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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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Lawyer Scientist: Fighting DWI Charges with Science

“No scientific analysis performed by a government expert is one hundred percent accurate each and every time they perform the test,” says Ali Cannon.  “My extensive scientific training and experience in the testing used by the government in driving while intoxicated cases is extremely beneficial in finding and exposing errors and inaccuracies.”

Ali Cannon is the youngest recognized Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the Chemistry and Law Division of the American Chemical Society.  She completed the three courses needed for this which are extensive and quite intense. This distinction is held in high esteem and Cannon of Cannon Law recently achieved this honor.  

“The ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist is one who uses validated and legitimate science for the benefit of justice. These are lawyers who study the science and apply it legitimately in the courtroom. They expose invalid or non-validated science and use valid science in the courtroom. They eschew the smoke and mirrors techniques of old and embrace the science for the benefit of all.”  This is according to the American Chemical Society.

Axion Analytical Labs administers the three tough courses in Chicago, IL.  The courses are in place to help lawyers have a better chance when defending those accused of drug-related crimes.  The names of the courses are the ACS Forensic Chromatography course, the ACS Solid Drug Dose (Forensic Drug Analysis) course, and the ACS Forensic DUID (Forensic Principles of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) course.

The first course (Forensic Chromatography) teachers lawyers a theory behind chromatography while they also learn about how mass spectrometry and flame ionization detectors work.  After that, they watch how the instruments work and perform their own tests. Tests such as lab work which helps them get a better grasp on how blood ethanol samples work and how they affect DWI and DUI cases.  

The second course which is the Forensic Drug Analysis covers how substances that have been seized like pharmaceuticals, marijuana, and other drugs are analyzed.  They show how these lab tests are used in cases pertaining to possession and pre-consumed substances and how the analytics determine if there is an illicit substance involved or not.  The lawyers get to run these tests and see them of their own cognizance.

The third and final course is the Forensic Principles of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.  This class is centered around urine, hair, saliva, and blood analysis. The students also learn how to better understand pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.  What this does is teach them the effects these substances have on the human body and how it changes the function of a person’s motor skills and therefore affects driving capabilities.  

Cannon’s achievement will bring more firepower to the defense of the clients she represents while instilling more confidence in her own abilities.

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Do Ankle Bracelets have Microphones

Frequently judges order that suspects get GPS bracelets during probation and pre-trial release. Even though the clients who agree to wear the bracelets avoid continued detention. Well, it is customary that there is some punishing effect in the end. You may get additional arrest warrants, needed for frequent court visits, and charges of tampering. If you think that you need a professional to assist you get out of the injustice being practiced, as per Milwaukee criminal defense attorney, Matt Meyers people are likely to get preventable problems without doing anything wrong. Often, the devices can add up to the defendant’s fault, and severe penalties result. The article highlights the concern about ankle bracelets having microphones.

How Do Ankle Bracelets Monitoring Work?

The device, GPS ankle bracelets, are often used as a correction system that monitors offenders actions without the need for permanent detention. Many times the bracelet denotes the period between trial and imprisonment. At the same time, this allows an individual to continue with the regular life but with limited undertakings. Well, there are many types available that suit every kind of offender.

The truth is, in addition to the well-known features, GPS ankle bracelets have added communication and sensor devices. For example, a drug convict may get the type that occasionally monitors the sweat produced to tell the degree of soberness. Sometimes, the tracker has a two-way sensor system. With this, the correctional officers can notify the wearer not to go beyond the limit of the safe zone. The monitoring system as well sounds an alarm in case the offenders remove the anklet, to avoid escaping attempts.

The design of the electronic monitors calls for all time wearing as the device is tamper-resistant. It has radio frequency indicator that communicates to the monitoring station. The programming may allow you to have some freedom in a specific area, and the functions alert the officers should let you go beyond the region. So, the conditions differ among individuals while some get forced to stay indoors for the whole period of the sentence. On the other hand, others get allowed to travel or work or travel within the community.

Ankle Bracelets Rules and Limits

If the court demands you to have an ankle bracelet, you must understand the usage of necessities, rules, and also restrictions. The discussion continues to heat up. However, it is vital to remember some truths about what the monitoring system is capable of doing or not. The trackers help offenders who desire to get back into society. The device also can spare the suspect, from probing or jail time and work on release programs. Some convicts may serve the in-house sentence while wearing the designed ankle bracelet. The restrictions consist of:

  • signal interference if the user needs to stay within the home
  • No taking drugs or alcohol and give in to drug testing
  • Pay some fees during use and fines should you fail
  • Visit your parole officer every week
  • Employment
  • Submission to all the supervision conditions

When you appear in Court, the Judge tells the person convicted the assumed violation. In case the individual denies the allegation, the Court can jail the person with or minus bond awaiting a further hearing. If you do not adhere to the rules, for instance, you decide to go beyond the designated distance or remove the device; authorities will come to your house. You could violate the sentence, and as a result face consequences like:

  • Get in prison without an arrest warrant at anyplace you get caught
  • As an alternative of getting arrested, the Judge can give a Notification to Come to Court

What is the Furthest You Can Go With an Ankle Bracelet?

