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24

May,2015

Drone Use for Businesses: FAA Makes Petitioning for Section 333 Exemption Easier With “Blanket” COA

With the commercial success of the DJI Phantom and DJI Inspire, many Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) (popularly referred to as drones) are becoming economically viable for certain industries. Consequently, whether your business is in real estate, construction, agriculture, filmmaking, or an industry that could benefit from the use of a UAS, many businesses are taking a look at how drones can supplement their productivity.
 
In order to fly a UAS for commercial purposes, the drone operator must meet certain standards put forth by the FAA. Since the use of drones is a new area of aviation, many of the Federal Aviation Regulations (F.A.R.s) cannot, or will not, apply to drone usage and flights. How, then, can a business fly a drone for commercial purposes and not run afoul of the F.A.Rs or FAA?
 
Under the FAA Modernization Act of 2012, a business can petition the FAA for a “Section 333” exemption, allowing for the piloting of a UAS even though the drone does not meet the requirements of certain F.A.Rs. If the FAA grants a Section 333 petition, a business may operate a drone for commercial purposes.
 
While the FAA only recently began granting Section 333 exemptions for commercial drone, the FAA has streamlined the exemption process if a business can operate within a certain set of criteria – referred to as a “blanket” Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA). Under the new policy, the FAA will grant a COA for flights at or below 200 feet to any UAS operator with a Section 333 exemption for aircraft that weigh less than 55 pounds, operate during daytime Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, operate within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the pilots, and stay certain distances away from airports or heliports.
 
Under this “blanket” COA, drone operators need to be 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower, 3 NM from an airport with a published instrument flight procedure, but not an operational tower, 2 NM from an airport without a published instrument flight procedure or an operational tower, or 2 NM from a heliport with a published instrument flight procedure.
 
The “blanket” 200-foot COA allows flights anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the FAA prohibits UAS operations. Previously, a business had to apply for and receive a COA for a particular block of airspace, a process that can take 60 days. The FAA expects the new policy will allow companies and individuals who want to use UAS within these limitations to start flying much more quickly than before.
 
If your business need to commercially operate a UAS, but the “blanket” COA is too restrictive, your business must obtain a separate COA specific to the airspace required for that operation.
 
The Ison Law Group is prepared and equipped to handle your petition for Section 333 exemption under the FAA Modernization Act of 2012. Give us a call today at 855.LAW.1215 or 863.712.9475.

13

May,2015

How Can You Get A Lien On An Aircraft: Aircraft Mechanic’s Liens

Most people would never dine and dash. If you sit down at a restaurant and eat a five course meal, you are going to pay your bill before leaving. It would be nice if that moral concept carried over into other professions. For instance, when you as an aircraft mechanic perform work on an aircraft, you want to get paid for your services. So when an aircraft owner stiffs you on your bill, your question is probably: “how can I get a lien on an aircraft?” Aircraft mechanics can assert a lien against an aircraft when he or she has not been paid for services performed on an aircraft such as repairs, maintenance, storage, etc.
 
First, what does an aircraft mechanic’s lien do for you? Once “perfected,” an aircraft mechanic’s lien impedes the aircraft and usually, although not always, prevents the aircraft owner from selling the aircraft without first obtaining a release from the lien claimant. Enforcement of an aircraft mechanic’s lien will likely bring about payment to the mechanic through either a foreclosure sale or the owner’s desire to retain a “clear title” for the aircraft. Nonetheless, before you as an aircraft mechanic can enforce a lien, you must make sure that your lien is properly established.
 
So, how can you get a lien on an aircraft via an aircraft mechanic’s lien? In order to “perfect” an aircraft mechanic’s lien, Federal law requires that a mechanic’s lien statement or claim be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration. Additional state requirements will need to be established depending upon what state you live in and what the lien statutes require within that state. Generally, a lien statement should be filed within 30 to 180 days from the last date that the mechanic performed work on the aircraft. A typical lien statement will include information such as the (1) identification of the aircraft by N-number and/or serial number; (2) make and model of the aircraft; (3) registered owner of the aircraft; (4) type of work performed; (5) last day of work; and (6) amount of the lien claim. Some states will even require that you still be in possession of the aircraft at the time of filing the lien statement. Although check with your specific state statutes and aviation attorney as to what should be included in your lien statement.
 
