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December 2011 Archives

Help, I Live Out of Town And Need Local Attorney!

As a practicing attorney in Northern Kentucky and regular user of the internet, I often get calls from people who have been arrested in Campbell, Kenton, Gallatin or Boone Counties but live elsewhere. Websites designed for giving information regarding representation of criminal clients as well as the blogs give clients information that they need to decide how to hire an attorney. Whether traveling through at the CVG airport, coming in for a friend's wedding, vacationing at the Reds or Bengals game, or moving out after attending college at NKU, UC or Xavier, many clients do not live in the N.Ky. area but are in need of legal representation. Having practiced for over 17 years in the Northern Kentucky area in the areas of criminal and dui defense, I am quite familiar with the local customs and practices as well as all of the judges and prosecutors in the area. While far from small town and near to Cincinnati, NKy law is a fairly close knit group. There are a total of 7 district judges in Kenton, Campbell, Gallatin and Boone counties, combined. The district judges hear virtually every criminal case at the initial stage and also continue to handle all misdemeanors and driving, dui and traffic offenses. With a history of representing out-of-town defendants, I can often limit and sometimes eliminate the personal appearances before the various courts. The cost savings alone, not to mention the time and travel, generally justifies the legal expense. Additionally, you will be receiving the same legal representation as those that do personally appear. Legal representation by a local attorney is often helpful in negotiating a resolution, especially when the defendant is absent. I also have developed communication with out of town clients which assures assistance. Clients can generally hire for legal services even if they have court that same week. Clients can pay with credit or debit cards over the phone and most communication can be handled via email or direct telephone calls. If you need to consult with an attorney or have further questions, you can email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call at 859-581-6453.

Should I Blow?

The most often asked question of a criminal defense and DUI attorney is "Should I blow if a breathalyzer is requested?" This occurs after a person has been arrested for suspected DUI, DWI or OVI. While some attorneys advise to always refuse a breathalyzer if you have had anything to drink, I do not agree that the answer is that simple. One problem is that if you refuse to take the breathalyzer, the prosecution can have your license suspended for up to 120 days, regardless of whether you are convicted or acquitted of the underlying DUI. This is an administrative suspension based solely on the refusal of the breathalyzer or other alcohol test. Another consideration is that the refusal can be used against you in a trial of the action as indicia of impairment. If a driver has actually consumed one or two alcoholic beverages, the breathalyzer may actually benefit him/her in proving that the alcohol concentration was under the legal limit. There are complex formulas to determine what a blood alcohol level may be and they are based on the person's sex, weight, amount of alcohol consumed and length of time during consumption. The following link is interesting and fairly accurate in predicting what a blood alcohol level may be. Additionally, the food that the person has ingested will affect the blood alcohol level. The defendant should also be aware that if you blow over a .15, then the case is considered aggravated, which mandates jail time even for a first offense. A refusal is considered an aggravator for second or subsequent offenses, but not for first offense DUI. Therefore, if a driver has consumed large amounts of alcohol and does not have a prior DUI conviction, it is suggested to refuse the breathalyzer. The police in Kentucky may request either a breath test, blood test or urine test. The breathalyzer is requested most often because of its ease of use, time required to take the test and number of people necessary to have the results entered as evidence in a trial. The police will generally only request a blood test if the driver is suspected of using other drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Defendants should be aware that they have the right to a second test of their choosing once they submit to the test requested by the police officer. I often suggest that if you blow over the limit on a breathalyzer to request a blood test be taken. This is at your expense and is generally done at a local hospital. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you should contact an attorney before next appearing in court. Whether you have submitted to a breathalyzer or refused to consent to a breathalyzer, an attorney can assist you through the legal process. In certain cases, a defendant can be acquitted regardless of the breathalyzer result or the refusal. If you have questions or concerns, contact Michael Bouldin for a consultation at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at mike@nky-criminal-defense-lawyer.com . While I practice in both Ohio and Kentucky, the advice herein is intended for Kentucky. The refusal in Ohio will subject the driver to immediate suspension, and taking, of the drivers license. Also, the legal limit for the high tier aggravator in Ohio is .170, not .150.

Is a New Years DUI Cliche'?