Offender tracking system got introduced sometime back in the US. And now many countries continue to accept implementing the structure together. There is a centrally located computer which assembles the information from the installed monitoring device. The program works only for sentenced criminals undergoing work-release sentences or on trial and suspects awaiting a hearing.

Dependent on the exact terms prearranged for you for house arrest, a schedule will get set for you. With this, you only get permitted to move from your residence during sometimes. For instance, when going for employment and additional accepted activities, like grocery buying or visiting the church. The rest of the times, you must remain in the specified range of the designed monitoring equipment.

What If Your Ankle Bracelet Monitor Vibrates?

The difference in kinds of ankle bracelet monitors also means diverse capabilities. Some vibrate when the supervising officer tries to connect with you. Should this happen, then follow the provided instructions to declare the receipt of the communication. In case it vibrates, and you did not get instructions, you need to inform your controlling officer instantly. If you assume such an event, then you are likely risking the device and your life.

Indeed, the system may malfunction, or you could get accused of breaking the agreed terms. You should never try cutting off or removing your ankle bracelet monitor. Taking out or interfering with the monitor is known as a third-degree crime. The act is illegal and means about five years imprisonment, paying up to

$5,000 payment, or both. Remember the warning signal not only gets detected by you but also the officers who control it.

Can Your Ankle Bracelets Hear You Every time?

Another easy way of making the offender monitoring system involves including a fixed-line phone. The leading part of the tracking means it is to prove the criminal’s agreement to the rules. The person needs to have the ankle bracelet on at all the time. In such a situation, the monitoring computer will call you at home or work. The server has a speech recognition software which detects who has received the call. N case the criminal is absent, or somebody else picks up the phone, such fraud gets discovered, and the parole officer gets notified.

The type, however, works well for possibly violent soccer criminal sentenced by the court to remain indoors during club’s games. The system makes calls any time and repeatedly. Voice recording might not help, so

the device opts to ask random questions to confirm the real person. The monitor gets programmed to maintain the communication with officers to prevent rule violations. The notifications are enough to tell you that you get heard from the other end.

However, you need to be careful since signal loss although a common incidence for many people, can lead to broken connection. The device’s batteries need regular charging to keep charge the whole day. Failure to do this may force you to go back home and plug in the wall outlet. Some offenders have stayed in jail due to the hard moments like during power loss.

Who Holds Your Recorded Information?

The ankle bracelets are enclosed, a waterproof device more prominent than the sports watch. Well, a receiver gets installed in the monitored criminal’s house by the authorities. The sensor will detect and send signals the anklet captures within a particular programmed range. The extent of the distance can get prolonged to include some part of the area that you reside in or get a full allowance.

The monitoring systems have GPS navigation control to determine the moves of the person. All the collected information of your movements gets transferred to the central computer server. But the question is who has access to all the tracked data? Mostly, the details go to the corrections department, but other law enforcement team can access it too. In some instances, the hired monitoring company has the data.

What Should You Do To Avoid Problems

For a criminal to be on the safe side of the law, your movements need to conform to the specific time plan or set court requirements. If you have the chance to leave home during the day for work purposes, then the systems will ensure you take a direct route until you get back home or to jail. In case, you go beyond the limits; a warning gets sent to you.

The ankle bracelet will vibrate, and it is possible to receive an alarm also. The GPS feature, although works depending on where it got activated, and sometimes gets on without notice. Thousand of people in court, however, feel the device and technology violates the privacy of attorney-client relations. There is no privacy with this since even your personal and private chats get heard and recorded without your awareness and a court warrant. Such recordings can open another case for you and can act as substantial evidence against you. So, to avoid the consequences you must be cautious of what you do or say. The microphones are listening and can send you back to jail.

Finally, the first-time and non-violent suspects, jailing is not an ideal sentence. The best alternative is either a house arrest or monitored device, ankle bracelets. The system can watch all your activities and can make a call. If the phone gets answered, the central computer receives a notification which is accessible by the authorities. Indeed, the device can hear you and record whatever you say.

