The Balams Firm - September 2023

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404-445-2005 | September 2023

HARD WORK PAYS OFF! It’s Time to Celebrate You! Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day always falls on the first Monday in September and is a celebration of the social and economic efforts and achievements of all working Americans. Studies show that the average U.S. adult will spend about 90,000 hours in their lifetime working to provide for their families — that’s crazy to think about! For many, Labor Day is an extended long weekend spent relaxing and getting caught up on housework. For others, it points to the last weekend of the summer. Some even take a vacation or a small getaway. Others don’t even get the day off. However, my hope is that everyone takes the time to celebrate themselves and others around them who work hard day in and day out. Here at the firm, I am 100% certain I’d never be able to accomplish anything without my team — they truly are the backbone of The Balams Firm. We are a small team of four women but we perform like a large team. Everyone is talented, efficient, and passionate about helping our clients. When you combine their work ethic and skills, anything is possible. On Labor Day, I celebrate them! Speaking of working hard, this month, on Sept. 16, we celebrate National Working Parents Day. From a single mom who knows the struggles of raising children while working, I see you! It doesn’t matter how much help you have or don’t have, if you work part time or full time, or if you have one child or four, working and parenting is tough! It can be difficult to balance priorities both at home and at work and to squeeze in time for fun or relaxation.

important, I am constantly working to find the right balance that allows me to be there for my children; to watch them grow, learn, play; and thrive and to keep the firm growing and moving in a direction that best serves our clients so we can be sure to treat them like family, an extremely important value to me. If it weren’t for keeping a detailed calendar, I’m not sure how I’d get through a day. Being organized is key, and it’s important to even pencil in time with family, personal obligations, and breaks, too! I know all too well that if it doesn’t make it on my calendar, it likely won’t happen! If I could offer one piece of advice, it’d be this: Be intentional about the time you spend with your family. Work will always be there, so be sure to give your children and families 100% of your attention when you’re with them! Life is far too short!

For me, and I’m sure many other people, if not all of you, my kids always come first. While my career and the firm are also very

Happy Labor Day everyone! Take the time to relax, reset, and recharge with those you love!

“Work will always be there, so be sure to give your children and families 100% of your attention when you’re with them!”

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Silence Is Golden: A Guide to Understanding the Fifth Amendment

Almost everyone knows what it means to “plead the Fifth.” We hear it often in the news, crime TV series, and all of the best mobster movies. When you plead the Fifth, you’re exercising your right granted by the Fifth Amendment to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. While this is your constitutional right, there are actually times when you are obligated to speak. Before you zip your mouth shut, you’ll need to learn when you should and shouldn’t plead the Fifth. What do you need to share with authorities? While you have the right to remain silent, there are a few questions you are legally required to answer. In most states, it’s the law that when a cop pulls you over and asks you to identify yourself, you have to answer. Even if the law doesn’t apply to the state you live in, it’s safe to simply provide your name, address, and date of birth. Another piece of information required when authorities pull you over is your license and registration. If you were pulled over by officers for a valid reason, you have to hand over your documents to them. Other than these two scenarios, you don’t have to answer any further questions. Anything you say to the authorities can be used against you, and the last thing you need is for a few poorly thought-out answers to land you in court. When is it best to stay silent? Because your words can be used against you, it’s in your best interest to stay silent until you are able to speak to your attorney. Once you have them by your side, they can speak for you and ensure that whatever they say protects you from incrimination. This

is part of your Sixth Amendment right: You can remain silent and refuse to give any statements until you receive counsel.

Will pleading the Fifth make you look guilty? Some people worry that pleading the Fifth will make the police and others who may hear about their case believe that they are guilty and have something to hide. This conception likely comes from the media, which tends to only mention the Fifth Amendment in extreme cases.

“Anything you say to the authorities can be used against you, and the last thing you need is for a few poorly thought-out answers to land you in court.”

For example, you might remember reading about Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a couple who snuck past the United States Secret Service and crashed a state dinner at the White House in late 2009. They famously plead the Fifth more than 30 times during questioning by a House committee. At the time, ABC News wrote an unflattering article on the topic called “White House Crashers Remain Silent.” Though stories like the Salahi’s may make it seem otherwise, pleading the Fifth is not an admission of guilt. While many may think those who invoke this right are guilty, in legal matters, they can’t be assumed guilty just because they refuse to answer. There have been countless cases where innocent people implicated themselves in an investigation simply because they said the wrong thing or didn’t choose their words wisely enough. No matter how many “Law & Order” episodes you’ve seen, you’re not a legal expert, and you should always err on the side of caution. The best way to remain innocent is to keep your rambles to yourself and leave it to your attorney to speak on your behalf. Silence is golden!


