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Louisville Criminal Defense Blog

2 men charged with drug trafficking after accident

Police in a Kentucky town have reported that two men were taken into custody on narcotics possession and trafficking charges on the morning of Nov. 3 at the site of a motor vehicle accident that closed down the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 for several hours. Officers say that they approached the men because they were acting in a suspicious manner. Witnesses are said to have told the officers that as well.

The multi-vehicle accident took place at approximately 6:45 a.m. in Bullitt County. Initial reports indicate that injuries were minor. After noticing the two individuals acting strangely, police officers say that they called in a K9 unit to assist them as they checked the accident scene and surrounding area for anything that appeared unusual.

DUI testing standards remain unclear in marijuana cases

In Kentucky and elsewhere across the United States, legal restrictions regarding marijuana usage and vehicle operation are unclear. There are no standardized testing procedures across jurisdictions for marijuana-induced impairment other than traditional field sobriety tests. This makes it difficult for authorities to know when and how to charge a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. When alcohol is clearly not a factor, this problem can lead to drivers being charged improperly.

In order to address this issue in greater detail, the National Transportation Safety Board has called on other governmental agencies to examine the development of testing devices that specifically measure impairment related to marijuana usage. The reason for this push is partially due to a study that found that 46 percent of drivers who were killed in 2015 traffic accidents tested positive for drugs.

Laptops represent the weak link in business data security

IT managers at companies in Kentucky generally place great importance on securing their computer networks from hacking or software attacks. They install firewalls and use encryption to protect data, but laptop computers present a much softer target. Research conducted by technology companies revealed that every laptop has a 10 percent chance of being stolen. This translates into a laptop getting stolen every 53 seconds.

A survey of IT workers confirmed the prevalence of laptop theft, with 86 percent responding that laptops had been taken from their organizations. Data breaches resulted for 56 percent of survey respondents. Data breaches impose heavy costs on companies in terms of money and reputation damage.

Using laboratory testing to fight drug charges

Facing drug possession charges is never something to approach casually, even if the chagres are relatively minor. Even minor drug charges can result in months or years of jail time and may continue to cause problems long after you serve your time.

Many employers and housing managers simply refuse to consider applicants with drug charges on their record, making it difficult to find good housing or employment.

Marijuana possession arrests continue to rise

Even as more states like Kentucky move toward the legalization of medical cannabis, marijuana arrests continue to rise. According to the FBI, someone is arrested on marijuana charges every 48 seconds in the United States. In 2017, there were 659,700 marijuana arrests. There were 653,249 in 2016. According to the report, the enforcement uptick was not marked by a rise in arrests of dealers or producers but by more arrests for simple possession. This comes despite the protests that have risen against these types of arrests.

Across the country, 599,282 of the 2017 arrests -- all but 60,000 -- were marijuana possession arrests. This number rose from 587,516 possession arrests in 2016. In fact, sales and manufacturing arrests actually declined, from 65,734 in 2016 to 60,418 in 2017. Over 40 percent of all drug arrests were related to marijuana. On Election Day 2016, four more states voted to legalize marijuana -- Nevada, Maine, California and Massachusetts. However, drug-possession arrests have continually been highlighted as a troubling aspect of the American criminal justice system.

What SCRAM bracelets are used for

A SCRAM bracelet may be issued to someone who has been convicted of drunk driving in Kentucky or other states. The bracelet looks for any signs of alcohol in the offender's sweat, and it can be used in place of in-person testing for those who have been released on parole. It may also be used on repeat offenders or others who have been ordered to not drink alcohol by a judge.

The device works by taking a reading once per hour. In addition to looking for the presence of alcohol, it can also detect whether the device has been tampered with. After collecting relevant data, it is sent to a central monitoring station. If a person has consumed alcohol or tinkered with the bracelet, police or other authorities will be contacted. Depending on the severity of an individual's conduct, it may be considered a probation or parole violation.

IRS seeks to prosecute fraudulent tax havens

Some Kentucky residents may find that their tax returns are scrutinized by the IRS because the agency is looking to crack down on what it identifies as abusive tax schemes. The IRS is applying scrutiny to structured domestic and foreign trusts as well as more complicated methods that attempt to reduce a filer's tax liability by relying on the financial privacy laws in some foreign countries as well as credit or debit cards issued by foreign banks.

The IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) department is targeting white collar crimes that involve deliberate tax evasion. While the agency says that its focus is on those who promote or sell tax schemes to other people, accountants or lawyers who are involved in facilitating the transactions and reporting could also face investigation and charges. In addition, people who put their money into foreign investments can also face prosecution, especially if the agency alleges that they did so in a knowing attempt to avoid taxes.

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony

Kentucky residents who commit a crime may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors generally carry sentences of no more than 12 months, and those sentences are typically served in a city or county jail. A felony is an offense that is considered especially serious such as murder, burglary or rape. If convicted, an individual may face more than a year in prison.

The procedures for trying a felony case are strictly adhered to in an effort to preserve a defendant's rights. There may be other punishments available as an alternative to jail or prison time or in addition to a sentence depending on the severity of the crime committed. If a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, a prosecutor may be given more leeway to determine how the case will be handled. Those who face misdemeanor charges may also have a greater chance of obtaining a plea bargain.

Racial disparties can impact bail decisions

Cash bail is a hotly debated topic in Kentucky and across the country, especially as several studies have indicated that conscious or unconscious racial bias can play a major role in bail decisions. In one study, bail judges in Miami and Philadelphia were shown to have a bias against black defendants, including both white and black judges. The study found that black defendants were more likely than white defendants to be held in pretrial detention rather than given bail; pretrial detention has been shown to be linked to higher conviction rates.

On average, black defendants are ordered to pay over $7,000 more in cash bail than white defendants. Decisions about pretrial detention and bail amounts are governed by a bail judge's beliefs about the defendant's likelihood to skip bail or reoffend. However, statistics show that white defendants are often much more likely to be rearrested after a release on bail. Since the decisions made about bail do not line up with outcomes, the researchers noted that racial stereotypes and biases appear to be influencing these decisions.

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