Do Motorists Have to Submit to Standard Field Sobriety Tests after a DWI or DUI Stop?

Do Motorists in Louisiana have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests?

One of the most frequently asked questions that motorist ask about DWI or DUI law is, “Can I refuse to take the roadside field sobriety tests after a DWI stop?” The short answer is yes. In Louisiana, a motorist is not required to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests are  used by law enforcement officers to gather evidence of intoxication. I discussed the various field sobriety tests in a prior blog. Often, if the police officer is not able to gather evidence from the motorist by use of one or more of the field sobriety tests, he will have very little evidence that the motorist was driving while intoxicated. Often, traffic stops are made when a motorist is observed committing a minor traffic violation such as drifting or swerving to the left and making contact with the center line or turning to the right and making contact with the fog line that runs along the shoulder of a highway, or travelling in a vehicle at night without the taillights or headlights illuminated. These occurrences are not evidence of intoxication, only that the motor violated a traffic law.

Consequently, without the motorists agreeing to conduct the field sobriety tests, the officer could generally only state that the stopped motorist violated a minor traffic law or perhaps that he smelled alcohol or drugs when he approached the motorist. This type of evidence may not be sufficient for a DWI or DUI arrest. And if the motorist is polite to the officer, the officer is likely to say, while letting the motorist go, “Alright, drive carefully, and have a nice day!”  The idea is, if the motorist is polite to the officer, the officer, having no other reason to arrest the motorist, is likely to reciprocate and be polite to the motorist, giving credence to the old adage, “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.”

If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury or family lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive 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  December 5, 2018.

By |2018-12-05T11:05:23+00:00December 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

St Louis police charged for beating black undercover officer

Here is the link to an interesting article about the indictment of three police officers in St. Louis, Missouri. A federal grand jury in St. Louis indicted the three Missouri police officers for attacking a black police officer who was working undercover – the officer mistook the officer for a protester. The beating of the African American police officer happened in 2017 after a white officer, Officer Jason Stockley, was acquitted after killing Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24 year old black male, in 2017.  A fourth officer was also charged for helping cover-up the incident. Here is the link to the story with more details: https://bbc.in/2Rox9EZ .

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  November 30, 2018.

By |2018-11-30T15:21:22+00:00November 30th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Rape Laws in Louisiana

 

Sex Offenses Including Rape

This entry will discuss the various rape crimes in Louisiana. While there are many other types of sexual assault crimes, such as aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, sexual battery, possession of child pornography, child sexual abuse, molestation, failure to register as a sex offender; prostitution, obscenity, human trafficking, and crime against nature, this post will discuss the various rape crimes in Louisiana. Rape in Louisiana includes First Degree Rape (Aggravated Rape), Second Degree Rape (Forcible Rape), Third Degree Rape (Simple Rape), and Statutory Rape (officially known as Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile and Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile).

First degree rape (Also known as Aggravated Rape Prior to 2015) – La. Rev. Stat. 14:42

A. First degree rape is a rape committed upon a person sixty-five years of age or older or where the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:

(1) When the victim resists the act to the utmost, but whose resistance is overcome by force.

(2) When the victim is prevented from resisting the act by threats of great and immediate bodily harm, accompanied by apparent power of execution.

(3) When the victim is prevented from resisting the act because the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon.

(4) When the victim is under the age of thirteen years. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age shall not be a defense.

(5) When two or more offenders participated in the act.

(6) When the victim is prevented from resisting the act because the victim suffers from a physical or mental infirmity preventing such resistance.

Penalty Provision for First Degree Rape

D.(1) Whoever commits the crime of first degree rape shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

(2) However, if the victim was under the age of thirteen years, as provided by Paragraph (A)(4) of this Section:

(a) And if the district attorney seeks a capital verdict, the offender shall be punished by death or life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, in accordance with the determination of the jury. The provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 782 relative to cases in which punishment may be capital shall apply.

(b) And if the district attorney does not seek a capital verdict, the offender shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 782 relative to cases in which punishment is necessarily confinement at hard labor shall apply.

Second Degree Rape (Also known as Forcible Rape Prior to 2015) – La. R.S. 14:42.1

A. Second degree rape is rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:

(1) When the victim is prevented from resisting the act by force or threats of physical violence under circumstances where the victim reasonably believes that such resistance would not prevent the rape.

(2) When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of stupor or abnormal condition of the mind produced by a narcotic or anesthetic agent or other controlled dangerous substance administered by the offender and without the knowledge of the victim.

Penalty Provision for Second Degree Rape

B. Whoever commits the crime of second degree rape shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five nor more than forty years. At least two years of the sentence imposed shall be without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

Third degree rape (Also known as Simple Rape Prior to 2015) – La. R.S. 14:43

A. Third degree rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:

(1) When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.

