Menu
X

Category Archives: Criminal Defense

image

What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney and When Do You Need One?

At some point throughout the course of your life, you’ve likely heard the term “criminal defense attorney.” However, just because you’ve heard the term doesn’t mean that you understand it. After all, there are so many different types of attorneys out there that it can be difficult to keep track of their varying responsibilities.

So, what is a criminal defense attorney? What does a defense attorney do? When do you need one?

You can find the answers to all these questions and more by reading below!  

What is a Defense Attorney?

A defense attorney is a specific type of attorney who defends criminally charged individuals in a court of law. Defendants charged with a crime either hire a defense attorney themselves or have an attorney appointed to them by the court system.

While some defense attorneys are generalists who will take on any type of court case, many defense attorneys have specializations. For example, a defense attorney might specialize in defending those charged with homicide.

Defense Lawyer Responsibilities

Defense lawyers have a number of responsibilities to which they must attend. These responsibilities take place both in and out of court. They are as follows:

Speak With Client About His or Her Case

Whether a defense lawyer is a public defender or works independently, their first responsibility is to discuss their client’s case. Generally, this discussion happens in-person through an interview process.

The attorney will ask the client relevant questions about the case. This helps them get important information and use that information to form a defense. During this process, it’s vital that the client answers questions as truthfully as possible. If a defense attorney receives inaccurate or misleading information, he or she will struggle to create a thorough defense.

Investigate the Case

When it comes to researching the case, interviewing the client is only the tip of the iceberg. Defense lawyers must perform an extensive investigation. This involves speaking to police officers, witnesses, and experts.

In addition to this, the defense lawyer will also review the case drawn up by the prosecution. The prosecution is legally required to submit its case to the defense before the trial begins. This procedure allows the defense an opportunity to build a case against the accusations.

Examine Evidence

After gathering witness and police statements, the defense attorney will turn to the evidence involved in the case. He or she will examine this evidence thoroughly, trying to figure out how it will affect the trial and the perceptions of jurors.

In some cases, he or she will have this evidence tested by an independent entity to figure out whether it can help or hurt the defendant’s case.

Select the Jury

Next, the jury selection process will begin. Defense attorneys have a large role in this process, interviewing prospective jurors to determine whether they have any biases against the defendant.

This process is important to the outcome of the trial. By working to pick and choose desired jurors, a defense attorney can increase his or her client’s chances of a successful trial outcome. Due to its importance, seasoned lawyers will often hire juror selection specialists to help them with this task.

Engage in the Plea Bargaining Process

In some circumstances, prosecutors will grant defendants a lenient sentence in exchange for their cooperation or admission of guilt. For example, let’s say a defendant has vital information about a wanted individual. He or she might be able to provide that information in exchange for a reduced sentence.

This process is plea bargaining, and it is a negotiation between the prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys. A talented defense attorney will often be able to strike up a deal for his or her client. This deal often results in less prison time, smaller fines, and similarly reduced sentences.

Act as the Client’s Representative in Court

Once the defendant’s trial begins, his or her defense lawyer will act as his or her representation. This includes arguing on his or her behalf and acting as his or her legal voice in the courtroom.

While in court, defense lawyers will hear testimonies, speak to jurors, and cross-examine witnesses and experts. This is all done in an effort to sway the jury’s opinion toward the side of the client.

Handle Sentencing

In the event that the defendant receives a guilty verdict, the defense attorney will act as the representative at the sentencing hearing. This is the hearing in which the judge administers a punishment.

Defense lawyers speak to the judge, doing everything in their power to limit the severity of the sentence handed down. While a good criminal attorney won’t always get a sentence reduced, he or she provides the best chance of doing so.  If you lose your case you can always hire a civil appeals attorney.

When Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Generally, it’s recommended that you hire a criminal defense attorney whenever charged with a crime. In some cases, you’ll also want to use the services of a defense lawyer when you’re questioned by police.

All types of crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies, can result in harsh punishments. These punishments include lofty fines and lengthy prison sentences, meaning that you should avoid them at all costs.

An experienced defense attorney knows the ins and outs of arguing in a court case, giving you your best chance of a successful outcome. Whether you’re charged with drug possession, sexual assault, or manslaughter, a defense attorney can help you.

Find a Suitable Defense Attorney Now

Are you facing criminal charges? Looking for a suitable defense attorney to represent you in a court of law? If so, our website can help you.

Halt is a legal directory designed to connect individuals with the appropriate lawyers. Regardless of the charge that’s levied against you, our directory will help you to find an attorney suitable for your case.

Protect yourself and search for an attorney now!

image

Charged with Domestic Assault? 5 Key Points to Remember

You were recently charged with domestic assault or another charge related to domestic violence. Chances are that your mind is filled with questions – especially when it comes to how your case will play out in court. Before you become overwhelmed by an endless maze of “What If?” questions, here are several key points that you must remember:

The Purpose of the Domestic Violence Hearing

The domestic violence hearing is typically the first stage of the judicial response to this type of charge. The judge assigned to your case will primarily focus on two key factors: the evidence and the victim. Is there enough evidence presented that will support a protective order that favors the victim? The answer to that question will help the judge to determine if the alleged assailant should be allowed to have any contact with the victim and (if applicable) their children.

Understand Your State’s Definition of Domestic Violence

How is “domestic violence” defined in your state? A common mistake is to assume that domestic violence only applies to physical violence. However, the definition of domestic violence according to your state may paint a different picture – one that could drastically change the way you view your chances.

