Why Can’t Student Loans be Included in Bankruptcy?

People often ask me why student loans can’t be included in bankruptcy? If a person is unemployed, sick or injured, or barely making it with low income, than why should it matter if a debt is a credit card loan or a student loan? Who made this decision? The answer is: the United States Congress. Now, as tens of thousands of small businesses shut down due to COVID lockdowns, the ability of student borrowers to find work and repay loans is even more reduced. Millions of borrowers are in full default.

Many people do not realize that student loans were fully dischargeable in bankruptcy through the 1980s. Ironically, no one was suffering from unpayable student loans in the 1980s for the precise reason that leaders in banking and higher education knew better than to charge young people with low income too much, because loans were not guaranteed by the government. College was cheaper back then for a reason, now the sky is the limit.

To this day, people can even put old tax debts into a bankruptcy, but not student loans. This is ironic considering the fact that to owe taxes, a person must once have had an income from which the tax debt was derived, while a person with student loans may never have had the income they thought they’d achieve at the time the loan was made, typically when they were young and inexperienced.

Since the United States Congress is responsible for making student loans impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, the only way to fix the problem is to contact one’s senators and U.S. representative and demand that the law be changed again to put student loans BACK into bankruptcy.

Ironically, the student loan crisis has gotten so bad that now there is widespread support for universal forgiveness of all student loans. Perhaps if Congress had refrained from removing student loans from bankruptcy, such a drastic step would not now be on the table.

It’s easy to e-mail one’s senator or congress person. Just google “current [name of U.S. state] senators” and their websites will appear. To contact one’s U.S. representative, just go to the U.S. House of Representatives website and input one’s zip code. Just as with the senators, one may e-mail U.S. representatives directly through their website.

But wait… why did the US Congress make this decision? The answer is that by funding educational institutions THROUGH student borrowers, Congressional spending is cloaked and hidden behind young people’s naive efforts at self improvement. The borrower doesn’t get the money; the school gets the money from the US Congress. But the borrower is blamed and held accountable. It’s a classic switch and bait…

DUI School Information for Melbourne, FL & Palm Bay, FL

Arrested for DUI in Melbourne, FL or Palm Bay, FL and want to know the specifics?

Contact Attorney Eric A. Morgan at Morgan Law, P.A. DUI in Melbourne, FL – Palm Bay, FL for a free consultation: (321) 253-6223.

Level One or Level I DUI School in Brevard County, Florida (Melbourne, FL & Palm Bay, FL)
First offenders take the Level 1 DUI Course. There are both Spanish and English versions of the course. The Brevard County DUI Level 1 course meets the statutory requirements of Florida State 316.192(4) and 316.193(5).
A judge may order a defendant to take the DUI Level 1 course for a variety of offenses, not just DUI. Sometimes people charged with Reckless Driving or Driving with Open Container will be ordered by Brevard County, FL judges in Melbourne, Titusville, or Viera to take the DUI Level 1 Course. People convicted of out of state driving charges may need to take the DUI Level 1 course in order to qualify for a Business Purpose Only driver’s license.

Level II DUI School in Melbourne, Florida & Palm Bay, Florida:
People convicted of a 2nd DUI must take the DUI Level II course. The course involves a psychological evaluation interview by a certified DUI instructor. Additionally, participants engage in 12 hours of classroom instruction about the dangers of impaired driving and the legal consequences suffered by Florida offenders.

Victim Awareness Program
In addition to taking either the DUI Level 1 Course or the DUI Level II course, defendants must complete the Victim Awareness Program.

The only acceptable online version of Victim awareness class is the YouImpact course which is available at https://youimpact.com/.

Brevard County, Florida DUI School Locations:
There are two physical locations where Brevard residents may take the DUI courses, one in Melbourne, FL and one in Merritt Island, FL. The Melbourne, FL DUI School is located between Airport Boulevard and Babcock Street, off of Hibiscus Boulevard. People may register for the classes at either location from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Online registration is available. The Merritt Island, FL DUI School is located near the intersection of Courtenay Parkway and State Road 520 near Home Depot.

