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Crime shows like CSI only make a criminal defense attorney’s job harder

I must admit up front, I’ve never watched an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. So I am only picking on this show because everyone seems to talk about it. CSI and other shows like it are full of amazing crime scene investigators who always find some forensic (scientific) evidence that proves - beyond any shadow of a doubt - who committed a crime. So, how does this...

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A criminal defense attorney’s perspective on posting bail in Kentucky

As a Kentucky criminal defense attorney based in Lexington, I’ve learned that the general public typically favors high bail unless it applies to them or to a loved one. When it’s personal, they don’t want to be stuck - or have a loved one stuck - in jail because their bail is too high.When talking with my clients, I often compare bail to placing a bet in Las Vegas, since th...

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Expungement – a Second Chance for Those Convicted of a Crime

Giving someone a second chance when they have made a mistake is called forgive and forget in our society. In our legal system, it is called expungement.Expungement is a legal procedure by which any records of a specific charge against an individual are sealed. For example, if you've been convicted of a crime, you may be able to file a motion to have the records of those charges "exp...

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Hearsay in criminal court does not mean what you think it does.

“Your neighbor is going to say that she saw you shoot him.”“Well, that is just hearsay!”     “No, that is eye witness testimony.” First, we should get the formal definition out of the way. Hearsay is defined as “a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offere...

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What should the legal blood alcohol level be to drive?

         On December 30th, 2018, Utah became the strictest state in the country on blood alcohol content. The state legislature reduced the legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05. This is something that everyone should take notice of because Utah was also the first state to lower its limit from 0.10 to 0.08 in 1983. Kentucky followed suit 17 years later in 2000. Ut...

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Refusing a blood, breath, or urine test during a DUI arrest is surprisingly not an aggravator, as long as it is your 1st offense.

Kentucky’s DUI statute states that “aggravating circumstances are any one (1) of the following: (e) Refusing to submit to any test or tests of one’s blood, breath, or urine requested by an officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (1) of this section;” KRS 189A.010(11)(e). Now...

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During a DUI arrest, you have the right to an independent blood test, but not an affordable blood test.

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals in ruling that a Defendant is not entitled to an affordable blood test. During a DUI arrest, the officer will give you the opportunity to contact a criminal defense attorney and request that you submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. After that test, the officer is required to offer you the chance to obtain an indepe...

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Death by dealing drugs.

Any criminal defense lawyer who handles Federal drug trafficking cases will tell you that they are seeing an increase in defendants being charged with the death or serious physical injury of their users. This increase in prosecution has come in response to the heroin and more specifically fentanyl epidemic. Fentanyl has resulted in dramatic increases in the number of overdoses. It is no secret t...

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Why your criminal defense lawyer cannot just "Call the Judge!"

I often have clients ask me to call the Judge to resolve an issue in their case. For example, “Call her to see if she will lower my bail.” or “Have you spoken with the Judge to see if he will give me probation?” The problem is that the legal rules of ethics prohibit me from doing any of that. Calling a judge without the prosecution’s involvement or permission is cal...

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Jailhouse lawyers make my life hard

One of the hardest parts about being a criminal lawyer is fighting the lies spread inside the jail. Inmates have a lot of time on their hands, which means they spend a lot of time thinking about their case and hearing other people talk about their case. This results in some of them believing that they now understand how the system works. On the other hand, there are inmates who like to make up f...

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Catchy news headlines are one of the reasons people are angry at our legal system

I have a weakness. I will admit it. Every time I see a legal story linked on my Facebook feed I know the tittle, story, or comments will make me mad, but I click on it anyway. Sometimes, I get so weak that I even start responding to comments, which is generally a bad idea. A little back story, I saw this headline on my Facebook feed "Magistrate Judge Recommends Not Droppi...

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He told me everything about his case on the jail phone…… why did you sigh and shake your head?

I am often first contacted by a client’s family or friends. If that happens, that normally means that the client is in jail. Most people do not realize that any phone calls from the jail are recorded. This is why I always hate to hear someone tell me that the client has told them all about he case over the phone. People need to realize that the client is basically testifying when the...

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Can I Receive a DUI for Consuming Substances Other Than Alcohol?

In the United States, an average of 1.5 million people are arrested annually for drunk driving. In 2015, an astounding 10,235 people died as a result of driving while drunk. There is a library of statistics and evidence comparing driving under the influence and car accidents. Though alcohol may be the predominant substance consumed in DUI arrests, it is hardly the only subst...

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Just tell me what to do over the phone!

"Call for a free consultation" does not mean the same thing to everyone. When I advertise that, I mean that I will talk with you in generalities about your case, for free, to determine if I can help you out. The only time I charge people money to talk generally about their case, is if I have told them I cannot help them and they insist on meeting to discuss their case further. Many peo...

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Just lie, you're a Lawyer!

If a lawyer lies to the Court, they can face punishment and potential disbarment by their state Bar association. Anytime someone suggests I could lie or misrepresent something, my simple response is "I worked very hard to get my law license and I am not risking it for any case." What may surprise most people is that these suggestions generally do not come from clients, but m...

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She got off on a technicality... you mean they violated her constitutional rights?

Over my three years of law school, I sat through a lot of class time, so not every pearl of wisdom from my professors has stuck with me, but I will always remember when my criminal law professor said "I hate when people say he or she got off on a technicality, those are your constitutional rights, not a technicality."  To be honest, I did not have intentions of going into criminal law ...

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"You must hate prosecutors." Not Really.

People often assume that the relationships between defense attorneys and prosecutors are as dramatic and hateful as you see in the movies and T.V., but that is usually not the case. I think one of the best skills any lawyer can have is the ability to not take a passionate argument from the other side personally. I also think the general public would be better off if they develo...

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Send me a money order and you won't be charged.

If you ever receive a phone call and hear some variation of that sentence, you need to be aware that you are being scammed. Over the last two years, I have received a call about once every few months with a person dealing with a similar situation. The scam I  most often hear is that the victim will meet someone on an online dating website and eventually begin texting...

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Sorry, I do not practice that area of law. But you're a lawyer!

One thing that law school did not prepare me for is how offended people will become when you tell them that you cannot help them. I often get phone calls from people about areas of law that I have no practical experience in. Yes, I did take a property class in law school, but no I will not help your cousin look over and edit his commercial lease. There is a huge difference between rea...

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If they had nothing to hide, they would testify.

A commonly held belief is that if you have nothing to hide, you should not be afraid to answer questions. This leads people to doubt the innocence of someone who is not willing to testify at their own trial. I have heard people say "If I was charged with a crime, I would testify to clear my own name.", which sounds a lot better than it works out in real life. Whether it is true o...

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