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Olathe Criminal Law Blog

Criminal defense strategy advisable when accused of a crime

When it comes to the law, it isn't always comparable to what you see on 'Law and Order' reruns. Court decisions generally do not move as quickly as they do in 'Judge Judy'. If you are using television for the basis of your criminal defense strategy, you may want to think again. A quality, well-crafted criminal defense strategy will consider all angles when a person is accused of a crime and will choose the defense that best suits the defendant.

Maybe you or a loved one has been accused of a lesser crime, like a misdemeanor or a DUI. Maybe you think a criminal defense strategy should only be employed in situations where a person is accused of a felony. This really isn't true. While felonies are very serious accusations against a person and should include a criminal defense strategy, other crimes can be just as damaging without the right criminal defense strategy.

Caught speeding? Think traffic diversion program

You were out and about, minding your own business. Then, you see them. The blue and red lights shining in your rearview. An officer pulls you over for speeding, something you didn't even realize you were doing. Doesn't matter, though, they clocked you well over the limit and now you are facing a hefty fine, increased insurance rates and points against your license. Is it possible to avoid any or all of these consequences?

Thankfully, the state does offer a traffic diversion program that can help you avoid these consequences. Who qualifies for this program? How does it work?

Kansas House bill will impact repeat DUI offenders when finalized

The motivation and meaning behind laws is more than just telling people what to do. Many laws are passed with the hope of keeping people safe and ensure a good quality of life of every Olathe resident. However, sometimes people make mistakes and are accused of breaking the law. One bill in the Kansas House is prepped to pass into law and the outcome would affect repeat DUI offenders.

The driving force behind this bill was the tragic death of a young woman involved in a collision with a person who was declared a repeat DUI offender. Most DUIs do not result in such tragedy, but the possibility is enough to evoke a reaction to create legislation in hopes of preventing such things from happening. If/when finalized, the bill would apply in a scenario where one who is believed responsible for a crash and had been previously convicted of a DUI or was driving under a suspended or revoked license. Under the bill, the minimum sentence for aggravated battery related to a DUI accidents, in which one was convicted, would increase from 38 months to 47 months. If a fatality results from such an accident, the minimum sentencing was advanced as well.

Controlled substances and drug charges

Have you ever heard the term "controlled substance" and wondered what it means? Controlled substances are generally illegal drugs thought to have a detrimental effect on a person's health and welfare. However, certain controlled substances can be legal, if they are administered by prescription, under controlled circumstances.

A person found to be possessing a controlled substance illegally can be fined and held in prison by local, state and federal law enforcement based on the accusation of drug crimes based on local laws and regulations.

When is a DUI considered a misdemeanor in Kansas?

We all make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can turn into more severe consequences. If you might have had a few too many to drink before getting behind the wheel and were apprehended by authorities, you could be facing a slew of legal issues and potential consequences. With all of the legislation cracking down on DUI and DWI offenders in recent years, how serious could your DUI charge be?

The good news is that DUI is generally treated as a misdemeanor, not a felony. Misdemeanors have less potential consequences than a felony conviction would have. If you were pulled over and charged with DUI for the first time, it is almost always considered a misdemeanor charge. However, certain situations can exacerbate this and a first time DUI offender could be facing a felony charge, not a misdemeanor.

Those facing felonies have the right to criminal defense strategy

For you or a loved one, it could be some of the worst news you've ever received. Getting involved with the law, as the accused, is never a fun situation. Whether you are sitting in jail or out on bail after being accused of a felony crime, there can be much anxiety and uncertainty about how to proceed. The good news is that even if you or a loved one are accused of a felony crime, the accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Criminal defense strategies are as diverse as they are customizable to a person's situation. What one criminal defense may or may not have done for someone else, is only somewhat relevant to a specific person's situation. There are elements of each case that are unique to that case and could be the difference between conviction and acquittal. Whether you know how you want your criminal defense strategy to be brought, or whether you are completely unsure of how to proceed, the experts at Billam & Henderson LLC Attorneys at Law can help.

Want legalized marijuana in Kansas? It could be awhile

With many cities and states around the US legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, many supporters of marijuana are eager to be the next state or city on that list. While a couple bills in support of the drug have made their way to the Kansas Legislature, they stopped short of a debate in both the house and senate for various reasons. Those in support of legalization say the plant has less harmful effects than alcohol and can be used to provide relief for a variety of ailments. Meanwhile, opponents claim that marijuana use has a social cost, just like alcohol, and that federal law is clear on its prohibited status.

In the meantime, those who are thinking about using marijuana should remember that it is still a prohibited substance in the state. There are potential legal consequences if prosecuted for marijuana use or possession which can vary due to a person's history with law enforcement, the amount of the prohibited substance allegedly found on a persona and any other compounding charges brought against a person. Drug charges can have ramifications other than the court system. It could affect a person's ability to be hired if convicted, impact their ability to attend schools or just throw a wrench in a person's plans.

What's the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

Whether it is yourself or a loved one who is charged with a criminal offense, you likely have a lot of questions. Many do not have even a general understanding of the law including vocabulary and even a person's rights or next steps in the legal process. This is completely understandable, but it doesn't mean a person should be uninformed throughout the entire process. A good place to start is understanding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.

If charged with a crime, a person is likely charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a less serious charge, one that doesn't carry such potentially heavy consequences or fines, generally with a potential jail time of up to one year. Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious and can be punishable by one year or more of jail time. Court room procedure must be strictly observed so that the defendants' rights stay protected, especially in situations in which a person is accused of a felony.

A DUI conviction has lasting consequences

Driving home after having a few drinks may not seem like a big deal. After all, it's only a few blocks, and you have driven it countless times. In fact, you may have driven home before when you were in worse shape, and you made it home without an arrest or an accident. For these reasons, you may feel like a DUI arrest is not a big deal. You will pay your fine, and it will be over.

It's not that simple. Kansas is easily one of the toughest states for DUI penalties, including mandatory jail time even for a first offense. You will certainly have fines to pay and community service to perform if you are convicted. You may have to attend a driving class or alcohol counseling. Even then, your troubles are far from over.

Understand and defend yourself when charged with a felony

Maybe you saw it coming and maybe you didn't. Being arrested on a felony charge is one of the most serious categories of criminal offenses one can be involved in and it isn't something the accused or their family should take lightly. Remember that just because one is accused of a felony crime does not automatically make them guilty of that crime. Each person will have their day in court, if they wish, to defend themselves and tell their side of the story.

So what kind of offenses could land a person with a felony charge? There are many violent crimes associated with felonies like burglary, assault, rape and even murder. Each of these has degrees of severity that will determine how a person will be prosecuted, the potential minimum and maximum penalties and sentences when and if a person is convicted. A felony charge can even dictate how a person will choose to best defend themselves.

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