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July 2011 Archives

Are There Changes in Kentucky Law Regarding Bond?

YES, HB 463, which has now been codified in KRS 431.066, has significantly changed the way Judges in Kentucky should evaluate the bond for individuals charged with a crime. The new bond should allow most inmates to be eligible for an OR (own recognizance) bond. Once an individual is arrested, pretrial release officers conduct interviews with defendants to assess their criminal history, if they are a threat to public safety or a high-flight risk, among other things. Additionally, if a Defendant is incarcerated pretrial may be in jail for days or weeks and then, when the issue is resolved, will be given credit for time served and be released from jail. Meanwhile, taxpayers are responsible for the incarceration costs. Based on this information, pretrial officers then give assessment risks -- either low, moderate or high -- to judges, so they can set bond. Those considered low risk are entitled to unsecured bonds, signing a document stating they will return to court, and can be released on their own recognizance. Judges may also put limited conditions in place such as electronic monitoring. People labeled moderate risk are also to be released on an unsecured bond or on their own recognizance with limited conditions. Judges can set monetary or property bond and conditions for people deemed high risk. Defendants accused of domestic violence, sexual offenses or offenses involving firearms will face monetary bonds. Judges may also set a monetary or property bond for low- and moderate-risk individuals if they put it in writing and give their reasoning, he said. Valid reasons include a judge determining an individual is a high-flight risk or a danger to another person. Those assessed for cash bonds will also be given bond credit. For each day served in jail, $100 will be applied toward bond credit. So, if someone had a $500 bond, they can earn enough credit in five days to be released, he said. People serving time for unpaid fines will also earn a $50 a day credit for time served behind bars. The new laws should have a great impact on pretrial release in Kentucky. If you have been charged and have questions about your bond, you shoudl call pretrial in the county. if you want to consult with a criminal defense attorney, call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email at [email protected]

What Is Deferred Prosecution?

Kentucky has recently enacted a new law which permits defendants charged with possession of controlled substance the opportunity for deferred prosecution. This is an excellent avenue and opportunity for those charged with possession of cocaine, heroin, or other felony drugs. Included in the paperwork for deferred prosecution, the defendant must agree to the terms and conditions set forth by the Commonwealth and agreed to by the Court, which may include completion of an intensive secured substance abuse treatment program or a global positioning monitoring system. KRS 533.250(1)(h)(2). Interestingly, the defendant shall not be required to plead guilty or enter an Alford plea as a condition of applying for participation in a deferred prosecution program. This differs from the previous mandate for admission into Felony Diversion wherein the Defendant was required to plead guilty to be accepted into the diversion program. If the defendant failed in the diversion, he would proceed to sentencing. herein, if the defendant fails the deferred proseuction program, he may then proceed with the trial and assert his innocence. The deferred prosecution is pursuant to KRS 218A.1415, wherein the defendant moves to be admitted into the deferred prosecution program. In support of the motion, the defendant is charged with a violation of KRS 218A.1415, Possession of a Controlled Substance 1st degree. Also included in the deal, the Defendant must list all previous convictions, including expunged documents, which are signed with a perjury warning. If you have been charged with possession of controlled substance in Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Gallatin, Campbell or Kenton and have questions, you may call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email questions to [email protected]

Help, I Got Arrested at Kentucky Speedway!

