What’s a DUI?

DUI stands for driving under the influence. There are several other names for it as well: drinking and driving, drunk driving, buzzed driving, and driving while intoxicated. However, no matter what you want to call it, it’s still an extremely bad idea and can have serious consequences for the one doing it as well as those on the road around them.

Facts about DUI

It can be quite hard to pin point exactly what the definition of driving under the influence is because it’s different from one jurisdiction to the next. At the very basic level, DUI occurs when an individual is in operation of a motor vehicle while their abilities are impaired due to consumption of alcohol or some other sort of substance that can cause their judgment to be impaired. http://www.montoyashaffer.com/ can help with your dui charges. As a philadelphia criminal defense attorney, Zac Shaffer is the one to call. Get a top criminal defense attorney to handle your case.

Misconceptions about DUI

When it comes to DUI, there seem to be lots of misconceptions. Many people believe that it’s fine to drive after only a couple of drinks. The problem here is that different people have different levels of tolerance. Additionally, one “drink” can have varying amounts of alcohol. Add to that the amount of time those drinks were consumed- and a “couple of drinks” for one person may leave one person sober while those same drinks could render another illegal to drive.

Risk Factors for DUI

Of course, there are too many DUI risk factors to list them all here. To begin with, there is the danger to the intoxicated driver and the passengers with them. Next, is the danger they’re putting other drivers in.

There are several different factors that lead to terrible accidents caused by drunk drivers- the perception, judgment, and motor skills of the individual are impaired, which makes it dangerous for them to be in control of any motor vehicle or to participate in potentially dangerous activities.

Effects of DUI

The effects of DUI can be life-altering. Many lives can be ruined in more than one way. For example, if you drive under the influence on a regular basis, you could be facing severe punishments- even jail time- to protect yourself and others. Though the true toll is hard to pinpoint, it is known that thousands die from drunk driving every year in the US.

Criminalization of Animal Abuse

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Animal abuse is beginning to move out of the world of a misdemeanor and is flirting with felony charges in many jurisdictions. There is more recognition that animal abuse may be indicative of other criminal enterprises, and serious mental health issues, that are leading the people charged with animal abuse to be treated more harshly by the system. The awareness of a form of OCD that has animal hoarding as one of its symptoms shows that the increased seriousness of the charges and penalties may not be the best approach to treating someone who is accused of animal abuse.

Hoarding and criminal charges

Many jurisdictions are trying to strike a balance between criminal charges and helping those who are hoarding animals receive the mental health care that they need. Some police and animal control officers will give warnings and time frames for the person to relocate the animals or improve their conditions. Charges may only be filed if the animal’s circumstances do not improve. Those who are charged with animal abuse for crowded conditions due to unlicensed breeding or for raising fighting animals are given little leeway.

The right to removal

The right for law enforcement to remove animals is dependent on warnings issued. There are only certain circumstances of imminent danger in which an animal can be directly seized. In most counties and states, animals are still considered to be property and are not guaranteed any rights. Imminent danger is almost always defined by a history of attacks on a person, or threatening behavior towards another animal. In some cities, there must be physical harm caused first before law enforcement can remove the animal.

The increasing fines and prison terms

Increased public anger over animal neglect and abuse has fueled an increase in fines and jail time being served by those convicted of animal abuse charges. Even so, they often are not in line with the damage that the animal has caused. In the case of the 3 pit bulls that mauled a jogger to death, the owner – who had been cited before – was fined and given a 6 month sentence. Not much of a stricter sentencing was given to the owners of the chimpanzee who attacked a woman in Connecticut that resulted in the loss of her face. It is vital to know that each town, township or incorporated may have their own regulations about what constitutes animal abuse, and how it can be charged before you proceed.

The Basics Of Posting Bail

staten island divorce attorneysEveryone doesn’t want to go to jail. That’s why as soon as suspected individuals arrive at a police station, they immediately think about getting out of jail. Bail is a property granting those individuals the right to be released from jail.

The basics of bail

According to Nolo.com’s page about posting bail after an arrest, bail is a type of ‘cash, bond or property that an arrested individual gives to a court, ensuring that they’ll appear in court when ordered to appear.’

While a fair exchange, defendants who fail to show in court receive a warrant for their arrest, issued by the court after they keep the bail. In some cases, the bail money may be returned after the end of the trial or if the defendant makes all of their court appearances, despite their verdict.

How bail gets set

It’s a judge’s responsibility to set bail. Most jails also have bail schedules for common crimes that allow arrested individuals to have bail posted as soon as possible.

Some jurisdictions may allow suspects to request judges to lower their bail by a certain amount; this usually applies to suspects who can’t pay the bail amount required by a bail schedule. Depending how the jurisdiction operates, the request for a lowered bail may be handled in a special bail hearing or when they appear in court for the first time.