Melbourne, Florida DUI School:
1515 Elizabeth St.
Melbourne, FL 32901
Phone Number: (321) 952-5327 or (407) 847-4452
Fax: (321) 727-7429

Merritt Island, FL DUI School:
250 N. Courtenay Parkway
2nd Floor
Merritt Island, FL 32953
Phone Number: (321) 631-2347 or 
(407) 897-4429
Fax Number: (321) 639-2593

Registration Requirements for Level I or Level II DUI Schools
People registering for the Level I or Level II DUI School for Brevard County, must provide the following documents:

  • Driver’s license or photo identification
  • Driver’s license number
  • DUI citations and arrest affidavit
  • Traffic Crash Report (if a crash occurred)
  • breath or blood alcohol level (BAL) reading

After a defendant completes the required course, the Brevard County, FL DUI Schools will send proof of completion to the Court, the probation officer, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The Brevard DUI Schools must report a failure to complete the requirements of either Level 1 or Level II courses, if they have not been completed within 90 days, potentially leading to suspension of one’s driver’s license.

Other Important DUI information for Residents of Melbourne, Florida & Palm Bay, Florida

Ignition Interlock Device – People who were especially intoxicated at the time of their DUI or people facing a second or third DUI charge are often ordered to pay for and install an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock prevents a vehicle from being started until a breath sample is provided. When the device detects a breath alcohol reading of more than 0.05%, then the vehicle will not start.

SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) – A SCRAM device allows law enforcement agencies to remotely monitor whether a person is impaired.

DUI stop in Florida…Agree to breath sample? Field sobriety exercises?

For many people it is a nightmare come true: stopped by the police on the way home and arrested for driving under the influence.

The good news is both Brevard and Volusia counties now offer programs for some first time offenders in which an amended charge of reckless driving is offered, if certain criteria are met. Prosecutors will evaluate the blood alcohol level, demeanor, and history of the defendant in determining whether these programs will be offered.

In cases where there is an accident, or where a person is obviously completely drunk, there is often little doubt regarding an eventual outcome: mandatory DUI penalties as set out by the Florida Legislature. Penalties may include probation, community service, fines, court costs, a driver’s license suspension, vehicle impoundment, driving courses, and so forth. Depending on the severity of the facts, some people may be sentenced to county jail.

The bottom line is that any evidence that will indicate that a person is impaired will be used against them. An admission of prescription drug use will be used against a person. Driving under the influence often occurs in Florida when people are intoxicated by their own medications.

If a person refuses to provide a breath sample, they will typically lose their license for 12 months. The fact that they refused to provide a breath sample can be mentioned in court. However, some people do not trust the calibration of the breath testing equipment. When a person has previously been arrested for and refused a breath test, and subsequently is arrested again and refuses a second time, they can be charged with a crime: Second Time Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample. So the option to refuse, if used, is not really available again.

The second part of a DUI investigation will normally involve field sobriety exercises. People can elect to take part in the exercises or not. Often, there is no video of the exercises, so the police officer’s account of what happened is the only evidence of how well someone did. People who have medical conditions that might affect their performance are better off if they remember to mention their physical limitations. The fact that someone denied being ill or having any physical limitations can be used against them in court. When requested to perform field sobriety exercises, remember to tell the officer if you have physical limitations, an illness, or an injury!

One of the main signs of impairment that police notice is the failure to follow the directions properly. For example, the police officer may instruct someone to stand on a certain leg. If the other one is used, then the failure to follow directions may be seen as a sign of impairment. The result is that people who are nervous and scared sometimes do less well on the tests simply due to the fact that they are not following the directions properly.

Do you have more questions? We may be reached by phone at (321) 253-6223 or (386) 218-4973.

Florida DUI Ten Day Rule

Arrested for DUI In Palm Bay or Melbourne, FL? Under Florida law, you’ll lose your driver’s license if you refuse to submit to the breath alcohol test. But you’ll also lose your license if your reading is .08 or higher.

