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March 2014 Archives

Conscious Uncoupling

If you like in Northern Kentucky and would like to be legally consciously uncoupled, call the Bouldin Law Firm for advice. Although the term is new, we've been doing this for years... see also collaborative dissolution, Gweneth. Separation and divorce are considered by many to be negative words.  A less stressful way may lead to a less unpleasant experience.  Ask your attorney about collaborative dissolution. If you are looking to hire an attorney, call Mike Bouldin for a consultation at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected]

Who Pays Private Counsel?

A private criminal defense attorney can be paid by anyone, regardless of whether they are associated with the case or not.  Regardless of who pays, the defendant remains the client and all duties go to the defendant.  This is especially important when a relative pays for the legal fees because that does not entitle them to information about the case, updates (although this may be agreed to by the defendant) or knowledge of any confidential information. If a defendant does not qualify for a public defender, they must then hire their own attorney.  Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify for a public defender including: (1) insufficient income to retain private counsel; (2) insufficient assets to retain private counsel; and (3) charge that carries possibility of incarceration.  Generally, the court will also Order reimbursement of legal fees to the pubic defender at the conclusion of the case. While most private attorneys do charge more than the public defender reimbursement fees, many defendants do not understand that they may ultimately pay the same for the services of a public advocate as they would have if they would have hired their own private attorney.  It is important to know your rights as well as the anticipated costs for private representation. Even if you do qualify for a public defender, many defendants choose to retain private counsel.  If you wish to schedule a consultation or want to inquire about legal fees and retainer for a specific charge in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

Who Pays Attorney Fees in Divorce?

In Northern Kentucky each party generally pays his/her own attorney fees.  Often the payment of legal fees is accounted for in the final settlement agreement, known as the Property Settlement Agreement or Dissolution Settlement Agreement.  In a dissolution, Kentucky Revised Statutes §403.220 outlines how the court should analyze division of legal fees and expenses.

What is No Fault Divorce?

Kentucky is considered a no fault divorce state.  The basis for no fault divorce is that the Petitioner/Plaintiff does not have to prove any fault of either party in order to be granted a divorce.  In a typical fault based divorce states, like Ohio, the Plaintiff must prove one of the following: abuse, willful absence for over 1 year, habitual drunkenness, adultery, extreme cruelty, gross neglect of duty, already married, incarceration or incompatibility. In Kentucky, the Petitioner must allege only that "the marriage is broken without the possibility of reconciliation."  Another major point in no-fault divorce is that the perceived fault is not to be considered by the courts in (1) whether to grant the divorce; or (2) in how to divide the assets or debts of the parties.  The court simply considers whether assets are marital or non-marital then makes a just division. There are occasions when some the these traditional faults may be considered by the courts.  When determining spousal support and if the fault affects the children, they may be considered in both maintenance (spousal support) and child custody and parenting time.  For example, if habitual drunkenness can be proven, it may affect whether a parent should be in the role of primary caregiver to a small child. Even in no-fault divorce states, a divorcing parties should discuss the reasons for divorce with their attorney.  The attorney can advise if any of the reasons should be introduced in court, and how it may also affect negotiations.  If you have divorce questions in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin for a consultation.  Email Mike at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.

What is KRS 218A?

The Controlled Substance Act is codified in Kentucky Revised Statutes at KRS 218A.  This act became effective June 8, 2011 and superseded the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act which was in KRS 218.   This Controlled Substance Act spells out all scheduled drugs, prescriptions and classifies all substances. If a drug is classified, various drugs are only available by prescription, and subject to the KASPER reporting.  The Act also identifies criminal penalties for possession and trafficking of various drugs.  Nearly all possession cases and trafficking cases which are handled in state court is charged through KRS 218A et. al. The controlled substance act can be very confusing due to all of the various elements therein.  Included are also forfeiture provisions, penalties for transactions with children, illegal distribution and marijuana. If you have been charged with criminal violations of KRS218A, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.  In Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin for consultation at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

What is Criminal Liability?

Kentucky Revised Statutes define Criminal Liability. KRS 501.030 - Criminal liability. A person is not guilty of a criminal offense unless: (1) He has engaged in conduct which includes a voluntary act or the omission to perform a duty which the law imposes upon him and which he is physically capable of performing; and (2) He has engaged in such conduct intentionally, knowingly, wantonly or recklessly as the law may require, with respect to each element of the offense, except that this requirement does not apply to any offense which imposes absolute liability, as defined in KRS 501.050. KRS 501.010 Definitions. The following definitions apply in this chapter: (1) "Culpable mental state" means "intentionally" or "knowingly" or "wantonly" or "recklessly," as these terms are defined in KRS 501.020. (2) "Intoxication" means a disturbance of mental or physical capacities resulting from the introduction of substances into the body. (3) "Voluntary act" means a bodily movement performed consciously as a result of effort or determination and includes the possession of property if the actor was aware of his physical possession or control thereof for a sufficient period to have been able to terminate it. (4) "Voluntary intoxication" means intoxication caused by substances which the defendant knowingly introduces into his body, the tendency of which to cause intoxication he knows or ought to know, unless he introduces them pursuant to medical advice or under such duress as would afford a defense to a charge of crime. If you are charged with a criminal offense, the Commonwealth is alleging that you are criminally liable and you need an attorney.  In Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at [email protected] 

