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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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!

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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.

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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.

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How to Find the Ideal Criminal Defense Lawyer

One of the hardest parts of being involved in a criminal offense is the process of finding the right criminal defense attorney. It is also the most crucial aspect in your effort to prove yourself not guilty of a criminal offense. However, the attorney that you should get must be someone who is trustworthy — their success or failure in defending you will surely have many repercussions on your life. Hence, you should carefully consider your choice, and some of these simple tips may help you in finding the right criminal defense attorney.

1.  Do some research on the roles played by a defense attorney

Knowing the basic roles of a criminal defense attorney will help you figure out if you really need one or not. Most specifically, a criminal defense lawyer is someone who represents anyone who is charged with criminal conduct or a civil lawsuit. The good thing is that most attorneys can handle both civil and criminal offenses. However, there are really some whose expertise is in criminal defense.

A defense attorney will help you in many ways. First, they can help you with any legal issue pertinent to your case. They can also identify pretrial issues concomitant with your case, and issue motions aimed at dismissing or improving your situation. Moreover, if you go on trial, your defense attorney would then represent you in court with the view in mind of getting you a fair trial or a more positive result.

2.  Ask your friends and relatives if they could recommend a criminal defense attorney

This is the easiest way to find a criminal defense lawyer within your area. If you live, for example, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, one of your relatives will surely know some attorneys in Chapel Hill, NC whom you can hire on as your defense lawyer.

3.  Figure out if you really need a defense lawyer

When you are charged with any criminal offense, you should readily seek the help of a legal adviser. You need someone to advise you on the implications of your offense even if you don’t intend to hire them as an attorney. This will ensure that you understand the ramifications of the charges filed against you. Your legal adviser then would expound on the possible defense you can take. They will also figure out if you can ask for a plea bargain. Moreover, they will also delineate to you the possible steps you can take if you get convicted.

4.  Consult with a public defender

Public defenders are usually reserved for people who could not afford a private attorney. They generally don’t have enough time to dwell on your case because they have many cases to attend to. Hence, if money is not an issue, you should instead hire someone who could focus on your case.

5.  Look for an expert criminal defense attorney

There are criminal attorneys who have specialties, although all of them routinely do criminal defense cases. However, if money is not an issue, you should ensure that you get the defense attorney who specializes in your type of case. This is crucial to the success of your defense. Hence, you should confirm if the specializations of your prospective defense attorney are completely related to your case.

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Criminal Defense: 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Attorney

So you just got home from jail and now you’re wondering how you’re going to handle your case.

You’ve been offered a public defender, but with the number of cases on their plate, you know your case would never get the attention it needs. You have to be sure you are getting the best representation possible.

But if you’ve never been in this situation before, then how do you know what to look for?

Fortunately, we’ve compiled this list of the 10 best questions to ask prospective criminal defense attorney (or abogado criminal in español) before hiring them.

1. Do You Have Experience With This Type of Case?

Hiring a lawyer is an opportunity for you to have an expert on your side. They should be someone who is familiar with the in’s and out’s of cases like yours and knows how to respond to common questions and arguments in the courtroom.

Lawyers often specialize in parts of the law that are of interest to them. Be sure you locate a lawyer that finds your case meaningful and worthy of investing their time and energy into.

2. What Are the Likely Outcomes of My Case?

No matter how hard your lawyer fights, they can never guarantee that they will win your case.

Even the lawyers at Lucero Law Firm, sometimes have to do their best and walk away.

But your lawyer should be able to give you some idea of what you can expect the outcome of your case to be. They will have come across others like yourself that have been handed down their punishments already and can paint you a picture of the range of expectations you should consider.

3. What Will Fees and Expenses Be?

When you decide to hire a lawyer, the entire cost comes out of your pocket and it can be difficult to come up with all the money. Find out up front what the costs are that are associated with your case.

You won’t only be paying for your lawyer. In the long run, you can also expect to pay fees tacked onto your case by the court as punishment for your crime if you’re convicted.

Make sure that you have an idea of all the potential expenses involved before you commit to anything. The last thing you want is to be left without a lawyer at the end of your case because you ran out of money to retain one.

4. When Will My Payment Be Due?

You should also know when the payment will be due. Many lawyers require that you pay half of their fee up front, while others may allow you to make monthly payments.

5. Do You Have a Strategy in Mind That We Will Use?

When you are charged with a crime, the police will provide evidence against you that proves your involvement. There are many different ways to dispute their charges based on how much information is available to the police and how you acted during the arrest process.

Your potential lawyer will discuss your actions with you and let you know what your best course of action will be. When discussing this, you need to make sure you understand fully the aspects of the defense that your lawyer is proposing.

6. Is There Any Way to Avoid a Trial?

Going to trial is costly, you will have to pay for your lawyer to take the time to come to the courtroom for your case, often more than one time. In addition, you will have to pay court costs for the trial that pay for the time of the judge and prosecutor who have to be there.

These costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are many cases that are solved with plea bargains before they ever reach the courtroom. A plea bargain happens when the prosecutor tells you that you can agree not to contest your charges, in exchange for a lighter sentence.

7. How Long Can I Expect My Case to Take?

Depending on how much time it takes to gather the information for your case, and how heavy the caseload is at the courthouse, you could expect your case to take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Your lawyer should be able to paint you a good idea of the timeline for this which will help you to make financial decisions in the meantime.

8. How Often Can I Expect to Hear From You?

The first time you meet your attorney is often when bail is set. After that first interaction, you may or may not hear from them often.

Lawyers often have many different clients that they are working with all at the same time. That means that you probably won’t hear from your lawyer every day or even every month.

Talk to your lawyer about what expectations you should have.