Need more information or want to speak to an Melbourne, FL attorney now? Call us at (321) 253-6223.

Refusing to submit to the breath alcohol test means a suspension of one year–or eighteen months if there has been a previous refusal.

However, when people submit to the test and receive a reading of .08 or higher, the driver’s license suspension is typically only six months.

Is there anyway to prevent the automatic suspension? Yes, within 10 days of your arrest, you may apply for a business-purpose-only license or initiate an appeal of the driver’s license suspension. This is done at a DMV Administrative Review Office.

Challenging the DMV determination is called a “Formal Review.” As long as the demand is filed within ten days, you will receive a temporary driving permit that will allow you to drive while the appeal pends.

The Formal Review occurs at a DMV Administrative Review office. Police officers that witnessed the alleged incident are subpoenaed and give sworn testimony about what they witnessed. One benefit of the hearing is it gives defendants a preview of what police will say about them ahead of time–before the case is heard in criminal court. Your attorney cross examines the police witnesses, present other evidence that may contradict their testimony (if available), and present case law that supports a determination that the suspension of the driver’s license would be improper.

Keep in mind the Formal Review relates to the automatic suspension of your license immediately after an arrest. Win or lose, the main case will proceed in county court, potentially affecting one’s driving privilege and involving other criminal sanctions.

Why It’s Time to Restore Dischargeability of Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Many younger people are completely unaware that once upon a time, when people couldn’t find work, they could file bankruptcy and wipe out their debt–including their student loans.

Yes, in the 1980’s, when Baby Boomers were in college, student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy. Back then, people didn’t need to borrow much in order to go to school, and schools and housing were affordable. Schools and housing need to be affordable again. But the educational industry won’t change until it is forced to change. Setting students free is step one.

Society benefits when young people become educated and create innovations. Turning young people into indentured servants is destroying the United States economy, strangling the housing market, and forcing young people to stay in dead end jobs instead of creating new businesses. Student loans are dragging the economy down, and much of the debt is held by foreign governments and banks.

Many people don’t realize that student loans are currently treated the same as criminal restitution in bankruptcy court–debts owed due to criminal activities. For example, if a drunk driver injures somebody, they’ll owe criminal restitution, which can’t be wiped away in bankruptcy. Student loans are treated the same.

Why not treat student loans the same as tax debts, which can be discharged under certain conditions? Or better yet, treat student loans the same way that other unsecured debts are treated–make them fully dischargeable.

Student loans create an illusion that the American economy is equally accessible. It’s not. But young people don’t realize their mistake until it’s too late.

It’s time to wipe out the University-Student Loan complex and force our society to make college (and college housing) cheap and accessible to young people once again. The people getting rich from student lending must be held accountable. If students can pay their debts, they will. If they can’t, they’ll have to take their chances in bankruptcy court, possibly surrendering assets and damaging their credit. This is more than sufficient accountability for financial decisions made at a young age. It’s time to make lending and educational institutions accountable for their lies to American youth.

I Stopped Paying My Bills… What Can Creditors Do to Me?

Common Question: I can’t pay my bills. What happens if I don’t seek bankruptcy protection and just stop paying?

Answer: It depends on your income and assets. Creditors can file a lawsuit against you. Once they win, they might seek to garnish your wages, seize your bank account, or go after other assets in your name. They can subpoena you for a deposition in which they swear you in and ask you a lot of detailed questions about your work and property. People that fail to comply with court orders may be subject to contempt of court sanctions.

Assuming a debtor qualifies for bankruptcy and does not have assets that are unprotected, then seeking bankruptcy protection may be a way to wipe away past debts forever so people can get a fresh start. Many people are pleasantly surprised at how simple the bankruptcy process can be–especially for those with low income and few assets. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you should file a bankruptcy.

Is it Better to do a Short Sale or Just Allow Bank to Proceed with Foreclosure?

