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August 2012 Archives

Texting While Driving Now Banned In Ohio

Kentucky passed a ban on texting while driving in July, 2010 and was revised and made into a primary offense in July, 2011.  Ohio's new law goes into effect on Friday, August 31, 2012. Ohio's law makes it a primary offense for any teenager to text while operating a motor vehicle.  It is considered as a secondary offense if the driver is 18 years of age or older. The difference between a primary offense and a secondary offense is quite simple, however complicated to state.  As a primary offense, the police have the right to stop you for that offense.  Therefore, if a driver is seen texting by a police officer, they can pull the person over if that person is under 18 years of age.  As a secondary offense, it is not grounds to stop the vehicle unless there is some other traffic violation.  If the person is stopped for another violation (speeding, careless driving, suspected DUI, improper plates, etc), then they can also be cited for texting while driving. Under the law texting also includes sending or reading emails, using computer, laptop or tablet, playing video games.  Interestingly, if the driver is under 18 years old, the ban also makes it illegal to use a GPS (unless pre-programmed and handsfree) or to talk on a cellphone, Bluetooth, OnStar or any similar device, even if it is handsfree. The penalties include $150 fine and 60 day license suspension if the person is under 18 years of age for a first offense, and $300 fine and 1 year license suspension for second/subsequent offense.  If the operator is an adult, it is a minor misdemeanor punishable by up to $150 fine. The impact of the primary v. secondary offense is significant if the person is later charged with DUI/OVI.  If you were stopped in Ohio and the only basis for the stop was texting, it may be possible to have the stop and subsequent arrest suppressed.  Anyone charged with OVI or DUI should consult with an attorney. If you have been charged with a traffic offense or any crime, find out your rights.  For a consultation, contact Michael W. Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected]  Michael Bouldin is licensed as an attorney in both Ohio and Kentucky and regularly practices in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Kentucky and  Cincinnati in Hamilton County, Ohio

Life Remembered: Harry Rankin

Although it is very sad and recent news the Northern Kentucky legal community lost a great asset and attorney this past weekend. Harry Rankin practiced with many of the best attorneys in Northern Kentucky for the past 35 years and died last weekend on August 26, 2012 at the youthful age of 58. I was privileged to have worked with Harry on federal and state criminal cases, have represented co-defendants in criminal matters, and have practiced against him on domestic cases.  His respect for other lawyers was great as was his devotion to the best interest of his clients.  Harry never failed to make another feel special whenever he could. Harry was the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney early in his career. He worked many years as a partner at Greenebaum Doll and more recently at Sutton Rankin Law.  Although he worked at bigger firms, he was a gentleman lawyer who handled a great number and types of cases.  He did concentrate on Alternate Dispute Resolution, but continued to regularly handle all types of litigation, domestic cases, personal injury cases and criminal cases.  He was one of a very few who handled a courtroom without stepping on anyone else's boots.  His legacy includes million dollar personal injury cases, prosecutions for convicted felons, and he has gained freedom for wrongly accused criminal defendants. Harry was a good friend to all and a lawyers' lawyer; a very high compliment in my book.  I have long admired the way that Harry carried himself and continue to practice law in the manner in which Harry did.  The circumstances of his demise cannot overshadow the great career and devotion to his family.  Harry never met a stranger. I will miss my friend and confidant.  - Michael W. Bouldin

How Can Police Seize My Car For Selling Drugs?

Specifically the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force and many other police agencies have increased the seizure of assets when making arrests.  Often police will seize a car, truck or other vehicle when a person is arrested for selling illegal drugs in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Kentucky does allow for asset forfeiture of vehicles and other property used in the distribution of illegal controlled substances.

What is Delta-9 THC and Delta-9 Carboxy THC?