There is no need for you to lose money when you perform honest and good work. Often times, the use of an aircraft mechanic’s lien is the best thing for protecting your assets and business. If you feel like you should file a lien statement with the FAA or state agencies, call The Ison Law Group and we will walk you through the process. We are available toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

12

May,2015

Can I Sue My Criminal Defense Attorney: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

When you’re sitting behind bars because your attorney failed to effectively represent you in your criminal case, one question you should be asking yourself is: “can I sue my criminal defense attorney?” The answer to that question depends on whether or not your attorney’s representation was truly ineffective. If you can prove that your attorney gave you ineffective assistance of counsel, it is possible to bring a legal malpractice suit against your lawyer and collect money damages. So, what is ineffective assistance of counsel and how can it be proven prior to bringing a legal malpractice claim against your attorney?
 
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 allows the court to vacate a conviction, judgment, and/or sentence, when your attorney fails to render effective assistance, such that had effective assistance been offered, the outcome of your case may have been different. When could something like this happen? Some common forms of ineffective assistance occur with your attorney fails to properly file pretrial motions, fails to convey a plea offer, fails to advise you of the consequences of a plea, fails to investigate exculpatory witnesses or evidence, and fails to preserve the right to appeal. A common instance of ineffective assistance of counsel is when an attorney fails to advise you that a plea could subject you to deportation if you aren’t a US citizen.
 
Having the court grant you post-conviction relief in the form of ineffective assistance of counsel is crucial to being able to survive a claim for legal malpractice against your criminal defense attorney. If you feel that your attorney did not represent you effectively, contact your team at The Ison Law Group and we will walk you through the steps of obtaining post-conviction relief and additionally filing your claim for legal malpractice. Call us today toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

12

May,2015

Can My Real Estate Company Use a Drone to Take Pictures?

As a realtor, you are probably thinking that an aerial photograph would be a valuable tool to market the Henderson house that just won’t sell. With drones being in the news so much lately, you are probably wondering: “can my real estate company use a drone to take pictures?” The answer to that question is: not so fast. Drone use for commercial purposes is not permissible unless you receive a certificate of airworthiness or Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration. While this may seem like an unnecessary obstacle, it’s not as difficult as you may think for your real estate company to obtain the necessary authorization.
 
In late 2013, a photographer from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was fined $10,000 for using an unauthorized drone for commercial purposes. While the court dismissed this case for other reasons, it is important to note that the FAA is not afraid to penalize you if your real estate company uses any type of unauthorized drone. While some in the real estate game are refusing to use drones out of an abundance of caution, avoidance of drone use will only put you behind the competition.
 
The commercial use of drones is permissible when you file a Section 333 exemption with the FAA. Section 333 exemptions allow the FAA to summarily approve drone operators and vehicles for use on a case-by-case basis. Filing an application for exemption is something that you will want to discuss with your aviation attorney, as the application requires precise language and exact form. Without the help of your attorney, your real estate company runs the risk of waiting longer than necessary for a permit. Call The Ison Law Group today at 1-855-LAW-1215 and we will discuss filing a Section 333 exemption for your real estate company.

06

May,2015

Sue Your Criminal Defense Attorney for Legal Malpractice

The need for an attorney that handles legal malpractice cases may not be readily apparent – until you realize that you need to sue your criminal defense attorney for negligently handling your criminal case. Perhaps your criminal defense attorney failed to properly investigate your case, allowing you to remain in jail when you should have been set free. Perhaps your criminal defense lawyer failed to have the prosecution drop the charges against you when you should not have been arrested in the first place. In these certain types of cases, you may be entitled to sue your criminal defense attorney for legal malpractice.
 
Our Forefather’s built America upon certain fundamental principles that were groundbreaking and revolutionary for their time. These fundamental, Constitutional principles are no less important today than they were when they were first inked in 1787.
 
One of the most important rights that Americans enjoy stems from the Fifth Amendment guarantee that no person “shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This Constitutional Amendment is often taken for granted – that is, until you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, sitting in a jail cell for a crime you did not commit. And while the American justice system is the finest in the world, negligent mistakes happen – mistakes that could be avoided if your criminal defense attorney properly investigated your criminal case.
 
Criminal defense lawyers in Florida can be held liable for legal malpractice if they fail to properly investigate a criminal charge. For example, in Rowell v. Holt, 850 So.2d 474 (Fla. 2003), John Rowell sued his Public Defender for legal malpractice after his attorney failed to provide evidence to the State Attorney’s Office that would have secured his immediate release from custody. Mr. Rowell spent two weeks in jail before his lawyer submitted the proper documentation to the prosecutor, which proved that Mr. Rowell should not have been arrested. The criminal defense attorney committed legal malpractice because he had been in possession of this documentation for nearly two weeks, but failed to do anything – leaving Mr. Rowell to sit in jail.
 