The Eighth amendment of the United States Constitution protects bail amounts, requiring that no bail should be too excessive. The government can’t use bail to raise money for their purposes or for punishing a person suspected of a specific crime. Therefore, the bail can only be as high to allow the suspect from fleeing a jurisdiction before their case sends.

On an interesting note, some judges have set excessive bail amounts for specific types of cases, which more or less helped keep the suspect in jail before their case ended. Although not entirely constitutional, this form of preventative detention keep high risk suspects (such as those involved in drug crimes or battery) from fleeing early.

The conditions of paying for bail

Bail may be posted as cash or a check written for the full bail amount. Bail can also take on the form of property, usually worth the full bail amount or bonds of the guaranteed full bail amount. Sometimes, a suspect may post bail as a waiver of payment in exchange for their appearance in court (also known as ‘getting out of jail free,’ in some cases).

As soon as they post bail, suspects need to comply with their conditions of release. If they do violate a condition, a judge has the right to revoke their bail and rearrest the suspect, returning them to jail. The conditions of release vary between suspects; some may get conditions as broad as ‘obey all laws’ or as specific as warning them to not contact witnesses.

The Basics Of Juvenile Court

toronto attorneyThe juvenile court system is different from the standard criminal justice system. Juvenile court mainly deals with minors who have been accused of committing a crime.

The basics of juvenile court

Juvenile court, according to legal resources, is a special court designed to handle minors accused of violating any criminal laws. The proceedings in a juvenile court are different from a standard criminal court; they’re handled as civil proceedings, rather than criminal. Instead of formally charging minors with a crime, they’re instead accused of committing a guilty act. A juvenile court case starts when a prosecutor or probation officer files a civil petition. The filing of the petition charges the minor with violating a criminal law, requesting the court system to determine the minor’s delinquency. If the minor’s charges are proven in court, the minor is subjected to the courts decision about their particular case. The juvenile court decides a ruling that works in the minor’s best interest. In some cases, the juvenile court gains legal authority over the minor for a specific period of time; usually, they reign authority over the minor until they reach legal age or for another specific amount of time.

Juvenile court eligibility

A young person must be considered a ‘juvenile’ under state law to be eligible for juvenile court. Most states set the maximum age for juvenile court at age 18; other states have a maximum age as low as 16 to 17 years old. In other states, the minimum age for being tried in juvenile court depends on the severity of the young offender’s crime. States also have minimum age limits for juvenile court. Many consider children under age 7 ‘incapable of determining the difference between right or wrong or possessing a guilty mind.’ Children of that age are generally excused of responsibility for act they may have committed. Parents of accused young children are responsible for providing victim compensation for those affected by the child’s criminal acts. Some courts may find parents unfit to care for a child who has committed criminal acts; the child may be given to relatives or foster parents for case. It’s the judge’s responsibility to determine whether a child between age 7 to 14 harbors a guilty mind. If they do figure that the child was capable of developing one, they send the child to juvenile court. Most cases in juvenile court are tried with children between ages 14 to 18 years old.

The Basics Of International Criminal Law

best miami personal injury lawyerCriminal law, according to legal aid resources, is ‘the body of law that pertains to crime.’ Law enforcement officials use criminal law to regulate social conduct and prohibit offenders from endangering the moral welfare, safety and health of people. Criminal law also covers the punishment of offenders who commit various crimes.

According to Ned C Khan, criminal defense attorney and personal injury lawyer, Criminal law pertains to federal jurisdictions, otherwise those contains within a single country. The field of criminal law used to judge international offenders of crime is known as international criminal law.

International criminal law

International criminal law is one of many bodies of international law. It prohibits specific types of illicit conduct, usually viewed as serious offenses, and makes the offenders of such crimes accountable for their perpetration or participation. International criminal law mainly deals with war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

International criminal law today is comprised of two elements: criminal law and classical international law. Classical international law is law that governs relationships, responsibilities and rights of states. Criminal law, as mentioned, involves prohibiting crimes and penalizing offending individuals in accordance with laws appointed by individual states.

Although forms of international criminal law have been used for centuries, it matured after World War II during the years 1945 to 1948. Throughout the early to mid 1990s, standards for international criminal law were established, eventually culminating in the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court in 1998. By 2005, the International Criminal Court issued its first warrants for arrest.

The role of international criminal law

Since the establishment of modern international criminal law, the International Criminal Court has placed an emphasis on prosecuting those who commit severe international crimes. Severe international crimes include the aforementioned war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The standards of international criminal law enforce offenders responsible for international crime and help deliver justice to victims. It’s also considered an important part of transitional justice, known as the process of transforming societies into those that respect human rights and forgo human rights violations.

