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Category Archives: Criminal Law

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

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

  • Familiar territories

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

  • Defend you

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

  • Paper work

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

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7 months ago Crimes , Criminal Law , Fraud , Laws

Types of Prison Sentences in the UK

The UK government has different types of prison sentences, that are given out to both adults and young people in court. Learn about all of them, in this post.

When the law is broken, and a person is sentenced for a crime, there are varying degrees of prison sentences given. In the UK, our criminal justice system encompasses different types of prison sentences, for those found guilty in a court of law. As each crime is different, some less serious than others, there must be different forms of prison sentencing in place.
We’ve spoken to THB Legal, leading solicitors in Chelmsford serving Essex and East Anglia, about the different kinds of prison sentences there are in the UK. In this post, we will examine what each of these sentences entails, including length and conviction. Learn all about the prison sentencing process, right here.

1. Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

In cases of criminal law, where the person is convicted of committing more than a single crime, these prison sentences are called concurrent and consecutive sentences. The difference between them is that concurrent sentences are sentences served in conjunction with one and another, where us consecutive sentences are served one after the other. So, if a judge or magistrate sentences the person to a concurrent sentence of one crime equalling 2 years and another crime with a sentencing of 4 years, they will be imprisoned for 4 years in total (as the sentences are served at the same time). As for consecutive sentencing, if the same person has committed one crime and been sentenced for 2 years, with another crime committed where the sentencing is 4 years, they will serve a total of 6 years in prison.

2. Suspended Prison Sentences

Suspended sentences are when the person deemed guilty, serves their sentencing outside of prison – in the community. This comes with conditions of service, including having to refrain from going near a specific place or individual or doing unpaid work for the community (known as community payback). In suspended prison sentencing cases, if the person sentenced breaks the conditions of their sentencing, they can be put into prison. Those on suspended sentencing must adhere to certain requirements, including activity, unpaid, curfew and residence requirements among others (specified by the judge or magistrate on sentencing). Suspended prison sentences are usually for less severe criminal charges.

3. Determinate Prison Sentences

This type of prison sentencing specifies a set, fixed length of time. Determinate sentencing is given by a judge or magistrate where the person convicted serves for a fixed length of time. There are some exceptions, but usually a determinate prison sentence must be served in full. However, for sentences of over 12months, the first half of the sentence is carried out in prison. Then, the second half of the sentencing is carried out in the community. Similar to suspended sentencing, there are some criteria that must be met. If the person convicted breaks the conditions of their second half community sentencing, they can be placed back into prison. Similarly, for cases where the determinate sentence is under 12months, the prisoner is usually released half way through their sentence.

4. Indeterminate Prison Sentences

Contrasting determinate prison sentences, indeterminate sentences do not have a fixed period of time for sentencing. For those incarcerated, this means that they will not have a date that they are released from prison. The judge will provide a set amount of years that are the minimum that must be served, also known as a tariff. Once the tariff has been served, they will be considered for release. A Parole Board will decide if the individual is allowed to be released, after their tariff has been served. A collection of individuals will determine whether a prisoner can be released on parole, taking into consideration the safety of the public should this person be released. They must assess if they are going to be able to re-enter this person into society without any negative impact on the public.

5. Life Sentences

For the most severe of cases, courts must give life sentences. A life sentence is given in cases of murder but can also be given for other severe cases included bank robbery and rape charges. Life sentences usually are served for the remaining duration of the individual’s life. Should they be considered for release, if they commit another crime whilst out of prison, they can be returned into prison at any given time. If the court gives a whole life sentence, the convicted person is not considered for release, under any circumstances. There is no minimum term and no chance for release. If the judge deems the case serious enough to grant a whole life sentence, the convicted will serve the rest of their life in prison (without chance of release).

