Our Blog

Win FREE Concert Tickets – Three Caves – Huntsville, AL

Here is your chance to win a FREE set of tickets to view a great show at an amazing outdoor venue, the Three Caves. Submit your entry below!

Three Caves, Huntsville Alabama

The concert will feature Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s Legendary Muscle Shoals Revue, a 15 piece band that is best known for crafting the “Muscle Shoals Sound” with The Fiddleworms as the opening act.

Date: Saturday, June 17, 2017
Time: 7PM
Location: Three Caves, 847 Adams Street SE, Huntsville , AL 35801
Details: View more information here.

Ticket prices range from $50 – $75, and can be purchased here in case you do not win one of the sets that we are giving away.

We are giving away two (2) sets of two (2) tickets.

Submit Your Entry:

  • Winner will be notified via email.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The winner will be contacted by Wednesday, June 14, 2017.

Tiger Woods & The Controlled Substance DUI

Tiger Woods Golf BallsRecently, Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI, however, news reports after his arrest have stated that he blew a 0.00 on his breathalyzer. How is it possible to get arrested for a DUI with no alcohol involved? The answer: “Controlled Substance DUI”

In Alabama, there is no strict requirement for alcohol to be involved in order for someone to be guilty of DUI. In fact, Alabama’s DUI statute designates many different types of DUI offenses, including a “controlled substance” DUI found at Code of Alabama §32-5A-191(A)(3), which states that “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.”

A controlled substance, for purposes of the DUI statute, includes any federally categorized controlled substance in Schedules I – V. Certainly this includes all completely illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana, but also includes prescription pills, even if you have a prescription for them! Simply because you are allowed to legally possess or ingest a controlled substance, does not give you the right to drive a vehicle while under the influence of that substance. This is the reason why doctors instruct patients not to operate heavy machinery or drive while taking a certain prescription.

Controlled substance DUIs are generally tougher to prove because there is not a definitive way to test for someone’s present influence or consumption of substances like a breathalyzer test can do for alcohol. Some police departments throughout the country have implemented special training for drug recognition so that officers can be equipped to detect signs of controlled substance use; though a string of cases in Cobb County, Georgia shows that this drug recognition process is not an exact science, and may lead to the arrest of sober drivers.

At the end of the day, if your taking any medication be sure to check it’s side effects and how it interacts with any other medications you’re taking and how it may impact your ability to drive.

How Bankruptcy Affects Your Personal Injury Case

Suffering from an injury and financial losses is already a strenuous and terrible experience for one to endure, but filing for bankruptcy on top of this adds more adversity to one’s financial and personal situation. Unfortunately, bankruptcy is a fairly common occurrence for those who have experienced detrimental injuries. If you are in the process of seeking claims in a personal injury case and are forced to file for bankruptcy in the process, this can certainly impact your case. What if any of the personal injury proceeds you may personally receive will be determined by the Bankruptcy Court.

A bankrupt plaintiff may continue to pursue their claims, however, bankruptcy strips control over a personal injury case from the plaintiff and instead grants it to a party referred to as the bankruptcy trustee, who acts on behalf of the creditors. The bankruptcy trustee essentially takes the plaintiff’s place in the suit and is able to harness a high level of control over the litigation and negotiations in the case. Furthermore, in certain situations, the original party loses control over settlement agreements. Many times, if the recovery in the personal injury case, does not exceed the size of the Bankruptcy, the injured party may not have much input on any settlement. While previously the original plaintiff grasped full authority over settlement negotiations, after filing bankruptcy, they are left powerless in this pursuit and have no guarantees that they will receive any sort of surplus of funds after the creditors obtain their debt, and the bankruptcy trustee is solely acting on behalf of the creditors’ needs and therefore has no obligation or motivation to pursue a claim higher than one that would satisfy the debts. [Read more…]

Is Your Car Accident Claim Barred by the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute?

distracted driving liabilityLet’s say your friend is giving you a ride to dinner and you are severely injured in an accident due to your friend’s negligence in carelessly failing to yield the right of way. Believe it or not, your friend is not liable to you for your injuries due to the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. Many are surprised to learn that under the law, a passenger cannot sue his or her driver for injuries caused by the driver’s negligence because the passenger is classified as a “guest” in the driver’s car. Ala. Code § 32-1-2. If payment is provided to the driver, the rider is instead classified as a passenger, and the statute is inapplicable.

The Alabama Guest Passenger Statute is intended to protect drivers from negligence claims under the rationale that drivers should not be liable when providing rides free of charge to “guests.” Payment does not have to be in dollar form; it can be anything of tangible value provided to compensate the driver for the ride. While the law’s intentions are noble, the practical effect is that drivers are relieved from exercising ordinary care for their passengers. Normally, a driver is responsible after failing to exercise ordinary care such as running a red light or failing to yield the right of way. However, the statute relieves drivers from liability from their guests.   [Read more…]

A Warning to Company Drivers – Many Companies Waive Uninsured Motorist Coverage for their Employees

What happens if you’re in an accident while on the job?

Driving a company car, truck or van is a daily occurrence for many employees. As someone who drives as a part of their job, you’re at an increased risk to be involved in a motor vehicle accident simply by the fact you’re on the road a lot. So, what happens if you’re in a car accident while on the job?