For example, in Arizona, the scope of domestic violence covers much more than just physical and sexual violence. It also covers emotional abuse, neglect and economic control. You do not even need to be physically near the alleged victim. Such acts as harassing phone calls, recording them without consent, threatening conversations, or even criminal trespassing can fit within this category as well.

The Victim May Not Be Able to Dismiss the Case

Another common misperception is that all you must do is get the victim to drop the charges to make everything “go away.” First-time offenders may avoid seeking legal representation, because they believe that the victim can have a change of heart and “pull the plug” on the entire case. Once again, this goes back to how your state handles domestic violence cases.

An average of 1,200 people become victims of physical abuse by an intimate partner in the U.S. every hour, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Therefore, it is not surprising that most states take the prosecution of these cases seriously – with or without the continued support of the victim. In most cases, the district attorney is the only one with the authority of drop a domestic assault case. Even if the victim refuses to testify, the State is still able to aggressively prosecute a case.

Mandatory Counseling is Just One of the Potential Results

It is true that mandatory counseling is a typical result of most domestic assault cases even when the assailant is not sentenced to serve any jail time. However, depending on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history, it can still be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It could also lead to restraining/protection orders, custody losses, civil lawsuits, and more. To say that a single charge of domestic assault can change a person’s life forever, therefore, is a major understatement.

Take Your Legal Representation Seriously

It is never wise to face a courtroom battle or any major criminal charge without retaining legal representation. A significant number of people fall into the trap of believing that they have an “open-shut” case that will end in their favor – which is why they feel as if they are saving a lot of money by not retaining a criminal defense attorney to handle their case. As referenced above, by going into the legal proceedings associated with this type of charge without an expert attorney at your side, money is not the only thing you risk losing.

Liz S. Coyle is the Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. She also serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department. She is responsible for internal and external communications for the firm.
Liz S. Coyle

image

Top 5 Things You Need To Know About DWI in Texas

It’s that time of year again.  Everyone is going to parties eating and imbibing.  This time of year the police are out in full force.  Cops are waiting just to pull you over and you don’t want to get caught after drinking.  A DWI is an awful experience and when it happens around the holidays it only compounds the matter.  

You don’t want to be the one to spend Thanksgiving in jail.  Picture it. You enjoy an amazing meal with your friends and family but you had a bit too much alcohol to drink.  You come to a DWI checkpoint or perhaps one of your tail lights were out and you got pulled over. You don’t want to get caught in this situation but if you do here are some things you need to know in the state of Texas or before you call a Houston DWI lawyer.

Factors

Every case is different and when it comes to DWI’s in Texas there are several factors that can have an effect on your case and here are some of the things that a judge considers when sentencing you.  Things such as your age. For instance, if you are under or over 21. What kind of license you possess. Have you had a DWI before? How high was your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)?  Were there any drugs involved? Did you cause or were you involved in an accident? Were there injuries or severe damage to anybody’s car? What is your race and what are the judge’s beliefs and tendencies?  Is your lawyer any good?

Penalties

Using the factors above will determine what kind of penalties you’ll receive.  Some penalties are mandated and some are discretionary pending other factors.  If you are over 21 these are the fines you may receive.

First DWI

3-180 days in jail
Fines up to $2,000
Suspended license up to 2 years
Surcharge annually to keep your license of up to $2,000 lasting 3 years

Second DWI

Jail time of 1 month to 1 year
Up to $4,000 in fines
Suspended license for up to 2 years
Up to 3 years annual surcharge of up to $2,000 to keep your license

Third DWI

2 to 10 years in jail
Up to $10,000 in fines
Suspended license for up to 2 years
Annual surcharge up to $2,000 for 3 years to keep your license
If you are under 21 you are really in trouble.  Texas has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage DWI offenders.  

For your first DWI offense if you are under 21 you’ll face a suspended license for 1 year.   You’ll face fines up to $500 and have to attend an alcohol education program. You may also have to perform community service.  Finally, you may be told you have to put an ignition interlock device on your car. You basically have to blow into a built-in breathalyzer that won’t allow you to start your car if it detects any alcohol.  It will also require you to blow in it from time to time while you are driving too.

image

First Time Behind Bars? 7 Common Questions About Bail Bonds

If you’ve been arrested, getting out of jail is usually the first thing on your mind. But, before your release, there are some important things that you should know.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about how a bail bond works!

1. How Much Will it Cost to Bail Out of Jail With a Bondsman?

The amount that you will have to pay varies depending on the nature of your crime and the amount of bail that’s been assigned to you.

In some instances, a bail bondsman may ask that you pay a small service charge, plus any legally mandated charges that are required by law for your release. Other than these nominal charges, which usually amount to less than $100 dollars, you must pay a set percentage of the total amount of bail that’s been assigned to you.

Most bail bondsmen typically require that you pay 10-15% of your total bail amount. So, if your bail has been set at $10,000 dollars, you could potentially pay just $1,000 instead of the full $10K.

2. What Does It Mean to Enter Into a Bail Bond Agreement?

When you enter into a bail bond agreement, you are making a promise that you will adhere to any legal requirements asked of you which pertain to your case. This includes reporting to the appropriate officials, attending the required court dates, paying any fees assigned by the courts, and so on.

In most cases, you are also agreeing that you will follow the law while awaiting a decision in your case and that you will not incur any additional charges prior to the courts reaching a determination in your case.

If you do not follow the agreement completely, the bondsman has the right to collect the remaining bail money that you were not required to pay at the time of your release.

Furthermore, the bondsman may be held liable for the remaining bail amount if you do not do what is legally required of you by the courts.

3. What is Required at the Time of Signing a Bail Bond Agreement?

To bail out of jail with a bondsman, you only need to meet a few simple requirements.