St. Patrick's Day Disorderly Conduct in NKy

St. Patrick's Day is a time that many celebrate, sometimes to excess.  In Northern Kentucky and Covington specifically, there are areas expanded around many bars for drinking green beer.  Molly Malone's has an expanded area that includes the side street and parking lot.  That said, every year there are many people charged and/or arrested for public intoxication, alcohol intoxication, open container and disorderly conduct.  These are often noted on citations as PI, AI and DC. In Kentucky Disorderly Conduct is defined by KRS 525.055 - Disorderly conduct in the first degree. (1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the first degree when he or she: (a) In a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof: 1. Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior; 2. Makes unreasonable noise; or 3. Creates a hazardous or physically offensive. Disorderly Conduct is considered a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine, 12 months in jail or both.  If you have been charged with Disorderly Conduct, AI or PI, you should hire an attorney to represent you in Court.  Many times an attorney can facilitate a diversion or other alternate disposition of your case rather than a finding of Guilty.  An attorney can also advise of your rights and advise of defenses to the charge. In Kenton, Boone or Campbell County, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 for consultation.  Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day!

How Do I Find Good Divorce Attorney?

There are no clear ways to find a good divorce attorney, but many things that can help you to select the best attorney for you.  One of the best tried and true ways to select your attorney is to seek a referral from someone you trust who has been through a divorce.  I strongly believe that my past clients are my best sources of referrals and most often lead to new clients who are satisfied with their representation.  A prior client can give a realistic expectation of time, cost and results; if the cases are similar.  Many attorneys can also give a potential client the names and contact information for prior clients so that they can be assured of client satisfaction with the lawyer. You should always meet with attorneys until you find one with whom you can communicate effectively and whom you trust to represent your best interest.  Some attorneys will promise the world, others will undersell your case, and what I believe to be the best is to give you an honest evaluation of your case.  It is essential that you trust the advice of your attorney as it may be very important to follow that advice at some point through the process. Nothing is worse than telling a client what needs to be done and them then not following the advice and wanting the judge to decide the case. When this occurs the client generally becomes dissatisfied with the legal advice and counsel.  It is also very frustrating for the attorney. If you are considering a divorce, contact Michael Bouldin for consultation at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

What is Illegal Use of a Computer?

While most of the criminal code in Kentucky is located in the 500-534 section of Kentucky Revised Statutes, also defined as the Penal Code, many computer crimes and credit card fraud is still located in KRS §434.  Illegal use of a computer is defined: 434.845 - Unlawful access to a computer in the first degree. (1) A person is guilty of unlawful access to a computer in the first degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, for the purpose of: (a) Devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud; or (b) Obtaining money, property, or services for themselves or another by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises. (2) Unlawful access to a computer in the first degree is a Class C felony. Class C felony is punishable by 5-10 years in prison.  There are also lesser degrees of Unlawful access to a computer, as defined in KRS 434.850, 434.851 and 434.852. If you have been charged with a computer or any other crime in Northern Kentucky, call the Bouldin Law Firm and speak to Michael Bouldin about representation.  Contact Michael at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

Divorce Attorney Ohio and Kentucky

I am often asked if there are any attorneys who practice domestic law - divorce, custody and juvenile - in both Ohio and Kentucky.  I DO!  I have handled a number of cases in both Ohio and Kentucky and am frequently brought into cases where jurisdiction may be at issue.  This is important as there are times when you do not want to have to hire two separate attorneys but do not know where the case will ultimately be decided. There are differences in the law in Kentucky and Ohio, particularly with respect to custody.  Kentucky generally operates under the presumption that both parents are equally fit and should jointly raise the child(ren).  In Ohio, however, an unwed mother has preferential rights to custody over the father.  By law, the mother has sole legal custody until and unless modified by Court Order.  The father is presumed to be entitled to visitation only after a finding of best interest. Divorce also differs between the states. Hamilton County has a procedure for temporary orders, referred to as 75N.  Under 75N, a court can and will generally order temporary parenting schedules, child support and spousal support.  75N orders also may account for division of expenses. These are only typically handled in Kentucky courts after a temporary hearing on the issues. If you are unsure of whether your case proceeds in Ohio or Kentucky, speak to an attorney licensed in both states who handles divorce and custody cases in both states.  For a consultation, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

What is the Penalty for Marijuana?

