Find Answers to Your Most Commonly Asked Legal Questions
Though every situation is unique, our clients share many common worries and concerns. Our experienced team provides answers to our most frequently asked questions to provide peace of mind and confidence to move forward with your legal case.
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What is best? Foreclosure, Short Sale or Deed in Lieu?
Among short sales, foreclosures, and a deed in lieu, which one can be the most damaging to your credit score? Your credit scores can affect nearly every aspect of your adult life. Many people have common questions such as, “what is better, foreclosure or short short sale?” This blog will answer some of these important questions.
Unfortunately, a nearly uncountable amount of homeowners face hard times, and the decision to turn over their home can be a difficult, but necessary measure. These homeowners will more than likely be concerned with the effects of foreclosure and how it can affect their credit score.
Know Your Options!
If you are considering pursuing a foreclosure, short sale, or deed in lieu, you should know you options. This blog will answer some common questions that homeowners need to know about. Each option has pros and cons, but the best way to guarantee you are making the right choice is to talk to an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer.
Foreclosure, Short Sale and Deed in Lieu – Frequently Asked Questions
What options are available when a homeowner can no longer make their payments?
Individuals could simply choose to let their home go into foreclosure—decreasing their credit score and their ability to get a loan, for at least seven years. Homeowners unable to make their mortgage may also decide to go with a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Through a deed in lieu, an individual will hand over their property to the mortgagee in return for the dissolution of the mortgage. However, this can also leave a smear on your credit history.
Is a short sale less more harmful than a foreclosure or a deed in lieu?
The general public has been convinced that a foreclosure is shattering to a credit scores, and that any other option is more assuredly better. This is not always true. Talking with a qualified foreclosure defense lawyer can help you understand the difference between short sale and deed in lieu of foreclosure.
What does short sale, foreclosure, or deed in lieu can really do to your credit score..
In regards to a short sale, there may be some lenders who lean more positively towards a short sale over a foreclosure, still, your credit score is affected equally. The credit scoring system does not differentiate between the foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu. Before your make a decision, read more about short sale negotiation or the benefits of a deed in lieu of foreclosure. But remember, talking with a qualified foreclosure defense lawyer can help you understand the difference between short sale and deed in lieu of foreclosure.
The higher your score, the further you fall.
Many people wonder, what is the score impact of a mortgage delinquency, foreclosure, short sale, or a deed in lieu. A tool called a “FICO Analysis” is used to answer this question. The FICO analysis shows, that individuals having higher credit scores may face a more significant drop and that it takes much longer for the credit score to recuperate to the once higher level; assuming all other credit remains in good standing.
What is Loan Modification?
Some people may be able to pursue a loan modification or, restructure what they have to pay each month. This is called loan modification or “repayment plan negotiation”. To learn more about how Tucker, Nong and Associates can help you pursue a repayment plan/loan negotiation, visit our useful page:
Contact us to Learn More!
Making a decision on how to handle a mortgage is difficult and complicated. The team at Tucker, Nong and Associates are here to help you. Contact us online or give us a call to learn more about how we can help you, call us today or contact us online.
What is a Loan Modification?
A loan modification is an adjustment to the original terms agreed upon by the lender and the borrower, there are three areas that can be adjusted, they are: Interest rates, principal owed and length of the loan. The outstanding principal owed is the one area a lender is least likely to want to modify, but in some cases they must negotiate this area with the borrower to make a modification work.
Reason 1 – The Homeowner Can’t Make The Payments
The most common reason a lender will consider modifying a mortgage is because the homeowner can no longer make their payments. There are a variety of reasons for this, the homeowner lost their job, a divorce, adjustable mortgages, the homeowner took out a equity line of credit which they can’t repay, illness, these are some of the common ones.
In these cases the lender, once the homeowner proves their situation is in bad shape, will consider a loan modification. It costs the lender a lot of money to foreclose on a property, so keeping the homeowner in the house is more cost effective in many cases. Since each situation is different you cannot pin down one type of modification, if the homeowner just needs time to catch up, then deferring payments for a period of time and attaching them to the back end of the loan could be the right modification for that person. Someone else may need a reduction in interest rates or even forgiveness of some of their principal owed, it goes on a case by case basis.
Reason 2 – The Lender Doesn’t Have The Proper Paperwork
During the recent housing mortgage debacle you see lenders offering homeowners incentives to remortgage their home at more favorable terms for basically no reason. If we go back several years and discover these loans being sold, resold, repackaged and so on, you can see how the paperwork can get lost, this prompts the lender to make these offers in exchange for new contracts.
In these cases a loan modification is done, but for very different reasons, the homeowner actually benefits from this type of modification.
One final note – You now see lenders offering cash incentives to homeowners that cannot make their payments, these cash incentives are so they will leave the property in good shape and within a certain time frame. I guess you can consider this a buyout loan modification.