These requirements typically include the following:

  • A money order for the amount due by the holding facility (this is generally $50 or less)
  • A state-issued or approved form of identification
  • 10-15% of the total bail amount assigned to you or a form of collateral equal to the amount required
  • Providing key information to the bail bondsman, such as your name, address, phone number and your employer, and possibly providing proof of your employment/income
  • Your signature, the signature of any applicable guarantor of funds/terms of release, and possibly the signature of a third-party witness, agreeing to the terms defined in the bail bond agreement
  • You might also be required to sign an agreement with the county or state issuing your arrest

Although these can vary somewhat, depending on your state and the bail bond company that you use, they are usually similar across the board.

4. What Are My Responsibilities Once I Am Released?

Once you have been released from jail, you must comply with your agreement or you risk the possibility of rearrest.

Usually, your responsibilities will include the following:

  • Appearing, on time, to any court dates that are set in your case
  • Reporting to any requested court officials or law enforcement departments as required in your case
  • Reporting regularly to the bail bond company while waiting for the court to make a decision in your case (as required)
  • Meeting any requirements  that are set by the courts/law in your case
  • Refraining from breaking the law or any subsequent behavior which results in further legal action against you during the period prior to the court’s decision
  • Providing the bail bond company and the courts of any changes in your address, employment, phone number, or your general whereabouts.
  • Maintaining the terms of your agreement with the bail bond company

There may be additional responsibilities, depending on your case, that are asked of you. For example, you may not be able to leave the state or contact the defendant in your case, or you may need to adhere to other conditions, such as mandatory drug tests.

5. What Happens if I Miss My Court Date?

If you miss your court date without obtaining permission, then you may be rearrested or have to pay the remaining balance of your bail to the bondsman.

It is essential that you show up to every court date that is assigned to you unless you make prior arrangements to reschedule your case with the courts.

6. How Quickly Can I Bond Out of Jail?

By law, some misdemeanor charges require a mandatory waiting period before the defendant is allowed to bail out of jail. These might include domestic violence charges as well as instances when you are detained under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

In felony cases, and potentially other cases as determined by law, you will have to wait until there is an arraignment, or hearing, and a judge sets the amount of your bail. However, these will usually occur within days of your arrest.

Once bail has been determined and you have undergone any mandatory waiting period, you can usually contact a bail bond company, such as Alamo City Bail Bonds, who will assist you in bonding out of jail. Most of the time, when all other conditions have been met, you can bond out of jail on the day that you contact the bail bond company.

You may need to exercise patience, however. Many times, it can take several hours for the bondsman to arrive, and for them to call you for release. You may also need to take time signing documentation and making financial arrangements.

7. Will I Owe Additional Payments to the Bondsman After I am Released?

In most cases, the answer is no. However, if you do not comply with the terms of your release, you will potentially have to pay the remaining amount of your bail.

The remaining bail amount might be several thousand dollars. And, in some cases, it might even total several hundreds thousands of dollars. So, you want to be sure that you follow your agreement with both the courts and the bondsman in your case.

Get the Legal Help You Need

After you take care of your bail bond, you will be released, but it doesn’t end there.

If you are facing criminal charges, you will need an attorney to represent you in court. If you can prove indigence, the courts are required to provide you with an attorney. However, the court’s requirements to qualify as indigent usually only pertain to a small population of offenders.

A lawyer can help you navigate the court system and will try to make sure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Do you need legal help?

Check out our site to find an experienced criminal defender who will fight for you!

image

The Bloody Truth: Understanding First Degree Murder

You’ll hear on the news and see on television police procedurals that people charged with various types of homicide. First degree murder is the most serious of the various types of homicide, and often leads to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

The different classifications of homicide confuse people. What makes first degree murder worse than second degree or manslaughter? These terms are not interchangeable.

The specific conditions for murder most foul differ by state. First degree murder has specific requirements that prosecutors must meet. Without meeting those requirements, prosecutors must consider a lesser charge.

We’re going to go over all the differences and information in this article, so keep reading.

The Various Types of Homicide

Homicide is a crime where one person dies through the unlawful action of another. Homicides come in three different types. Each must meet specific requirements.

Murder

Murder requires the act be the willful action of another person. The goal of the act is to end the life of the victim. This is generally separated into first and second degree murder. There are also some states that break it down into a third degree.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a lesser charge where another person causes the death, but the act was not to kill. For example, a person charged with manslaughter may give another person a drug that causes them to overdose. The act resulted in a death, but it was not the intent.

States that have third degree murder charges are actually manslaughter charges.

Justifiable Homicide

It’s considered justifiable homicide when a person kills someone in self-defense. This is not a criminal act and no charges are filed.

Example: a mugger attempts to harm another person. He is instead killed by the victim. This is a justifiable homicide. The victim protected himself from harm.

What Is First Degree Murder?

For most cases of first degree murder, prosecutors must meet three criteria: intent, deliberation, and premeditation.

Intent

The goal of the act must be to end the life of the other person. It doesn’t have to be for a specific victim, but that the person who committed the crime wanted this person to die. It could be someone they know, the wrong person, or a random person.

If a gunman fires into a crowd and kills a random person or was looking to kill a friend and got the wrong person, it’s still considered first degree murder.

Intent also applies to anyone who “lies in wait” to kill someone. They are waiting, and intending, to kill the victim.

Deliberation and Premeditation

The second and third criteria go together. They show the person who committed the murder had the conscious intent to kill before the event. It can be an elaborate plan that shows the person spent days, weeks or months planning the event.

If a wife wants her husband killed, then she’ll spend weeks or months finding a person to kill him, raising the money or researching how to do it herself, for example.

