The basic workings of a Louisiana jury trial are generally well known. A jury is chosen, hears the arguments presented in court, and once the arguments are concluded, the jury is sent off to consider a verdict. Sometimes the verdict is decided in a single day. If a jury needs more time, the jury might be sent home or be sequestered. However, in some instances a jury may not be able to agree on a verdict at all.
When it comes to criminal charges and penalties in Louisiana, many people are confused by certain terms. Two terms that are common to misunderstand are probation and parole. If you or someone you care about is having legal trouble, you may come across both terms. It can be helpful to understand what each means and how they are different.
If you are facing a criminal charge in Lousiana, you may hear about something called plea bargaining. Most criminal cases involve this step in the legal proceedings. Understanding what it is and how it works can be quite beneficial to you and the final outcome of your case.
One important aspect of criminal cases in Louisiana is your right to a jury trial. This means a group of people from your area who have no special legal training or knowledge will decide if you are guilty. When you decide to have a jury trial, the process to select the jury will begin.
If you are facing criminal charges, you may wonder if you can plead the fifth. You have probably heard about pleading the fifth a lot. It is commonly used in the movies and in television shows. It refers to the fifth amendment of the constitution. The very basic definition of pleading the fifth, according to Time, is when you use your fifth amendment right to not incriminate yourself in a crime.
Once a person is convicted of a criminal charge in Louisiana, he or she has a criminal record that can be accessed by pretty much anyone. Many employers run background checks that look at criminal records. This can make it difficult for a convicted felon to find a job because many employers will not hire someone with a felony in their background. However, they can still get a job. They just need to take some special steps to help them towards their goal.
There is no denying that there is a huge drug crisis in this country and in Louisiana. Opioid use, in particular, is especially an issue. This means that there are also more babies being born to addicted mothers. People wonder if having a baby addicted to drugs is a crime. Can a mother be arrested or jailed because she used drugs during her pregnancy? The answer is more difficult than one would think.
Louisiana drivers who get behind the wheel after having a few drinks or engaging in the use of illegal drugs do so at their own risk. Louisiana has stiff penalties for driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence of illegal substances. The Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control states that a Louisiana driver must have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08 percent in order to be considered legal to drive. That level decreases to less than 0.02 percent if the driver is someone under the legal drinking age of 21.
If you are convicted of a felony in Louisiana, the punishment may go far beyond that which is handed down by the court. There are many lasting effects that will cause you to lose rights and that could alter your life. According to the Louisiana Justice Coalition, a felony charge may affect your employment, ability to receive government benefits and your civil rights.
When it comes to criminal charges and convictions in Louisiana, the fewer you have, the better. After serving your time and dealing with the consequences associated with your situation, you may be ready to put everything behind you and move on. Today's society is not too forgiving of people who have criminal records. Fortunately, you may be able to wipe your criminal record clean with expungement.