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Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Law Blog

Officers' intent matters little in probable cause cases

Some Louisiana residents may think that, in order to make an arrest, a police officer has to be able to articulate a good reason for detaining a person. However, the truth of the matter is that after the fact excuses for why a person was arrested, so long as they are otherwise legally valid, are perfectly legal in Louisiana.

Just like police are legally allowed to lie to a person in an interrogation, police are also allowed to come up with what many would call "pretexts" for arrests. In other words, a policeman on the spot could simply stop and search a person without having a reason in his or her mind to do so. Without more, the officer's arrest and search would be illegal.

Defending against a criminal conviction for a violent crime

Over the last several weeks, this blog has discussed what might well be a nightmare scenario for many residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Although many Louisianans might think that being convicted of a felony homicide would require that a person intentionally or at least recklessly kill somebody, in fact such is not the case.

In truth, a person can be charged with and convicted of a felony homicide for something that, while a serious accident, is an accident just the same. A person need not think too hard to imagine what it is like having try to carry on in life with a serious criminal conviction on one's record. Aside from the real possibility of prison time and a lengthy and restrictive term of probation, the person who is convicted will have to live with the professional and social handicaps that a person with a felony conviction usually endures.

The elements of 'negligent homicide' in Louisiana

Last week's post reported that two Baton Rouge residents are facing "negligent homicide" charges because of the accidental death of a toddler in their care. The story be somewhat scary for everyday Louisianans since the two ladies were not accused of doing anything intentional to hurt the child; they simply made a very tragic error.

In a real sense, a Louisiana resident accused of negligent homicide could be facing a felony charge simply for making a human mistake. Fortunately, not all accidents could lead to a negligent homicide charge. For a person to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove that the person engaged in "criminal negligence" and that this criminal negligence caused another person to lose his or her life.

Two Baton Rouge women face homicide charges after child's death

Following the death of a child, two Baton Rouge day care operators, one of them being the owner of the facility, find themselves facing charges of negligent homicide. Because these accusations involving a felony charge, the women both could receive a substantial prison sentence if they are convicted.

The daycare had recently lost its state license because of an issue with the number of children vis a vi the number of adult workers. Nevertheless, on the day of the accident, the daycare was supposedly caring for 15 children, more than the maximum a daycare can watch without a proper license from the state.

How does a federal mandatory minimum work?

Last week's post discussed how The Law Offices of Ossie Brown in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, can help both residents of Louisiana and those who just happen to be visiting the state fight federal drug charges and the stiff penalties that often come with those charges. The post may have left some wondering exactly what a "mandatory minimum" is and how it works in the federal sentencing scheme.

Normally, sentencing in a federal court will be pursuant to federal sentencing guidelines. Although these guidelines are technically not binding on a federal judge, most federal courts will follow them most of the time when passing a sentence. Based on a number of factors, the guidelines prescribe a certain range of jail time that is presumptively appropriate for the offense in question.

Working diligently to defend against federal drug charges

In Louisiana, there is really no such thing as "minor" drug charges. All criminal offenses involving drug possession or drug trafficking will be taken very seriously by police and prosecutors, and they may try to levy a hefty jail sentence and fine on even a first-time offender.

Should a Baton Rouge resident have the misfortune of being accused of a federal drug crime, the stakes can be even higher. For one, federal investigators and prosecutors have the reputation of being particularly well-trained and well-equipped to be as aggressive as possible when pursuing a case.

Many synthetic drugs are illegal in Louisiana

Baton Rouge residents may remember that just a few short years ago, many Louisianans were turning to so-called synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs as a legal alternative to drugs that could otherwise land people in trouble with the law. Louisiana authorities quickly closed this legal loophole, however, such that now many synthetic drugs are illegal.

Those who use common forms of synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs now can face drug charges and the severe legal penalties that can come with those drug charges should they be convicted. Specifically, a person caught distributing these types of chemicals can receive a maximum sentence of 50 years at hard labor in a Louisiana prison. While penalties for synthetic marijuana distribution are more lenient, one can still wind in prison for 30 years should he or she get convicted on a synthetic marijuana distribution charge.

How accurate are eyewitness identifications in violent crimes?

Many people in Baton Rouge may believe that if the police produce an eyewitness who actually saw a suspect commit a robbery, assault or other crime of violence, then the ensuing court case is to a large extent merely a formality. The popular culture, including detective shows and even media reports, tends to suggest that the identification of an eyewitness is gospel truth.

Contemporary research reported by the American Psychological Association, however, demonstrates that this common assumption is not always true. Even when people can safely assume that an eyewitness is doing his or her best to tell the truth as he or she saw it, lots of physical and psychological factors can affect the reliability of the account.

Baton Rouge man accused of rape, robbery

A young man from Baton Rouge is facing serious criminal charges in connection with a home invasion that allegedly happened recently. If convicted of these charges, the man faces significant time in a Louisiana prison.

The man is accused of being one of four people who went to an apartment and broke in. According to the tenant of the apartment, the men then grabbed both the tenant and a woman who was with the tenant and put them into a bathroom. The group then reportedly hit the tenant over the head with a pistol several times. The gun allegedly discharged during this encounter.

How we help Louisianans stay off the sex offender registry

Last's week's post on this blog discussed Louisiana's sex offender registry and the serious and long-term consequences that are associated with having one's name on that registry. For some Baton Rouge residents, being on the registry may seem simply to be an extended prison sentence: a person's personal liberties are sharply restricted, and a person's professional and republic reputations are all but destroyed.

However, once a person is convicted of certain types of sex crimes, it is very difficult for that person to argue that his or her name should not appear on the registry, at least for a number of years. The best way to avoid having one's name on the registry is to put up a vigorous defense to the allegations in an effort to avoid a conviction altogether.

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