An alcoholic once told me that he doesn't drive on New Years Eve because it is amateur hour. The real drunks drive during the daytime and not when every police officer with a breathalyzer is looking for someone to bust. The police refer to it as shooting fish in a barrel. Fortunately, Northern Kentucky police often are looking to keep the worst offenders off of the roads. While many police make DUI stops in order to keep their numbers up, New Years seems to be a time when they are trying to assure the worst offenders are off of the roads. That said, some police are still quick to flip the lights and initiate a stop and follow up with an arrest for suspected DUI offense. Many revelers have a drink of champagne or spend the night at the casino Covington, Newport, Florence Police, Boone and Kenton Sheriff as well as Kentucky State Police (KSP) all are on the lookout for drunk drivers on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Some of the agencies will have roadblocks or DUI checkpoints set up to easily ascertain any obviously intoxicated drivers. Those driving should take the same precautions, and then some, that every responsible driver should take. Know your limits, count your drinks, don't drive while intoxicated or impaired, designate a safe and sober driver. Drivers should know that under the current law, if you are pulled over for suspected DUI, you are presumed to have consented to a breathalyzer. If you refuse the breath test, the state can suspend your operators privileges for 120 days, regardless of whether you are convicted or acquitted for a DUI. If you are found guilty of a first offense DUI, you face up to 30 days in jail, $500 fine, court costs, DUI Service fee, alcohol and drug evaluation and treatment and license suspension up to 120 days. Whether you consent or refuse a breathalyzer will have a consequence on the outcome of the case. A refusal can be used as evidence of intoxication, however a breath test may confirm a conviction. Further, if the breath test is over .15, there is a mandatory 4 days of incarceration if convicted. If you have been arrested for DUI, know your rights before going to court. It is almost never a good idea to simply plea guilty at the first appearance, particularly if you have not spoken to an attorney. Consult an attorney who works in the County of your arrest. If you were arrested in Gallatin, Boone, Kenton, Campbell or Hamilton counties, contact Mike at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) for a consultation.

Should I Hire An Expert Witness for DUI?

Expert witnesses are often considered and rarely used in the defense of a DUI. Their effectiveness and cost are the two main factors for a dui defendant to consider. The expert witness will generally cost a minimum of $1,500 and may include an hourly rate, which includes sitting at the court and waiting for the trial. The expert witness may be used to give various reasons that a breathalyzer may have operated improperly, or may be used for various other considerations. The ability of an expert witness to properly identify what a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should have been is also a useful tool. The effectiveness is based on the other witnesses in testifying the actual amount of alcohol consumed by the defendant. Often times the expert witness is cost prohibitive. If financial constraints are at issue, most DUI defendants would be much better suited spending their money on a quality criminal defense attorney who can effectively argue their case. In truth, I have handled hundreds of DUI defense cases and have only utilized an expert in a handful of those cases. The effectiveness is very fact dependent and also should be weighed with the intended audience. Generally, an expert will do more to persuade a jury than if the case is tried to the judge for a bench trial. That said, an expert may give credence to a novel argument which may be won at the Court of Appeals level. If you have been arrested for DUI and are considering an expert witness, consult with an attorney first. If you need to consult an attorney in N.Ky. or Cincinnati, call Michael Bouldin for a free phone consultation at 859-581-6453, 581-MIKE or email at mwbouldin@fuse.net.

Stealing at Christmas

Every year in Northern Kentucky many shoppers are arrested for theft and shoplifting charges throughout the area. This increases exponentially during the Christmas and holiday shopping season. The reason is obvious, there are more people shopping with the added pressure of getting everyone a gift, often one that they cannot afford. Most stores both at the malls as well as the independent locations beef up security to try to curb shoplifting. In Boone and Kenton counties, a noted increase in arrests is found at Macy's, WalMart, Sears, JC Pennys, and Dillards. The person arrested is often a housewife without a criminal history who has put herself in a precarious predicament. The embarrassment is often worse than the punishment which may be doled out by a court. A common refrain heard was, "I had enough money to pay for the item in my purse." Unfortunately, this does little good after you are already nabbed and charged with theft. Theft in Kentucky for misdemeanor (less than $500), is punishable with a $250 fine and/or up to 12 months in jail. First time offenders may have other options available, depending on the county, the charge and the severity of the offense. Often diversion may be available which enables the defendant to have the case dismissed and ultimately expunged from their record. Neither diversion nor expungement are automatic. The prosecutor has to agree and the judge must approve a diversion program. The program often consists of community service and theft related education. There is also a fee for the diversion, generally $100. If diversion is successful, the case is generally dismissed at the end of the diversion period. A attorney can assist a defendant and may persuade a prosecutor to make an offer. The attorney can also follow up with the filing of expungement paperwork. Even if the case is dismissed, expungment is not automatic... a filing must be made together with a criminal background check. Also, most courts require the physical appearance of either the defendant or an attorney for the expungement to be final. If you have questions or have been arrested, contact an attorney. For a free consultation regarding charges in Boone, Campbell, Kenton or Hamilton County, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453 to schedule an appointment.