A Florida jury found that the criminal attorney for Mr. Rowell was negligent in committing legal malpractice which caused Mr. Rowell to suffer damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering. After all, his attorney’s failure to do his job caused Mr. Rowell to sit in jail for two weeks – clearly an infringement upon Mr. Rowell’s pursuit of life, liberty, and property. As such, a jury awarded Mr. Rowell $16,500.00 for the brief period of time that he wrongfully remained in custody.
 
If you want to sue your criminal defense attorney for failing to properly investigate your case, call the Florida legal malpractice attorneys at The Ison Law Group at 863-712-9475 or 855-LAW-1215.

03

May,2015

How to Get a Section 333 Exemption From the FAA

If you want to use an unmanned aerial system for your business or other commercial purpose, you will need to know how to get a Section 333 exemption from the FAA. The FAA requires that any aircraft operation (including UAS operations) in the national airspace (NAS) acquire pilot licensure and operational approval. Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System (NAS).
 
This authority is being used to grant authorization for certain UAS to perform commercial operations prior to the finalization of Congress’ Small UAS Rule. The Section 333 exemption process provides operators a competitive advantage in the NAS to use UAS in the marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety. Once you know how to get a Section 333 exemption, you can obtain your Section 333 exemption and begin taking advantage of the economic benefits.
 
As recently as April 2015, the FAA announced that it had begun to use a “summary grant” process to speed up Section 333 approvals. With these procedures in place, the FAA continues to review each individual application, but will issue a summary grant where it finds that it has already granted a previous exemption similar to the new request.
 
It is important, however, that your application for Section 333 exemption be properly drafted. Contact your aviation attorneys at The Ison Law Group and we will discuss drafting an application for you. Call us toll-free at 855-LAW-1215.

28

Apr,2015

Temporary Resident Permits for Pilots: How Can I Enter Canada With a DUI on My Record?

If you are a pilot and have received a DUI in the United States, one question you may be asking is “how can I enter Canada with a DUI on my record?” Without a Canadian temporary resident permit, it may be close to impossible to enter Canada with a criminal record. Ever since September 11th, the Canadian government has become more stringent on who gets to cross their border. As a result, when you attempt to cross the Canadian border, you will be subject to a criminal background check. The question that will be asked of you by Canadian border officials will be “have you ever been convicted of a crime?” If the answer is “yes,” you will be prohibited from entering the country. As a pilot, this could heavily affect your ability to get employment with an airline or maintain employment with the airline you already work for.
 
Entering Canada with a DUI on your record does not necessarily have to put the skids on your career as a pilot. However, in order to regain eligibility for entry to Canada, you must understand the process of overcoming criminal inadmissibility. First, the wrong assumption a lot of pilots make is that they are free to cross the Canadian border in their capacity as a crew member because neither the FAA nor their employing airline took action in response to their DUI or other criminal conviction. Again, this assumption is wrong. What happens in the United States is of no concern to the Canadian border officials. Nonetheless, what does matter to the Canadians is whether your criminal record can be rehabilitated for admission to the country. Unfortunately, this can be a very long process if you don’t take affirmative actions, such as obtaining a temporary resident permit.
 
In order to apply for “deemed rehabilitation,” the following criteria must be met:

  • You have a minimum of one misdemeanor conviction;
  • At least five or as many as ten years have elapsed since you completed the sentences for the conviction; and
  • The conviction would not be considered a serious crime in Canada.
    In evaluating each case, Canada officials use Canadian definitions of what constitutes a misdemeanor or a serious offense. In Canada, serious offenses include theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 
If more than 5 years have elapsed since all sentences related to the conviction(s) were completed, but you are not eligible for rehabilitation at a port of entry because of the nature or number of convictions, you may apply for rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate in the United States. This process is expensive, time consuming, and will likely require you to hire an attorney.
 
Nonetheless, as a pilot, you may have the option of obtaining a temporary resident permit in Canada. If you are otherwise inadmissible but have a reason to travel to Canada that is justified in the circumstances, you may be issued a temporary resident permit. To be eligible for a temporary resident permit, your need to enter or stay in Canada must outweigh the health or safety risks to Canadian society, as determined by an immigration or border services officer. Even if the reason you are inadmissible seems minor, you must demonstrate that your visit is justified. One downside is that there is no guarantee that you will be issued a temporary resident permit.
 