Common Question: My property is in foreclosure, should I seek a short sale or let the bank take the home in foreclosure?

Answer: It all depends on your situation. Foreclosure can take a long time, especially if you fight it and don’t allow the bank to win by default. So if your income is not currently enough for the rental market, it may be a good idea to stay in the property longer. On the other hand, if you have a job lined up somewhere else, leaving the property in your name longer exposes you to some liability, if the house is sitting empty. Of course, if your income is increasing, it may be advantageous to file a bankruptcy while you still qualify.

Many people believe that achieving a short sale will “save” their credit as long as it happens before the end of a foreclosure. There is no literature that supports this view. If a representative of the bank says something of this sort, have them put it in writing. Once a foreclosure is filed against you, it is a public record, regardless of the disposition. A short sale, a foreclosure, a deed in lieu of foreclosure all represent the same thing: a default by the borrower. In other words, one’s credit is typically ruined before the foreclosure lawsuit by the bank even begins.

I’ve been Served with a Foreclosure, Should I Move Out Immediately?

Common Question: I’ve been served with a foreclosure, should I move out immedately?

Answer: Don’t move out until a sale date is set, unless you have some other reason to move, like a job in another city. The foreclosure may take months or even years–especially if a bankruptcy is filed or the the foreclosure is disputed by the borrower.

Sometimes people file bankruptcy, indicate an intention to surrender their home, and move out. Yet banks don’t initiate a foreclosure for several YEARS. That means that homeowners may be liable for HOA fees or city water bills that accrue following their bankruptcy. Bankruptcy wipes away debt that exists at the time of the bankruptcy, it does not transfer ownership. That only occurs in a foreclosure, short sale, or deed transfer.

The reason for this is that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over property ownership, just bankruptcy and debt discharge. Only state courts have jurisdiction over foreclosure, wills, and other property related legal matters. After a person files bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy stay is lifted after the debts are discharged, state courts must still finish processing any pending foreclosures.

Police Didn’t read Me Miranda Warnings and I Talked, Then they Read Me Miranda & Asked Me to Confirm What I Said Earlier…

Question: When arrested, a person has the right to remain silent. But what if the police detain you, interview you, then give your Miranda warnings, and ask you to confirm previous statements?

Answer: The pre-Miranda statements, if not confirmed post-Miranda, should not be used against you in Court, assuming the interview occurred after you had been detained and not in a voluntary conversation. For example, if you are in handcuffs, police should provide Miranda warnings. On the other hand, if the police call you and ask you to come down to the station voluntarily and speak with them, then your statements could be used against you. A favorite police trick is to ask a witness questions before giving Miranda warnings. Then, after they know everything, they provide Miranda warnings and ask people to confirm what they just said. Most people are afraid not to confirm something that was just admitted only moments earlier.

Another way of putting it is to say that police are only supposed to be able to do certain things in a voluntary encounter. After a person is detained, and certainly after they are arrested different rules apply. Defendants should understand that police may use a “voluntary” encounter to gather evidence.

Bottom line: don’t say anything, don’t answer questions, and ask to have access to an attorney.

If Florida DUI penalties Are Statutorily Set Already, What Can A DUI Lawyer Do to Help Me?

Common Question: I’ve been arrested for DUI and someone told me that all the penalties are already laid out in the law. Also, I provided a breath sample and it indicated that I was drunk. If that is true, what help can a lawyer provide to me?

Answer: You are quite right that there may be little that an attorney can do for you. People convicted of a DUI are always placed on probation, always have to take certain classes and do community service. A lot of it is already determined, no matter what your attorney does. However, it may be that the police acted improperly and the evidence against you can be thrown out. This would allow you to escape DUI penalties or be offered a plea to a lesser charge such as Reckless Driving. Consulting an attorney at least allows you to have your case evaluated to determine if there are any defense issues. If there is not much of a defense case, and the decision is made to seek a plea to DUI minimums, your attorney should charge you less than if you seek to take the case to trial.