There are many related restrictions, and failure to comply can lead you to prison. Understand the way the anklets work and find it better when you abide by the rules. Keep in mind the golden rule, never attempt to tamper with the systems, you will lose reliability and the expected privileges. So, avoid getting back to detention.

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What Should You Do If You Are Arrested for a Criminal Offense?

Although each state has its own laws and procedures they follow when a person is charged with a criminal offense, the one good thing is that you are protected to some degree under the United States Constitution. In fact, most lawyers say that the process is fairly similar from state to state but the one thing is for certain no matter where you are charged and arrested for a criminal offense – talk to no one until you’ve hired an attorney. That should go without saying. If you’ve never been arrested before, it can come as quite a shock. Here is some of what you need to know.

Your Constitutional Rights

The reason you shouldn’t give any kind of statement to the police is because it can, and most often will, be used in a court of law. This is where altogether too many innocent people get themselves in hot water. Never thinking that what they say could be misconstrued, they feel they have nothing to fear since they know they are not guilty of what they are being accused of.

You have Miranda Rights protecting you under the 5th Amendment in which you don’t have to say anything that might incriminate you. If you’ve never been arrested before and have no clue what the actual crime is, how do you know what is safe to say? Therefore, only talk to an attorney and have one present when you make a statement. Your freedom could depend on it!

Call a Bail Bondsman

This is another area where many first offenders and innocent people aren’t familiar with. Many people believe that the moment they are brought into the station and booked, they can call a bail bondsman like Goldberg Bail Bonds that has bondsmen throughout the state of Minnesota. It’s easy to find them because they have so many locations, but it won’t do you any good until you’ve had a bond hearing.

That may be the same day, the next morning or even longer if it’s a weekend or holiday. Yes, you should call a bail bondsman, but don’t waste your time until you know what your bail is set at. They can do nothing for you until then and will only tell you as much.

Do You Really Only Get One Phone Call?

You have probably watched dozens of movies where the person being arrested is allowed to make only one phone call. Actually, that may or may not be the case depending on where you were arrested, the seriousness of the crime you are accused of having committed and alas, your behavior during the arrest. Actually, in most places you are granted a reasonable amount of calls because under the 6th Amendment you are entitled to legal defense the moment proceedings commence. That would be at the time of your arrest, would it not? However, taking all of the above into consideration and not being familiar with the judicial system in your locale, don’t take anything for granted. You may only get one call and you may be allowed half a dozen. You may be given bail the same day and you may need to wait a reasonable length of time until court convenes again. There are so many variables that the only thing you can be sure of is the fact that you should not speak to anyone until you’ve hired legal counsel. Your freedom could very well depend on it. Isn’t it better to always be safe than sorry?

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Criminal Defense Attorney Tips: Healing From A Sexual Assault

Surviving a sexual assault is quite an ordeal; the kind that will likely leave you with post-traumatic stress in one form or another. For what it’s worth, do know that you are not at fault for what you’ve been through, and there is light in the times ahead of you. Although it may take a considerable amount of time to process this, with the right frame of mind and the necessary support, you will once again rebuild your sense of self-worth and attain emotional balance, coming out of it stronger than ever before. In no particular order of significance, there’s a whole lot you can do to put all of this behind you:

  1. Find someone you can trust

Going through recovery alone means you’re only going to be making everything needlessly harder on yourself. Instead, it’s better to find someone you can trust and open yourself up to what happened. Remain communicative. Sure enough, there’s stigma all around, but that’s all the more reason to open up to the people you trust; those who’ll be keeping it a secret. But whatever you do, don’t keep telling yourself that it never happened; denying the truth will only serve to reinforce the image of being a victim in your mind. If you need to feel vulnerable for a bit and seek solitude while you heal, that’s completely understandable. Just don’t completely isolate yourself for a prolonged period of time – socializing will help you heal.

  1. Don’t feel guilty about what happened

It’s important to realize that what happened to you has absolutely nothing to do with your values or personality. By no means did you bring this upon yourself. Many sexual assault victims are harsh on themselves, thinking they should have done more to stop the attack. However, when you’re experiencing physical trauma, your body gets frozen and you’re often completely unable to move. Thinking clearly becomes quite a challenge, and in the end, you end up doing nothing about it. And if someone you know did this to you, don’t blame yourself for trusting that person; there was probably no way to anticipate it. If you were intoxicated at the time, don’t blame yourself for it – the only one who is to blame is the attacker, no one else.

