criminal defense lawyer. After reviewing your case, he or she will be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.

    Ask your lawyer about the possibility of entering a "First Offender" plea, which would keep you from having a felony conviction on your record.

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  • What type of Lawyer would I need to sue a thief?

    I had a large amount of expensive equipment stolen from me ($90K), recently the police arrested the thief and he is now awaiting trial. I would like to sue him for damages & losses. What type of Lawyer would I need? I'm assuming it's best to w...

    Hugh’s Answer

    Just about any civil litigation lawyer could handle this case.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you may end up paying your lawyer more than you ever recover from the thief. You could get a verdict and judgment against the thief but the likelihood of collecting it is slim to none - unless the thief is worth a lot of money or owns property without mortgages on it.

    As mentioned in the other answer, you should ask the prosecutor handling the case to seek restitution. Then the thief would be required to repay you as part of his probation. Again, don't hold your breath on being repaid. Hopefully the police recovered the stolen equipment.

    While the prosecution would probably prefer that you wait until after the criminal trial to file suit, it really doesn't matter. If the thief pleads guilty, that would be admissible in your civil case as proof that the thief admitted stealing from you. However, a weird quirk of Georgia law is that if the thief goes to trial and a jury finds him guilty, that is inadmissible in your civil case.

    Depending on the circumstances of the theft and the type of insurance you have, you may be able to submit a claim to your insurance company for the stolen equipment.

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  • Inconsistent statements, what to expect?

    My friend is in legal dispute over certain assets. She was receiving welfare benefits and claimed no assets. Her opponent subpoenaed dfcs and will use these records during trial. Someone suggested that it is judicial estoppel and she cannot claim ...

    Hugh’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It's likely not judicial estoppel. The other lawyer will be able to use her statement that she had no assets to attack her credibility and argue that the judge and jury should not believe her because she is dishonest.

    If she knowingly made an inaccurate statement on a welfare application she could also face criminal penalties.

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  • Is the indictment flawed?

    If someone is indicted with aggravated assault 'shooting at, toward or in the direction of alleged victim with a deadly weapon'(end of wording). Now, at jury trial, evidence was adduced that alleged victim was actually shot and injured. Isn't this...

    Hugh’s Answer

    No. In Georgia, an aggravated assault can be committed in several ways. One of them - as alleged by the indictment - is shooting at another person with intent to injure them.

    The fact that the indictment does not charge the defendant with actually shooting and injuring the victim does not prevent the prosecution from proving that. The prosecution can show that the defendant shot and injured the victim to prove that the defendant shot "at, toward, or in the direction" of the victim.

    Actually shooting and injuring the victim could even be a separate count of aggravated assault or aggravated battery.

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