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Louisville Criminal Defense Blog

Embezzlement: A serious crime that can lead to charges

Of the white-collar crimes you may have heard of in the past, embezzlement is one of the most common. Embezzlement is a criminal action in which a person takes lawful possession of another person's property, takes the property for their own uses and decides not to give it back.

An example of this might be if you are given a business credit card from your employer. You're supposed to use the funds for your luncheon with coworkers, but you go on a shopping spree without authorization instead. This could be considered embezzlement.

Study challenges police claims about asset forfeiture

Despite its extensive promotion by law enforcement agencies in Kentucky and across the country, asset forfeiture may do little to promote crime-solving. One study conducted by the Institute for Justice examined laws regarding civil asset forfeiture and the distribution of federal funds collected through the Department of Justice. Asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to seize property that they allege is connected to the commission of a crime. Claimed to be a vital tool in fighting drug trafficking, the use of the practice escalated dramatically in the 1980s with the "war on drugs."

However, many lawyers and rights groups harshly criticize civil asset forfeiture. They point out that law enforcement agencies can seize homes, cars and even cash without a criminal conviction or even criminal charges against the owners. In addition, they say that some police departments use asset forfeiture as a way to raise revenue rather than as a tool to fight crime. The study's data could back up that assertion. Researchers noted that a 1% increase in local unemployment was tied to a 9% increase in forfeiture rates in the same area.

Anyone can commit a financial crime

A sense of entitlement and a lack of oversight could be the causes of white-collar crime in Kentucky and throughout the country. For instance, those who were taken down as part of Operation Varsity Blues were in positions of trust and given leeway to make decisions for themselves. In another case, police officers were charged with receiving pay for hours that they didn't work.

Police officers generally have supervisors, but they are expected to know and follow the law as opposed to using loose oversight in an attempt to enrich themselves. In some cases, those who engage in embezzlement or other types of financial fraud already have significant wealth. In those cases, their upbringing or other cultural norms may have tempted them into committing an illegal act. While these cases may not involve traditional white-collar criminals, they show the types of new opportunities that criminals may have.

Embezzlement charges in Kentucky

Embezzlement is a type of white-collar crime that can result in serious penalties. Embezzlement occurs when a person who has access to the money or property of another takes it without any intention of repaying it to the rightful owner. People who are convicted of embezzlement may face penalties including incarceration, restitution, fines and other consequences.

This crime most commonly occurs within corporations and employment settings. In many cases, people who commit embezzlement are trusted employees who may have worked in their jobs for years. They might include bank tellers, accountants, bookkeepers and others who have access to their employer's accounts and money.

Crime and police viewed differently by black and white Americans

Some Kentucky residents may have differing views on crime, police behavior and penalties depending on whether they are black or white. A number of surveys have found these attitudes differ according to race. For example, 87% of black adults compared to 61% of white adults in a 2019 Pew Research Center survey said the criminal justice system did not treat blacks as fairly as whites.

Kentucky uses sobriety checkpoints to keep the public roads safe

There are a number of factors that can make the public roadways more or less safe for those driving. Weather conditions are one issue that can drastically increase the amount of risk people have in a vehicle. Poor driving practices, including drunk driving, are another risk factor that the public has very little control over.

However, lawmakers and law enforcement are acutely aware of the danger that drunk driving poses to people on the road. They, therefore, take many different enforcement steps to keep the roads in Kentucky as safe as possible by reducing the number of people who drive under the influence of alcohol. Sobriety checkpoints, also known as traffic safety checkpoints or drunk driving roadblocks, are one such tool commonly utilized by Kentucky law enforcement.

Breath tests can yield false positive results

When a driver is stopped by a member of the Kentucky law enforcement community on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is common practice for the officer to administer one or more field sobriety tests to gather evidence. A breath test is often given to gauge the driver's blood alcohol content by measuring the ethanol content of the individual's breath. If the driver blows over the limit, this is generally used as part of the grounds for an arrest. However, there is some medical evidence to question the accuracy of the breath test under certain circumstances.

Health experts report that different diets can cause the body to produce certain chemicals that breath tests may not be able to properly read. For instance, the keto diet promotes low carbohydrate intake, which triggers the liver to burn fat, thereby creating acetone that may be released through the breath as isopropyl alcohol. It is a subject of dispute whether the handheld device used by patrol officers can accurately distinguish between ethanol alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. In addition, certain medical conditions such as diabetes or acid reflux have been shown to yield false test results.

What a preliminary hearing is used for

When a person is taken into custody for DUI in Kentucky or most other states, that individual has the right to plead not guilty to the charge. If this happens, the next step in the legal process is a preliminary hearing. At this point, a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for a defendant to stand trial. The length of the hearing will depend on the amount of evidence that needs to be reviewed.

Typically, the defendant's attorney will argue on his or her behalf at a preliminary hearing. A prosecutor may choose to call witnesses to testify or produce physical evidence to establish their assertion that an individual drove while under the influence. The defense will then have an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses or otherwise cast doubt on any of the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Facial recognition tools are becoming popular with retailers

In Louisville, Kentucky and elsewhere, unsuspecting shoppers may find themselves banned from a retail establishment without their prior knowledge. The actual reason for the banishment may be due to facial recognition software.

The use of the software is becoming more popular among shopkeepers as a means of security. Modern security cameras may catch a shoplifter in the act and record the face of the culprit. Software will catalogue facial features into a program for future reference.

Kentucky governor signs DUI bill into law

In the state of Kentucky, individuals who have multiple DUI convictions are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The same is true for first-time offenders who have been convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or higher. A new law will now require all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device or face the prospect of an extended license suspension.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving came out in support of the law. They claim that such legislation can reduce impaired driving fatalities by up to 16 percent. Other groups such as the Kentucky Distllers' Association were also in favor of the new legislation. It passed through the state Senate in February and was recently passed in the House just as the legislative session ended. The legislation will go into effect in July 2020, making Kentucky the 33rd state to have such a law on the books.

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