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Shreveport Criminal Law Blog

Drug charges after traffic stop must pass constitutional muster

Traffic stops account for a significant percentage of the drug crimes charged each year in Louisiana. There are specific constitutional restraints, however, that police must meet regarding drug charges arising out of a traffic stop. The first consideration is that the police may not stop a vehicle without a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed and/or that a traffic offense is occurring.

In order to go beyond that initial stop and check, the police must have probable cause. Many cases turn on whether the evidence cited by the police is sufficient to justify making a full search of the car and its occupants. These issues are likely to be relevant in the recent arrest of a driver and his passenger by the Mangham Police in Richland Parish.

Attempted murder, drug charges filed against man re car chase

Unarmed suspects in Louisiana and nationwide have been shot by police, sometimes fatally, in a pattern of similar controversial incidents in recent years. The cloak of suspicion has been cast on police behavior because the suspect is usually unarmed, leaving few if any legitimate reasons to justify police use of deadly force. A twist on those facts occurred on Oct. 6 in Houma when the suspect allegedly weaponized his car in trying to run down and kill a sheriff's deputy, according to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office. The incident ultimately resulted in the suspect's arrest for several offenses, including attempted murder, property destruction and drug charges for possession of crystal meth.

However, he won't be answering those charges immediately because he is hospitalized in stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds. It appears that after he allegedly tried to run down and kill the deputy who was approaching the suspect's vehicle on foot, that officer and others got off numerous gun shots against the man while he fled in his car. The officers then engaged in a car chase of the suspect through the streets of Houma.

Man asserts criminal defense to arson and assault charges

Arson is a serious crime in Louisiana that can carry a substantial prison sentence. The seriousness of the punishment is distinguished by the level of damages that are caused. If the damages are less than $500, the punishment carries a fine and a sentence of imprisonment up to five years without hard labor. If the damage is more than $500, the fine can be much higher and sentence of imprisonment can reach as high as 15 years with or without hard labor. Presenting a criminal defense to a charge of arson requires strong representation by a defense attorney as soon as practically possible.

Sometimes arson crosses paths with domestic violence crimes. Domestic disputes occasionally result in a person in the relationship setting fire to the mutual residence. Authorities in Avoyelles Parish recently arrested a 27-year-old male for simple arson, domestic abuse battery and criminal property damage. Arson requires proof of specific criminal intent by the accused.

You can stand up for justice following a pedestrian crash

A car accident can easily cause you to suffer grave injuries in certain situations. This is especially true in the case of a pedestrian accident, as pedestrians lack the protection that those riding in passenger cars enjoy.

In some situations, pedestrian accidents here in Louisiana occur due to the carelessness of a motor vehicle driver. Fortunately, if a car driver negligently strikes and hurts you while you are walking along or across the street, you have the right to seek justice in civil court.

Drunk driving charge imposed on truck driver after fiery crash

In all states, including Louisiana, the punishment for conviction of a DWI offense will be increased if an accident is caused by the accused during the commission of the offense. The punishment for conviction of drunk driving goes up significantly if the accident is accompanied by property damages. It increases further if the accused causes personal injury or death as a result of the accident.

A truck driver accused of drunk driving will face enhanced punishment after being arrested on Sept. 22 on Interstate I-10 in Prairieville. Louisiana State Police accuse the 55-year-old tractor-trailer driver of driving drunk and causing an accident in which his truck struck concrete construction barriers and a guard rail. The collision resulted in a rupture to the fuel tank of the truck. Police say the accused kept driving after the collision until it was clear that there was a substantial fire that would destroy most of the vehicle.

Man charged with vehicular homicide in death of 2-year-old

In Louisiana and elsewhere driving drunk with children in the vehicle is a particularly heinous offense that the courts and law enforcement agencies seek to penalize strictly. When a child dies in a drunk driving accident that is charged as vehicular homicide, the accused will face a stiff sentence of imprisonment if convicted. In a fatal accident that occurred on Sept. 15 state police arrested a 27-year-old man for vehicular homicide, first offense DWI and related offenses. Tragically, a 2-year-old child died as a result of the accident.

The Louisiana State Police say that the collision occurred on La. 70 near La. 3120 in Ascension Parish. They allege that the accused was driving east on La. 3120 when he ran a stop sign while driving a pickup truck and drove into the path of another pickup that was being operated in a southerly direction on La. 70. There were three children and one additional adult in the alleged offender's vehicle, according to police.

Man charged with drunk driving after noise ruckus outside store

Louisiana continues to have serious problems with drunk driving offenses and the weight of destruction that they leave in their path. When a driver is severely impaired with alcohol, members of the public and law enforcement officers often do not know what to expect. For example, the police in Calcasieu Parish recently responded to a drunk driving call regarding a man who was allegedly sitting in the driver's seat of a car, slumped over on the steering wheel and pressing on the horn. The car was outside a grocery store in Lake Charles, and the man was also reportedly vomiting at the same time. 

If true, the spectacle is consistent with drunk driving behavior. The police say that, when they arrived, they shut off the engine. They allege that the man admitted to drinking a bottle of Vodka, which was supported by their purported finding of an empty Vodka bottle in the car. The deputy who conducted the investigation reports also that he smelled alcohol on the suspect.

A police report can be a useful tool following a Louisiana crash

Becoming a motor vehicle accident victim is one of the scariest experiences you can have in life. In addition to impacting you emotionally, a car accident can easily affect you both physically and financially as well.

Sometimes the injuries suffered in a Louisiana car crash end up being severe and life-altering. Fortunately, if you have suffered serious injuries in a traffic accident stemming from another person's negligence, it is within your rights to seek to hold him or her accountable by filing a personal injury claim in civil court. Obtaining a police report can help with this process.

Drug charges reported in connection with state police dragnet

The Louisiana State Police announced an undercover operation called "Operation Summer School" that began on June 20 and ended on Aug. 27. The primary mission of this operation was to detect and combat criminal violence in areas of New Orleans that have been experiencing an increase in violence, the police say. The result, according to the State Police, was 207 non-drug charges and 107 drug charges made on 136 arrests.

The LSP also report seizing 42 illegal weapons, recoveries of 25 stolen vehicles, narcotics worth about $59,000 and 213 citations. There were also a number of other arrests based on referrals to other police agencies. They say that they partnered with the New Orleans Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Drunk driving causing death will bring vehicular homicide charge

Louisiana has serious problems with drunk driving violations leading to death and injury. When an accident results in death caused by drunk driving, the offender must confront a whole new rung of the ladder when it comes to the criminal justice system. Although the penalties for DUI are serious, the violator will generally not be incarcerated on a first offense with no complications, damages or injuries. The penalties increase from that point as the impact of the offense intensifies.

With the driver causing the death of another person due to drunk driving, this raises the offense alleged to the level of what is called vehicular homicide, which is a form of voluntary manslaughter. Conviction on such a count can lead to a substantial prison term, which will be enhanced accordingly on repeat offenses. Defense counsel for an accused driver will be reviewing those and a host of criminal law issues arising from an accident that occurred in Lafayette recently.