  1. Stay strong

As you’re recovering, flashbacks may gradually keep coming back, reminding you of the events that transpired. It’s not uncommon for the victims to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder. If you find yourself on the edge all the time, experiencing nightmares, and being overly vigilant even when the threat has passed, it might be time to seek out professional help. This is especially true if these feelings linger on for an extended period of time. Do you get irritated by certain places or smells but can’t find a reason for it? Are you experiencing shortness of breath and a lingering sense of panic even when no immediate danger is in sight? These are all signs of PTSD – if you notice these, try to calm down any way you can. On a positive note, there are specifically-designed techniques for this that can help you.

  1. Learn how to deal with flashbacks

No matter how strong you are, you will likely experience some flashbacks at some point, making you feel as if the attack is happening all over again. By realizing this, you will be much better equipped to take control of the situation and realize it’s, in fact, a flashback, not reality. You’re not a victim – you’re a survivor. Remember that, always, especially when times get tough and flashbacks keep reappearing. When you’re in the middle of a flashback, it also helps to ground yourself in the present reality to prevent your mind from escaping to dark places. For instance, you can describe the room that you are in. Is it the same one as the one in which the attack happened? If not, this is a convincing argument that you’re in the present, not the past. Go over this every time a flashback occurs, and you will ground yourself in the present reality.

  1. Connect yourself to your feelings once again

You may think that staying forever numb will shield yours from emotional trauma. While this may be true, you are also robbing yourself of positive feelings of excitement and enjoy; a compromise that is rarely worth taking. A life without feelings is existing, not living. There are many things you can try to establish the connection to your body and feel more confident again. Have you tried meditation? If you’re the sporty type, martial arts are another thing you can try. Plus, they have the self-defence element to them that will make you a powerful force to be reckoned with and re-establish your confidence. In general, any kind of rhythmic movement will help. Some may prefer dancing, others may like to artistically express themselves by playing an instrument. But no matter which path you take, just get moving – it will get better!

  1. Fight back

Now that you’ve somehow managed to rebuild at least a part of your self-esteem, it’s time to fight back and press charges against the perpetrators. Keep your chin up, lawyer up, and gather the evidence necessary so they will pay for their misdeeds. Do your due diligence and learn more about what’s needed to prevail in court, then push it with full speed ahead. The only alternative is staying silent, but you don’t want that, do you? Punishing whoever did this to you is the only way to make sure the same thing won’t happen to another unfortunate individual. As a matter of fact, people who do such ill-conceived things count on your fear of them as well as your embarrassment in hopes that they won’t get punished. Standing up for yourself may not be the easiest thing on your plate, but it’s the only right one to do.

Conclusion

The road to overcoming this will be long and riddled with obstacles, but by seeing the light in front of you, you’ll be able to pull yourself together and live your life once again. After all, many sexual assault survivors have successfully done so in the past, so keep your chin up and follow in their footsteps.

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Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Have A Criminal Attorney On Standby

You might not believe it but preparing for the unforeseen circumstances is always necessary, this is according to entrepreneur.com. The preparation will always get you into a better mental state, unlike when you are caught unaware and you have to make hurried decisions. Hurried decisions sometimes can make you make the wrong decisions. For instance, having a criminal defence attorney doesn’t mean you are a criminal. It is just advisable for you depending on what you do, because you are preparing yourself for anything. Who knows when you will commit a crime or who knows when you will be accused of committing crime? When you hire one, you will need to consider lots of features of the lawyer. However, this procedure will be a bit difficult for you when you desperately need one. So it is better to hire one in advance. All in all, when you have a criminal defence attorney by your side, you get to enjoy certain things. Some of these things include;

  • Familiar territories

Any good criminal defence attorney knows his or her battling grounds. Thus, they stand a better chance of knowing what happens there more than you do. You need them because they have already mastered the art of defending other crime related cases. Through these cases, they have gathered relevant skills and knowledge which they can always use in your favour. They can always use such skills to swing a case in your direction. On the other hand, they know how to look for loopholes in crime related cases. Once they have a loophole, they always use it to your benefit. One thing you should never forget is that such abilities can only be exercised by someone who has gathered enough experience. With experience, you will always be more confident of the case brought against you.

  • Defend you

Any attorney you hire should always represent you legally. Whether he or she is a criminal defence attorney or a divorce attorney. Legally representing you involves defending you and at the same offering guidance on the nature of your case. It your criminal defence attorney who will advise you on what to respond to and what not to respond to. Defending you generally means, making sure that you don’t get to jail or if you do, you get a short jail term. Some crimes have heavy penalties, it is up to your criminal defence attorney to make sure that the punishment isn’t severe.  If you are a family person, you can’t afford to be away from your family for a very long time. That’s why your lawyer should use all means possible to get you back to your family.

