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September 2013 Archives

How Do Lawyer Referrals Work in Kentucky Criminal Cases?

Kentucky law forbids referral fees to be paid for any cases.   Kentucky law and rules of Ethics more directly prohibit splitting fees between an attorney and a non-attorney.   This law does not apply to the bar association that receives referral fees from attorneys.  The law does allow for fee sharing if both attorneys involved are signed on for representation.  In most cases, lawyers refer cases to and from one another by their specialty or area of practice. Kentucky law does not allow attorneys to advertise as a "specialist." That said, nearly all attorneys handle a lot more of certain types of cases and limit or do not accept other types of cases. For example, as you may guess I handle quite a lot of criminal and DUI cases.  I also handle a number of family court or divorce cases.  I do not handle bankruptcy cases.  As such, I will refer bankruptcy cases to attorneys who handle those and, in return, the bankruptcy attorney may refer their criminal cases to me.  More often than not, attorneys simply refer to the attorney who they believe will provide the best representation for the referral client. Referring attorneys may also receive thank yous from the accepting attorney.  It is always a badge of honor that an attorney refers a case and believes that I am the best to handle their client's needs. If you have the need for a DUI or criminal lawyer, contact Michael Bouldin.  If you are an attorney looking to refer a case in Northern Kentucky, contact me directly to discuss your client's needs.  My office number is 859-581-6453 or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com .

How Do Lawyers Set Their Fees?

In Northern Kentucky and throughout the United States each lawyer sets his own fees and rates.  Many lawyers charge an hourly rate which has wide range.  In Northern Kentucky the rates normally vary between $85-350/hour.  In Cincinnati, the rates may vary between $75-$550/hour.  Rates are generally based on experience, history and ability in a specific practice area.  You can expect to pay a much less rate for an attorney fresh out of law school than one with 20 years experience.  Domestic relations/family area of practice generally range from $150-$275 in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties.  Typical fees for Michael Bouldin, an attorney with 18 years experience in 2012 were $250-300/hour.  Criminal lawyers, on the other hand, often set fixed fees for representation on various criminal cases. Federal cases generally involve a great deal more work, hence more fees than state court cases.  Criminal cases vary widely, typically ranging from $500-$100,000+, but a representative sample of charges for state court in Kentucky may be as follows*:

What Does Family Have to Do With Criminal Law?

A lot.  Family is what keeps people from committing crimes in the first place.  Family is what keeps the Defendant grounded during times of crisis. Family is who helps to pay for legal fees and defense when times are tough.  Family is who tells people the truth when they need treatment for drug or alcohol dependence. I thank my family for their support through my chosen profession and the tough times which it brings.  I thank the families of the Defendants for placing their trust and confidence in my representation of loved ones.   Burr Travis, one of Northern Kentucky's most prominent criminal defense lawyers, gives me the biggest compliment every time I see him in court; he calls me "the family man."   As a salute, attached is a picture of my family.  Take care of yourself and your loved ones! Bouldin Family If you have legal troubles, contact Michael Bouldin for a consultation at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com

Who Is Best Criminal / DUI Lawyer In NKy?

Ethical rules do not allow certain words to be placed in advertisements.  Attorneys cannot advertise and cannot use certain words in their advertising.  Therefore, it is unethical to make claim that a person is the best criminal lawyer or best DUI attorney.  Pursuant to the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.40 Communication of Fields of Practice: A lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law. A lawyer who concentrates in, limits his or her practice to, or wishes to announce a willingness to accept cases in a particular field may so advertise or publicly state in any manner otherwise permitted by these Rules. Any such advertisement or statement shall be strictly factual and shall not contain any form of the words "certified", "specialist", "expert", or "authority." A separate rules prohibits stating anything regarding the practices of the attorney in relation to other lawyers.  Rule 7.15 Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services, states: (1) A lawyer shall not make a false, deceptive or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's service. A communication is false, deceptive or misleading if it (a) contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading; or (b) is likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the rules of professional conduct or other law; or (c) compares the lawyer's services with other lawyers' services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated. Kentucky does not certify criminal law as a specialty practice.  As such, an attorney cannot state that they specialize in the practice of criminal law, regardless of whether 5%, 50% or 100% of their practice is devoted to the practice. It is good to know the law with respect to lawyer advertising.  If you see any lawyer making such claims, you should look elsewhere.  This is public service message and is not intended to be an advertisement in any manner.

NOT GUILTY!

