Emory University’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic


Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – the Basics


Bankruptcy pic
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Since 1989, Michael Vereen has maintained a private law practice in Canton, Georgia. Currently, Michael Vereen focuses on bankruptcy law.

Individuals typically file for bankruptcy under the framework of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. One chapter may be more appropriate than the other, depending on the filer’s assets, debts, and financial needs, though income plays a significant role in determining which option is available.

Individuals who wish to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must complete a standardized means test. This examines the person’s financial records to determine whether disposable income falls above or below a specified level. Similarly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is available only to individuals whose secured and unsecured debts do not exceed legal maximums.

Individuals must also consider their end goals when they choose a bankruptcy framework. Chapter 7 requires the filer to surrender all nonexempt assets, which a named trustee distributes to creditors. After this process concludes, most existing debts are discharged and responsibilities to creditors cease.

Chapter 13 allows filers to retain their assets, though they remain responsible for all or a part of their debts. Debt payment follows a court-determined payment plan, the completion of which prompts the court to order a discharge of debts.

Michael Vereen, Attorney at Law, (770) 345-9449, vereenlaw.com

Marijuana Possession in Atlanta

Michael Vereen
Michael Vereen
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After earning his juris doctor from Mercer University, E. Michael Vereen III enrolled in special advanced legal studies at Emory University and earned a master of laws. He went into private practice in greater Atlanta in 1989. Today, he is well-known for helping clients navigate bankruptcy as well as criminal and DUI (driving under the influence) cases. He is also experienced in representing people charged with marijuana possession and trafficking.

The loosening of criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use in certain parts of the country may lead to the misconception that it has been decriminalized nationwide. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Atlanta area, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but the penalties can include driver’s license suspension, fines, community service, and imprisonment up to a year. First-time offenders may be treated more leniently, but this is not guaranteed. If the amount in possession is more than an ounce, or the discovery is made near a school, or the defendant is charged with possession with intent to sell, the charges can be upgraded to a felony with even more severe penalties.

Likewise, there is nothing in Georgia law that distinguishes the medical use of marijuana. People caught using the drug for medically-approved reasons face the same charges and penalties as someone caught in possession of marijuana for recreational use. A defendant who is charged with marijuana possession, even as a misdemeanor, should seek competent legal counsel to sort out and understand all the available options and help select the most advantageous course of action.

E. Michael Vereen III Attorney at Law (770) 345-9449 vereenlaw.com