Marijuana possession in Kentucky is governed by KRS 218A.  Pursuant to 218A.1422, possession of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor.  Generally a class B misdemeanor is subject to up to 90 days incarceration, however this section limits jail to 45 days.  Remember, this is for a small amount of marijuana.  If possession exceeds 8 ounces, then it is presumed to be trafficking which is a class D Felony.  Trafficking of less than 8 ounces is presumed to be a class A misdemeanor, unless within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or daycare. There are separate charges for possession of paraphernalia. If the amount exceeds 5 pounds, then trafficking is a class C felony, punishable by 5-10 years in prison.  Any defendant should be made aware that any trafficking charge carries the possibility of forfeiture of money, vehicles or property associated with the transaction.  The law varies greatly and the presumptions can be rebutted regarding trafficking versus possession.  As an aside, marijuana is very rarely charged as a federal offense unless the amount is extraordinary. An attorney can assist in a number of ways to minimize or even help to avoid convictions for possession.  The first question is whether the search and arrest were legitimate and proper under the law.  Also, if a first offense the defendant may be eligible for diversion or may enroll and complete a marijuana education class which can allow for the conviction to be voided and ultimately expunged. If you have been charged in Northern Kentucky, contact a criminal defense lawyer to represent you and apprise you of your rights.  In Boone, Campbell or Kenton counties, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

What Is Mandatory Jail Time for DUI?

Most states have mandatory jail time for any DUI conviction.  Kentucky does not have mandatory jail time for first offenses that are not considered to be aggravated offenses.  The penalty for first time DUI in the state of Kentucky is 2-30 days in jail and/or $200-500 fine.  The penalties also include mandatory drug/alcohol evaluation and counseling, DUI service fees, counseling fees, court costs and loss of license from 30-120 days. Multiple offenses with in 5 years carry more significant penalties:  Second offense DUI charges in Kentucky carry 7-180 days of possible incarceration, $350-500 fine and loss of license 12-18 months.  Third offenses carry 30-360 days of incarceration, $500-1,000 fine and loss of license from 2-3 years.  A fourth offense is enhanced to a class a class D felony, with mandatory jail of 120 days and possible 1-5 years in prison. Please note, all of these penalties apply only to convictions.  If a defendant is acquitted of the charges, none of the aforementioned penalties apply.*  If the offense is aggravated, then it doubles the minimum jail times and mandates 4 days incarceration for a first offense. KRS 189A.010 defines these Aggravating Circumstances referred to above are: (1) Operating motor vehicle (MV) in excess of 30 miles per hour above the speed limit; (2) Operating MV in wrong direction on limited access highway; (3) Operating MV that causes accident resulting in death or serious physical injury; (4) Operating MV while alcohol concentration in operator's blood or breath is 0.15 or more as measured by test(s) of a sample of the operator's blood or breath taken within 2 hours of cessation of operation of MV; (5) Refusing to submit to any test(s)[blood, breath, or urine] requested by officer having reasonable grounds to believe person was operating or in physical control of a MV in violation of KRS 189A.010(1); and (6) Operating MV that is transporting a passenger under 12 years of age. If you have been charged with a DUI in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin for a consultation and fee estimate.  Email at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453.   *Note: there are also potential administrative penalties including loss of license for refusal of the blood or breath tests as requested by the officer.

Trafficking Controlled Substances

In Kentucky, trafficking of controlled substances is generally charged as a Class C felony, punishable by 5-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine.  A second or subsequent offense is a Class B felony.  It can also be charged as a Class D felony if there is less than the prescribed amounts.  For exmaple, 4 grams of cocaine, 2 grams of heroin or methamphetamine, 10 dosageu unites of a narcotic drug are all considered the "prescribed amounts" which elevate the trafficking from Class C to Class D felonies. KRS 218A/.1412 outlines Trafficking in controlled substance in first degree.  KRS 218A.1413 outlines Trafficking of 2nd degree is a Class D felony with maximum sentenct of 3 years even though typically class D felonies are 1-5.  Trafficking 3rd degree as stated in KRS 218A.1414 is misdemeanor trafficking for some non-narcotic prescriptions and marijuana.  This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in mail. If you have been charged with trafficking of anything, it is a SERIOUS OFFENSE.  Contact an attorney to protect your rights and represent you in this matter.  In Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati* and Federal* Court, call the Bouldin Law Firm and speak to Michael Bouldin. Email at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).  Don't go to court without an attorney. *Ohio and Federal laws differ from Kentucky.  The above is based on Kentucky statutes and not Ohio.  Call if questions about Federal or Ohio laws.

Can I Do Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is when the parties agree on all of the issues: assets, debts, custody, support and division of all and is also referred to as dissolution (in OHIO) or uncontested dissolution in Kentucky.  Uncontested divorces are simple relative to a contested divorce, however there are a number of procedural issues, including following all statutory and family court guidelines.  If these guidelines and statutes are not followed exactly, the Court can reject the filing as non-compliant. As a family law practitioner for a number of years, I represent many people each year who try to do it themselves, either through trial and error or through an on-line purchase.  Many web based do it yourself forms are not compatible with Kentucky Courts.  The parties end up spending more money to correct the problems that they originally encountered than if they would have hired an attorney in the first place. Call for a price estimate from an experienced attorney.  Even though the peace of mind is priceless, divorce can be expensive but it does not have to be.  In Northern Kentucky (Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties), call EMILY, the paralegal at the Bouldin Law Firm.  You can contact Emily at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 or [email protected] for Michael Bouldin.

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