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Martens PLLC Blog

The pros and cons of plea bargains

If you are a North Dakota resident charged with committing a crime, you may be wondering if you should authorize your attorney to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecutor or if you should go to trial instead and risk conviction by a jury. Often this is one of the most important decisions you must make, particularly if you face felony charges.

Before agreeing to any plea bargain, it is important for you to understand exactly what the agreement is, who will do what, and what the consequences likely will be. Therefore, always thoroughly discuss with your defense attorney any plea bargain that the prosecutor proposes.

You could face criminal charges for road rage

In today’s world of hectic schedules and heavy traffic, it is not surprising that many people are impatient to get to where they are going. When an inconsiderate or inattentive driver comes into the mix, some people might fly off the handle. Before you lose patience in traffic, however, you should understand the consequences you might face for aggressive driving or road rage. These are issues that have become prevalent for nearly all drivers in North Dakota and elsewhere.

In statistics reported by the American Safety Council, some form of driver aggression is the cause of 66 percent of fatal traffic accidents. You should know that there is a legal difference between aggressive driving and true road rage. When you are driving aggressively, you may have already lost your patience and you might either be trying to get back at another driver or get around slower traffic. This type of driving behavior can result in accidents, and if police pull you over for aggressive driving, you may face charges of a traffic offense.

Keep your "Holiday Cheer" from Resulting in "Holiday Jeer"

Last month, we shared some sage advice to help your Thanksgiving guests avoid needing to hire us to get out of the dreaded "whisky ticket" - hopefully they were thankful.  Now that we're into December - "the most wonderful time of the year" -  with family, work, and other social gatherings set in the coming weeks that advice is even more important to heed.

DUI, however, is only one of a number of things that could go wrong with your holiday season.  While we certainly don't want to be the Scrooge in your Christmas Story, we want to make sure our friends and clients avoid other things that could go wrong with the holidays - keep that well intended "holiday cheer" from resulting in "holiday jeer" if you will.

Tips to keep Thanksgiving guests from driving drunk

As the weather gets colder and the ground starts to freeze, families come together for the holiday season. As we fill our plates with turkey and mashed potatoes, the wine is often flowing as well. There's a lot to be thankful for, but sometimes the celebration goes too far.

If you're hosting friends and families over Thanksgiving, you want to throw a great party without anybody getting hurt. According to the CDC, roughly 30 people die in an alcohol-related crash each day. This number rises on holidays. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel weekend of the year.

Estate Planning & Long Term Care

While flying by the seat of your pants can be fun, most of us would agree that planning for the future is the best route to go.  Many of us have benefits that come with our jobs that include savings for retirement - 401K, IRA, pension plans - or we've taken our own initiative and set up an IRA or invested in the market with the eventual goal of sitting somewhere warm in the winter, enjoying our later years.  And a number of us take the basic step of having a will prepared to make sure our worldly possessions pass to the right people when we're gone.  But the one issue some of us overlook in estate planning is the potential of needing long-term care at some point toward the end of our life.

Can hunting violations lead to felony charges?

North Dakota hunters understand that game and fish laws govern their actions. They dictate where, when and what you are able to hunt. Violating these laws can come with fines and misdemeanor charges. But did you know that House Bill no.1188 made it possible for you to face felony charges for violating hunting laws?

 

Marijuana and the law in North Dakota

Marijuana law reform has been getting a lot of publicity over the last few years and for good reason. Even though cannabis remains illegal according to federal law, the majority of states in the United States have some kind of legal marijuana program. However, the tension between federal and state law can be confusing for citizens.

Even though there is a growing trend of legalization, some forms of marijuana use can result in serious legal consequences. Knowing the rules and regulations regarding cannabis and its use will make it easier for people to follow the law.

Martens Named To Super Lawyers 2016 Great Plains Rising Star List

James W. Martens has been selected to the 2016 Great Plains Rising Stars list for North Dakota. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in North Dakota. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list. The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com. 

Hess Completes Sale, Establishes Bakken Midstream Joint Venture Valued At $5.35 Billion

Hess Corporation completed the previously announced sale of a 50 percent interest in its Bakken midstream assets to Global Infrastructure Partners for cash consideration of $2.675 billion. As planned, Hess and Global Infrastructure Partners have created a premier midstream joint venture -- Hess Infrastructure Partners. The joint venture has incurred $600 million of debt through a 5-year Term Loan A facility with proceeds distributed equally to both partners, resulting in total after-tax cash proceeds net to Hess of $3.0 billion. In addition, the joint venture has independent access to capital including a fully committed $400 million 5-year Senior Revolving Credit Facility. As previously announced, the joint venture plans to proceed with an initial public offering of Hess Midstream Partners LP common units. The Hess midstream assets included in the joint venture are:
• Natural gas processing plant in Tioga, North Dakota
• Rail loading terminal in Tioga and associated rail cars
• Crude oil truck and pipeline terminal in Williams County, North Dakota
• Propane storage cavern and rail and truck transloading facility in Mentor, Minnesota
• Crude oil and natural gas gathering systems in North Dakota Read more at BusinessWire

Is North Dakota's Economy Really Oil-Rigged?

After staging a significant rally since U.S. crude tested the low $40s earlier this year, WTI crude has traded in a narrow range, and there is potential for more downside-Saudi Arabia recently said it plans to raise output to new highs. On Wednesday, U.S. crude settled at $60.27. 

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