  • Paper work

Crime related cases require a lot. You will always get tired once the case is done. However, that doesn’t have to be the way forward. With a criminal defence attorney on standby, you will be able to rest because they will take care of the paper work. The paper work in each case is different. A criminal defence attorney has colleagues who will always ensure that all the paper work is done and there is proper filing of each document you agree on with the court. Sometimes, the paper work will involve typing of agreements or even drafts on the court proceedings, this is something you can’t handle if you aren’t used to it. That why you need to hire a criminal defence attorney from www.caldwellkearns.com/practice_area/criminal-defense/.

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Court-Ordered Rehab: 8 Facts You Need to Know

In lieu of going to jail, many judges mandate a defendant attends a court-ordered rehab. These rulings are occurring more and more, as we’re seeing how drug punishments don’t always serve their crimes. Plus, drug rehab, rather than jail time, could actually save the criminal justice system billions of dollars.

Court-mandated rehab can help you get the treatment you need for substance abuse. Rehab treats the issue at hand, rather than the criminal aspect which proves to be ineffective. If a judge orders you to attend, consider this an opportunity.

If you’re curious about your upcoming program, you’re not alone. Here are 8 facts you’ll want to know before attending rehab.

1. Choosing Your Rehab Facility

Defendants have their choice of a facility, but they must consider their sentence. Most judges mandate they seek a specific form of addiction treatment based on the crime.

For example, you may have to attend individual counseling, rather than a group setting. The court may also order you to attend a long-term program, i.e. one lasting longer than 90 days. Long-term programs are generally considered more effective.

Courts also tend to gravitate towards inpatient care, due to the structured nature. These facilities offer regular therapy sessions in a substance-free setting. Inpatient care often leads to a safer recovery process than those off-site.

2. Funding for Court-Ordered Rehab

In most cases, the defendant is responsible for paying for their rehab program. This may seem like a burden, but you must remember that rehab is an investment for the future.

Of course, inpatient care is more expensive than off-site services. Even if you’re ordered to live at a facility, there are some ways to offset the cost of your care.

Medical insurance can help lower your out-of-pocket costs. You may also want to inquire about private loans or consider paying in full. Again, go into this with the mindset of investing in a drug- and crime-free future.

3. Treatment Programs Are Effective

Many defendants feel their court-ordered rehab is a punishment, not a second chance. But, these programs are the most successful intervention for treating substance abuse issues.

Addiction and mental health disorders shouldn’t secure a person’s spot as a criminal. 65% of U.S. inmates have a substance abuse disorder, meaning they’re not getting the treatment they need.

The decision to mandate rehab, rather than jail, is one made out of compassion. It’s a chance for a future of stability and recovery, rather than imminent danger.

4. There are Consequences

Court-mandated rehab isn’t a total free pass. If you violate your sentence, there will be consequences. Most violations occur when a person refuses to enroll or stops attending before the required amount of time.

But, you’ll also get into further trouble if you relapse several times, possess drugs, or sell drugs. If guilty, a judge may sentence you to immediate incarceration, or impose a hefty fine.

Even if your violation was a one-time occurrence, you’ll still be accountable for your actions. Talk with someone at your facility if you feel your treatment is ineffective. Don’t stop attending unless you receive formal permission to do so.

5. Methadone Treatment vs. Opioid Treatment

Many make the mistake of assuming treatment for methadone is the same as other painkillers. Methadone withdrawal is similar to that of opioids. But, it’s longer lasting and far more intense, so it requires specialized treatment.

For that reason, you’ll want to seek a facility that specializes in rapid methadone detox. Other Methadone clinics tend to focus on tapering patients off the substance. But, for long-term results, patients need immediate detoxification.

It’s increasingly difficult to get someone off Methadone at small doses. Plus, given the symptoms withdrawal causes, it’s imperative a patient finds appropriate care.

6. You Must Earn Your Freedom

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at rehab because of your own decision or the court’s. You will revoke a lot of your freedom when entering the facility. It may not make sense at first, but it’s for your safety.

You might not be able to make calls for a while or even roam around the property. Over time, your caretakers will see that they can trust you and ultimately grant you your freedom.

Rehab is full of rules- ones that aren’t always so easy to follow. But, keep in mind that any violations could result in further restrictions.

7. Additional Requirements

Most rehab programs require you attend daily meetings or participate in certain activities. Those attending due to a court order may be subject to more requirements than others.

Often times, rehab doesn’t absolve one of all their crime-related punishments. Paying restitution and drug testing are both common consequences of a rehab sentence.

You may even have additional responsibilities after your treatment is over. It’s common for defendants to have a period of probation following rehab.