So, as you can see loan modifications take place for a variety of reasons and there are many combination’s a lender can use to help out the homeowner, it just depends on the willingness of the lender and the borrower to come to an agreement. Since these can be highly emotional times, hiring a loan modification professional might not be a bad idea in these situations.
What Should You Do If You’re Pulled Over For DUI Suspicion in Virginia?
If a person is pulled over in Virginia for suspicion of DUI, the police officer must follow a specific set of actions. The entire process starts when the traffic stop begins. The officer will tell the driver why he or she pulled them over and explain why said reason is against the law.
The officer will say he or she saw the driver engaging in activity that could indicate intoxication. For example, the driver might be pulled over for driving the wrong way, weaving in and out of traffic, or speeding. However, a driver might also be pulled over for any other valid reason that qualifies as reasonable suspicion for DUI in Virginia.
If a Virginia police officer suspects DUI, he or she will ask the driver questions. In most cases, the officer will ask the driver if they’ve been drinking or using drugs. Officers will almost always look for the obvious signs of intoxication, which might include slurred speech or bloodshot eyes. They might also become suspicious if the scent of alcohol is present.
Field Sobriety Tests & Chemical Tests For DUI
After the initial questions, officers in Virginia are expected to perform field sobriety tests will ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests on an individual who is suspected of DUI to gather additional evidence.
The three most common field sobriety tests include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
- One-leg stand
The horizontal gaze nystagmus is viewed as the most accurate field sobriety test, and it’s accurate about 77 percent of the time. The driver isn’t obligated to perform the field sobriety tests but there will be consequences if they refuse a chemical test. Officers can use breath, urine or blood testing to see if the driver is really intoxicated.
The most common type of chemical test is the breath test, and it’s used to determine how much alcohol is present in the driver’s saliva. In Virginia, a driver will be arrested if he or she blows over .08 percent or more.
What Happens If You Refuse?
You have the right to refuse the chemical test, and if you choose to do so, the officer must explain the consequences that you’ll face for such a decision. In Virginia, failing to submit to the chemical test will cause you to lose your license for one year.
After asking the first time, the officer will ask the driver a second time if he or she submits to a chemical test. If the driver still refuses, he or she will lose their license for one year and will not be eligible for a restricted license.
What Happens If You're Arrested For DUI?
If an officer decides to arrest a driver, he or she will be transported to the police station and must stay in jail while awaiting court before a bail is set or they are released.
When a driver appears in court, they’re formally charged with a DUI offense. If you’re ever caught in this situation, you’ll have the opportunity to plead not guilty or guilty.
Drivers who’ve been arrested for DUI might not know how to plea. If a driver pleads guilty for DUI, they’ll receive the punishment given to them by the court. However, if the driver pleads not guilty, a date will be set for the trial.
Hire a Virginia DUI Lawyer
For the best chance at obtaining favorable results, it’s crucial to hire an attorney. All drivers need to understand that police errors are quite common.
It doesn’t matter when the error occurred; a single error by the arresting officer could result in a dropped case. If an attorney isn’t hired, it’s nearly impossible to know if any errors were made. In many cases, an officer’s reason for pulling over a driver is deemed unacceptable.
If faulty equipment was used during the arrest, it could be grounds to drop charges. If you plead guilty on a DUI charge in Virginia, you face an automatic $250 fine, and depending on your BAC level, you could face anywhere from 5 to 10 days in jail. You’ll also lose your license.
If you don’t have prior convictions, you might be eligible for a restricted driver’s license. A second conviction will result in greater fines and more time in jail. In Virginia, a third DUI offense is considered a felony.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact our Vienna DUI attorneys immediately by calling 703-991-7978.
What is a U Visa Certification of Helpfulness?
Victims of serious crimes may apply for a U visa, which grants temporary, legal status in the United States. You may apply for a U visa if you have been a serious crime victim and are assisting U.S. enforcement agencies with an investigation or prosecution. In order to qualify for a U visa, you will need to have a completed and valid U visa certification. U visas are similar to other visas. Before proceeding, it is important to learn the difference between U visas and T visas. To learn if you are eligible for a U visa, visit our page:
What is U Visa Certification?
To apply for a U visa, you must complete form l-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition, you must have a document, known as a “Certification of Helpfulness” or U Visa Certification, indicating that a law enforcement official has approved your request.
If you wish to apply for a U visa or need to know more about the Certification of Helpfulness, call our office or send a message online to tell us about your case. We can explain your options and will assist you through the entire process.
Which Agencies and Officials May Complete the Certification?
Certification for a U visa is generally completed by local, state, or federal police departments and prosecutors. However, any state or federal agency with the “responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of a qualifying crime or criminal activity” may complete the Certification of Helpfulness.