It can also be a quick thought with enough time for the person to consider the act wrong and not do it. Even if a person pauses for only a few minutes to consider his actions and kills the person anyway, then it’s still first degree murder.

Let’s say a person is in an argument and in the heat of it pulls out a gun. If he takes a second to reconsider the action, but shoots and kills the other person anyway, then it’s first degree murder. He knew that what he was doing would kill the person and did it anyway.

Difference Between First and Second Degree Murder

There is a distinct, but very important, difference between first and second degree murder. The intent must still be there, but not the plan. These are often considered crimes of passion. The person who committed the crime did not plan before committing the crime.

For example: a husband finds his wife in bed with another man, then in a fit of rage kills him. He could be charged with second degree murder. His intent was to kill the man, but there was no planning.

Special Situations of First Degree Murder

The requirements for first degree murder can vary from state to state. Many states consider special situations that can also be first degree murder.

For example, some states need first degree murder to have malice. Malice means the person committed the crime on purpose with evil disposition or with indifference to human life.

There are some states that allow for first degree murder without the traditional requirements. These are often special circumstances. These include the child death caused by unreasonable force, death due to a pattern of domestic abuse, or death of a police officer.

Many states allow the felony murder rule. It’s considered a felony if the death occurred along with another crime such as theft, rape, etc.

Punishment for First Degree Murder

What is first degree murder? It’s the most serious offense in the law books. As such, it carries significant punishment dependent on the state and how good your lawyer is.

It is eligible for the death penalty and can lead to an execution in some states. The law guarantees a person convicted with the death penalty an appeal.

It is also eligible for life in prison and life in prison without the possibility of parole. States also set requirements on the severity of the crime to receive such harsh punishments. The death penalty may only be eligible if the crime was particularly violent or depraved.

Second degree murder can have a punishment of 20-25 years. This also depends on state law and the circumstances of the crime.

Murder Is a Serious Offense

Television shows can glamorize murder and make it seem almost mundane. It’s not: it’s the most serious crime.

Punishment is severe and law enforcement investigates it to the fullest extent. If you want to learn more about first degree murder and other laws, then visit this website.

image

10 Examples of Police Misconduct to Refer to for Your Case

Police misconduct is any action done by a police officer that is illegal, inappropriate, or against police policies. This is a broad concept that can range from using excessive force, performing illegal searches, selective law enforcement, racial profiling, and even sexual assault.

Because many of these actions and concepts are broad and non-specific, it can be hard to delve into exactly what problems these cases involve. But skilled criminal defense attorneys can often use police misconduct to get criminal charges dismissed or even bring a civil claim against police for financial damages. 

We’re going to go over 10 examples of police misconduct cases so you can see exactly what police misconduct is, and how it plays out in court.

1. Philando Castile Case

The Philando Castile case is one of the most famous police brutality cases to come up since Rodney King’s assault in 1992. So what happened?

Philando Castile was driving in a car with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s daughter. He was then pulled over by Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Mr. Castile immediately reported to the officer that he had a legal gun in his possession.

The events that happened next are the example of police misconduct: Yanez tells Castile not to reach for his gun. Castile replies that he is not going to reach for his gun and that he is going to reach for his ID. His girlfriend, and police body footage, corroborate this story.

However, Yanez does not listen and fires 7 shots into the car, killing Castile. This is considered excessive use of force, especially considering that there was an unarmed person and child in the car when Yanez fired 7 shots at close range.

Yanez was charged with manslaughter and acquitted. However, he was removed from his position as a police officer and Castile’s girlfriend received over 800,000 dollars in settlements from the city.

2. Lying to Investigators

When police officers make an arrest, they’re required to tell the investigators that often take over the case all of the details and information they can. Lying to investigators about anything involving the arrest or the case is an example of police misconduct. This can be considered an obstruction of justice as well as going against police rules and regulations.

After the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, there was a huge Department of Justice probe into the racial profiling and misconduct performed by the Ferguson Police Department.

One thing they found in this report is that officers consistently lied to investigators about arrests, events, and interactions. One example given was that an officer lied about an altercation over the police loudspeaker.

This is a serious police misconduct offense, but the officer was only suspended for 12 hours (which, in fact, is another example of police misconduct, since that punishment doesn’t follow police regulations).

3. Ferguson Racial Profiling

That same report showed multiple examples of racial profiling within the FPD as well. Racial profiling occurs when officers and law enforcement officials use race or skin color as the basis for suspecting a crime.

This occurred a lot in Ferguson and is a prime example of police misconduct. The report showed that officers would target men of color, hold them, and then search whether there was a warrant out for their arrest (which is another example of police misconduct).

4. Planted Evidence

Officers planting evidence in order to make an arrest is a gross misuse of power and an example of police misconduct. A current case involving the premise of planting evidence involves Officer Richard Pinheiro of the Baltimore Police Department.

This case showed via body cam footage that Officer Pinheiro planted fake drug evidence in order to arrest a man on drug charges, which led to this man being held in jail for multiple months (all because of fake evidence).

This might be a problem within the Baltimore Police Department, seeing as another example of planted evidence was unearthed also because of body cam footage at a 2016 traffic stop.

5. Walter Scott Case

The Walter Scott case involves both the issue of planted evidence and police brutality. Attorneys involved in this case had to be both experts on police brutality, civil rights issues, and planted evidence in order to get a conviction.

If you want to learn more about or find lawyers that specialize in police brutality, check out these attorneys.

And get a conviction they did: the officer involved was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in the case. But what happened?

