Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

Illegal use of weapons charge

Owning certain weapons, such as a gun, is considered to be a highly valued right in the United States. However, owning this or any other type of weapon comes with responsibilities. These weapons cannot be used anywhere for any reasons at any time, and the failure to comply with these standards and rules could jeopardize a person's right to bare arms. When a deadly weapon is used in the commission of a crime, this is an illegal use of a weapon. And if a victim of this crime loses his or her life, it is possible for the accused to face serious charges, such as murder or homicide.

In the state of Louisiana, section 14.94 outlines the illegal use of weapons and other dangerous instrumentalities. This statute defines this as the intentional or criminal negligent discharge of any type of firearm. This also includes the throwing, placing or any other use of an item where it is foreseeable that it may result in death or great bodily harm to a human being.

Defending against white-collar crime allegations

For the most part, we have good intentions when we carry out various acts in our lives. Whether it is at home, school, work or in the general public, we seek to do well onto others. However, some things are carried out with bad-faith, often seeking to selfishly benefit him or herself. While these acts could simply mean a person is dishonest or willfully acted deceitful, they could also mean that he or she committed a crime.

Fraud is a broad term that refers to a wide variety of fraudulent acts. These acts are intentionally deceitful for the personal gain of the person committing them. These acts can occur through the mail, Internet, phone or by wire. Common types of fraud include bankruptcy fraud, tax fraud, identity theft, insurance fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and telemarketing fraud.

What is insider trading?

We all hear that investing is a good idea. And when it comes to trading stocks, one often thinks of the investments they could make by taking these steps. However, buying and selling stock can be complex and confusing for some, fearing that they might be the next one facing criminal liabilities for doing the wrong thing or taking tips from others. But one should note that when it comes to insider trading, this is considered both legal and illegal depending on the situation.

What is insider trading? It is the trading of a public company's stock or other securities, such as bonds or stock options, by an individual that has obtained access to nonpublic information about the company. Because this is seen as unfair by many investors, depending on the details of the matter, this is considered illegal.

Baton Rouge's pretrial diversion program

Facing criminal charges does not always mean going to trial to avoid serious penalties. For those facing certain charges, such as drug crimes, without a criminal history, it is possible to go through a pretrial program to avoid the criminal consequences that could follow if conviction occurs. Those facing drug charges could enter a drug diversion program, helping them to recover from addiction and avoid the penalties that could follow a conviction.

In Baton Rouge, the purpose of the pretrial diversion program is to intervene in the judicial process in order to divert some first time offenders from the court system. This program not only benefits the accused participating in the program, it also benefits the community, prosecutors, the courts and the jails.

Things to know before you submit to a Breathalyzer test

If you were driving home after a night on the town with friends and a police officer stopped you on suspicion of intoxication, you might not be the least bit worried if you knew you only had imbibed a single alcoholic beverage. In fact, if you enjoyed your beverage early in the evening then spent the next several hours eating, drinking water and perhaps, coffee, and simply hanging out and having a good time, you'd likely be even less concerned about a minor traffic stop.

Once you learn more about Breathalyzer tests, you might change your opinion. Such tests often produce inaccurate results. When it comes to drunk driving charges, much depends on the officer's word against yours. If you submit to a Breathalyzer, the results may greatly impact the ultimate outcome of your situation. What if the results are wrong? There are several things you can do to protect your rights when a police officer suspects you of drunk driving.

Georgia fugitive arrested in Louisiana for drug crimes

Being suspected of a crime does not always mean that a person will be arrested and charged for that crime. However, if a person knows that they are suspect and seeks to evade the police, whether they believe they are innocent or not, this makes them a fugitive. This means that a suspected offender is apprehended in a state other than the state where the supposed crime occurred. And if a fugitive is arrested for another crime, this means facing charges related to the original arrest warrant as well as the charges for the current arrest.

This is what recently happened to a Georgia man who was arrested in Louisiana for drug crimes. According to reports, the 49-year-old Georgia man was wanted for forgery charges. Deputies found him after pulling him over and finding drugs and counterfeit money in his vehicle. Police claim that after stopping the man, he gave them a false name and birthdate. Officers also claim that they smelt marijuana coming from the vehicle. This resulted in authorities uncovering a variety of narcotics in the vehicle.

Asserting a strong defense throughout a murder case

Whether it is through social media, public awareness or through their own knowledge, individuals in Louisiana and elsewhere are well aware how serious a murder charge is. As a previous post highlighted, in the state of Louisiana, a person facing a murder charge could face serious penalties, such as capital punishment. Because so much is at stake, these charges should not be taken lightly. There is an opportunity to assert a strong criminal defense, helping a defendant make a huge difference in their case.

There is no doubt that being accused of and arrested for a homicide charge is overwhelming. Many things are likely going through the mind of the accused; however, the most important topic they can think about at this time is how they are going to make this all go away.

Louisiana is tough on marijuana possession. College students, beware.

If you thought you were going to set up camp in a dormitory at Southern University or LSU and have the time of your life rolling a few joints and partying with friends, you may be quite surprised to learn Louisiana has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation.

Considering this, you might want to add learning more about Louisiana's drug laws to your list of priorities right alongside studying for finals. Just as failing your final exams can negatively impact your college career, so can criminal charges, which is what you risk if you smoke marijuana on campus or elsewhere in the state. You do have rights, and knowing how to protect your rights can save you a lot of undue stress if a legal problem arises.

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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