8. Why Court-Ordered Rehab Happens

It isn’t always evident why one person receives rehab over another. Rulings vary on defendants and the court itself, but there are some common predictors.

Those facing a first-time offense often receive rehab as a lighter form of punishment. Non-violent and non-sexual crimes are also other basic requirements.

Furthermore, a defendant must be willing to acknowledge the cause of their issue. They must plead guilty and have the desire to overcome their addiction.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Court-ordered rehab is a blessing in disguise. It helps defendants far past the legal sense. These programs can truly be a turning point in one’s life.

If you’re going to court over a drug offense, let us help you. Halt Lawyer Directory is your go-to database for finding the right attorney. Search through thousands of lawyers in your area right here.

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3 Mind Blowing Benefits Of Hiring The Right Criminal Attorney

Every country has laws. These laws are tailored to suit the needs of that particular country. Even within the country, the laws are customized to each locality. The laws are there to protect the citizens of the country and make sure that everyone is treated equally. For those people who have been accused of breaking the law, they need to have proper counsel to see them through their court proceedings. That is where lawyers come in. There are numerous lawyers depending on which genre of law they have studied. The type of lawyer that you hire should depend on the issue that you have, among other factors. For example, if you have real estate issues, you can get a property lawyer. According to wikipedia.org, you can also hire a criminal lawyer to represent you or your company in the event you are charged with a criminal activity. Choosing the right criminal lawyer for your case can make all the difference in the world for your case. This is because these criminal attorneys provide you with all the benefits that you can think of. Some of the benefits of hiring a qualified lawyer from Nashville’s Criminal Defense Attorneys include:

  • Protection

In order to build a strong case against you, the people prosecuting you need to have a lot of foolproof evidence to prove that you did the crime. The collection of this evidence usually takes place, in part, during interrogation at the police station. The police are usually trained with skills on how to get information out of people. They can convince you that you are doing it to save yourself but you are incriminating yourself. These statements can be used in court. However, in the presence of a criminal attorney, the police won’t pressure you as much. Furthermore, the lawyer will tell you which questions are safe to answer.

  • Comfort

Sometimes, during the court proceedings and investigations, you may begin to feel hopeless and downcast. This is because you may start feeling as though you might lose the case. During this time, you need comfort from somebody who understands what you are going through. The criminal defense lawyer that you have hired will do just that. They will be able to comfort you and give you counsel based on facts and experience. Furthermore, they can foresee certain outcomes and prepare you in advance.

  • Strategy

In order to solve any problem, you need a plan of action on how to attack it. Without a plan or strategy, you won’t be able to sort out the problem effectively. The same thing applies to any criminal proceedings that you might be undergoing. You need a plan. Considering you don’t have full knowledge of the law, you may not be the best person to do that. However, the criminal attorney can sort this out. Based on the experience and interaction with numerous judges, your lawyer will be able to come up with the best strategies to help you win your case.

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Drunk Driving Laws In the US – DWI Basics Explained

Cruising down the roadway after getting wasted might look like a cool idea in the movies but the US legal system sure doesn’t think so. Drunk driving is a serious offense, one that is punishable under the US constitution. Here are some of the basic laws concerning drunk driving cases and the precautionary measures you can take up to avoid such as ordeal. Also, if you know someone who is convicted for driving while under the influence of alcohol you can check up on their jail term and other details on Inmates101, a website that keeps track of all prison inmates across the state;

What Qualifies as “Drunk”?

Now, each state has its own rules to define how drunk a person must be to be qualified as “being drunk”. However, the Congress has appealed for a standard yardstick to measure how inebriated the person is. States that want to tap on a major chunk of federal funding comply with the set standard that presumes that 0.08% of alcohol in the bloodstream is “drunk enough” to drive. There are states where the permissible alcohol content in the blood has been lowered to 0.04% for commercial drivers and even less for people under the age of 21.

Stopping a Drunk Driver

The police often set up random checkpoints on the highway or other frequented routes and stop every vehicle or any car at random for a drunk driving test.  A prior complaint by any other driver or any evidence of inebriated behavior adds on to the suspicion and may result in you having to pull over. According to the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “turning with a wide radius, straddling the painted lines on the roadway, weaving, appearing to be drunk, striking or almost striking another vehicle, swerving, driving on the wrong side of the road and, braking erratically”, all fall under suspicious behaviour.  

Field Sobriety

The field sobriety test usually involves the police officer asking the drunk driver to perform some tasks to check its brain-to-limb coordination. Some of the tests to check the cognitive abilities of a person would be to ask him to walk on a straight line or recite the alphabets backward. The police can even conduct a chemical test using a Breathalyzer to measure the drivers BAC or Blood-Alcohol concentration levels. Normally, the driver cannot refuse to give in a sample of his blood or urine to conduct chemical examinations. Failure to cooperate with the authorities may result in penalties or suspension of the license.  