If you’re involved in an automobile accident while on the job you have 2 types of legal claims available to you. The first is a workers’ compensation claim. In a nutshell, if you’re injured on the job workers comp is responsible for paying all your accident-related medical expenses. Moreover, they will also be obligated to pay you a portion of your average weekly wage while you’re out of work.

The second type of claim is a claim against the at-fault driver of the car accident, which is often known as a 3rd party case. Further, if the at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage or if your injuries and damages in the wreck exceed the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver you can make also make a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

[Read more…]

Alabama’s Non-Profit Millionaires

Non-Profit doesn’t have to mean penniless, as recent reporting from al.com and the Wall Street Journal informs us. In fact, over 2,700 individuals from across the United States received compensation from a non-profit in excess of $1 million during 2014, the last year consistent data is available. In Alabama, there were 13 non-profit officers, directors, or employees who topped the $1 million mark in total compensation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, those earning over $1 million from non-profits in Alabama were heavily clustered in the healthcare industry. Of the 13 Alabamians to make the list, 11 worked as hospital administrators or doctors. It’s worth noting that Huntsville Hospital System is a publicly owned not-for-profit, and salary information was not included in the research. Crestwood Hospital, a for-profit medical center, is also not included.

Even though healthcare dominated the list, the highest paid non-profit officer or employee was Southeastern Conference Commissioner Michael Slive. His base salary for 2014 was $3.56 million and total compensation was $3.66 million. The other non-healthcare officer who made the list is Jesse Thomas, who is Director of United Family Services Outreach in Montgomery.

Of the non-profit millionaires in Alabama, nine live in Birmingham, two live in Mobile, and two live in Montgomery. No one from Huntsville or north Alabama made the list. Even large or noteworthy Huntsville non-profits like the Huntsville Botanical Garden, Huntsville Hospital Foundation, and Huntsville Emergency Medical Services pay key employees well below $300,000, even though each of those organizations has revenues and assets in the multi-millions.

Tax-exempt organizations must make their annual 990 tax returns available for public inspection In order to keep tax-free status. To search additional 990 returns, use this tool from the Economic Research Institute.

Alabama A&M VP Pleads Guilty To Forgery Misdemeanor

Earlier this month, Alabama A&M Vice President, Kevin Rolle, pled guilty to possession of a forged instrument in the 3rd degree, which is a class A misdemeanor in Alabama. Mr. Rolle was originally charged with two felonies: Theft of Property 1st Degree, and Possession of Forged Instrument 2nd degree. However, the State of Alabama agreed to dismiss the theft charge and amend the felony forgery charge to a misdemeanor forgery charge. Mr. Rolle is scheduled for sentencing in May and faces up to a year in jail, but the judge is able to suspend that year and place Mr. Rolle on probation for up to 2 years.

Certainly, this is a shocking and scandalous case because it involves public official corruption and deception, but this case also highlights some important aspects of law that apply to all cases: Statute of Limitations. Below, I have explained some important issues regarding limitations on how long the prosecution has to file charges, using facts from Mr. Rolle’s case as an example.

Statute of Limitations – General Rules for Felonies & Misdemeanors

Unless there is an exception, all felonies must be prosecuted within five (5) years from the date of the offense. Code of Alabama §15-3-1. There are, however, numerous exceptions, including some offenses that have no statute of limitations at all. Code of Alabama §15-3-5 There are no limitations for prosecution on the following crimes: [Read more…]

What is the March of Dimes and how can you help?

Alabama has the 3rd highest premature birth rate in the entire country. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

How can you help?

Join Martinson & Beason, P.C. and the rest of “Team Will” for the Madison County March & Run for Babies on Saturday, April 22nd at Charger Park, UAH Campus or donate to the cause. Click here to learn more.

Click on the image below to view the full infographic

March of Dimes Alabama - Team Will

Click to view the full infographic

Martinson & Beason, P.C. Receives the 2016 Legacy Club Award

Martinson & Beason AwardCommonwealth Land Title Insurance Company has recognized Martinson & Beason, P.C. as one of the Top Ten Agents in Alabama with the 2016 Legacy Club Award. Our law firm has been issuing title insurance since May 21, 1951. We handle commercial and residential closings in North Alabama, and would be honored to assist you with any of your closing needs.

To find out more about Alabama Real Estate law and how M&B can assist you in your Huntsville real estate needs see our real estate practice area page.

M&B Partner Doug Martinson Makes Guest Appearance on Next Lawyer up Podcast

Doug Martinson, II - AttorneyMartinson & Beason, P.C. partner Doug Martinson recently sat down with fellow local attorney Ron Sykstus for an interview on Sykstus’ podcast, Next Lawyer Up, which features discussions with local attorneys from north Alabama.

The pair discussed various topics including the practice of law, Huntsville history, service to the community, hockey, and upcoming speakers for the Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association. Doug also shared Martinson & Beason history, including the firm’s formation in 1937, the move to the current location in the 1970s, and the growth of the firm over the years.

Sykstus is a partner with the prominent bankruptcy firm Bond & Botes, P.C., and practices primarily in the consumer bankruptcy and debt protection area of the law. Previous Next Lawyer Up guests have included Amy Tanner, Tommy Siniard, Allen & John Brinkley, Derek Simpson, and Taze Shepard.

The Next Lawyer Up podcast is available here.

Martinson & Beason, P.C.