Ohio now has a prohibited level of THC which may be in a person's system while operating a motor vehicle.  Similar to alcohol for a DUI, the levels are limited or the driver can be charged with OVI.  When blood is tested for marijuana, they actaully test the THC levels in order to determine the amount of the actual drug in the person's system.  Kentucky has submitted legislation that, if passed, will have similar prohibitive levels of THC that can trigger a DUI conviction. Delta-9-THC concentration usually drops below 5 ng/mL within 3-4 hours post dose.  Frequent users may have longer detection times.  Delta- Carboxy THC is the metabolite which remains in the body after THC is consumed.  The Carboxy is a poor method of determining but is an indication of usage.  Delta-9-THC is much better predictor of actual impairment or recent usage.  In states with a prohibitive level, many allow the use of both the Delta-9 THC and the metabolite in order to secure a conviction, even though there may have been no use for a period of time. DUI can be for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a combination of drugs and alcohol which impairs the driver.  OVI or operating a vehicle is the same but is the Ohio term for DUI. If you have been charged with OVI in Ohio or DUI in Kentucky and need legal representation contact an attorney.  Even with a prohibitive level of alcohol or THC, the case can be challenged and possibly won.  Email [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 to schedule an appointment.

Help Me Hire An Attorney In Northern Kentucky!

Fortunately there are many very high quality attorneys practicing in Northern Kentucky.  Throughout Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties, there are lawyers handling criminal, DUI and other types of cases, many of which do an excellent job in representing those accused of criminal activity. The first piece of advice is to ignore the fees.  While this is the first question that many potential clients ask, it may actually be the worst predictor of the effectiveness of representation.  Certainly the least expensive attorney is not the best for most types of litigation.  You wouldn't go to a doctor or dentist simply because they are cheap and you should not use that to pick your attorney.  Of course cost must be considered, but it should not be a deciding factor in determining your attorney.  Equally unimpressive is the most expensive attorney. Attorneys generally charge what they can get for similar types of cases.  Lawyers area also subject to the economy of supply and demand: that is, the more in demand an attorney is the more he/she can generally charge.  While this may be some measure of success, there are many occasions that the hype around a particular attorney is just that.  The legend may be larger than reality. An attorney should take the time to discuss your case with you.  If a fee seems high, ask the lawyer to advise if that is a normal fee for the type of case handling or if there is a reason if it is above the normal rate.  Examples may include a higher fee if the defendant is an athlete or celebrity in that the additional time talking to the media is reflected.  Also, sometimes a client who is particularly difficult may demand a higher fee because of the anticipated additional time with that client.  Other clients demand a higher fee because of the publicity of a case. Ask questions about the lawyer's experience in handling these types of cases.  Also ask about their experience with the specific court, prosecutor and judge.  It is usually a good idea to hire a lawyer who regularly practices in the county in which you are charged.  An experienced criminal defense attorney will not generally make promises.  They may make predictions or give you the most likely outcome, but promises are not part of the vocabulary as the courts (and juries specifically) are not always predictable.  Further, any prediction is only based on the facts as they are relayed and the reality is often different from another point of view or witness. If you wish to consult with a local attorney in Covington about case in Boone, Campbell or Kenton county, email [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 and ask to schedule a time with Michael W. Bouldin.

Help, My Ex Is Alleging Sexual Abuse in Our Divorce!

Unfortunately Northern Kentucky has seen a rise in allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while couples are in the midst of a divorce.  It is a very difficult area for the attorney as well as the judges involved.  The judges primary role is to protect the chidlren; this obviously is also met with the protection of civil rights.  Domestic practitioners often involve a separate criminal defense attorney to aid and co-counsel the case, wherein one attorney handles the domestic or divorce side and the other attorney will handle the criminal aspects of the investigation and any charges which may come forth.  This often allows both attorneys to retain their independence, but also requires the attorneys to cooperate and work together toward a common goal. With the increase of joint custody and shared parenting in a dissolution, it has become more difficult for parents to distinguish themselves in order to attempt to gain sole custody or primary custody.  Unfortunately that sometimes leads to making allegations against the other parent that may not be entirely truthful. One inherent problem is the reliability of the minor child involved.  Very young children can be easily persuaded to restate a story as if it actually happened to them.  Older children sometimes have very different reasons for making allegations, ranging from simply getting their way to some fear of the one parent or the other.  The fear may be of the accused parent or there may be a fear of retaliation or retribution by the parent making the claim. Another concern is that there are cases where children are abused as well as many cases where the parent becomes hyper-vigilant about abuse allegations.  This vigilance may be by a mother against a father or by a father against a step-parent.  Unfortunately, although polygraph testing is sometimes used, they are inadmissible in a court of law.  Furthermore, it is often impossible to disprove that abuse did not occur. KRS §510.110 defines Sexual abuse in the first degree. (1) A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when: (a) He or she subjects another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; or (b) He or she subjects another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent because he or she: 1. Is physically helpless; 2. Is less than twelve (12) years old; or 3. Is mentally incapacitated; or . . .  (2) Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class D felony, unless the victim is less than twelve (12) years old, in which case the offense shall be a Class C felony.As an attorney who regularly practices both domestic law and criminal law, I have  unique view of these types of cases.  Whereas a family attorney will nearly always have their client testify, a criminal attonrey will often have their client invoke the right to remain silent.  Each case must be met with a keen eye to balance the desire to keep the client out of criminal trouble and incarceration with the interest of gaining custodial rights or visitation. I have worked with many other attorneys in handling these types of cases.  If you have been charged with a crime or believe that you are being targeted as a suspect, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to talking with the investigator, police or a prosecutor.  If you need a consultation in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, contact Michael W. Bouldin at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

