EPA CLAIMS RIGHT TO UNILATERALLY GARNISH WAGES

According to an article from the Washington Times, the Environmental Protection Agency has given itself the power to unilaterally garnish wages of persons accused of violating EPA rules. this was accomplished by putting a notice in the Federal Register stating that the EPA can garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order. This rule change was fast tracked and not subject to review because the EPA classified the changes as not as “significant regulatory action.” The EPA does say that it will give the debtor prior notice and give the debtor the opportunity to “review, contest or enter into a repayment agreement.” The process being used by the EPA is an “Administrative Wage Garnishment” under the Administrative Procedure Act. There appear to be a number of legitimate criticisms of this process. One criticism of this new rule is that it shifts the burden of proof on the alleged debtor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence of the correctness of the debtor’s position. Another is that the rule lets the EPA decide if the debtor will actually get a chance to appear in person or have the case decided on a paper record. A third criticism is that the EPA gets to chose the site of the hearing. Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is that if the debtor gets a hearing at all it will be before a hearing officer hand picked and paid for by the EPA. As with most administrative hearings, the ability of one side to select and pay for the hearing officer unquestionably...

NEW MISSISSIPPI ALCOHOL LAWS

Mississippi Alcohol Laws Changes to the DUI law In its first 2014 Session, the Mississippi State Legislature passed a new law regarding the non-adjudication of the first offense of driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI 1st can be non-adjudicated, meaning that the defendant pleads guilty but it is not deemed guilty by the court. Thus, there will be no conviction. The driver will have to attend and successfully complete an alcohol safety education course as a requirement of non-adjudication. A person is eligible for non-adjudication only one time. Expunging a DUI now easier Another change to the law effective July 1, 2014, is that anyone convicted of a first offense DUI prior may have it expunged, so long as certain standards are met. Our lawyers have experience handling expungments for clients in Jackson, Mississippi as well as across central Mississippi. OLD BUT STILL INTERESTING FACT [photo by Mathew Hurst; Some rights reserved] No open container state statute In Mississippi there is no state statute which prohibits drivers and passengers from consuming alcoholic beverages while inside a vehicle. Drivers and passengers should still be cautious about consuming alcohol while operating a vehicle because that would likely provide police officers with probable cause to stop the driver for the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, while having an open container is not against state law, individual counties, cities, and towns often pass ordinances which make it illegal. [If you have questions about expunging a DUI in Mississippi, call 601-957-3101]  ...