6. Sentences for Young People

All of the sentences above are for adults (those over the age of 18). Those ages 17 and under receive different sentences for crimes. Firstly, there is detention and training order, given to those aged between 12-17. The sentence ranges from 4months – 2 years. The first half of the detention and training order is served in custody, then the second half will be served whilst they’re in the community. However, for crimes more severe, like violent and sexual crimes, young people will receive an extended sentence. Young people given an extended sentence may spend a long time in custody. When they are released, they will be placed under supervision. This supervisory period lasts, again, for a long time. They are usually tagged in this period to be monitored.

Finally, for cases of murder where the person is young, courts will set a minimum amount of time for the young person to spend in custody. They will be unable to apply for parole until this minimum sentence has been served. Should they be released, they will be under supervision for the remainder of their lives. For other serious crimes, young people can be given the same sentence as an adult, including life sentences.

These are the different kinds of prison sentences for those convicted in the UK.

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7 months ago Criminal Law , Laws

What You Need to Know About Your Criminal Attorney: 10 Factors You Need to Consider Before Hiring a Criminal Attorney

If you have a need to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney, it may be the most consequential decision that you make in your entire lifetime. When you hire an attorney, you are not just employing an attorney, but you are also hiring the person and the background. There are many factors to consider when you select a lawyer that will help you make the right decision. Here are some of the things that you should think about before you choose your criminal defense attorney.

Reputation

Most importantly, you will want to hire a lawyer who has a solid reputation among their colleagues and in the legal community in general. Stated simply, in the legal community, perception is the reality. It follows that a lawyer is their reputation. A competent and professional lawyer will be thought of as such by their colleagues. You can get a sense of a lawyer’s reputation by asking their colleagues about them. In addition, there are reviews of a lawyer that are available in the public domain. These reviews can give you a sense of what it is like to work with the lawyer.

Specialty

When you are seeking a lawyer, it is best to hire someone who specializes in the area of law that you need. When it comes to criminal law, you will want to find someone who is a dedicated criminal defense attorney. It is best not to hire a legal generalist for a matter as vitally important as a criminal defense. There are considerations that are specific to a criminal proceeding that a lawyer must know, and they learn these skills by practicing in the area every single day. Hiring a corporate attorney will not help you achieve the best result in a criminal matter.

Experience

Similar to the need to hire a specialist, you should also make sure to hire a lawyer with the right type of experience. There is no one-size-fits-all criminal defense lawyer. You could need a lawyer who specializes in white collar matters. Alternatively, you may require a lawyer who handles a different type of case, such as a DUI. Make sure that you know what type of criminal lawyer you are hiring before you sign the retainer agreement because one type of lawyer may not be able to handle your specific case.

Qualifications

A lawyer’s background may also be able to tell you something about the quality of the lawyer. Check the attorney’s educational pedigree and some of their professional qualifications and then read more about the attorney. While there are many good lawyers who graduate from lower-ranked law schools, you have a better chance of success when you retain a lawyer who excelled at a top law school.

Connections

If you are in the midst of a complicated matter that may require some negotiation with law enforcement, you may want a lawyer on your side who you know has some connections with those agencies. For example, a lawyer who formerly worked as a prosecutor may have some connections in the prosecutor’s office. If your attorney has worked with these offices before in any capacity, the prosecutor or law enforcement may be more willing to negotiate and deal with your attorney.

Cost

While criminal defense is not an area where you should seek to cut corners and costs, you also do not have an unlimited budget and do not want to emerge from any proceeding financially destitute. It is important to weigh the benefits of the lawyer versus the costs to retain that attorney. You should be conscious of the fact that you could run out of money during a long proceeding, and if that happens, you may be forced to seek new counsel.

Payment Requirements

An outgrowth of the consideration about cost, certain lawyers may have requirements of how their fees are paid. Each lawyer will require you to pay a retainer. Some lawyers may require a larger retainer up front that you will need to come up in order to hire the lawyer. The attorney may offer a payment plan that will make it easier to pay the legal fees as they arise. This will make it easier for you to keep your lawyer throughout the course of the proceeding.