A cell phone video captured the events: Officer Michael Slager pulled over Walter Scott for an allegedly broken taillight. Scott and Slager apparently fought, and Scott fled the scene as Slager fired multiple shots at him (he was unarmed).

Slager is also seen to be placing his taser next to the body of Walter Scott, essentially planting evidence to make it seem like Scott was armed and using a weapon against him.

It was eventually ruled that Slager used excessive force and that Scott’s shooting death should be considered second-degree murder.

6. Sexual Assault and Rape

Some officers use their power to assault and rape alleged suspects. One example detailed how two New York City police officers arrested a young teenage woman for possession of marijuana. They loaded her into their unmarked police van and forced her to perform oral sex on them; they eventually raped her.

They threatened to charge her with crimes if she didn’t follow their orders. They’ve since been charged with multiple crimes including official police misconduct, sexual assault, kidnapping, and coercion.

7. Witness Tampering

Witness tampering is a type of police misconduct where police officers attempt to change or alter witness testimony by bribes, threats, or other coercive measures. An example case of this occurred recently in Maui, Hawai’i.

Now former police officer Anthony Maldonado pulled over a vehicle in a routine traffic stop. During this stop, Maldonado noticed a large amount of cash in the car, so he stole it.

This in itself is an act of police misconduct referred to as theft under the law. That’s not where the misconduct ends, though. Once the man realized his money was stolen, he reported it to the police department.

Maldonado and four others tried to bribe the man to drop the charges and withdraw the complaint. This is considered witness tampering and is a serious example of police misconduct.

Maldonado is no longer on the force, and he faces years in prison for these actions.

8. Drunk Police Officer

Drinking or using drugs on duty is a huge violation of police rules and regulations, which makes it an example of police misconduct. A recent example: a former Georgia police officer was fired after his supervisor discovered him drunk while filing paperwork.

While this might seem relatively innocuous, image what could happen if a police officer was drunk on duty and got into their police vehicle. Or made an arrest while high. Or shot someone in a drunken rage. Or even made a huge error in paperwork that allowed a murderer to walk free.

Even the smallest example of police misconduct is a serious problem.

9. Rachelle Jackson

Rachelle Jackson of Chicago witnessed a horrific car accident involving Chicago police officers. She bravely ran to the car and pulled one of the officers out fearing that the vehicle was going to explode.

When other officers arrived, Jackson was immediately detained and was questioned about stealing the officer’s weapon and disarming a peace officer. She then went to jail for 10 months awaiting trial after she was threatened and essentially forced to sign a statement that officers made for her.

The case was dismissed by a judge and Jackson turned around and sued the officers involved and the city for a false arrest, coercive questioning, and malicious prosecution (all examples of police misconduct).

10. Eric Garner

The Eric Garner case is another example of police brutality as a form of police misconduct. He was allegedly selling illegal cigarettes on the street of Staten Island. He wasn’t threatening or being violent towards the officers.

The officers attempted to make an arrest and wrestled Garner to the ground. They then put him in a chokehold (an illegal maneuver for police officers to perform) when Garner said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe.

“I can’t breathe” has become one of the rallying cries of the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement that focuses on the unfair and biased police brutality that mostly black men (but also any person of color) face.

Officers continued to press his head into the ground and kept him in a chokehold. He suffered neck injuries and died because of those compressions.

This case was considered to show police officers using illegal maneuvers and using excessive force. However, neither of the officers involved were charged with a crime.

The officer who put Garner in a chokehold was stripped of both his badge and his gun. His supervisor was also charged with failure to supervise and also stripped of her badge and gun.

10 Examples of Police Misconduct Cases: Wrapping Up

Police misconduct is a scary thought: police offers are supposed to be the people we trust to keep us safe. But, as these examples of police misconduct show, when police break the law or go against regulations, they can harm people’s lives forever.

If you need a lawyer to help with a potential police misconduct case, contact us. We can help find the best lawyer for your case.

image

Do I Qualify for a Bad Drug Lawsuit? Everything You Need to Know

When you seek medical attention, you put your health in your medical provider’s hands. You expect that the remedies you get work in your favor.

Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies sometimes get sloppy.

When you fall victim to a pharmaceutical company’s mishap, the implications could be dire. You may suffer injury. You may even have your ability to work productively severely impaired.

There may even be fatalities in the worst cases. When you are a victim of pharma negligence, you may be confused about the right avenues to channel your frustrations. It may not be an adequate reprieve, but a bad drug lawsuit puts justice on your side.

Still, battling a multibillion-dollar entity comes with its set of challenges.

Keep on reading to learn more!

When Can I File for a Bad Drug Lawsuit?

A bad drug lawsuit can happen in one or all of the following instances.

1. Insufficient Medical Instructions

At times, drug manufacturers neglect to indicate how one should use their product. As a result, patients take the drug wrongly. The effect of such mistreatment can range from aggravated symptoms to more severe problems.

If you fall victim to such a predicament, you can instate a bad drug lawsuit against the company. This kind of suit falls under the ‘failure to warn’ lawsuit.

Failure to warn remains one of the most prominent cases. They cover instances such as when a company markets its drug intentionally as effective for a specific condition. For example, there have been cases when a company knowingly sells a drug that is not FDA approved.

In other instances, drugs have been used to treat conditions they were not made to address.

In a bid to push sales, a company might fail to disclose all the side effects of a drug. This exposes patients to the harmful impacts. If you are a victim of any of these instances of intentional failure to warn, you have grounds to pursue a bad drug lawsuit.

2. Design Flaws

Advancements have led to some cutting-edge medical innovations. However, this also carries the possible risk of design defects. These defects could cause grievous bodily harm to a patient.

