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Baton Rouge Criminal Law Blog

Can taking a selfie lead to felony charges?

Cell phones are not just for making calls. Baton Rouge residents use their handheld devices to search the Internet, find driving directions, make dining reservations, send emails and quite often take pictures. The high resolution of many phone cameras makes them a good option for people who do not wish to carry separate cameras so that they may capture the special moments in their lives. And thanks in part to the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, individuals across the nation have begun taking "selfies" at an incredible rate.

A selfie is a self-portrait, and individuals of all ages snap these shots when they are with friends and family, visiting famous sites or simply on their own and playing with their phone cameras. Many selfies are harmless images of individuals enjoying life or catching exciting events as digital images. However, some selfies lack this innocence and can lead to felony charges if they are found in someone's possession.

Embezzlement is a serious white collar crime

Embezzlement is a type of theft that occurs when a person uses a position of power or control to take money or financial assets from others. Louisiana residents may often hear allegations of this crime occurring in banks or other institutions where individuals invest their money with the intention of seeing their assets grow. Charges of embezzlement are very serious, though, and if a person is convicted can result in the imposition of significant penalties.

This post will touch on what prosecutors must prove in order to meet the requirements of an embezzlement charge, but readers are cautioned that the contents contained herein are not legal advice. There are several elements that must be present for embezzlement charges to attach to an alleged crime. Particularly, there must be some type of relationship of trust between the person accused of embezzlement and the alleged victim for the crime to happen. In legal terms, the accused must have a fiduciary duty to the victim rather than a casual relationship or no relationship at all.

Traffic stop leads to arrests on weapons and drug charges

A person's right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures is codified in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Put simply, a Louisiana resident cannot be forced to have their person, car, home or other space invaded by law enforcement officials without a reason. Generally a police officer or other law enforcement officer must have a warrant or compelling reason to stop and search a person. If their suspicions are not based on sufficient information or evidence, then the results of their searches and seizures may not be legal.

Recently an adult male, age 22, and his mother, age 43, were subjected to the search and seizure protocols of Louisiana law enforcement officials. A traffic stop was made as well as a search of their home where marijuana, ecstasy, prescription drugs, money and weapons were allegedly found. Both the man and his mother were arrested on a variety of weapons and drug charges based upon the items law enforcement officers claim to have found in their possession.

Protect your rights with a dedicated criminal defense attorney

In the American criminal justice system, defendants are to be considered innocent until they are proven guilty. As such, the prosecutors who bring charges against individuals in the criminal courts are tasked with proving all of the elements of the crimes that they allege the defendants to have committed in order to secure guilty verdicts at trial. However, as some Baton Rouge residents may know, a presumption of innocence after a criminal charge may feel like empty words during a stressful and tense pretrial period.

A criminal defendant should not simply hope that a prosecutor will fail to make their case in order for the defendant to secure their freedom. Prosecutors rely on the evidence they have on hand to determine if charges are warranted and if they have enough evidence to work with in order to make their charges stick. If a prosecutor files charges and is prepared to see a case to trial, then there is often a good chance that they are prepared to prove all elements of the charges they hope to pursue.

How can plea negotiation help me in my criminal case?

Television crime shows provide many Baton Rouge residents with entertainment each week but also, in a very limited and generalized way, provide a small glimpse into some of the areas of defense work that individuals may use to lighten or eliminate their pending criminal charges. One element of a criminal defense strategy that readers may be familiar with is plea negotiation, and this post will discuss in general some of the ways this strategy can help criminal defendants.

When facing criminal charges a person can admit guilt through a guilty plea, deny guilt through a not guilty plea or offer an alternative plea depending upon their charges. While a guilty plea may eliminate the need for a case to go to trial, a not guilty plea sets the stage for the prosecutors and defendant to hear out their sides of the story in court.

Hate crimes can exacerbate felony charges

Criminal allegations can change the course of a Baton Rouge resident's life, particularly when those allegations involve the alleged commission of a felony. As previously discussed on this Louisiana criminal defense legal blog a felony charge can result in a more severe sentence upon conviction than a sentence based on a conviction for a misdemeanor charge.

One way that a felony crime may be made more serious is through the inclusion of a hate crime designation. A hate crime is a crime in which harm or intimidation are inflicted upon another person because of the alleged victim's race, religion, disability or inclusion in another protected class. Arson, assault, murder and other serious criminal charges can be made into hate crimes if they were prompted by alleged intolerance toward others due to the alleged victims' inclusion in protected classes.

What is insider trading and why is it a crime?

Have you ever found something out shortly before everyone else and have savored knowing that information while everyone else was in the dark? In a nutshell, this is insider trading, though readers of this Baton Rouge criminal defense legal blog deserve a more complete definition of the crime.

Insider trading involves securities, or financial assets such as stocks. When a person who is considered an insider, such as an employee or even a family member of a company's employee, acquires information about the entity and uses that information to their financial benefit before the information is made public then the crime of insider trading has occurred. One of the most common ways that insider trading occurs is when a person discovers that a company's stock is about to go up (or down) and buys more shares (or sells their shares) in order to reap a substantial profit (or avoid a significant loss).

Deception is a key component of a forgery charge

Not all felony charges involve physical violence. In Baton Rouge and jurisdictions through the United States a person can face serious long-term consequences for alleged criminal acts that they did not even know they were committing or intending to pursue. One such charge is forgery, and this post will explore what is required for such an allegation to be made by criminal prosecutors.

In its most basic form a forgery charge involves some form of deceit. Generally the deceit relates to creation, modification or authentication of a document or form. Forgery can involve making a contract for another person that the maker was not authorized to produce, changing a document without the consent of others who will be bound to it or signing an agreement for someone without their permission.

A conviction on a felony charge can have long-term consequences

In Louisiana a person may face criminal charges based upon their alleged violation of different state and federal laws. Their alleged crimes may fall into either the category of misdemeanors or felonies, with the latter category of crimes punished more severely than the former. When confronting serious charges like rape, murder, and others that classify as felonies, individuals may fear that their futures will significantly affected if they are convicted.

Their concerns are not without merit. Felonies carry with them serious penalties that can have long-term consequences on the lives of those who must face sentencing for their alleged participation in serious criminal acts. Conviction on a felony charge may result in an individual paying a hefty fine, losing certain rights and privileges, and spending significant time in prison.

Familial DNA testing may create criminal defense challenges

During the investigations of allegedly criminal matters Louisiana law enforcement officials collect DNA evidence that they attempt to match to DNA samples in a database so that they may learn the identities of the individuals they believe perpetrated the underlying crimes. There are problems with the current system of collecting and testing DNA; in some cases individuals are wrongly identified as the perpetrators of violent crimes when in fact they are completely innocent.

However, as in many other jurisdictions, the state presently has a backlog of cold cases that officials cannot close due in large part to their inability to match DNA evidence to individuals who have previously committed crimes. As a result, the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab is considering using familial DNA to retest cold case DNA samples and connect that evidence to individuals who may be related to the alleged criminal perpetrators of old alleged crimes.