9. What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for Court?

On the day of your trial or plea agreement, you will need to dress properly and arrive on time. In addition, you may need to bring certain documentation with you. Your lawyer will be able to let you know what you need.

10. What Potential Punishments am I Facing and How Likely are They?

For every crime, there are standards of punishment issued by the government. But based on your criminal history as well as the factors involved in the crime, you could receive a wide variety of sanctions.

A qualified lawyer will be able to tell you what the potential punishments are for your crime so that you are ready for any outcome.

Hiring an Attorney That Will Work for You

Now that you have your questions prepared, you’re ready to start hiring an attorney. Check out our listings to find the right one for you!

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5 Tips To Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are over 1.3 million active attorneys in the United States. How do you begin to choose a lawyer when there are so many to choose from? They can’t all be great lawyers.

Choosing a criminal defense lawyer is a big decision. Here are 5 tips to help you choose the best criminal defense lawyer for you.

1. The Best Criminal Defense Lawyer for You

Choosing a lawyer is not just about choosing the best criminal lawyer. Yes, you want to find a good criminal lawyer but you want the best one for you. That means you want one who is going to meet your needs.

You need a lawyer you can understand. Someone who talks your language and takes time to explain your options. Look for a lawyer who will act as your adviser and who you feel comfortable with.  It is also critical that they have a firm grasp of all the best criminal defense attorney strategies that can be used to win your case.

2. A Lawyer with the Right Experience

Not all lawyers are the same. Some specialize in personal injury and others in criminal law.

Even criminal lawyers may specialize.

If your case is about violent crime then don’t get a lawyer whose only experience is driving under the influence (of drugs). Check out their website and see what cases they specialize in.

For example, here is a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney with a wide range of criminal law experience.

3. Check the Team

Preparing a case for the court is not a one-person job. Even a very good defense lawyer needs a team behind them. Check to see whether there are an administrative team, paralegals, and other criminal lawyers in Greensboro NC backing up your lawyer.

If you have the best criminal lawyer in the business but he gets sick, will you have another member of his team ready to step in? Will they be up to the job? Ask to meet other members of the team and ask about their skills and experience.

4. Check References

Find a good criminal lawyer and you will find a reputation to match. Ask friends and associates for recommendations. Ask for references and talk to previous clients.

Good lawyers have a reputation within their profession. Ask other lawyers to recommend a criminal lawyer. They don’t have to be criminal lawyers themselves to know who has a good reputation in the profession.

5. Confident but No Guarantees

Find a criminal lawyer who is confident that they will build the strongest case possible. An air of confidence is a helpful trait in a lawyer. Be skeptical of any lawyer who guarantees you a specific result.

The law is uncertain. Even the best criminal lawyer cannot predict exactly what will happen.  If, God forbid, you lose your case you can always hire an appeals attorney.

Don’t be taken in by a lawyer who promises you the earth.

Take Your Time, Choose Carefully

Facing criminal charges is a worrying prospect. This is not something to take lightly. You need to get the best help you can if you hope to get the best outcome you can.

Getting the best criminal defense lawyer is important to spend some time and effort in researching your options. Select the right lawyer for you.

For more advice about the law, click here.

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St. Paul DWI Attorney – Drunk Driving Defenses in Minnesota

When the police pull a person over, they are breathalyzed and charged with a DWI; it seems like an impossible situation to “get out of”.

While, most drivers will not get away with it scott-free; there have been some pretty unbelievable cases of people who were clearly guilty of driving with a high BAC getting the proverbial slap on the wrist. This miracle is usually the result of the driver hiring a top DWI attorney that is knowledgeable about the laws in the specific state and region of arrest.

Leverson Budke Criminal Defense

295 Marie Ave E #240
St. Paul, MN 55118

(651) 829-3572
skbudke@leversonbudke.com
nrleverson@leversonbudke.com

State Specific

The United States are uniform with regards to DWI law in that the legal limit for alcohol in the blood stream while driving is .08. This is approximately 2 standard sized drinks in an hour depending on weight and gender.

Other than that, each state has its own unique set of DWI laws. States like Minnesota have relatively lenient DWI laws. So much so, that a man was arrested in October, 2017 for driving while intoxicated for the 28th time in his life. Worse yet, he had a valid driver’s license. Issues like this have led to a call to action for Minnesota revamping their DWI laws.

Stricter states like New York can and will revoke a license indefinitely after three DWI’s within a certain period of time.

I Got Drunk After I Was Driving

An affirmative defense to a DWI charge is exactly what it sounds like. A Defendant is “affirming” that they were drunk and behind the wheel but they are defending their actions with some kind of reason.

There are only two affirmative defenses to a DWI in Minnesota.

The first affirmative defense is that the alcohol was consumed after driving and before the breathalyzer was given. In this situation, the Defendant is saying, “Yes, I was impaired, but not while I was driving”. The Defendant must prove that they drank enough after driving and within two hours of when they were behind the wheel to cause a high BAC.

An example of a scenario like this may be if a person got into an accident and then went inside and had a few drinks while waiting for the police to arrive (not likely). The police would see that the person is drunk and issue a DWI. If it  can be proven that the suspect was not drunk when they were driving and they got drunk afterward then the suspect may be free of criminal liability.

Prescription Medication

The second affirmative defense in Minnesota is for being under the influence of prescribed medication. This defense is basically saying, “Yes, I was impaired but the doctor gave me these pills”. The inherent problem with this defense is the fact that every bottle of pills that could possibly impair a person comes with a clear warning to not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking.

There are several other defenses and legal maneuvers for DWI charges. Only an attorney could possibly know what laws to use and how to apply them to a specific case.

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