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.
Like every state, Louisiana has some criminal laws that are too arcane or too oppressive to have credible authority. One such law has been identified, challenged and declared unconstitutional by three separate federal court opinions, including one from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. That court, on Aug. 3, ruled that the state law that makes it a crime to "threaten" a public official is overly broad and unconstitutional. The criminal defense to prosecution under the infirm law was based on freedom of speech.
Louisiana, like all other states, is seeing an increase of criminal charges and convictions of persons in authority for a variety of crimes. Recently, there has been a flood of law enforcement officers being arrested on various charges relating to their treatment of suspects, including those arrested for alleged traffic or DUI offenses. There have always been a small number of cases where narcotics officers are dealing in drugs and addicted to boot. One of the most curious types of offenses is the arsonist who works for the local fire department; this situation puzzles and amazes both prosecutors and criminal defense counsel alike.
Frontier "justice" may have recently come to an end in certain rural parts of Louisiana. Capping an investigation that started a few years ago, the U.S. Justice Department has announced that it has entered into agreements with local governments in the city of Ville Platte and in Evangeline Parish, which are located about 80 miles west of Baton Rouge. The police in those localities, apparently oblivious to such things as constitutional law, were accustomed for many years to arresting and holding people for questioning without due process, including with no criminal defense counsel, arraignment, bail or other required protections.
A new Louisiana law that regulates police behavior during an arrest has been passed without any discernible opposition by police organizations or individual officers. The law prohibits police from having "consensual sex" with a suspect during an arrest. The issue was raised in the past year when two police officers in another state tried to assert the criminal defense of consent in a case where the officers were arrested for allegedly raping a female suspect in the back of a police van.
The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed a new bill to combat hazing on college campuses. If the bill passes into law, that could lead to a reduction in criminal charges for college students associated or involved with hazing activities that lead to injury or death. Structuring a criminal defense for these young people is a critical part of protecting their futures.
There are many different classifications of robbery and theft in the state of Louisiana. Being charged with any of these would precipitate the need to mount a criminal defense. A man was recently arrested after police claimed he robbed a bank.
Most Louisiana residents have been the recipient of an incorrect order at a fast food restaurant's drive-thru window at one time or another. Customers are typically appreciative when the establishment acknowledges the mistake and offers to rectify the error. However, two Shreveport residents are likely now focused on a criminal defense after they allegedly threatened a restaurant's employees with a handgun while at the drive-thru window.
Virtually everyone makes mistakes in their youth, but some actions carry more consequences than others. Three Louisiana teenagers are now likely focusing on their criminal defense needs rather than their high school assignments after their recent arrests. Police say the three boys were involved in an armed robbery in which no one was harmed.
Although it is a hobby enjoyed by many people, hunting is strictly regulated in Louisiana. Hunting animals outside of specific seasons can lead to serious charges that require a vigorous criminal defense. This may be the case for an area man who was recently charged for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and for taking a bear during a closed season.