NOT GUILTY are the two words not said often enough by defense attorneys and judges.  While virtually every criminal and DUI defendant pleads not guilty at the initial arraignment, over 90% of defendants resolve their cases with GUILTY pleas.  Not everyone charged is guilty, therefore there are numerous reasons to maintain your Not Guilty plea and proceed to trial. If you are looking for an attorney, consider the time they have been practicing criminal defense law and how often they take cases to trial.  I do feel that it is the defense attorney's duty to explore plea deals, however they also have duty to inform the client of any and all potential defenses to the charges.  Of course if the client maintains innocence then the plea should rarely be guilty to charges.  There are other times when the client is actually guilty that a not guilty result is possible and sometimes even likely. The Commonwealth or State has the burden to prove the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  There are many circumstances wherein even though they know of the defendant's guilt, they cannot prove that guilty.  Often prosecutors will use a plea to prove the case.  Similarly, if the investigator cannot prove the case, the best and most often method is to interrogate the defendant and elicit a confession. If you have been charged with a crime, contact an attorney.  If you have questions about your guilt and want to explore a trial, talk to your attorney.  If you have not yet retained a lawyer, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453, or email at mwbouldin@fuse.net.

Initial Appearance for DUI in Court

If you cannot contact an attorney prior to the initial appearance, plead NOT GUILTY, then contact a DUI defense lawyer. The first court appearance, also known as the initial appearance, may come the morning after your arrest if you are held in jail overnight. In other cases, it may be your arraignment after a police officer released you after your arrest. The arraignment could be the next day, a few days or even a few weeks later.  Generally, in Northern Kentucky, the appearance is relatively soon after your DUI arrest. Each state, county, city and court have their own procedures for DUI initial appearances.  In Kentucky, the court will accept a plea of either GUILTY or NOT GUILTY.  Kentucky does not recognize NO CONTEST pleas.   It is always best to try to speak with and retain a lawyer prior to the initial appearance.  The lawyer can review the case and see if there are any real advantages to an early resolution to the case. Reasons for potentially resolving the case early include: charge as DUI 1st Offense when it really is a 2nd Offense, blood test results which may be the basis for an aggravated offense.  Other reasons the defendants often do plea without an attorney include: don't want to take time off work, want to "get it over," figure they are guilty so why delay the inevitable.  These reasons do not generally factor into a defense attorney's consideration since many DUI cases can be resolved in the favor of the defendant. As a general starting point, initial appearances are designed to inform you of how serious the charges are. In every state in the U.S., an impaired driving charge is serious, and in the vast majority even a first offense is a crime with potential or mandatory jail time.  There are cases where people are charged with additional crimes of felony fleeing, hit and run, possession of controlled substances, wanton endangerment and the like. As a rule of thumb, take the initial appearance very seriously. If at all possible, make sure that you have an attorney representing you. Some prosecutor's offices offer the best plea bargains during the first court date. It is essential to have an attorney representing your best interests so you can 1) get the best deal possible on the table; and 2) properly evaluate the deal to determine if you should accept or reject it. When you go to your first court date, be sure to dress like you take it seriously. The judge may evaluate you to make a determination of whether to set bail or require you to report to a probation department while you case is pending. The better dressed you are, the more the judge will think you are taking the charges seriously. The more seriously you are taking them, the less likely in most judges minds will be the chance of you fleeing or committing a crime while on release if they allow you to walk out of the court without bail. You may be required to stand up and answer to the charges. If you have a lawyer, typically the attorney will do most of the speaking for you. The judge may read the charges against you and ask you how you plead. Typically it is not a good idea to plead guilty right away, but there are certain exceptions to this rule (see above). Some courts set a defined schedule that your entire case will follow. In those courts, you will know when all of your court dates are including a trial, should it come to that. In other courts, you will be given only the next court date. In nearly every county in the country you will be required to appear at your next court date. As part of your obligations between the first and second court appearance, some courts may require you to attend AA meetings, get an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, wear a SCRAM device or check in with a probation officer. A DUI lawyer can be very effective in helping you avoid or minimize these requirements. Some courts may also restrict your travel or require you to get special permission every time you leave the state or the country until your case is finished. In a few courts the court will even outline the whole discovery process where you will get information from the prosecutor's office about the evidence that they have against you. It is essential to know what to ask for because if you don't, you may not receive something that could help your case. Experienced DUI lawyers typically have an exhaustive checklist of things to request. The initial appearance is sometimes the first formal opportunity your lawyer will have to ask the judge to order to prosecutor to preserve evidence for independent testing and assert other important rights. In some courts, if you want a jury trial rather than a judge trial, you must tell the Court at the first court appearance. If you don't, you could lose your right to have a jury (which is often very beneficial to you to have). So if you have to go into your court date without a lawyer, make sure you know what the local rules are in regards to jury trial requests. If you have been charged with DUI in Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Gallatin, contact Michael W. Bouldin for a consultation.  Contact Mike at mwbouldin2@gmail.com or call 859-581-6453.