The International Criminal Court plays a large role in prosecuting international crimes. They mainly handle cases where domestically based courts are unable to handle certain cases or if they’re unwilling to deal with the scope of a specific case.

Besides the International Criminal Court, other tribunals are known as institutions of international criminal law. Those institutions include the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The Basics Of Criminal Laws

best fresno criminal defense attorneyAnything pertaining to crime is criminal law within the body of law. Criminal law regulates social conduct in modern society and effectively prohibits offending parties from endangering the health, moral welfare and safety of people.

Criminal law encompasses the criminal law and the punishment of offenders who violate laws. In contrast, civil law focuses on the resolution of disputes between two or more parties and victim compensation.

Criminal law is vast. What constitutes a crime is judged through the scope of criminal law today. While standards for what constitutes a crime are similar throughout various jurisdictions, the type of punishment varies.

Mala in se and mala prohibita

All crimes get classified into degrees or classes for receiving an appropriate punishment. All offenses, however, get classified under either mala in se or mala prohibita laws. These laws help law enforcement officials determine what constitutes a crime and what doesn’t.

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Mala in se is a Latin legal term referring to crimes thought as ‘morally wrong or inherently evil.’ These crimes are always considered crimes no matter the jurisdiction. Immoral acts, corrupt acts, property crimes and felonies by public officials are mala in se offenses.

Mala prohibita is another Latin legal term for offenses without a morally incorrect aspect. These crimes are generally minor in offense; parking in restricted areas, jaywalking and unlicensed recreational activities are considered mala prohibita offenses.

What constitutes a crime

In criminal law, various elements can turn a situation into a crime, depending on the offender’s culpability for the crime itself. Fatal offenses, personal offenses, property offenses, fraud and participatory offenses are considered crimes.

Fatal offenses

Murder, an unlawful killing, is a fatal offense. It’s also the most common act targeted by criminal law; many jurisdictions divide acts of murder into different degrees, generally based on malice, its severity and/or intent. Manslaughter is a less severe unlawful killing committed without malice, though provoked through reasonable aggravation or a diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing provoked by recklessness.

Personal offenses

Criminal codes protect the body’s physical integrity. Therefore, personal offenses violate the body’s physical integrity. Battery is a crime that’s commonly defined as a personal offense in various degrees; fostering fear of expect battery is also considered an offense.

Property offenses

Property offenses violate the integrity of a personal property. Robbery and/or theft are the most common forms of property offenses. Property offenses also include criminal damage, criminal trespass and extortion.

Participatory offenses

Some jurisdictions punish other parties associated with a main offender. As a participatory offense, these crimes depict one or multiple other parties involved with a main offender in criminality. Acts of conspiracy, attempts and aiding are considered participatory offenses.

The Basics Of Arrest Warrants

arrest warrants lawyersPeople assume arrest warrants involve only police. While that’s right, police typically need to get the approval of a judge before seeking the arrest of an alleged crime suspect.

Behind arrest warrants

Before receiving the right to arrest a culpable suspect, police must convince a neutral judge to issue the arrest warrant. Nolo.com’s excerpts from The Criminal Law Handbook detail information about arrest warrants, which we’ll review in this short article.

According to our resource, an arrest warrant is an ‘official document signed by a judge or magistrate, one that authorizes police to arrest a person or several people named within the warrant.’

In order to make a lawful arrest, a police officer needs a probable cause and/or a valid arrest warrant issued for the culpable suspect. A valid arrest warrant has sufficient evidence of a probable cause, specifically describes the suspect and has been approved by a neutral judge or magistrate in the basis of a police affidavit or testimony.

The ‘minimum requirements’ for arrest warrants originate from the Fourth Amendment. In most cases, jurisdictions grant the issuance of an arrest warrant for crimes not committed in view of a police officer. They’re also issued for ‘non-physical crimes,’ such as those involving fraud.

The structure of an arrest warrant

Arrest warrants are structured to identify the crime for the arrest. Some may restrict how the arrest can be made; these restrictions usually prevent police from making arrests during certain times of the day or night.

Other arrest warrants (a bench warrant) may specify what defendants need to post for bail if they wish to regain freedom after their arrest; if they are arrested again on grounds of failing to appear in court, they may not be granted bail.

How police obtain arrest warrants

Going back to our resource, police officers obtain arrest warrants from a judge or magistrate. The officer first submits a written affidavit (testimony) to the judge.

The testimony is given under oath and is required to detail enough factual information to establish a probable cause of a committed crime, also informing that the accused party committed the crime. The affidavit generally contains information specific enough to pertain to the named suspect.

Police officers are allowed to show the arrest warrant to suspects, specifically to check whether the suspect can prove they’re not the person named in the warrant.  If the warrant isn’t shown to the suspect, any mistakes within the warrant itself are handled at another time.