Defending a Traffic Ticket?

Have You Received a Traffic Ticket in Louisiana?

If you received a traffic ticket in New Orleans, you will likely address the matter in Orleans Parish Traffic Court ( https://www.nola.gov/traffic-court/ ). In Jefferson Parish, the matter will likely be handled in First Parish Court in Metairie ( https://www.jpclerkofcourt.us/courts/1st-parish/ ), or Second Parish Court in Gretna ( https://www.jpclerkofcourt.us/courts/2nd-parish/ ).  Traffic Court in New Orleans does not handle the Camera Safety Tickets or Parking Tickets. If you need information about parking or camera tickets, you need to go to the Department of Public Works site which addresses the Parking and Camera Safety Tickets. That site is ( https://www.nola.gov/dpw/parking/tickets/  ). Major traffic offenses such as vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring, and hit and run driving will be handled in Criminal District Court in New Orleans or in the appropriate district court in other parishes.

If you receive a traffic ticket, you will note that it will have one or more violations, hand-written on the front of the ticket by the police officer. Each violation has a numeric code and a short, written description. Each violation listed on the ticket has a specific fine and fee associated with it. At the bottom of the traffic citation, the police officer has written the arraignment due date (first appearance date). This is the date by which the motorist must take action on his/her ticket.

Should you handle the traffic ticket alone? You might want to hire an experienced attorney to help you determine the best way to respond to the traffic ticket. The fines for traffic violations can be steep, and you will want to do the best you can to not have unnecessary items on your traffic record and to not have your insurance payments increased. An experienced attorney who has handled traffic ticket might be just what you need.  Our office handles traffic, moving violations, and DWI/DUI matters in the Greater New Orleans area.

Some of the matters that we can assist you with include:

Speeding tickets

Reckless or careless driving

Stop sign violations

Red light violations

Yield Sign violations

School zone violations

Failure to stop for school buses

Failure to stop for emergency vehicles

Seat belt violations

Driving with no license or on a suspended license

Illegal U-Turns

Violation for possession of alcohol in motor vehicles

Driving on the Wrong Side of Road

Improper passing

Improper turning at an intersection

Improper driving, parking or standing upon  highway shoulder

False Swearing; Obtaining Two Licenses

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published  September 24, 2018.

 

By |2018-09-24T12:17:15+00:00September 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Defending a Traffic Ticket?

Intoxication (Drunkenness) as a Defense to a Crime

Intoxication (Drunkenness) as a Defense to a Crime

When can intoxication or drunkenness be used as a defense to a crime in Louisiana?

La. R.S. 14:15 provides the law relative to intoxication as a defense to a crime in Louisiana. That article states:

La. R.S. 14:15.  Intoxication

The fact of an intoxicated or drugged condition of the offender at the time of the commission of the crime is immaterial, except as follows:

(1)  Where the production of the intoxicated or drugged condition has been involuntary, and the circumstances indicate this condition is the direct cause of the commission of the crime, the offender is exempt from criminal responsibility.

(2)  Where the circumstances indicate that an intoxicated or drugged condition has precluded the presence of a specific criminal intent or of special knowledge required in a particular crime, this fact constitutes a defense to a prosecution for that crime.

Involuntary Intoxication.  There are two types of intoxication that can be used as a defense to a crime in Louisiana, involuntary intoxication and voluntary intoxication. The first type, involuntary intoxication, occurs when a person becomes intoxicated after being tricked by another or by having an unexpected reaction to a drug, liquid, or other substance. In this instance, the person does not intend to become intoxicated. An example of involuntary intoxication is when a person becomes intoxicated when someone else slips a date rape drug in her drink. If this person commits a crime as a direct result of this intoxicated state, then involuntary intoxication can be a defense to the crime under La. R.S. 14:15(1). Involuntary intoxication can be used as a defense to any crime as long as the circumstances indicate that the involuntary intoxication is the direct cause of the commission of the crime.

Voluntary Intoxication. The second type of intoxication is voluntary intoxication. This type of intoxication occurs when a person intentionally becomes intoxicated. It is much more difficult to prevail with the defense of voluntary intoxication than with involuntary intoxication. This is because voluntary intoxication is only a defense to  specific intent crimes, those crimes stating that the offender must have specific intent to be guilty. Some specific intent crimes are first degree murder, second degree murder, second degree battery, simple burglary, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and aggravated battery.

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published  September 7, 2018.

By |2018-09-07T14:40:01+00:00September 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Intoxication (Drunkenness) as a Defense to a Crime

New Louisiana Criminal Laws Enacted in 2018

Some New Louisiana Criminal Laws Effective in 2018

Introduction

There are several new criminal laws that became effective in Louisiana in 2018. These laws are discussed here to give readers a general idea of what the new laws are.

