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Shreveport Criminal Law Blog

Louisiana drunk driving: The HGN test -- what is the purpose?

Many question whether field sobriety tests that are used to check drivers for impairment are accurate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that they are accurate enough to continue using them. Does that mean that those in Louisiana who are charged with drunk driving cannot fight the results of such tests? No.

There are three standardized field sobriety tests, two of which were addressed in previous posts. This week, this column will review the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Topics to be discussed will include what officers are looking for and how the test is performed.

Louisiana criminal defense: Criminal justice reform coming

As it currently stands, Louisiana has the highest prison population in the country. This is something that the state is trying to remedy, however. Several bills are currently being reviewed that would change several things about the criminal justice system and even save the state millions of dollars over the next decade. While, if passed, it is meant to help those accused of crimes going forward, those currently serving prison sentences may be able to seek early release with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.

Nine bills in total were submitted for consideration, three of which were passed by the Senate. Unfortunately, there are several aspects on which all parties could not come to agreement. As such, a compromise to get things rolling was recently announced between the governor's and district attorney's offices. The other issues will be addressed at a later date.

Louisiana drunk driving: What is the walk-and-turn test?

In a previous post, this column addressed one of the several standardized field sobriety tests used in Louisiana, the one-leg stand test. This week's post will go over another test that is commonly used on those suspected of drunk driving, the walk and turn. Why is it used and is it an accurate measurement of impairment?

When a law enforcement officer asks one to perform the walk-and-turn test, he or she is looking for two things. The first is to see if one is able to follow directions. The second is to check one's physical ability to perform the test. To perform the walk-and-turn test, one will be asked to walk heel to toe in a straight line, pivot around and do it again. While doing this, both arms must remain at one's sides.

Louisiana criminal defense: Burglary, what is is exactly?

There are a lot of people that think of burglary, theft and robbery as the same thing, but they are not. Theft and robbery refer to the actual taking of something that belongs to someone else, with or without force. Burglary, on the other hand, refers to unlawful entry into a property with intent to commit any sort of crime. In Louisiana, burglary is a felony offense, and as such, a person charged with this crime would likely benefit from the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help fight his or her case in court.

What elements must be present for a prosecuting attorney to achieve a conviction on a burglary charge? There are three basic elements according to common law. First, a prosecutor must show that the accused gained unlawful entry -- with or without force. Second, that entry must be into a building of some sort -- a dwelling or business, for example. Third, prosecutors must prove the accused had intent to commit a crime after entering the property.

A full and fair recovery for spinal cord injury victims

Car accidents can cause serious, catastrophic damage, and the moments of a car crash can change a person's life forever. One of the ways that this can happen for a motor vehicle accident victim is if he or she experiences a spinal cord injury in a crash. There are various types of spinal cord injuries, but they are all very serious and can have permanent consequences.

Spinal cord injuries are always an emergency and they always merit immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one suffered this type of injury after a Louisiana car accident, you have a long and arduous recovery ahead. You can benefit from the assistance and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Louisiana vehicular assault or homicide: Arrest made after crash

Striking a pedestrian with one's car would be a jarring event for anybody. Sadly, in many cases, the pedestrians do not survive. Depending on the outcome and the circumstances surrounding an accident like this, according to Louisiana laws one may be charged with vehicular assault or homicide.

Recently, a man who was visiting the Shreveport area from out of state was arrested for his alleged involvement in a fatal pedestrian accident. According to reports, late in the evening of Saturday, April 29, the 55-year-old male was driving his vehicle southbound on Knight Street when he struck a man who was in the process of crossing the road. Sadly, this individual died of his injuries at the scene of the accident.

Louisiana drunk driving: What is the one-leg stand test?

Louisiana residents who have been pulled over for suspected impairment may be asked to perform field sobriety tests. One such test is called the one-leg stand test. While this is considered to be a good way for police officers to test for drunk driving, it is not without its faults.

The purpose of this and any other field sobriety test is two-fold. First, it allows an officer to judge one's ability to listen to and follow directions. Second, it tests one's physical ability to complete the task.

Louisiana criminal defense: What is a diversion program?

In Louisiana and elsewhere, alternative sentencing is possible for those who commit certain crimes. The diversion program offers treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment. One's criminal defense attorney can pursue this option if the situation meets the necessary qualifications.

The diversion program actually serves several purposes. Not only is it meant to help those accused of nonviolent crimes in getting the help that they really need, but it also reduces court dockets and serves to protect the public from potential repeat offenders. A lot of good can come from taking part in this program.

Louisiana man facing weapon and drug charges

Police in Louisiana recently arrested a man who they say was wanted on a domestic violence charge. In their attempt to make the arrest, the accused allegedly fled via car and then by foot. However, a police canine eventually found the accused and he was then taken into custody. He is now facing several criminal charges including weapon and drug charges.

According to reports, sheriff's deputies in St. Tammany Parish attempted a routine traffic stop of a car with license plates that were allegedly stolen. In the vehicle was a man who had a warrant out for his arrest for a domestic violence charge. Instead of pulling over, he reportedly fled from police in his car before he crashed and then continue on foot.

Louisiana criminal defense: Fighting an assault charge

According to the laws of Louisiana, an assault charge can carry some significant consequences if one is convicted. For this reason, if one is accused of such a crime, choosing the right criminal defense strategy is key. This week's column will address two common defenses used in assault cases.

The first defense that will be discussed is self-defense. Protecting oneself is a right everyone should enjoy. When criminal charges result from doing so, one will have to provide evidence that the act was deemed necessary. To do this, one will need to establish that there was a threat of harm without provocation, a perceived fear of bodily harm and that there was no other way out of the situation. One will also have to show that the amount of force used was reasonable under the circumstances.