Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Law Blog

Arrest, murder charges follow Baton Rouge shooting

Action is the first order of business when a crime shakes the foundation of a neighborhood or city. Law enforcement agencies move quickly to make an arrest, but defendants sometimes forget an arrest is no guarantee of a conviction. The state must show a crime was committed, down to the letter of the law.

An arrest was made two days after a Baton Rouge man was fatally injured in a nighttime shooting. A neighbor discovered the 21-year-old man, shot in the back, lying on a city street. The man initially appeared to have less-than-critical injuries, but the young father of two later died at a hospital.

Louisiana fraud: You have a right to a defense

There are many situations where you could make mistakes that end up causing investigations into your business or facility. For instance, if you're a medical provider and seem to be writing too many prescriptions for the same medication, you might be investigated even though you're just doing your job. The same could happen if you're a pharmacist filling a physician's prescription load. In some cases, you could be accused of fraud even if you haven't done anything wrong.

When you're accused of a crime like fraud, you need to defend yourself from the start. By defending your innocence and right to an attorney, you can be sure that you won't be mistreated during any part of the investigation. With the right legal help, it's possible to keep the prying eyes of the media uninvolved in your personal life.

Common threads for Louisiana white collar crimes

It would be an understatement to say the federal government aggressively prosecutes financial crimes. In fiscal 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation convicted 241 corporate criminals. In a single year, white collar crime charges and convictions led to more than $16 million in fines and $2.4 billion in restitution.

Money is the common denominator in white collar crimes. Charges vary based on how the crime is committed and the victims of the crime. Baton Rouge residents may think of white collar criminals as suit-and-tie types. Someone who lies to the Internal Revenue Service about income or an insurer about a loss can be as guilty of a white collar offense as the investment firm that engineers a Ponzi scheme.

In Louisiana, are there different types of homicides?

Homicide itself is not always a crime, which is important to know if you're facing charges in Louisiana. Homicides include all kinds of killings of human beings, from murders to accidental manslaughters. Some kinds of homicides violate criminal laws, but others aren't criminal at all. Here are a few key differences.

Murder, for example, is a serious criminal homicide. If someone is charged with first-degree murder, then it means that it was intentional and premeditated. Interestingly, the crime can still be considered as premeditated, even if the wrong person or a different person was killed. If a murder was not premeditated, it could be downgraded to voluntary manslaughter or second-degree murder charges. These typically have lesser punishments to go along with them.

Louisiana drug courts promote treatment not punishment

Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services surveys tens of thousands of Americans 12 and older to monitor drug use. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows information about nationwide use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The realization that many Americans were addicts prompted states throughout the country, including Louisiana, to develop drug courts.

According to the government survey, 24.6 million U.S. residents used illegal drugs in 2013. Another 136.9 million or more than half the 12-plus population identified as alcohol drinkers. Not everyone who admitted indulging in these behaviors was dependent upon or abused drugs and alcohol, but a significant portion did.

Don't just accept a DUI conviction in Louisiana

Have you been accused of driving under the influence? If so, you could be facing the backlash from your friends and family, colleagues and the justice system. A DUI or DWI in Louisiana is a very serious crime that has a number of heavy penalties. Fortunately, you're not guilty until proven so, so you're able to fight any accusations against you to protect yourself and prevent unwarranted punishments.

When you're stopped under the assumption that you've been drinking and driving, you need to know that you will have rights in the days to come. You have 15 days to request to have an administrative hearing. During that hearing, you and your attorney can defend your actions, and that could help you keep your driving license. If you don't have the hearing, you will lose your driving privileges, and that can put stress on your family or job.

Baton Rouge man with violent past charged with old murder

In some cases, under defined conditions, a person may not be charged after a set time passes following the commission of a crime. Statutes of limitation ensure police and prosecutors base criminal cases on evidence that hasn't lost its conviction potency in some way over time, like a witness's memory. Certain crime cases, like unsolved murders, remain open indefinitely.

A Baton Rouge man was arrested while awaiting sentencing for an attempted murder conviction. Police said neighbors in Istrouma Mohican-Prescott Crossover feared the 32-year-old, who was convicted of shooting another man eight times in January 2012. Investigators recently came across evidence linking the same defendant to a shooting death at the same apartment complex five months later.

Environmental crimes: Defending yourself in Louisiana

Have you been accused of a Louisiana environmental crime such as dumping trash into a lake? These kinds of charges can get you into a lot of trouble with the government as well as with local and national environment protection agencies. You may not have done anything wrong, but if the media gets a hold of the story, your reputation could be on the line. It's important to seek a defense immediately, or something that is a small misunderstanding could be blown up into major news.

It's important that you're not fined or reprimanded for situations that aren't your fault. If you've been accused of environmental violations like illegal toxic waste dumping, groundwater intrusion issues, the improper storage of hazardous chemicals, transporting hazardous materials improperly or improperly cleaning up an oil field, you need to know that you have someone on your side willing to get the entire story.

What defenses are effective for second-degree murder?

A Baton Rouge defendant may agree to plead guilty or no contest, an acceptance of punishment but not blame, to criminal charges. Without one of these pleas, prosecutors are forced to prove beyond a jury's reasonable doubt that an illegal act was committed.

All criminal convictions carry consequences, but penalties are most severe for murder. Second-degree murder, under Louisiana law, is a death caused by an individual with the intent to inflict great bodily harm or kill. Punishment for second-degree murder is a lifetime prison sentence with no chance of parole.

Drug trafficking charges: Your right to innocence in Louisiana

Have you been accused of dealing or smuggling drugs in Louisiana? Your alleged crime shouldn't be used to make you feel like you have to answer police when they ask you questions or that you're already assumed guilty when you're not. You have a right to have your lawyer present and to defend yourself. You need to know when to answer the questions you're asked and when to decline to comment.

Before you speak with police, you should understand the potential repercussions you could face for drug use or drug trafficking. There are several kinds of federal charges you could face as well as state charges. Whether you're a student or a repeat offender, it's important that you don't forget that you have rights, even when you're being accused of a crime. You don't have to plead guilty or try to argue with officers who don't agree with you.

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