1. [Act 263 – House Bill 79]. La. R.S. 14:283.3 creates the new crime of abuse of persons with infirmities through electronic means and provides for criminal penalties and exceptions.

The crime of abuse of persons with infirmities through electronic means occurs when all of the following occur:

(1) The person transfers an image that was obtained by any camera, videotape, photo-optical, photo-electric, unmanned aircraft system, or any other image recording device and that was obtained for the purpose of observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping any person with an infirmity.

(2) The person transfers the image by live or recorded telephone message, electronic mail, the internet, or a commercial online service.

(3) The person transfers the image with the malicious and willful intent to embarrass, shame, harass, coerce, abuse, torment, or intimidate, regardless of whether the victim has knowledge of the transfer.

 

2. Act 282 – House Bill 776. La. R.S. 14:40.2(F)(5) prohibits the possession of firearms in certain cases involving stalking.

This law states that if a protective order is issued in a stalking case, the court shall also order that the defendant be prohibited from possessing a firearm for the duration of the Uniform Abuse Prevention Order. A protective order is a court-certified document prohibiting the person named in the order from getting within a certain distance of the person who requested that the order be issued. Protective orders, also known as restraining or stay away orders, are mostly used in cases involving domestic abuse, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. If the protective order is violated, the likely consequence is an arrest and a criminal charge.

 

3. [Act 293 – House Bill 896] La. R.S. 14:02 (B) (48, 49, 50) makes the crimes of battery of a dating partner, domestic abuse battery, and violation of a protective order with a battery crimes of violence.

With this amendment, the crimes of battery of a dating partner, domestic abuse battery, and violation of a protective order if the violation involves a battery or any crime of violence against the person for whose benefit the protective order is in effect are now crimes of violence.

 

4. [Act 303 – House Bill 242] La. R.S. 14:67(D) states specifically how the intent element can be proven in a shoplifting/theft case.

This law states that in a shoplifting case where the property allegedly misappropriated or taken was held for sale by a merchant, an intent to permanently  deprive the merchant of the property held for sale may be inferred when the defendant:

(1) Intentionally conceals, on his person or otherwise, goods held for sale.

(2) Alters or transfers any price marking reflecting the actual retail price of the goods.

(3) Transfers goods from one container or package to another or places goods in any container, package, or wrapping in a manner to avoid detection.

(4) Willfully causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the actual retail price of the goods.

(5) Removes any price marking with the intent to deceive the merchant as to the actual retail price of the goods.

 

5. [Act 576 – Senate Bill 54] La. R.S. 14:52.2 creates the crime of negligent arson.

The crime of negligent arson is the damaging of any building of another by the setting of fire or causing an explosion, without consent of the owner or custodian of the building, when the offender’s criminal negligence causes the fire or the explosion.

 

6. [Act 485 – Senate Bill 236] La. R.S. 89.3 creates the crime of sexual abuse of an animal

Sexual abuse of an animal is the knowing and intentional performance of any of the following:

(1) Engaging in sexual contact with an animal.

(2) Possessing, selling, transferring, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining

an animal with the intent that it be subject to sexual contact.

(3) Organizing, promoting, conducting, aiding or abetting, or

participating in as an observer, any act involving sexual contact with an animal.

(4) Causing, coercing, aiding, or abetting another person to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

(5) Permitting sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his charge or control.

(6) Advertising, soliciting, offering, or accepting the offer of an animal with the intent that it be used for sexual contact.

(7) Filming, distributing, or possessing pornographic images of a person and an animal engaged in any of the activities described in Paragraphs (1) through (6) of this Subsection.

 

These are just a few of the new criminal provisions that were enacted in 2018. For more details, please visit the web site of the  Louisiana State Legislature’s site at http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/LawsContents.aspx .

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published August 18, 2018.

By |2018-08-18T17:35:57+00:00August 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Louisiana Criminal Laws Enacted in 2018

Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Background Facts

As you may know by now, Rita Leblanc, granddaughter of Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans before he died on March 18, 2018, secretly recorded a conversation she had with Benson about why her mother, Renee Leblanc, had contacted Tom Benson’s bookkeeper directly, instead of going through him. The recording was a critical piece of evidence in the family feud between Tom Benson and Renee LeBlanc and Rita LeBlanc, the daughter and granddaughter of Tom Benson respectively. The feud began after Tom Benson made his wife, Gayle Benson, the heir to his multi-billion-dollar business fortune. The feud played out in court in New Orleans in June 2015 where Judge Kern Reese, after an eight day trial, ruled in Tom Benson’s favor by holding that Benson should not be interdicted. An interdiction is a process in court where a Judge is asked to determine whether a person is unable, because of an ailment such as a mental illness, to make decisions regarding his person and/or his property. In this case, Rita and Renee LeBlanc unsuccessfully attempted to convince Judge Kern Reese of the New Orleans Civil District Court that Benson should be interdicted on the grounds that he was too mentally debilitated to alter his will. For more details of the court proceedings, see the New Orleans Advocate article written by Ramon Antonio Vargas at https://bit.ly/2Af3uu4 .