Sticky

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the Northern Kentucky criminal justice system can be a frightening and bewildering place.  It may seem like the world has crumbled around you - and you find yourself on unfamiliar ground.  My name is Mike Bouldin, - and as a Northern Kentucky Criminal Defense Lawyer, I understand your predicament and can relate to how you are feeling. Call 859-581-6453. 074 (2) The good news is that you don't have to go-it alone.  I have helped thousands of clients over the last 20 years and can help to guide you, assist you, and most importantly, stand up for your rights. In fact, in the criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty.  The evidence that prosecutors present in your case must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed a crime. That's where a highly experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you are a suspect in a criminal case, been charged with a crime or have been arrested, contact me immediately at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE). Often times, the sooner I'm able to get involved in a criminal case....the better the results are for clients. I promise to explain the law impacting your case and to advise you of exactly what your options are.  I will also clearly let you know what the likely outcome of your case will be, based on my experience. While handling your case in court, I will challenge the prosecution and present a well researched argument on your behalf to the judge and jury.  And I will keep you informed on the progress of your case every step of the way. While you are here, take a look to the right.  If you have a question about a specific criminal issue, type the question in the box near the top.  If I've covered the subject on this website, I hope to have an answer for you. Or, you can simply click on the Category to the right which matches your issue - and then review the information that is presented. As a criminal attorney in Northern Kentucky, I have the knowledge of relevant case law and the proven ability to work smartly on your behalf with our criminal justice system .  If you have been arrested, cited, or are a target of a criminal investigation, now is the time to seek the counsel of a qualified criminal defense right now. Call me at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE), or e-mail at mike@nky-criminal-defense-lawyer.com.

What Do I Do If I Have A Warrant?

In Kentucky a warrant may be issued for a variety of reasons. A warrant may be issued based on an indictment for a felony charge or on a misdemeanor if the defendant cannot be found. Most often, a warrant is issued because of a person failing to appear for a court hearing either on a misdemeanor, felony, EPO/DVO, or even a civil case. Generally referred to as a capias in Ohio, these warrants are called Bench Warrants in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The most common way to deal with a warrant is for the person to turn themselves in to the issuing county jail. The jail will lodge, fingerprint and book the person charged and then interview by pretrial services. If the person does not already have a set bail, the pretrial will take the information to the judge who will then set a bail bond. Kentucky does not have or allow for bail bondsmen. As such, the bail is set and can be set as a percentage bond, allowing the person to post 10% of the total bond. At times, the judge will set a specific bond, and the person must post the entire amount to be released. The Judge may also state specific restrictions on bond such as: full cash bond, no out of court review, stay away from the victim. These must be followed for the defendant to be released. It is suggested that the person with the warrant contact an attorney prior to turning himself in. There are days and times which minimize the time that the person will have to spend incarcerated. Further, if the person cannot post the required bail, there are times when the attorney may request a bond review or have the defendant present so that the court will consider a lower bond. Persons who turn themselves in on a warrant generally get a much lower bond than those that are arrested without self surrender. More importantly, having an attorney on board before you appear in court is essential to preparing for a defense. It is also more difficult to contact, hire and retain an attorney from jail than if you are not incarcerated. Whereas you may talk to an attorney and get a consultation in their office to ascertain if you want to hire their services, many attorneys require a retainer prior to visiting a client who is in the detention center.

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