However, the design is not only limited to medical innovations. If a pharmaceutical company releases a drug knowing that the side effects outweigh the pros of a drug, they are liable for a bad drug lawsuit. Most side effects aggravate the patient’s condition to worse levels, leaving them at an often worse state.

3. Manufacturing Defects

Sometimes, a company will encounter a problem on the manufacturing line. This compromises the drug’s safety and puts the patients’ health at risk. When a patient consumes the defective drug, they can request a bad drug lawsuit if they develop complications from such a mishap.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of any of these situations, you can file a bad drug lawsuit to address:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings
  • Reduced earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral costs

The Answerable Parties in a Bad Drug Lawsuit

You can sue a pharmaceutical company. Doctors typically are not part of bad drug lawsuits. If you want to sue a physician due to other factors such as negligence, you need to discuss it with a reputable law firm such as Montes Law PLLC.

You can also sue the testing laboratory. Under strict liability, products claim, the laboratory is assumed to be responsible for the product before it gets to the end user.

Additionally, you can also sue the issuer of the drug if they talked to you about the product. In most cases, a pharmacist will discuss with you the drug before dispensing it. You can include them as a defendant in the bad drug lawsuit.

A doctor can be liable under the failure to warn. Doctors usually know about medications before prescribing them to patients.

The only party that can plead innocence is a sales representative. Since at times they don’t have enough information about the drug, they may have a considerable ground for defense.

However, if the representative knew of the risk of the drug, they are answerable.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Given the complexity and magnitude of such a case, you will require a qualified lawyer to assist you in a bad drug lawsuit.

Cases against mega pharmaceuticals can have you tied up in court processes for years. It is essential that you enlist the services of an attorney to advise on the most viable solution in a bad drug lawsuit.

A lawyer can oversee a settlement, saving you time and hectic processes.

How to Determine the Right Lawyer for a Bad Drug Lawsuit

Going into a class action lawsuit will require an experienced lawyer. To stand a good chance of getting justice, you need to make sure your lawyer is credible to handle such a case. You can identify a good lawyer by asking the following questions.

  • How much will it cost?
  • How extensive is your experience with bad drug lawsuits?
  • How many of these cases have you handled and how many succeeded?
  • Can you provide me with client recommendations?
  • How involved will I be in the case?
  • Have you received any accolades for your work?

These questions help you identify your best legal option.

You stand better chances if you join a group to sue a drug company. As a single entity, you may not generate the kind of attention that is required for you to get redress fast. However, as a group, there is a better chance for settlement or a class action lawsuit.

Can I Expect Any Pushback?

Pharmaceutical companies will often have some defenses specifically for bad drug lawsuits. If you go to trial, the company’s attorney may use:

  • Contributory negligence to imply that you caused your own injury
  • Assumption of risk
  • Product modification
  • The statute of limitation

Bad Drug Lawsuit – Wrap Up

You deserve to get your case heard if you fall victim to bad drugs. There are numerous instances of bad drug lawsuits that have resulted in well-deserved settlements. Contact a lawyer and review your options whether you would like to drive legal action alone or be part of a group case.

Getting a good lawyer to serve you in your case is the key to a successful settlement after the trial. Work with your lawyer and set a date to discuss the possible outcomes of your bad drug lawsuit.

If you’re looking for a good attorney, you can get started by searching for one here.

image

“Help! I got a DUI, Now What?” The 7 Most Important Things to do After a DUI Arrest

What if you spent years in jail because you didn’t understand your rights?

This may sound like a legal nightmare. For those who have been charged with a DUI, those, this can easily become a reality.

If you’re saying to yourself “I got a DUI now what,” the first thing to do is not panic. And the next thing to do is read our comprehensive guide to the seven most important things to do after a DUI arrest!

1. Emotional Preparation

The first step on our list may sound like the easiest. However, in many ways, this is the hardest step of all: emotional preparation.

We’re not going to lie to you: being charged with a DUI is one of the most stressful events you will ever experience. You’re likely to face embarrassment, shame, and even depression before everything is over.

As bad as it is, it’s even worse if all of this comes as a surprise to you. Take the time now to prepare yourself for the various things that could happen. It may also help if you practice some rituals to calm yourself, such as meditation.

2. Do Your Homework

Now that you’re emotionally prepared, the next step is much more down to earth. It’s time for you to write down everything, especially while the incident is still fresh in your mind.

You’ll want to write down details like where and when you were stopped, the reason for stopping you that the officer gave and whether your breath was analyzed. Don’t forget to write down a description of the breathalyzer itself.

Write down the details of what you said to the officer, especially concerning anything that you had to eat or drink that day. Finally, write down any other tests they may have administered, such as a roadside sobriety test.

Every bit of detail will help when you get your day in court. And this information is invaluable to a DUI attorney.

3. Get Help

Remember when we talked about the negative emotional effects of being charged with a DUI? One feeling hovers over the entire experience: isolation.

It’s easy to feel like you’re all alone when you’re dealing with this problem. In addition to hiring professional help (more on this later), now is the time to find friends and family that you can trust as confidantes during this time.

They may be able to help with things like legal research. Mostly, though, you’ll want to have a network of support as a reminder that you are surrounded by people who love you. This will help give you the strength to go on when your case is dragging you down.

4. Get Off Social Media

There is an unfortunate truth when it comes to the legal world. In the eyes of a judge or jury, it’s not always what happened that matters: it’s how it looks. This is why it’s imperative that you delete all of your social media or, at the bare minimum, make your accounts private.

Any posts that you made on the day of the DUI arrest may be framed in a way that incriminates you. And even past photos and posts may be used to incriminate your character, painting you as someone who is often reckless and careless.

