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Hopkinsville Kentucky Criminal Law Blog

Problem with breath test equipment is raising red flags

Most people know that breath tests are one of the primary tools police officers use to determine whether a driver is legally intoxicated. When a person is accused of drunk driving, defense lawyers look for things that might show that the test wasn't accurate. A recent development in another state might be of interest to those who deal with drunk driving in Kentucky.

The state police in Michigan have suspended their contract with a company that provided breath test devices based on evidence indicating that the company misstated the accuracy of the device. The state has begun a fraud investigation to look into the situation.

Sexual assault charges are often a catch-all option

Many people don't understand the wide scope of things that are considered illegal sexual contact. Laws against sexual assault encompass a vast array of situations, some of which people might think aren't illegal. It is imperative that everyone understands some of the basic points of this type of crime so they can avoid them or address the matter if they are charged with it.

In the most general of terms, sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual action. This can include touching and intercourse. Interestingly, it can also encompass being forced to masturbate when a person doesn't want to do this.

Probation violations must be carefully handled

One of the possible sentences that a person facing a felony might encounter is being placed on probation. When this occurs, you will have to report to a supervision officer who will ensure that you are complying with the terms of the program. If you don't do what's required of you, the probation officer can file a violation with the court.

Everyone placed on probation is provided with a list of the rules they are expected to follow. While some of these remain consistent through all cases, the circumstances of your case might change the requirements some. For example, a person convicted of a drug charge might have to undergo random drug testing to determine whether they are complying with the requirement to remain drug-free.

Marijuana testing controversial for traffic stops

Impaired driving is a big problem throughout the country. While many people automatically attribute impairment to alcohol, it can also come from other sources. One of these is marijuana, and even though this drug hasn't been decriminalized here, police departments around the country are finding that it is increasingly difficult to determine when marijuana is a factor in impairment.

Officers who stop someone for the suspicion of alcohol impairment can perform a breath test to determine whether the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that exceeds the legal limit. There hasn't been a test for marijuana until recently, but now that one is available, there are opponents who note that it isn't what it seems.

Plea deals can benefit those facing criminal charges

Plea deals are a major component of the criminal justice system. These agreements benefit the defendants, the prosecution and the court. Somewhere around 90% of cases are resolved in this manner, but defendants who are considering it should understand some important points about what these deals mean for them.

One of the top reasons why defendants choose to take part in the deals is because they want to have an idea of what sentence they are going to face. One of the components that they can try to work out a deal on is the sentence, so the defendant might be able to avoid having to face a sentence at the top end of the spectrum; however, you must be careful because the sentence that's agreed on is a suggestion. The court can decide to bypass it in favor of something different.

Possible defense tactics for domestic violence charges

Launching your defense against domestic violence charges is often a challenging prospect because of the nature of these charges. Oftentimes, the situation that leads to the charges is a private one, so the case comes down to your word against the alleged victim's work. Of course, the evidence in the case can also show what happened.

There are several tactics to evaluate when you are trying to determine which is the best one for your case. Remember that your defense must be factual and truthful.

Prostitution can lead to criminal charges in Kentucky

Prostitution has been around for a long time, but it is illegal in Kentucky. People who are charged with it face a Class B misdemeanor. They can face a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail. While this might not sound like a harsh punishment, it is still a mark on the person's criminal record.

By law, prostitution in this state means that a person offers, agrees to engage in or does engage in sexual contact in exchange for money or another fee. The sexual contact must involve the sexual organs and be done for sexual gratification.

When can you challenge the evidence in a criminal case?

Modern forensic science has made it easier than ever before for law enforcement officers to conclusively link an individual to crime scenes through fingerprints, shoeprints and genetic information left at the scene. Unfortunately, it is also increasingly possible for innocent people to wind up implicated in serious crimes due to forensic issues or contamination.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you no doubt have concerns about the penalties you could face if convicted and how to potentially defend yourself. In some cases, the best defense strategies will involve challenging the evidence the state has against you, but you can only challenge the evidence in specific situations.

Know what probable cause and reasonable suspicion mean

In order to arrest you, police officers either have to have a loopwarrant in hand or they need probable cause that you committed a crime. The standard of probable cause is one that is set by the Fourth Amendment. It means that a reasonable person would believe that based on the circumstances and information present that you committed the crime in question.

Probable cause is sometimes easy to meet. For example, if the officer clearly sees a person commit a crime, that would meet the requirements. It is sometimes a bit more complex and comes as a result of an investigation.

Plea deals are only one defense strategy option

The vast majority of criminal matters are handled using plea bargains. Some people worry that this means defendants aren't getting their due time in court; however, there are some advantages to this arrangement for both sides of the matter. Less than 10% of defendants take their case through the criminal trial process.

For the individuals who are considering a plea deal, the most important thing to remember is that you must admit that you did commit the crime as part of the deal. This means that anyone who is truly innocent shouldn't ever accept a plea deal.

Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law

16360 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Oak Grove, KY 42262
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