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January 2015 Archives

Why Don't All Police Cars Have Video?

Having practiced law for over 20 years, it is clear that the use of video cameras has increased dramatically over this period of time.  Many larger cities utilize both dash cameras as well as uniform cameras for a number of reasons. Officer safety, prevention of false allegations, and proof of what actually occurred are the most often cited.  In a DUI stop/arrest, it can show the judge or jury exactly what the officer saw and the behavior of the defendant.  It shows if the speech was slurred and how the defendant actually performed on the field sobriety tests. This all begs the question: Why does Boone County not have any video cameras on the majority of their vehicles or on the officers? More specifically disturbing, the Boone County Sheriffs that are the "DUI Specialists" have no video. I'm sure that cost will be the primary answer.  There is a cost to purchase and install the cameras as well as maintenance of the videos which are produced.  This simply, is insufficient.  In this year 2015, there are many private vehicles that have installed dash cameras - you see the videos every day on the news and on YouTube.  Nearly every person driving a vehicle has a handheld video camera in their cellular phone at the time they are stopped.  Yet, the police have none. My perceived answer is much more cynical, cops lie and don't want to be held accountable.  DUI is no longer the police trying to remove the drunk drivers who are a danger.  It is now a dollars and cents where the goal is to make arrests and convictions.  In short, convictions without video are less common that those with video. When there is no video, the officer's testimony goes uncontroverted.  Even if the defendant chooses to testify, his testimony is automatically less reliable than the officer.  The officer testifies that he is drunk, thereby diminishing his reliability.  Second, the defendant has a stake in the outcome and presumably, the officer does not.   But the officer does.  Maybe not directly with each case, but overall the number of arrests and convictions bring more money into the department.  Many departments and officers do not like when they are confronted with reality.  The officer tends to overstate his case, thereby justifying the arrest.  Videos prove this!  Officers with video tend to be more reliable and honest with the facts, knowing that proof exists. I have lived in Boone County for the past 18 years and love my community and have generally supported the sheriff's office and his force.  That said, time has come.  I am challenging the Boone County Sheriff's office to install video.  If not in all cruisers, at least in those that are deemed the DUI experts.  Utilize them in DUI arrests.  Show the world that we are not simply a good old boy county where the police rule without checks and balances.  Possibly the police force will also improve and you will prevent false accusations. Michael Bouldin has been defending those charged with crimes and DUI for over 20 years in Boone County and resides in Boone County.  For legal representation and consultation, call Bouldin Law Firm at 581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com.  

Stepparent Adoptions in KY

Generally a stepparent adoption is done with the consent of the biological parent (yes, generally father) and is considered as an uncontested adoption.  While this is certainly the easiest type of adoption, it is just as essential that everything be done correctly for the adoption to transpire, complete and become irreversible. It is important to utilize the services of an attorney who has experience handling adoptions in Northern Kentucky.  An attorney can assure that not only are all of the Ts get crossed and Is dotted, but also will know the nuances of the judge who will ultimately approve your adoption. While not explicitly stated, the majority of judges require (and all prefer) that the biological parent have legal representation when signing the Waiver and Consent to adoption.  They also prefer that practitioners utilize the AOC form 292 for this purpose instead of one created by the attorney.  This is a deviation from how the paperwork was prepared and completed only 5-10 years ago.  The attorney should certify that they reviewed the paperwork and that the biological parent understood what he was signing and that the rights of that parent would be terminated. It is important to note that the step-parent will obtain the rights and responsibilities of the biological parent after the adoption is concluded.  In the event of a later divorce a step-parent will have an obligation to pay child support and will have rights to custody and parenting time.  The stepparent will have the right to fight for sole or joint legal custody and there will be a legal history of stating under oath that he is a good father and provider and caregiver for the child. The costs may vary, but many attorneys will do an uncontested adoption for a fixed fee.  This fee ranges generally from $1000-5000 but generally does not include filing fees, which will be between $200-500.  A guardian ad litem, often referred to as GAL, is required to represent the best interest of the child and the adopting parent pays this fee. For a consultation or price estimate of your particular case, contact Michael Bouldin at mwbouldin2@gmail.com or call 859-581-6453.