Will the New Kentucky Prescription Law Change How Doctors Prescribe?

Kentucky has now passed the Pill Mill legislation which purports to cut down on doctors who over-prescribe narcotic medications.  The bill has the support of the majority of pain management physicians, presumably because it protects them and gives them a greater monopoly of the system.  The likely consequence of this legislation will be for more referrals from primary care physicians to pain management specialists, thereby increasing the cost to consumers. House Bill 1, which would put strict requirements on pain management clinics, transfer authority of the state's prescription. monitoring system (KASPER) to the attorney general's office and make KASPER participation mandatory for those who prescribe schedule II and III narcotics, was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday 12-0 with three representatives voting "pass."House Speaker Greg Stumbo, HB 1's primary sponsor, said an average of three Kentuckians die of prescription drug overdose each day, a number that could be three to five times greater if accurate data were available.The bill would require coroners to test for drugs in certain cases and report overdose deaths to the state Registrar of Vital Statistics and state police, and the Office of Drug Control Policy would compile an annual report of drug-related deaths.It would also, among other items, allow the attorney general to impose a yearly fee of no more than $50 on prescribers, require pain management clinics be owned by a physician with an active state medical license, authorize prosecutors to request KASPER reports in drug investigations, allow prescribers to review their own KASPER reports and make pain management facilities accept private health insurance to shut down cash-only operations.The legislation also mandates reporting through KASPER as well mandatory drug testing and background checks for patients.  This will likely reduce the number of eligible patients.  There is also another concern in that who will pay for the drug testing and background checks.  Medicaid does not cover the cost of the drug testing and many eligible patients cannot afford to privately pay for testing. If you have been charged as a physician running a pill mill or as a patient who is doctor shopping, you may need legal representation.  For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael W. Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

What Is Difference Between DUI, DWI and OVI?

The basic difference between DUI, DWI and OVI is terminology.  All involve driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  In Kentucky, the term is DUI for Driving Under the Influence, which can be drugs or alcohol.  DWI is generally used in Indiana as well as a number of other states and means Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired.  OVI is Operative a Vehicle under the Influence of alcohol or drugs.  The punishments do vary from state to state as do the timelines for filing certain Motions. If you are arrested for DUI, OVI or DWI, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who regularly handles cases such as these in your jurisdiction.  For example, Ohio carries a mandatory 3 days of incarceration for a first offense.  Many first time offenders who either plead or are found guilty opt for the 3 day DIP - driver intervention program, in lieu of jail time.  There is no mandatory jail time for first time offenders in Kentucky unless an aggravator is present, in which case there is a mandatory 4 days of incarceration.  Kentucky does not have a DIP program. It is important to remember that you can be guilty of driving while impaired due to drugs, regardless of whether they are prescribed to you or if they are illegally obtained.  If the prescription drugs are not prescribed, you may also be guilty of possession of controlled substance.  Ohio has enacted some per se limits if you have certain levels of some drugs in your system when you are operating the vehicle.  Every state has a per se limit with respect to alcohol and most are .08 blood alcohol level for a normal driver.  Drivers under the age of 21 as well as commercial drivers, CDL, have different and lower levels.  There are also high tier limits which can make the DUI/OVI an aggravated DUI. Those limits are .17 in Ohio and .15 in Kentucky. Often an experienced attorney can aid not only in a complete defense to the case, but may be able to negotiate for lower sentences if there are other factors such as aggravators.  If you have been arrested in Kenton, Boone, or Campbell County in Kentucky or Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Ohio, call for a consultation with Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected] .  

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