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New Orleans Criminal Defense Blog

Can I defend myself against drug charges?

As mentioned previously on this blog, charges of drug possession, with or without intent to distribute, could mean serious penalties for a Louisiana resident. However, simply being accused of a crime does not mean that one should give up and not fight to protect their rights-there are a number of defenses they could employ to defend themselves against drug charges

Defense for holiday-season drunk driving charges

The New Year brings it with new beginnings for most people, but no one wants that new beginning to be from inside a jail cell, serving time for committing an act that they are suspected of committing. But with added checkpoints and police on standby to check for drunk drivers in the holiday season, especially around New Year's Eve, this might be the exact result.

Is a convicted person always sentenced to prison time?

Once someone is convicted of committing a crime, they are then sentenced for the criminal conviction. Most Louisiana residents believe that the only option available is prison time, but this is not the case. It is possible for a criminal defense lawyer to negotiate alternative sentences for the accused that would better serve their interests. For example, the court may order counseling or a pre-trial diversion program for a first-time offender related to drug charges.

Get a fair chance to defend yourself with experienced counsel

Last week's blog post demonstrates how much is on the line for a Massachusetts resident facing criminal charges and how similarly situated people may end up with different sentences based on factors outside of their control. One thing though that could possibly be controlled is how one defends themselves and who they choose to do it. Having an experienced person by one's side and fighting for their freedom may be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal or a lengthy sentence and a pleaded down charge.

USSC reports highlights sentencing disparities

When someone is accused of committing a crime, there should be an assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law-this means Louisiana residents have the constitutional right to defend themselves from the criminal charges the prosecutor levies against them. This is not the case though-it is an unfortunate reality that once someone is arrested, most people assume they are guilty and if the person is a black male, they have the decks stacked against them even higher.

When can I appeal a conviction?

When a trial court makes a decision, there is an assumption that their finding is the correct one and higher courts are hesitant to hear an appeal from the lower court. In order to hear it, the it must be demonstrated to the appellate court that there was an error in the trial and this was either a substantial error or a material one. This basically rules out harmless errors-those that are not likely to make a substantial difference in the result of the trial as they do not affect the defendant's substantial rights.

Appealing a decision is often the course Louisiana defendants take to either lessen their sentence or change the verdict. It is important to understand the grounds on which the appeal can take place, so it can be pursued in a timely manner.

How serious is illegal possession or use of a prescription drug?

Some substances are legal when prescribed by a doctor, but that does not make them legal for everybody. Possession of a prescription drug without a prescription can result in serious penalties and may even be considered a felony. A drug possession charge could have major consequences in your life so here are some important points you should know: 

Musician facing misdemeanor drug possession charges

When one is a performer in the public eye, their image is very important. They work hard to maintain good repute in front of people of all ages and walks of life, as their work is to be enjoyed by the mainstream public. Any accusations of wayward behavior could prove detrimental to their image and therefore their livelihood-when those accusations translate into charges of criminal activity, it could cause irreparable damage.

This is perhaps why a 46-year-old former child actor turned musician took to social media to defend himself after he was charged by the police in Louisiana for misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Police claim they stopped his recreational vehicle for speeding, the vehicle he was allegedly driving with a suspended license, and took him to the police station upon this discovery. According to the police, officers smelled marijuana on him at the station and upon searching the RV, drugs were found in the vehicle.

A drunk driving charge can be contested at every step

Getting stopped for drunk driving is something many individuals do not experience. However, with movies, cop shows, news casts and other sources, the overall process is common knowledge. After checking insurance and plates, the police officer will force you to conduct field sobriety tests and perhaps a Breathalyzer test. In the end, a person who has been charged a DUI or DWI may face the suspension or termination of his or her driver's license, an increase in his or her insurance rates and a mark on his or her record.

With the first-hand and fictional accounts of these situations pervading the mainstream, many individuals may not know what their rights are when they have been stopped. Overall, it is important avoid self-incrimination. For example, if an officer asks if an individual has been drinking, that individual is not required to answer. Additionally, performing field sobriety tests can be refused by an individual. The police officer is limited in what he or she can force you to do.

Drug paraphernalia charges can be serious

Louisiana residents may be surprised to hear that certain items, marketed as though they are designed for legitimate purposes, can be considered illegal. At times, possession of them can result in drug charges. As per U.S. Code Title 21, it is unlawful for someone sell or offer to sell drug paraphernalia. It is pertinent to point out that the person accused doesn't actually have to have any drugs on them to face drug paraphernalia charges. So the question is-what is drug paraphernalia?

Simply put, it is any equipment that can be used to conceal, produce or consume illicit drugs. It can be any item that can be used in connection with illegal drugs. They can be divided into two categories-for the purpose of ingesting and for the purpose of distributing. Items such as kitchen scales and spoons can even be used for the purposes of distribution of drugs, which is why the distinction is important.

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