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Born around 1412 in Domrémy, a village in northeastern France, Jeanne d’Arc was raised by her farmer father and devout Catholic mother. During this time, England had control over much of northern France, and she witnessed countless families forced out of their homes due to British invasions. At 13, she began to hear voices she believed were sent from God. These voices told her that she would be the one to remove the British from France, return the crown to Prince Charles of Valois, and save her people from continual war. She took a vow of chastity and trekked across dangerous British territory at the age of 17 to reach the prince’s palace in Chinon. Once she arrived, she spoke of her destiny and how she could guarantee the prince his crown and France’s success. She asked for a small army to fight in the conquered Orléans. While their conversation is unknown, Charles insists she said words only a messenger of God would know. With that confirmation, he agreed, and she was off to battle. Fearless atop a white horse in men’s armor and short hair, not only did her army win the battle, but she made a name for herself as the prophesied virgin who would finally save France. Not even an arrow to the neck could stop her mid- battle. She and her army escorted Charles to his coronation, THE UNTOLD STORY OF JOAN OF ARC A Journey of Bravery and Betrayal



Inspired by


which took place in July 1429, and named him king. Sadly, in 1430, British forces captured Joan and charged her with witchcraft, heresy, cross-dressing, and more. To create distance between himself and the accused heretic, King Charles made no attempts to rescue her or negotiate her release. She was on her own.

• 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar • 1/2 cup honey • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/4 cup melted butter • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp ground ginger • 3 cups chopped pecans

Crust • 3 cups all-purpose flour • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed • 3/4 cup powdered sugar • 1 tsp salt Filling • 4 eggs • 1 cup corn syrup

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Use baking spray to grease a 13x9-inch pan before lining with parchment paper. 2. In a food processor, blend crust ingredients until a crumble forms. Press mixture into pan. Bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes (crust will have cracks). 3. In a bowl, whisk all filling ingredients (except pecans) together until smooth. Stir in pecans and pour over crust. Bake until set, around 30 minutes, then let cool completely in pan.

After a year of imprisonment, a 19-year-old Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake. Celebrated worldwide for her courage and passion, Joan of Arc is now the patron saint of France, the country she died for.

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404-445-2005 310 Maxwell Road, Suite 500 Alpharetta, GA 30009 INSIDE THIS ISSUE

It’s Time to Celebrate You! Happy Labor Day!


Unveiling the Right to Remain Silent: Your Guide to the Fifth Amendment



Spiced Pecan Pie Bars

Joan of Arc: A Teenager’s Journey to Deliver France From British Rule

Thief Caught Red-Handed Thanks to Facebook?!



Today, we have tons of podcasts, YouTube videos, TikToks, and documentaries about true crime. It seems like we can’t get enough of learning about the person behind heinous crimes and their motives. But what about the crimes you can’t help but laugh at because they’re almost too funny to be true? Here are two crimes you won’t believe happened because of how silly and, for the lack of a better term, dumb they are! Don’t forget to log out of Facebook! Nicholas Wig broke into James Wood’s house one night and stole his credit cards, cash, watches, and more. However, the 26-year-old thief left his Nike shoes, jeans, and a belt at the scene of the crime … but that’s not all. When James got home, he was stunned to see his house had been broken into. But after realizing the thief had accessed Facebook on his computer, he decided to post on Nicholas’ account that he (Nicholas) had broken into his (James’) home. James also shared his phone number in case anyone had any additional information. Nicholas contacted James over text, and the two agreed to meet in person. The thief thought if he went to James’ home and returned

the stolen items, everything would be fine — but that’s not how things played out. As soon

as James spotted Nicholas walking toward his home, he called the police. When law enforcement arrived, they arrested the thief on the spot. Monopoly money doesn’t work in the real world. Michael Fuller stopped by Walmart to purchase a vacuum cleaner and microwave for $476. But instead of paying with real money, he decided to pay using a million- dollar note from the game Monopoly. The gentleman then demanded that he receive

$999,524 from the cashier since he would need cash back for his “purchases.” The cashier called the police, and Michael was charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. Can you believe these hilarious crimes?! Do you know of any we should highlight next time? We would love to hear from you!


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