Majority of legal debacles we come across are sudden, maddening and thorny but should be taken care of immediately. If you or someone you love has been charged with DUI, DWI or criminal offenses, you need to take action right away. However, you also might be at a loss yourself on what to do and unsure of the legal process here in Louisiana.
As such, here’s a compilation of commonly asked questions and corresponding answers to the things you need to know about criminal defense.
What is criminal defense?
In criminal law, criminal defense is defined as any single or group of conditions which can refute a crime or offense’s foundations. The accused or the defendant—the person charged with the crime—is allocated some onus to prove his/her innocence before a court in certain jurisdictions. In other jurisdictions, conversely, the government is delegated with the absolute duty to substantiate that a crime has taken place, including the validation of the lack of these defenses. The usual types of criminal defense are duress, entrapment, insanity, intoxication, mistake of fact, necessity or lesser harm, and self-defense.
What is the difference between federal offenses and state offenses?
In the US, federal crimes or federal offenses are acts classified as illicit by US federal laws and are prosecuted under federal criminal court. Federal offenses include bank fraud, bribery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, extortion, larceny, money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and white collar crimes among others. On the other hand, state crimes or state offenses are acts that violate the state’s own criminal laws or public international laws. Examples of state offenses are assault and battery, burglary, driving while intoxicated / driving under the influence, drug trafficking, false imprisonment, grand theft, homicide / murder, kidnapping and others.
What can a criminal defense lawyer do for me?
A criminal defense lawyer or defense attorney is a lawyer whose expertise lies in the defense of individuals or groups indicted with criminal behavior. He/She is well versed in the legislation governing the state in which he/she practices law. In the US, criminal defense attorneys handle matters connected to an arrest, criminal allegations, criminal reconnaissance, sentencing and verdicts, pleas and after-trial concerns. An efficient, skilled criminal defense lawyer can spell the disparity between reduced or dropped imputations and a jail term. Your defense attorney is the only strictly qualified individual to respond to your queries, and he/she stays on your side during the entire litigation proceedings, communicating with you your defense particulars.
How soon can I avail the services of a criminal defense attorney?
If you are facing a criminal charge, you ought to employ the services of a criminal defense lawyer specializing in your state’s laws as soon as possible. Almost always, the quicker you confer your case with a litigator, the better you will be covered. More protective measures can be availed the sooner you contact your attorney because going head to head with the government on your own is always an irrational move. Remember that you have the right to an attorney through every step of the litigation process. Do not delay until your allegations have been received.
What do I need to take into consideration once I hire a criminal defense attorney?
First of all, talk about your case only with your lawyer, and be assured of client confidentiality. No one else needs to know, not your family, not your friends, and not even law enforcers. Should the latter attempt to speak to you, have your attorney present at all times. Secondly, tell your lawyer everything you know. Whatever you say to your lawyer, no matter how minute, could be the key to winning your entire case. Lastly, your inmates might give you advice or tell you the possibilities of your case, but do not believe their words. They may mean well or just be spiteful, but correct information can be gleaned only from your legal representative.
What is a DUI/DWI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) means that a person is operating a vehicle while impaired by or under the sway of alcohol, drugs and/or any substance known to impair mental or physical faculties. In other words, a person under the influence of any of these substances has compromised judgment and motor functions, causing him/her to be a danger to himself/herself and others on the road.
What is the blood alcohol content to constitute a DUI/DWI?
The blood alcohol content to establish a DUI/DWI is 0.08% in the US, meaning that there is 0.08 grams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. This, however, is not a reliable criterion mainly due to the discrepancies in body size and weight, gender and individual alcohol tolerance.
What is a breath test?
A breath test is a test to approximate the blood alcohol content of an individual from a breath sample using a specific device. It follows the principle that alcohol levels in the breath are linked to those in the blood. Refusal or failure to undergo a breath test when asked by an officer can consequently lead to a driver’s license being suspended.
Do the proceedings differ in each court even within one state?
Court proceedings might be different even in a state. Contingent upon territorial authority, the offices of the prosecution can function in several atypical modes, and each of the courts can have its own regulations and systems. To win your case, working out how the local council will treat your indictment and how tribunal regulations will influence your appeal preparations and arraignment cannot be stressed enough.