In short, you don’t want to give the prosecution any more info than they already have. By deleting your accounts or making them private as soon as possible, you minimize the change that your posting history will be used against you in a court of law.

5. Find Witnesses

Some people feel helpless when they are charged with a DUI. It’s important to fight that feeling and present the best case for yourself that you can. That’s why the next step is finding witnesses.

Basically, anyone that you saw you right before, during, or right after the DUI arrest is a potential witness. You need to contact them, verify what they saw, and then verify that they will be willing to testify in a court of law.

You’ll need to coordinate their accounts with your lawyer (more on this in a minute). But make no mistake: having witnesses versus having no witnesses can very easily be the difference between a positive and negative verdict.

6. Find the Best Lawyer

The next step is highly important. It’s time to find a DUI attorney that will represent you in your case and fight for an “innocent” verdict.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to research possible DUI lawyers online and find the ones that are best for you. You can use these lawyers as a benchmark for many of the attorney qualities that you are looking for.

You’re going to be reviewing factors such as price, experience, reputation, and so on. But it’s also important to try to meet with any prospective lawyers and see if you feel a positive connection to them.

That may sound silly, but you are going to be working very closely and very intensely with this person. Establishing that you have a natural rapport right off the bat will make that experience much easier.

7. Stay in Constant Communication

Some people think that hiring a good DUI attorney is the end of the story. However, there’s still a lot for you to do. And the top of that list is to stay in constant communication with your lawyer.

The first step is to pass along any information, evidence, and witnesses to your lawyer, as these will be instrumental in the success or failure of your case. But the communication doesn’t stop there.

Check in with your attorney frequently to get updates on the case and to see if there is anything you can do. Even unexpected advice from the lawyer such as how to dress for your day in court may prove invaluable.

“I Got a DUI now what:” The Bottom Line

Now you’ve got a good answer to “I got a DUI now what?” However, do you know how to find the DUI lawyer who is best for you?

At the Halt Lawyer Directory, we specialize in connecting clients with the best possible legal assistance. To see how we can help prove your innocence, contact us today or read more!

image

Parole hearing – How it works

The prisoner must have completed the minimum years of confinement as per law before he is eligible for release on parole.

Once the minimum sentence period (ERD) nears, a dossier (parole eligibility report) is prepared. This report includes details of the behavioral changes of an inmate in his prison stay, doctors, psychiatrist’s reports and their other observations on the prisoner.

The parole board is a three-member independent committee under the Ministry Of Justice.

If an inmate is allotted a parole hearing date, the same must be communicated to the victim or his immediate kin via mail or phone. The victim has many ways to voice his/her opinion on his/her tormentor’s parole decision. He / She can submit own opinion on parole prior to the hearing to a designated officer, who summarizes the victim’s verbatim for consideration by the parole board.

At this stage, new facts may emerge which affect the perspective of the parole board. For example, the accused may have been given punishment based on last crime he committed. Other evidence might have been disallowed in this case. However, during the parole hearing, it may become known that the accused had actually been a habitual abuser and not a one-time offender as made out from the last verdict. The attitude of the board is likely to turn negative on this new evidence.

One important aspect is that the parole members pour over many facets of the prisoner, which might not be available or admissible in the court at the verdict time. Close monitoring of the inmate, his behavior for days on end in the prison, his participation in different jail programs, his efforts for freedom in the legal way all come under lenses during the parole board examination.

How can parole be beneficial?

When a person is sent to jail, apart from the victim, innocent members of the accused family also suffer from financial and mental stress. They can be innocent toddlers, children, old-age geriatrics literally left to die after the removal of the person (accused ) from their support system. Without financial, mental support, the children of the accused themselves fall prey to sexual crimes. They may grow up to be criminals themselves. Bringing back the accused member of the family along with work may again tilt the financial and mental support back in the family of accused.

After the jail experience, the value of freedom is magnified to the prisoner. He is much less likely to commit re-crime after this lesson. With gratification for parole, he can even become a contributing member to the society.

The Parole Hearing Process

At first, the inmate interacts with one board member. The board member tries to prod into the psychology of the prisoner and not get swayed by his charm or his apparent normal happy attitude, fit enough for a release.

During the parole, the victim can attend with one support person, but he is not allowed to participate in the hearing process

Most Important – What is considered during this review

The parole hearing places the utmost stress on one question “Is it safe to release the inmate in the community, keeping in mind the grave crime that the prisoner had committed. Have really things changed for the better?”

The parole board goes over all that is documented in the parole dossier; hear what the accused and victims have to say about the parole, new evidence, past incidents, past history of the prisoner. The board listens and reads about the psychiatrist review of the inmate. Detailed, painstaking deliberation of this data helps to arrive at a decision regarding on whether the release of the inmate will raise the potential danger of society or not.

Another painful fact that is considered for parole is whether,on release, the convict will get adequate support to integrate and live in society. If no adequate plans are found to rehabilitee the inmate after his release, then his frustration may force him to re-commit crimes. In such cases where, where no suitable plan can be formulated for a decent life of prisoner after release, he may be asked to stay in jail till suitable resources can be found.

The parole members are under continuous pressure to ensure that their decision to release does not make people lose faith in the judicial process. But, they have to also consider providing the chance for a human reform which is not possible when being fried in jail.

It’s not that denial of parole once ends this facility for the prisoner. In some states, parole reports are sometimes automatically reviewed after a fixed number of years.

After Parole

After parole, the inmate will be under surveillance and report to the parole officer. If not reported within 24 hours of his release from correction home, he will be termed as an absconder.