(2) When the victim, through unsoundness of mind, is temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.

(3) When the victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim, other than the offender, and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.

(4) When the offender acts without the consent of the victim.

Penalty Provision for Third Degree Rape

B. Whoever commits the crime of third degree rape shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five years.

Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile – La. R.S. 14:80

A. Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile is committed when:

(1) A person who is seventeen years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is thirteen years of age or older but less than seventeen years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender and when the difference between the age of the victim and the age of the offender is four years or greater; or

(2) A person commits a second or subsequent offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, or a person who has been convicted one or more times of violating one or more crimes for which the offender is required to register as a sex offender under R.S. 15:542 commits a first offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Penalty Provision for Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile

D.(1) Whoever commits the crime of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or both, provided that the defendant shall not be eligible to have his conviction set aside or his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.

(2)(a) In addition, the court shall order that the personal property used in the commission of the offense shall be seized and impounded, and after conviction, sold at public sale or public auction by the district attorney in accordance with R.S. 15:539.1.

(b) The personal property made subject to seizure and sale pursuant to Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph may include, but shall not be limited to, electronic communication devices, computers, computer related equipment, motor vehicles, photographic equipment used to record or create still or moving visual images of the victim that are recorded on paper, film, video tape, disc, or any other type of digital recording media.

Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile – La. R.S. 14:80.1

A. Misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile is committed when a person who is seventeen years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is thirteen years of age or older but less than seventeen years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender, and when the difference between the age of the victim and age of the offender is greater than two years, but less than four years.

B. As used in this Section, “sexual intercourse” means anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse.

C. Lack of knowledge of the juvenile’s age shall not be a defense. Emission is not necessary, and penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.

Penalty Provision for Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile

D. Whoever commits the crime of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

E. The offender shall be eligible to have his conviction set aside and his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

F. The offender shall not be subject to any of the provisions of law which are applicable to sex offenders, including but not limited to the provisions which require registration of the offender and notice to the neighbors of the offender.

Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony sexual offense, you become immediately aware of the serious nature of these kinds of charges and the pervasive consequences they may have on your personal and professional life. This is particularly so because the public repugnance to sex crimes in general forces prosecutors to pursue these cases zealously.

Regardless of which type of a charge you are facing, at the Law Office of Gaynell Williams, we will assess your case, conduct our own personal investigation to build your defense, and together come up with the best strategy to fight your charges and mitigate or completely avoid any potential repercussions. We will do our best to protect your freedom, your name and reputation, and your career. Our goal is to keep you out of jail and at home with your family, where you belong. Regardless of the seriousness of the crime you have been accused of, we can help. Don’t wait! Call us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (504) 302-2462.

Posted  November 20, 2018 Copyright Gaynell Williams

By |2018-11-20T19:55:12+00:00November 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Rape Laws in Louisiana

Uber, Lyft, Taxi, and Ride Sharing Defense

Uber, Lyft, Taxi, and Ride Sharing Defense

As an Uber, Lyft, or taxi driver, have you been accused of sexual assault or abuse, a homicide, or a battery? Have you been arrested for murder, assault, battery, rape, sexual assault, or DWI/DUI while driving for Uber, Lyft, or for a taxi company? As a driver for two of the top ride sharing companies in the United States or for a taxi company, we know that the safety of your passengers is your top priority. Moreover, we know that another one of your top concerns is to protect your riders while they are in your vehicle.

Nevertheless, accusations can be made which could turn your life upside down. When a charge is made against you, it is important for you to contact an experienced New Orleans ridesharing attorney to represent you and to improve your chances of receiving an excellent outcome. It is important not to fight these charges alone.

What should you do if you are accused or arrested for a crime?

Being accused of or charged with a crime while driving for Uber, Lyft, or a taxi company is a serious matter. This is a critical moment in your life. The way in which you respond to the threat posed by a criminal charge can shape the rest of your life. Failing to respond in an effective way or making the wrong choices can leave you in a situation where securing future employment can be difficult, where finding housing with a landlord who is willing to rent to you is a challenge, and where you spend substantial time in prison.

To assist you with any accusation made against you, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. If you are arrested for a crime arising from your work as an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or other ride sharing company, remember your Miranda rights. As any arresting officer will tell you,

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?

You should also know that in Louisiana, you do not have to take the standardized field sobriety tests and there are no penalties if you refuse to take these tests. Call us at (504)-302-2462 or complete our Internet contact form to schedule a free, initial consultation with our New Orleans area based criminal defense attorneys. There is no-obligation when you meet with us.

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  October 19, 2018.

By |2018-10-18T12:01:41+00:00October 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Uber, Lyft, Taxi, and Ride Sharing Defense

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?