Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Law Blog

Can you refuse a field sobriety test?

Let's face it; we all hate getting pulled over, no matter the reason or speculation. It can be a frustrating experience because no one wants to face a traffic violation. However, being stopped by law enforcement is possible in Louisiana and elsewhere. And in some cases, it is because officers suspect that a motorist is under the influence of alcohol. When this occurs, police officers will likely take steps to attempt to prove their suspicions that a motorist is drunk driving.

The best way to establish whether a driver is intoxicated is by conducting a field sobriety test. This three-part test can help establish a driver is too impaired to be driving. This includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test. This test is officially endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety administration and most law enforcement officers will ask drivers to submit to these test to establish whether they were driving drunk or not.

What is wire fraud?

Many people in Louisiana have been hit hard financially due to the number of disasters that have affected the state over the years. Those in such positions are often looking for help, and there are plenty of people and companies out there -- online and in person -- offering it. There are also those who will face accusations of fraud if their services do not produce positive results. Have you found yourself in such legal trouble?

Wire fraud is big right now, and it really has been for some time. What is this type of fraud? What elements must exist for a person to be convicted of a crime in such a case? If charged with wire fraud, how can you defend yourself?

Marijuana laws in Louisiana

Some crimes seem simple and minor because of the way society treats them. Much debate surrounds marijuana usage. Many view it as a harmless substance that has actual medicinal properties. However, this is a harmful perspective to have because the truth of the matter is that it is illegal in most states and could result in serious criminal penalties if the accused is convicted of this specific drug crime.

The marijuana laws in Louisiana are viewed as being one of the strictest laws in the country. This drug offense could occur no matter the amount a person is discovered to be in possession of. For first-time offenders found with any amount of marijuana up to 60 pounds, they could face a fine up to $500 and six months in jail. This is considered a misdemeanor offense.

Helping you assert a defense against drug charges

It could happen at any point and anywhere. When you are driving, a passenger in a vehicle, walking down the street or at your personal residence, an officer could initiate a search based on reasonable suspicion. This search could result in the uncovering of a wide variety of evidence. In some cases, this could result in a person facing drug charges.

Such a situation is complex and overwhelming. A drug charge is often based on multitudinous evidence; however, defendants in Baton Rouge should note that all this evidence is often not all credible. This means that a defense strategy could be devised to challenge evidence used against him or her, helping the accused clear their name and avoid serious penalties.

What is copyright infringement?

When companies, small businesses, artists or entrepreneurs come up with an idea, they likely want to protect that idea, as it is very vital to the success of their brand, company or business operation. This is where a copyright can come into play. A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection, which is provided by U.S. laws. This form of protection is available for authors of original works that are fixed in tangible form, whether it is published or unpublished. This includes works such as paintings, literary works, live performances, photographs, movies and even software.

While a copyright is used to protect works, this does not mean the work is entirely safe. Someone might attempt to steal the work, not upholding the terms of the copyrighted work. This is known as copyright infringement, and it is considered a white-collar crime.

Sentencing reform in Louisiana

Being accused of a crime does not only mean facing the immediate life changes, such as having their name tarnished; it also means enduring serious penalties if conviction ensues. Because the laws are always changing, even when Louisiana residents are charged with one of the most serious crimes, he or she could face stricter or lesser penalties when compared to the previous statutes in place. Thus, it is important to not only understand the elements of the crime the accused is charged with but also the penalties that could result.

During its most recent criminal justice reform, sentencing laws in Louisiana have changed in various ways. This is true for those facing serious charges, such as murder, as well as those charged with lesser offenses. During the state's 2017 regular legislative session, lawmakers in Louisiana approved a criminal justice system overhaul. Here are 10 ways these changes have impacted sentencing laws.

3 ways police look for probable cause to arrest you for DUI

Let's say you're driving down a Louisiana highway after an LSU sporting event, and you glance in your rear view mirror only to find a police car following you with flashing lights. Knowing that staying calm and cooperating as much as possible may be key to avoiding a lot of legal trouble, you safely pull to the side of the road and come to a full stop.

At first, you assume that you must have been going a few miles over the posted speed limit or perhaps your tail light is out. You soon realize the situation is a lot more serious than that when the officer asks you to step out of your car. This is often the first step of detainment, meaning you are legally obligated to stay put at the scene unless the officer allows you to leave. If the next step involves field sobriety tests, your future may be at stake.

A police officer can request a warrant to draw your blood

If you are age 21 or older, it is your legal right to consume alcohol. You're obligated, of course, to adhere to all regulations governing alcohol consumption in Louisiana or wherever you happen to be at the time you imbibe. Nothing can ruin a fun night out with friends like a police officer pulling you over on your trip home. Enjoying a beer or glass of wine with dinner doesn't necessarily mean you break the law when you later get behind the wheel of your car to drive. 

Try to stay calm when a police officer approaches your driver's side window to ask to see your license and registration information. That's easier said than done, however, if the next statement instructs you to exit your vehicle. If a police officer thinks you're intoxicated while driving, he or she can detain you by telling you to get out of your car. What you do and say from that point on may greatly impact the outcome of your situation. What you know about chemical tests can make or break your circumstances. 

Louisiana deputies suspended after evidence collection mishap

When officers stop a vehicle for a traffic violation or are questioning motorists and passengers following a motor vehicle accident, the officers will likely conduct investigation by questioning the driver. By gathering this evidence, law enforcement might have enough information to prove their suspicions correct, that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. While officers cannot act on just these suspicions alone, specific evidence must be uncovered to warrant an arrest and a charge for drunk driving. When this evidence is not available or improperly collected, this can present challenges in the state's case, opening up defense options for the accused.

According to recent reports, three deputies in Louisiana are currently suspended after they presumably allowed a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol to leave the hospital without being tested. This occurred following a two-vehicle crash that occurred the night of Mardi Gras.

What factors are used during sentencing?

Facing a serious charge, such as murder, is difficult to navigate. Many times, a person's life and reputation are on the line when they are charged with homicide; thus, many defendants seek to overcome the potential penalties by initiating a defense against the serious allegations. While defendants in Louisiana could endure capital punishment for a murder conviction, it is vital to understand how consequences are determined.

What factors are used during sentencing? While juries determine the guilt and innocence of a defendant, it is the judge that determines the punishment for the crime. However, in cases of murder, a jury can recommend death or life in prison. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution outlines how sentences are established. For example, it states that there cannot be excessive bail, excessive fines or cruel or unusual punishment inflicted on the accused.

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Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Law Office Map