If you got arrested at or leaving the Kentucky Speedway this weekend, you are not alone. With the NASCAR series in Sparta, Kentucky the crowd is expected to exceed 125,000. Many of those will be drinking, driving and some may behave poorly. As such, there will be many tickets, citations and arrests in connection with the races. Kentucky Speedway is in Sparta, Kentucky which is located in Gallatin County. If you are arrested, the chances are that you will be noticed to appear in the Gallatin County courthouse in Warsaw. Warsaw is a couple of miles down 35 from Sparta. If you were headed north on 71 or 75, you may get pulled over in Boone or Kenton County. The local prosecutor in Gallatin County, Spike Wright, is a good and fair man who has ties to the community and is considerate to local defense attorneys. Having practiced law in Northern Kentucky for over 16 years, it is truly one of the most friendly courthouses in the state. Most cases will be misdemeanor cases: DUI, AI for alcohol intoxication, DC is disorderly conduct, PI is public intoxication and Open Container are the most common citations. The NEW law requires police to issue citations for misdemeanor offenses unless there is a refusal to respond to instructions or if the person is a danger to himself or others. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you will have two options at your initial appearance: plead guilty or plead not guilty. There is no no contest plea in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you plead not guilty, the matter will be set for a pretrial conference at a later time and either concluded there with a plea deal or set for trial by judge or jury. If you are from out of town and are cited to court, a local attorney should be able to handle many matters without the necessity of your appearance. Due to the new law, many out of town residents will be cited to court for misdemeanor violations. If the case is more serious, a local attorney will be able to minimize the appearances necessary. If you have been charged with a felony, the case is much more serious and you should retain a local criminal defense attorney to aid with your case and represent you. Knowledge of the law is essential, but experience with the local courts, judges and prosecutors is often equally beneficial to the criminal defendant. If you have been arrested and have questions or wish to schedule a consultation, you can contact Mike Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

How Did a Jury Find Casey Anthony Not Guilty?

While this is not normally a news website, nor a location to post social media or blogs which encourage banter, it remains my forum to comment on the law. So, how did the jury acquit Casey Anthony with such overwhelming evidence to support a conviction? Juries are unpredictable. As a criminal defense attorney, many friends, family, and acquaintances have asked about this trial. In every case, I advise my client that there is not less than a 5% chance of being acquitted and not less than a 5% chance of being convicted, no matter how strong or weak the case may be and no matter of whether or not the crime was committed. Juries can hang on a word of an attorney and decide who is telling the truth. They may also look at the defendant and either empathize enough to find the person not guilty or possibly they remind them of a bad person who looks guilty. Under the law, the jury is allowed to use their past experiences to help them determine if each witness is truthful or not and may make sweeping determinations based on their belief. Moreover, the jury is charged with the requirement to find the person Not Guilty if the prosecution does not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The major weakness in the Casey Anthony murder trial is that the autopsy report could not determine the cause of death. That said, most reasonable minds would have thought that a claim of accidental drowning and subsequent cover-up, moreover with duct tape on the child, would be overwhelming proof that the mother was lying. Proof of lying does not equal proof of evidenced by the findings at this trial. It is notable to point out that this was an Orlando, Florida jury. Since most of the crazy jury verdicts come from the State of California, this is interesting. Many times lawyers will discuss and say, "well, that's a California jury for you!" and "That would never happen in (insert jurisdiction)." I've said that about Northern Kentucky many times. Of course, I've thought of Orlando as a reasonable and conservative area where such verdicts would not be expected. This only goes to reinforce my initial statement, juries are unpredictable. As a side note, I couldn't help but notice the grin on defense counsel's face as the verdict was read. He would be bad at poker, but he had already won the hand!

Can I Shoot Fireworks Under New Kentucky Law?

YES. Despite the confusion regarding the sale of fireworks in Northern Kentucky, the state law does allow for consumers to set off fireworks so long as local ordinances are follows. If you bought them in Kentucky, you can shoot them off. Local ordinances generally limit after 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Kentucky recently passed House Bill 333 which allows expanded sale of fireworks in the state. The law allows the sale of bigger fireworks including those with reloadable mortars and aerial shells. Historically, Kentucky has allowed the sale of only very small firecrackers and sparklers. That said, the cities still can restrict the sale within city limits. Florence has stated that they intend to enforce their local ordinance which bans the sale of most types of fireworks within the city of Florence. Well, not exactly. Florence has denied fireworks retailers the right to set up permanent locations in the city. After driving down route 18 and seeing the dozen or so new Fireworks tents, I expect that there will be at least some police officer making an arrest or issuing citations. It will be interesting to see how the courts deal with these laws that are unclear at this time. Even Florence Mayor Diane Whalen was quoted that the distinction between local ordinance and state law is "clear as mud." Florence officials have distributed a letter to those with seasonal permits claiming that the sale is not legal. Obviously, many retailers have chosen to ignore this letter and citations are bound to follow. For more information, contact an attorney in your area. If you have been charged and need further consultation, call Mike at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

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