Is It Illegal to Tape Record Conversation in Kentucky?

It is not illegal to tape record a conversation if you are a party to the conversation.  It is illegal to tape record a conversation between 2 other parties who are unaware of the recording; this is also known as eavesdropping.  Eavesdropping is a Class D felony in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KRS §526.010 Definition. The following definition applies in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: "Eavesdrop" means to overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one (1) party thereto by means of any electronic, mechanical or other device. Often in divorce cases the issue comes up regarding tape recording conversations or video taping exchanges between the parties or with the children.  There is nothing illegal about tape or video recording so long as the person recording is involved in the conversation. For example, you can tape record a conversation where your spouse admits that you are a good parent.  You cannot, however, tape record a conversation between your spouse and his girlfriend without the consent of at least one of them. If you have other questions or if you have been charged with a crime in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at mwbouldin@fuse.net or call 859-581-6453 to schedule a consultation.

What is Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Fleeing

Fleeing charges vary by state and in Kentucky are defined by KRS 520.095, fleeing or evading the police 1st degree and 508.100, fleeing or evading the police 2nd degree.  The first degree fleeing is a Felony charge in Kentucky, punishable by 1-5 years in prison.  The second degree fleeing is a Misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to 12 months in jail. If you have been charged, you are facing incarceration whether for misdemeanor or felony fleeing.  Judge's do not look kindly upon charges where the police are ignored.  Fleeing cases often involve danger to the police or the community, especially innocent civilians.  As such, the penalties handed down are often disproportionate to other crimes of the same degree. If you have a fleeing charge pending, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  There are many times when early involvement can resolve the case with a lesser charge and avoid a felony criminal record. If you have been charged with Fleeing, or any other crime or traffic offense in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com or call at 859-581-6453.

Trafficking Heroin Sentenced to 5 Years

This is an update from a federal trafficking of heroin case which I have handled in Eastern District of Kentucky.  In the case, my client was arrested while transporting 185g of heroin from Texas to Northern Kentucky.  He was arrested with the drugs and there was talk of potential future deals.  The client was unwilling to give information to the authorities which may have lowered his jail time and allowed him to be eligible for either a 5(k) reduction (for cooperation) or for a "safety valve" deviation from mandatory minimums. The guidelines allowed for a period of time but the mandatory minimum sentence was 5 years.  If the Defendant had been adjudicated to have a prior felony trafficking conviction, the minimum sentence would have been 10 years.  The prosecution, the U.S. government, requested that the court vary from the minimum and give a longer sentence of imprisonment.  This Defendant also requested specific prison designation so that he could serve his sentence closer to his family. The case involved a number of federal and local agencies including FBI, Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force and DEA.  The government believed that a Mexican cartel was also involved in the trafficking. The Court granted the prison designation as well as sentenced to the mandatory minimum of five (5) years.  If you, or someone you know, have been charged with trafficking of heroin in state or federal court, contact attorney Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 to schedule a consultation.   Case citation: US v. Casas, Jr., 12-CR-44.

What Do I Do If Arrested for Heroin?

If you are arrested for possession of heroin in Northern Kentucky, your best bet and the best advice I can give is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Heroin is currently the most lethal of drugs invading Newport, Covington and Florence and prosecutors and judges are having a difficult time dealing with its users.  The addicting qualities of heroin are nothing like those of the predecessors of cocaine, pain pills, or even crack.  Most users will promise and say anything to get out of jail on bond; most of which are to avoid withdraw and resume life using dope. Most good defense attorneys will encourage the defendant to get treatment and help as soon as it may be available.  Whether through inpatient, IOP or regular attendance at AA/NA with sponsors, defendants without treatment have a much higher failure rate while on probation, diversion or deferred prosecution.  Some practitioners advise that treatment should begin with methadone through a free clinic.  Covington has recently opened a clinic where previously the closest available was in Indiana. If you have an addiction to narcotics, get help.  If you have been charged with possession or distribution of cocaine or heroin, contact an attorney as soon as possible.  In Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mike@nky-criminal-defense-lawyer.com .

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