Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Law Blog

The serious nature of the Louisiana sex offender registry

As the Louisiana State Police have stated, they value your personal privacy less than they value getting information out to the public, at least if you have been convicted of sex-related crimes. The sex offender registry program is designed to give the public as much information about you as possible, including your name, your picture and where you live.

The crimes that fall under this category vary to some degree, including both Internet crimes and crimes of a more immediate nature. Some of the more common charges include those for rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, battery and solicitation. Internet crimes could also include solicitation, attempting to meet up with a minor and the distribution of child pornography.

Is marijuana illegal in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, there are a few different things that can happen if you're caught abusing marijuana. The fines and punishments apply whether you've been using the drug yourself or selling to others. Marijuana is not yet legal in the state, so you can face up to six months in the parish jail or up to a $500 fine for being in possession of the drug, even if you come from a place where the drug is legally allowed to be possessed.

For a second conviction, you could face fines of up to $2,000 and up to five years in prison. After that, each conviction could add on 20 years to a sentence. If you're found with 60 to 2,000 pounds of the drug, you could face 10 to 60 years of hard labor. The fine raises dramatically to $50,000 to $100,000.

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.

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