How Law Enforcement Determines if You Are “Helpful” to the Criminal Case
Although the law does not specifically define what is considered “helpfulness” to law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of serious crimes, USIS does provide guidelines to agencies that certify U visa applications. You may be considered “helpful” if you:
- Are a victim of and have information about a qualifying crime
- Have given such information to or are currently assisting law enforcement
- Are able to provide useful information in the future that may aid in the investigation and/or prosecution of involved criminals
- Have not refused a reasonable request or cooperation
Law enforcement can decide whether or not you are helpful to them and whether they should grant you the Certification of Helpfulness.
What Type of Information is Helpful?
Law enforcement agencies are interested in the many ways your information will aid the investigation and prosecution of those who victimized you. The more details you can provide, the better are your chances that an official will complete a Certification of Helpfulness. You can best indicate your interest in bringing the perpetrators to justice by being as forthcoming as possible with details and evidence about the crime. This could include but is not limited to providing:
- Identification of the criminals involved, such as names and addresses, or participation in a lineup demonstration
- Information that could help to apprehend the perpetrators, such as places they may be “hiding out,” names of family and friends who may have information about their locations
- Details about vehicles they may be using.
- Details that help the prosecution convince a jury that the accused is guilty of the crime, refute the criminal’s alibi
- Give support to the motive for committing the crime, or help to determine what penalty or sentencing should be requested
- Evidence that could help the prosecution to upgrade the seriousness of the crime or could lead to charging the involved criminals with other crimes
- Agreement to testify as a witness if the case goes to trial
Why You Should Work With an Immigration Lawyer
Many – but not all – agencies agree to provide a Certification of Helpfulness at the start of an investigation in order to obtain credible evidence as well as a potential witness. They do so because they know you will be unable to obtain a U visa without the certification Unfortunately, there are situations when law enforcement does not treat an individual fairly. It is important to work with an immigration lawyer to make sure you are not taken advantage of by law enforcement and that your rights are protected.
We Are Ready to Help You!
In some circumstances, a police officer or prosecutor could use your need for certification to make you an unwilling witness or participant in an investigation, such as wearing a wire to obtain information. For your own protection, you should have an experienced immigration attorney or advocate who is familiar with U visas at your side. Call Tucker, Nong and Associates today to learn if U visas and U visa certifications – we are here to help you.
What is Chapter “20” Bankruptcy?
When you have financial problems on your mind, you may begin to consider bankruptcy as an option, perhaps the only solution, to your money troubles. In doing your own research into filing for bankruptcy, you may have come across the term “Chapter 20” and wondered what it means. It is actually used to describe a process where someone files Chapter 7 bankruptcy and immediately files Chapter 13 bankruptcy afterward, which may offer more relief than either would individually.
To understand the benefits of filing Chapter 13 and then Chapter 7, it is best to understand what each type entails.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Under a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing, you may force a creditor to allow you to fix arrearage on your mortgage or car loans given time, to give you extra time to pay debts that are non-dischargeable, or even strip unsecured second mortgages. Unfortunately, the discharge does not come quickly and your income will be tied up for several years (between three to five). If your debt is too high, you could be over the debt limits and be ineligible.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you qualify for Chapter 7 and don’t have any non-exempt assets you wish to keep, you can receive a discharge much more quickly. Unsecured debts are discharged without tying up your income for several years and there are no debt limits to qualify. Unlike Chapter 13, however, Chapter 7 does not force creditors to let you cure a mortgage or car loan arrearage over a period of time, grant you extra time for non-dischargable debts, or strip second mortgages that are unsecured.
Why Use Both?
“Chapter 20” occurs when a Chapter 13 is filed immediately after the completion of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For some courts, “complete” may mean that the Chapter 7 discharge has been granted, even if the case isn’t closed yet. By filing the two together, there can be no discharge in the Chapter 13 because the waiting period of four years has not been met. However, there are other benefits to filing to two so close together.
If you need the extra time to resolve your arrearages on a mortgage or car loan, for instance, but your total debt was too much to simply file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filing under Chapter 7 first can bring that total debt down to an acceptable range for Chapter 13. This will grant you the extra time you need to cure your overdue debt on a mortgage or car loan, or even other debts such as taxes or student loans, since none of these can be discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy alone.
Not only can this give you the extra time, it frees up your finances to apply more of your money to an arrearage or another form of debt that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. A “Chapter 20” can make it easier for you to reduce larger arrearage amounts, tax debts, or student loan debt because you have time and money with all your debts. It can also grant you a shorter Chapter 13 plan period than you might have received otherwise, so your income may be your own again much sooner.
How we can help you
This is not an easy decision, and while there are benefits, it can take a trained professional to guide you through the process and deciding if a “Chapter 20” is the best choice for you and your finances. It is possible that you may need only a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 to get back on your feet, and our attorneys can provide you with the facts and realities of the bankruptcy process to allow you to make an informed decision.