Manner

You will have to interact routinely with your lawyer during the course of your proceeding. The lawyer explains the law to clients and acts as counselor and adviser. It is essential that you are comfortable with the lawyer and have some sort of rapport. A criminal proceeding is uncomfortable by nature and you will need a lawyer who will put you at ease as opposed to making your life even more difficult than it already is at this point.

Responsiveness

One of the worst things that a lawyer can do is fail to return phone calls and emails. In fact, a lawyer is under a professional obligation to adhere to a certain level of responsiveness to their clients. You will be able to tell how responsive a lawyer is while you are vetting them. Ask point blank how long it takes a lawyer to respond to emails and phone calls. While it is unreasonable to always expect an immediate reply, a certain degree of responsiveness is expected.

Free Consultation

Although it is not necessarily a make-or-break factor in choosing which lawyer to hire, the ability to get a read-out on your case without incurring a bill can be helpful. In addition, during a free consultation, you should be able to get a sense of how a lawyer approaches an issue and interacts with you. A consultation can enable the lawyer to gain your confidence and trust without charging you. This is almost like getting a free sample of legal advice.

When you make such an important decision, it is essential that you approach it critically and paying attention to all of the potential factors. Sometimes, the right lawyer can make a difference in the legal outcome of your case. Certainly, this is not a decision that you can make with your eyes closed. By weighing all of the factors, you can end up with the right lawyer for you.

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3 Mind Blowing Benefits Of Hiring The Right Criminal Attorney

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

  • Protection

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

  • Comfort

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

  • Strategy

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

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Playing Safe with Plea Bargaining

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

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

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

Scope

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prosecutors’ Perspective

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

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

Legal Process

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

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

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

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

Legal Characteristics

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

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

Takeaway

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

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

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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!

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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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No More Cash Bond: What You Need to Know About California Bail Reform

Despite decreasing trends in violent and property crimes, there’s still trouble in the neighborhood.

Crime is in every city and town, ranging from trespassing onto private property to carrying illegal substances. It’s an unfortunate yet inevitable part of society that will never go away.

Most of us are concerned about the finding of a criminal but forget the processes that happen after they are found. However, the post-crime processes are all the talk right now in California.

Make sure you keep reading to get all the latest updates on the California bail reform. How many other states are to follow?

Evaluating Risk

California decided to rid the use of cash bail bonds. Trust us, you aren’t the only one asking questions. There is a ton of talk surrounding this issue and plenty of people trying to understand how it’s going to work.

Instead of using cash bonds to get out of jail, the state will now be utilizing evaluations determining an individual’s risk. The risk of fleeing and causing further danger to other people and property will be determined on a person-by-person basis, and this will affect monetary obligations and bail conditions.

No one is exactly sure what specific performance scales, answers, and clues the state will be looking at in this California bail reform to determine risk levels. The uncertainty of the issue is causing quite the stir across the state.

In fact, in some cases, the risk level can be swayed according to local laws and regulations. Many people are asking, “Will these risk levels affect the rights of the accused?”

While some officials are claiming the riddance of cash bail bonds will cause a level playing field among the rich and poor, some are afraid this will result in greater racial issues.

Those who are against the reform are not going down without a fight.

What If?

This whole reform raises a handful of “What If?” questions California may have to answer.

What if the risk evaluation of an individual wasn’t correct and someone who was expected to turn up to court does not? What if arrest warrant rates increase?

What if an individual determined “low risk” simply hasn’t been caught for a handful of crimes in the past? What if they wreak even bigger havoc when released?

It’s a tricky game to play with plenty of controversy surrounding the topic. Many people are saying this removal of the cash bail bond is happening too quickly for comfort.

Catch Up on the California Bail Reform

Cash bails have been around for a long time, allowing those detained to be released prior to their hearing in promise of cash payment or release of property. California is changing up the game in the California bail reform.

Some have issues with all the power that is going to be given to prosecutors when determining whether the criminal is of a low, medium, or high risk. Others are thinking this new process will create a more level playing field across the economic spectrum.

If you have any further questions on processes of law or need help finding a lawyer, get in touch or explore our blog.

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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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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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