Who Is Best NKY Divorce Attorney?

There are a number of very domestic/family law attorneys who practice in Northern Kentucky.  I believe that the majority of them are involved with the Academy of Northern Kentucky Collaborative Professionals, Inc.  If you click on the link, you will find a list of all attorneys associated with this fine group. That said, taking myself out of the lineup (because bragging is not endearing), here would be my pick for the top 7 best attorneys in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties, in no particular order:  Mark Ogle, Stephanie Dietz, Michael McMain, James Kruer, Ruth Jackson, Timothy Theissen, and Cynthia Clausen. All of these attorneys possess the knowledge, experience, and communication ability to provide very competent advice and provide very good representation for their clients. There are, of course, other very fine attorneys and this is certainly not an exhaustive list (I apologize to anyone not included that perhaps, should be). As Jim Kruer often advises during mediation, a great attorney not only knows the law and the judges, but also its practical application to the case.  That is, it is easy to read the statutes as well as the case law, but how it applies based on the judge differs in each individual case. The Cincinnati Magazine also lists the best attorneys in Cincinnati, including Northern Kentucky and by practice area.  From experience, the get some correct and miss on others; some because they deserve to be mentioned and others because they should not have been included.  All said, the art of evaluating lawyers is a very inexact science and subject to great interpretation. The best lawyers of all time would be*: Bobby Donnell (Dylan McDermott) in the Practice, John Cage (Peter MacNicol) in Ally McBeal, either Arnie Becker (Corbin Bersen) or Jonathan Rollins (Blair Underwood) in L.A. Law, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) in The Good Wife, Alan Shore (James Spader) together with Denny Crane (William Schatner) in Boston Legalor my new favorite, either Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) or Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) in Suits.   *Of course, these lawyers are perfect in the courtroom because they and the shows are fictional.

What is Homicide in Kentucky?

There are four different homicide charges in Kentucky, all of which are felonies.  From the biggest charged which carries the most incarceration, they are as follows: 1. Murder - murder is considered a capital offense.  20-50 years, life, life without the possibility of parole, and death penalty (in certain circumstances).  Parole eligibility after serving 85% of sentence or 20 years, whichever is less. 2. Manslaughter - class B felony, 10-20 years in prison.  Parole eligibility after serving 85% of sentence. 3. Manslaughter 2 - class C felony, 5-10 years in prison.  Parole eligibility after serving 20% of sentence. 4. Reckless Homicide - class D felony; 1-5 years in prison. Parole eligibility after serving 15% of sentence. For specific Kentucky Regulation regarding parole eligibility,  follow link HERE. If you have been charged with a felony homicide, it is essential that you hire competent legal counsel.  While my general advice is to hire local counsel, there are circumstances where it benefits the defendant to have an attorney who is local and other times where it is best that the attorney is from out of tow.  The local attorney knows how to deal with the local judges and the prosecutors, however there are times that the local attorney does not want to ruffle feathers.  The homicide case is different in that there are times, especially with the stakes as high as they are, that motions, filings, and arguments must be made and some prosecutors and judges may be offended by statements and implications. If you or a family member has been charged with a homicide, I generally suggest interviewing defense attorneys.  Find one  that you are confident will fight for your rights and will represent you in and out of court, and that can persuade and that you want to be your mouthpiece.  Find an attorney you trust.   Remember, there may be cases where the only thing that the judge and jury hear from you comes through the attorney!  You can have the rest of your life decided without every speaking a word. Don't go it alone and hire private counsel if you can afford to do so. For a consultation, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email questions/scheduling to mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.  