For a pilot, being charged with a DUI or any other crime can be disastrous. Protect your career or potential career and contact your aviation attorney if you are ever charged with a DUI or other crime. Let us take on the Canadian border officers for you. Let us vector your through your legal turbulence. Call The Ison Law Group today, toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

08

Apr,2015

ADD/ADHD Diagnosis…Your Roadblock in the Sky

If you have ever been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and/or have taken medications such as Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, or Adderall, you could have a difficult time being granted a FAA medical. The FAA requires a special decision by the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division before granting a medical to any applicant that has been diagnosed ADD/ADHD at any point. While denial of a medical may be appropriate in some situations, those applicants that no longer require treatment for ADD/ADHD will likely face an uphill battle in obtaining an otherwise deserved medical.
 
Nevertheless, if you have a history of ADD/ADHD, you must fight the temptation to be dishonest regarding your diagnosis on a medical application. Failure to disclose carries serious civil and criminal penalties; it also voids the exam and any certificate issued. A surprising number of airmen who discover that a medical condition is disqualifying find another AME and omit the relevant information on the physical, which is almost automatically revealed when two exams of the same (or near) date are found.
 
If you have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or have been medicated with drugs such as Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, or Adderall, contact the aviation attorneys at The Ison Law Group. We can help you coordinate the necessary paperwork, medical appointments, and legal/medical jargon that is required to earn your FAA medical. As your liaison between you and the FAA, we can help mitigate unnecessary medical appointments and expensive diagnostic testing. Let us take on the FAA for you. Let us vector your through your legal turbulence. Call us today, toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

08

Apr,2015

Legal Malpractice Claims…Statute of Limitations Errors

A statute of limitation is the time period in which a lawsuit can be brought in a particular matter. When an attorney takes your case, he or she should carefully consider the statute of limitations in your case and file your lawsuit within the appropriate amount of time.
 
If your attorney failed to file your lawsuit or appeal before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you may be entitled to a recovery for his or her negligent malpractice. A legal malpractice claim is appropriate because your attorney’s failure to file your lawsuit or appeal within the statute of limitations means that you are no longer allowed to file your lawsuit and that you are no longer entitled to a monetary recovery on your claim.
 
In Florida, in order to prove legal malpractice, you must prove that you employed your attorney, your attorney neglected a reasonable duty, and that your attorney’s negligence was the proximate cause of your loss. In a statute of limitations cases, your attorney’s reasonable duty was to file your lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Furthermore, in order to be successful on a legal malpractice claim, you will need to show that because your attorney failed to file the lawsuit on time, you suffered some sort of loss.
 
If your attorney failed to file your lawsuit or appeal within the appropriate statute of limitations, you may be entitled to pursue a legal malpractice claim. Your team at The Ison Law Group knows how to investigate and effectively litigate legal malpractice cases. Call us today, toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

08

Apr,2015

FAA Letter of Investigation …The FAA’s Secret Weapon

Nothing can ruin your day quite like receiving a dreaded FAA letter of investigation in the mail. If handled improperly, the FAA letter of investigation could lead to an enforcement action and possibly threaten your livelihood or FAA certificated privileges. Understanding why you received your letter of investigation and what you should do in response is critical to thwarting a possible enforcement action.
 
If the FAA has reason to believe that you (as a certificated pilot, air carrier, mechanic, repair station, etc) violated a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR), you will likely receive a letter of investigation from a local FAA aviation safety inspector. The FAA letter of investigation can relate to the approval, denial, suspension, modification, or revocation of your certificate. The overall purpose of this letter is to give you access to information as required by the Pilot’s Bill of Rights. A letter of investigation will give you information on the nature of the investigation and that you are entitled to applicable air traffic data.
 
The two most important things to remember about your letter of investigation are that: 1) you are not required to respond to your letter of your investigation and 2) any response you submit to your letter of investigation may be used against you in an FAA enforcement action.
 
The wording of a letter of investigation tends to make you believe that you must respond within 10 days of receiving the letter. This is not true; no response is required. It is easy to want to respond to a letter of investigation, especially if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong. This is a temptation you must try and avoid. Information you give to the FAA inspector could incriminate you in a possible FAA enforcement action. Sometimes assertions made by the FAA are completely incorrect and a properly worded response can assist in making allegations disappear.
 
The best thing to do if you receive an FAA letter of investigation is to call your aviation attorneys at the Ison Law Group right away. If a response is deemed appropriate, we can help you address and explain any allegations brought against you. Your team at the Ison Law Group can help mitigate damage, minimize investigation, and help you avoid providing admissions or other evidence that could later be used against you. Let us vector your through your legal turbulence. Call us today, toll-free at 1-855-LAW-1215.

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