DUI/DWI Laws

The Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are two offenses registered by law which govern the drunk driving cases. All states have DUI laws which are further divided into two sections- the zero tolerance laws and the per se laws. The zero tolerance laws are for underage drivers. The legal age for drinking in the states is 21, people under the age of 21 if found behind the steering wheel with the lowest trace of alcohol in their bloodstream (even 0.01%) are liable for questioning and a penalty. The per se intoxication laws pertain to all adult drivers who have a BAC of 0.08% or more.

Evidence Involved

The police can convict the driver even without medical proof in case of a “per se intoxication” if there is other evidence to prove his intoxicated state. Most criminal penalties include paying a fee, jail time, probation or community service. People who have a history of DUI violations and reckless road behavior are more likely to get convicted. And if rash driving leads to loss of property or life, then the sentence is even more severe.

The Investigation and Conviction

Once there is enough evidence to convict a driver for rash road behavior, then the police are free to check up on his track record and conduct a detailed investigation to dig up more details. And getting convicted under the DUI laws have an immediate impact on your driving privileges. Your license will be canceled, your vehicle confiscated, and, in some cases, you might even have to serve jail time. If you have a clean track record, chances are the laws might not be as harsh upon you. A regular offender will have to pay the fee and get an ignition interlock system installed in their car at their own expense which could be used to monitor his activities on road.  

What Can You Do?

If you are convicted of drunk driving, the best way out would be to just cooperate with the officers. You can demand a lawyer and legal representation in court, but the district attorney offices are usually unwilling to negotiate for plea bargains especially if it’s a serious violation. You can contact a DUI lawyer to get actionable legal advice.

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Playing Safe with Plea Bargaining

21st century is the age of plea bargain in the United States of America. Gone were those days when people would subject themselves to a trial after being charged with a crime. This reality was acknowledged by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy last 2012.

Nowadays, very few cases go to trial as the majority of felony convictions are now the result of plea bargains. The Bureau of Justice Statistics in US claimed that only about two-thirds of felony defendants were convicted, while approximately more than 95% of these convictions transpired through a guilty plea.

In a plea bargaining, defendants, for whom there are clear evidences of guilt; accept responsibility for their actions as an exchange of getting leniency. At the end of the day,  a time-consuming and costly trial is avoided and everybody is playing safe.

Scope

Plea-bargaining, in layman’s term, is the agreement of a lesser penalty in return for a guilty plea, in which a prosecutor will offer bargains to defendants such as dropping some charges, replacing the original charge with a less serious one or seeking a lower sentence.

Legally speaking, plea bargaining is constitutional. It requires defendants to renounce the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to confront witnesses. Thus, defendants’ guilty pleas must be voluntary, and may only plead guilty if they know the consequences of doing so.

There are three types of plea bargaining. First is Charge Bargaining that is used when a defendant pleads guilty to a less serious crime than the one originally imposed. Second is Count Bargaining that is used when the defendant pleads guilty to a fewer number of the charges. Last is Sentence Bargaining that is used when the defendant pleads guilty knowing what sentence will be given.

Furthermore, it is legally binding. Legally binding indicates that an agreement has been consciously made, and certain actions are now either required or prohibited. Hence, it is a contract between the prosecutor assigned to the case and the defendant named in the case, who must abide by the terms of the agreement.

As plea-bargain considered as a legally binding contract, a defendant breaking a plea bargain is affiliated to a breach of contract, leading the prosecutor to be no longer being bound by his or her responsibility in the plea deal.

If, say, the prosecutor is the one who reneges on a plea agreement, the defendant can seek relief from the judge. The judge might let the defendant withdraw the guilty pleas or may force the prosecutor to follow the plea bargain. Hence, both parties should make sure that the plea bargain is recorded, in case a party would claim that a plea bargain was never been discussed.

Prosecutors’ Perspective

There are specific reasons why a plea bargain is offered by the prosecutor to the defendant. To start with, defendants can avoid the time and cost of defending themselves at trial, the risk of harsher punishment, and the publicity a trial could involve.

What’s more, the prosecution saves the time and expense of a lengthy trial. Guilty pleas can be arranged in minutes, while criminal trials would take days, weeks, or sometimes months. With this, the court system is saved from the burden of conducting a trial on every crime charged.