There are various levels of supervision in parole for various types of crimes committed. For sex offenders, the maximum level of surveillance is maintained.

Conclusion

Parole, in reality,is the second judgment and the process is complex. It does not have a very rigid set of rules like the law court has, and rely much more on the personal perception of the parole board members. With a heavy heart, they have to sometimes deny this truncated right when they are not too sure about the future of the inmate after parole. Being ignorant about the laws can also lead to rejection even when the board member knows that the person in question deserves that chance. So, it’s a non-thankful heavy-hearted decision, which weighs heavily on the board members conscience and can swing anyway after release. However, experienced parole members can sniff out discrepancies in what the prisoner is trying to portray for his release and what he actually thinks in his depths of his criminal mind.

image

Former Inmate Teaches Attorneys Continuing Legal Education Courses

Criminal defense attorneys are often the sole advocate for their clients. From the moment their client is charged with a criminal offense until the judge completes the sentencing process, the criminal defense attorney is required to use their legal expertise and professional experience to provide their clients with the best service possible. In addition to providing legal counsel, a criminal defense attorney also must be compassionate, empathetic and understanding.

In many cases, empathy can be challenging — especially since the criminal defense attorney has likely never been in the same position as their client. Now, Prison Coach John Fuller is offering criminal defense attorneys the opportunity to learn more about their clients’ perspective while also providing actionable advice for improving their legal services.

John Fuller is a former inmate who now works as a prison coach and motivational speaker. Criminal defense attorneys around the country have found him to be a valuable resource, as he can provide them with a unique perspective into the lives and minds of their clients. 

Benefits of CLE Training with Prison Coach John Fuller

As opposed to other CLE training opportunities that may discuss legal minutiae or industry trends that impact attorneys or their clients, John Fuller’s speaking engagements provide real-life insight into the perspective of those facing criminal charges and those who have been sentenced to a prison term. His personal experience and professional knowledge provide him with the qualifications necessary to take on these issues and to provide attorneys with guidance as they work with their clients.

Criminal defense attorneys who complete training with Prison Coach John Fuller leave their experience with:

  • A better understanding into the perspective of their clients. John Fuller is a former inmate who has spent time in more than 9 different correctional facilities throughout the country, and he has an intimate understanding of what life is like during incarceration. He provides attorneys with insight into the physical and emotional challenges that incarcerated individuals face, which in turn allows attorneys to be more understanding and empathetic with their clients.
  • An ability to prepare their clients for incarceration. Many criminal defense attorneys find themselves faced with a client who has been sentenced to months or years in the prison system, and it can be a difficult conversation to have. By completing training with John Fuller, criminal defense attorneys will be able to provide their clients with specific information that will prepare them for what they will experience once they begin their prison sentence.
  • Actionable tips that they can use to improve their legal practice. In addition to providing attorneys with information that they can relay to their clients, John Fuller gives practical and actionable advice that attorneys can use throughout their experience with clients who are facing criminal charges and possible prison sentences.

As a former inmate, author, public speaker and prison coach, John Fuller is the ideal person to lead a training seminar or conference breakout session. He is a valuable asset to anyone in the legal profession, particularly those who specialize in criminal defense.

Testimonials: What Legal Experts Have to Say About Training with John Fuller

As a prison coach and motivational speaker, John Fuller has had the opportunity to work with criminal defense attorneys from around the country. He has offered training sessions through local bar associations and at private practices that have been well-received by all in attendance. The attorneys who complete his training programs have left with a sense of fulfillment, and they are excited to make the adaptations necessary to provide their clients with a better experience.

Melinda Pendergraph, training director at the Missouri Public Defender’s Office, appreciated the ability to better understand the clients who they work with on a daily basis.

“For me to have the information to explain to them what’s going to happen to them when they go into a prison, it makes all of the difference,” Pendergraph said after a recent training session. “Sometimes it’s hard for our clients to share those experiences, so it was really helpful for me to hear from someone who has been there.”

Not only does John Fuller offer valuable information and additional resources that attorneys can use, he presents it in a manner which is digestible and engaging. 

“His communication was great, the way that he was able to get it across to us — it was very easy to understand,” said Adam Woody, attorney and vice president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “It’s very valuable information that without a doubt I’m going to use. I’m going to put it in my toolbox.”

Ultimately, it’s John Fuller’s commitment and dedication that shines through when he is discussing the topic of incarceration with attorneys.

“The passion that he has for it is evident,” said Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Vernon. “The fact that he’s evangelizing — he’s writing books, he’s trying to help people, he’s going out and giving these kinds of talks.” 

About Prison Coach and Motivational Speaker John Fuller

As a young adult, John Fuller lived a life of crime and ended up facing criminal charges that resulted in more than 10 years in prison. He spent time in 9 different correctional facilities, including 5 federal prisons. Upon his release in 2002, he vowed to start his life anew. He began a career as a prison coach, in which he assists individuals facing incarceration and helps to prepare them for the upcoming experience. He encourages his clients to make the best out of this difficult time. In addition, John Fuller is a motivational speaker and a teacher who hopes to help legal professionals better prepare their clients for incarceration.

Prison Coach John Fuller is available to speak at legal conferences, CLE training classes and criminal defense seminars. He has experience speaking to local bar associations, criminal defense organizations and individual law firms. He enjoys traveling around the country and providing attorneys with personal and professional insight that can help them improve their relationships with their clients. 

For more information on booking Prison Coach John Fuller for your next conference, seminar or training experience, contact him today.

Newsletter
Location

© Copyright 2019 Halt Law Directory | Connecting Attorneys with Clients in Need. All rights reserved.