The Trial Court Proceeding

During an eight day trial in a closed court, Judge Reese was presented with voluminous amounts of conflicting lay and medical witness testimony. Judge Reese found that Mr. Benson should not be interdicted and that Mr. Benson had a right not to testify at the trial. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed with Judge Reese. In Re Benson 216 So.3d 950 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/24/16).

The Secret Recording of Tom Benson by Rita Leblanc

On December 19, 2014, Rita Leblanc secretly recorded a conversation that she had with Benson. That recording was introduced into evidence at the trial by LeBlanc’s attorney to show that Benson,  who  was immobile, after being relegated to a wheelchair, and required twenty-four hour nursing assistance for his care, and who had been  prescribed a number of medications for his various maladies, including alleged mental illnesses.

Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc is not illegal?

In Louisiana, under La. R.S. 15:1303(C)(4, 5), Louisiana’s Electronic Surveillance Act, the recording, interception, use or disclosure of any oral or telephonic communication by means of any mechanical or electronic device is legal as long as one party to the conversation consents. In the case of Rita Leblanc’s because she consented to the secret recording of the conversation that she had with her grandfather Tom Benson, the recording is legal.

 

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published July 28, 2018.

 

 

By |2018-07-28T12:35:01+00:00July 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why the Secret Recording by Rita LeBlanc of her Grandfather Tom Benson, Owner of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, Was not illegal

Why the Suspect in the Trader Joe’s Shooting In California Could Not Be Guilty Of Murder In Louisiana?

What happened?

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer fired the bullet that struck and killed a Trader Joe’s employee when LAPD officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect in an attempted murder case. The officer who killed the Trader Joe’s employee was chasing the suspect who was suspected of shooting his grandmother hours earlier in the day and had led officers on a high speed chase in the Hollywood area. After the suspect crashed his car into a utility pole next to the Trader Joe’s store, he fired at police and ran into the store. The officers who were pursuing the suspect returned fire. One of the officers’ bullets struck the Trader Joe’s employee, killing her. After the suspect ran into the market, he shot several more times at police from inside Trader Joe’s and took several customers hostage.

The Charges Against the Suspect

The suspect faces several charges including murder, kidnapping, fleeing a pursing peace officer’s vehicle, grand theft, premeditated attempted murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, and false imprisonment of a hostage. Of particular note is that fact that the suspect was charged with the murder of the Trader Joe’s employee although he did not fire the bullet that ended up killing the employee. The suspect was apparently arrested in part with the felony murder of the Trader Joe’s employee. Felony murder is a death caused by a defendant committing or attempting to commit a limited number of inherently dangerous felonies. The dangerous felonies include the litany of felonies listed above.

Why the Suspect Could Not Be Found Guilty of Murder in Louisiana

If the event occurred in Louisiana, although the suspect could be convicted of statutory crimes similar to those in California, the suspect could not be convicted of murder in Louisiana. That is because in Louisiana, felony murder is committed only when the defendant or one of his accomplices is the shooter. The defendant is not responsible for a murder in Louisiana when a person in an encounter is killed by a police officer. Stated differently, a felony murder is only committed in Louisiana when the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a  felony such as aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, aggravated arson, aggravated or first degree rape, forcible or second degree rape, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, assault by drive-by shooting, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, terrorism, cruelty to juveniles, or second degree cruelty to juveniles.

Because Louisiana has adopted the agency theory, which states that felony murder does not extend those deaths resulting from the commission of an enumerated felony if not committed by the defendant or one of his accomplices, the suspect could not be guilty of murder in Louisiana. Some states, however, have adopted the proximate cause theory in felony murder cases. Under the proximate cause theory, a defendant is liable for “any death proximately resulting from the unlawful activity—notwithstanding the fact that the killing was by a police officer or other person who was resisting the crime. The proximate cause theory also requires that the death be a foreseeable consequence of the felony. Of course, death of an innocent bystander is a foreseeable consequence of a shootout with the police, a high speed chase, kidnappings, and attempted murder of police officers.

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive criminal and personal injury lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.

 

This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2018 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published July 25, 2018.

By |2018-08-02T04:00:08+00:00July 25th, 2018|Criminal Defense Laws New Orleans Louisiana, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Why the Suspect in the Trader Joe’s Shooting In California Could Not Be Guilty Of Murder In Louisiana?