Legal Process

After the processes of getting criminal charges and initial hearing, an offender can then be offered with plea bargaining. In short, plea deals are done shortly after a defendant is arrested and before the prosecutor files criminal charges. An offender may only plead guilty if he or she actually committed the crime and admits to doing so in open court before the judge.

When an offender admits to a crime, he/she agrees of being guilty and may be “sentenced” by the judge presiding over the court, who is the only person authorized to impose a sentence. The next step is to prepare for a sentencing hearing, only if when there is no trial anymore as the defendant pleads guilty.

Upon taking into place, most plea bargains must be approved by a judge in a court of law. It can’t be approved by a judge, unless both sides of the process agree on the terms of the bargain. The judge will ask both sides if they approve of the terms. If one side does not agree of the terms, then the two parties have to go back to settling the agreement.

Plea bargaining is an entirely private process. In most cases, no one besides the defendant, his or her criminal lawyer, the defense counsel, the prosecutor and sometimes the judge are present in the conference room. Also, everything about the plea bargain is not made known to the public until the bargain has been agreed upon by all sides involved.

Legal Characteristics

Generally, legal characteristics increase the likelihood of accepting a plea, since there is more uncertainty in outcomes for both chronic and more serious offenders. More generally, those who are taken into custody are more likely to accept a plea and are less likely to have their charges dropped.

Other legal characteristics that can increase the chance of accepting a plea include the defendant’s prior record; the use of a public or private defender, such as the Legal Aed Criminal Lawyer in Fresno, California; the detention status of the offender; the seriousness of the current offense and prior record; the seriousness of the crime committed; and the strength of the evidence.

Takeaway

One of the good things about plea deals is that either side can propose a plea. If the defendant’s lawyer feel there is an appropriate sentence for the crime and wish to avoid a trial, they can negotiate with the prosecution to find a punishment that they both agree as just.

Defendants worry about how the punishment for their crime can affect their lives in the long run. Although the defendant will plead guilty to a crime if they accept a plea negotiated by their lawyer, it could be a lesser charge that won’t have such a negative impact on their life.

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2 months ago Criminal Defense , Laws

5 Things to Remember If You’re up Against False Accusations in Court

People can make you crazy. If they make accusations that are clearly (or unclearly) false, your reaction matters a lot. Psychology Today notes, “If you are not believed, if you cannot fight back with the true story, if now you are distrusted and under scrutiny, the sense of helplessness is overwhelming.”

What to do if you’re up against false accusations?

Get a grip

  • False allegations are upsetting. No one appreciates being called a “liar” when there’s so much at stake. Still, you can’t let it get to you.

You should sit and breathe deeply. Lose your cool, and you will miss what is going on. If you expect to argue against the false accusations, you must listen. If you are going to turn these accusations around, you don’t want to complicate the situation with emotional outbursts. Anger and dramatics only stretch you emotionally and exhaust your energy.

Plan your comeback

  • Representation by McPhie Law would urge you to organize your thinking and support. The “false” accusations could be mistakes, miscommunications, or misunderstandings. Reasonable people can work out such things.

So, it is in your interest to plan a response with notes, records, receipts, journal entries, phone reports, bank accounts, and so on. If you have the evidence, you can organize an alternative defense against the accusations. In some cases, this means calling on witnesses to the event or to your version of the issue.

Get a lawyer

  • Some courts don’t admit attorneys. But, if you are called to other civil courts, you should have representation. In Civil Court, false accusations can have big consequences, so you want the legal advice to represent your interests. With the potential for criminal charges or financial damages, you need representation

Court procedures usually have a mandatory settlement negotiation. False accusations or not, you may want to reach a settlement to save yourself expenses and emotional costs.

Keep it to yourself

  • In a criminal case, the police will advise you of your right to avoid self-incrimination. The wording of criminal charges may upset you, but there will be time to make your case.

You shouldn’t answer questions until your attorney is present. The lawyer will meet with you in private about what you did or didn’t do. And, you will leave it to the attorney to frame your response. Likewise, you want to reject any plea deal that lacks your lawyer’s input.

Turn the case around

  • Some false accusations amount to a case deserving financial damages. You could sue for damages to your reputation and earnings potential. Slander and libel justify a lawsuit on your part.

The false accusations can amount to an abuse of the legal process and/or malicious prosecution. When the false accusations are deliberate and malicious, you have the right to recovery. Such events are rarely a matter of a mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication.

Up against false accusations?

Psychologist Dr. Phil says, “Accept that there is no way you can erase what has happened. Even though the accusations may be unfair and untrue, the situation is real. You need to get out of denial about that in order to deal with it in the here and now.” If you can get a hold of this advice you can proceed with the five things you need to remember when you’re the victim of false accusations.

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