Alzheimer's and Divorce

With the aging population there is a noticeable increase in Alzheimer's disease and dementia throughout the country.  Northern Kentucky is no exception to this increase.  With this comes an increase in marital trouble and divorce and the numerous issues, legal, ethical and practical, surrounding representation of clients with diminished capacity. Whether representing the client with dementia or the spouse, there are issues surrounding how the case needs to be dealt with.  Increasingly, the Power of Attorney may need to be the contact person. Of additional consideration is how to handle a case where the spouse utilizes his/her POA to transfer assets OR files for guardianship of the other spouse.  This can create both logistical and legal problems as there may be two different courts issuing Orders and those Orders may not comply with one another. I recently handled a case where the client would suggest one course of action when around his wife and another when around his children.  It became very obvious that whoever was around had tremendous influence over how the client wanted to proceed. Although he appeared perfectly competent, he often became confused or changed his mind around others.  The compromise was had when we determined that his brother, who had zero financial interest, would be the best person to arrange and attend meetings.  Brother eventually became the POA to assist in the handling of the case.* If you or a loved one has Alzheimer's Disease or dementia, they need competent legal counsel especially when going through a divorce. The attorney should be well versed in all aspects of the law, as well as have experience dealing with such clients. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at mwbouldin2@gmail.com. *This is one example and not necessarily indicated of how other cases are handled.

DUI Arrests Up in 2015

2015 has just begun and there have already been a substantial number of DUI arrests in Northern Kentucky.  Additionally, DUI arrests over the holidays, from Christmas through the New Year, have been up substantially throughout Northern Kentucky.  Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties all report drastic increase in DUI arrests over previous months.  Anyone in court will advise as to the number of cases set for arraignment following the holidays this year.  Possibly due to the fact that both Christmas and New Years fell on Thursdays, resulting in a long weekend for most people as well as an overload of cases for the courts in the Monday following those weekends. If you have been charged with DUI, you are probably out of jail and awaiting either an arraignment or pretrial of your case.  You should make every effort to retain legal counsel prior to your pretrial.  The pretrial is an opportunity to review the evidence against you, discuss potential plea deals or to set the case for a trial or suppression hearing.  The attorney's preparation and presence is essential in order to give him/her the best opportunity to successfully complete your case. If you have been charged with DUI in Northern Kentucky, contact an attorney who regularly practices criminal defense and DUI defense work to represent you and help guide you through the process.  Even first offense DUI may lead to significant fines, jail time and loss of license.  First offense can lead to up to 120 days license suspension and up to 30 days incarceration; this in addition to mandatory penalties, alcohol assessment, classes and treatment and fines.  Do not attempt alone.  A second, third or multiple offense carries greater penalties, mandatory jail time and even more significant lost of license. If you have questions or are seeking legal counsel, call Michael Bouldin at the Bouldin Law Firm.  You can contact Mike at 581-MIKE; 859-581-6453 or email at mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

Happy Wife, Happy Life

As a Northern Kentucky divorce attorney for over 20 years, I am in an unfortunate minority of those married to their first spouse.  Many people are unhappy with their lives and seek separation from their spouse as a possible change to this source of frustration.  Lawyers are no different, and many utilize the law to transition from one stage of life to the next. 150 That said, some of us are happily married.  I recently celebrated 22 year anniversary with my spouse.  This picture was taken during a recent vacation (something which I believe is essential to get away from a stressful career). Vacations are not a panacea for all marital ills.  They do, however, allow couples to reconnect without the interference of everyday life.  As an aside, I also encourage people to unplug while on vacation.  A cruise or trip out of the country often makes using cell phones, tablets and computers either impossible or at least cost prohibitive.  While on this vacation, we locked cell phones in the room safe, only checking 2 times over 7 days. I don't have all of the answers, however 22 years of marriage and handling over a thousand divorce cases, I can offer insight into what makes things work and when to call it quits.  Every year I counsel many people seeking divorce to explore all options before finalization. If you have questions or wish to schedule a consultation, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email me at mwbouldin2@gmai.com.

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