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Kansas City Criminal Defense Law Blog

What if I'm accused of domestic violence?

Domestic violence charges can arise a number of ways, and many times, they are either patently false or the result of a misunderstanding by law enforcement or nosy community members. Unfortunately, domestic violence charges are often destructive to your reputation even if they are proven untrue. If you face domestic violence charges of any kind, it is important to seek out experienced legal guidance as soon as possible.

Often, domestic violence charges arise when your partner or spouse is angry and simply wants to cause trouble for you, even though you have not actually committed the crime. If this is the case, you and your attorney must build a case for your innocence and seek to deflate the validity of the claims against you.

Surprising defenses to drunk driving charges

Facing drunk driving charges is never something anyone wants to do, but we all make mistakes from time to time. However, a drunk driving conviction can carry serious consequences and affect many areas of your life, so it is always wise to consult with an attorney to identify ways you might fight the charges. Depending on the nature of your arrest, there a number of defense strategies a skilled attorney can help you employ.

Even if you do not contest the fact that you were drunk at the time of your arrest, you may be able to argue against the charges anyway. For instance, you may be able to claim that you were driving while intoxicated due to some specific duress, such as potential injury or death, or to avoid injury. This might prove effective if you were on the way to get medical help for yourself or someone else, or if you were fleeing danger of some kind.

FBI sets up hotline to collect evidence against local man

Following several sex crime charges against a Kansas City teacher, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has set up a dedicated hotline to collect information about any other potential crimes the man may have committed. According to police reports, teacher in question faces charges of statutory sodomy, and authorities believe that there may be more instances of sexual assault that have yet to be reported.

The teacher currently faces six separate counts of statutory sodomy, and allegedly engaged in sexual activity with his students over a number of years while serving as a teacher and coach. Authorities claim that the man admitted to them that he carried on relationships of a sexual nature with at least two boys younger than 18 years old. He also reportedly admitted to secretly collecting video footage of underage boys while they were naked in locker rooms at several school where he taught.

Missouri sheriff arrested on felony charges

A Missouri law enforcement official was recently arrested on felony charges — but that didn't keep him from continuing to serve in his capacity as sheriff. Despite facing charges of nearly twenty separate criminal offenses, the Mississippi County sheriff returned to his regular responsibilities as sheriff later that same evening.

According to the joint investigation involving the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Attorney General's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Sheriff allegedly used his position to conduct several types of illegal surveillance, commit forgery, tamper with computer data and even a single point of notary misconduct.

How are reasonable and suspicion probable cause different?

We've all been there — you're driving down the road after a long day, maybe coming home after a quick stop at the bar. Suddenly, you see the flashing lights behind you and pull over to the side of the road. In many cases, you may not even know why you're being pulled over.

Protecting our rights as citizens begins with the smallest rights, which are just as important to understand as the larger headline rights. Understanding the difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause can help you defend your rights and the rights of those around you.

New attorney general encourages harsher drug sentencing

For decades, drug charges have carried stiff penalties for defendants, leading to many individuals facing years behind bars for non-violent offenses. However, The Obama administration took some steps to lessen the harshness of drug charges, indicating that law enforcement should ease off of enforcing the existing drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana-related crimes. In the last fews years, public opinion on marijuana has shifted enormously, and many states have legalized its use in some circumstances, while other's have decriminalized possession. All this progress may be taking a backseat soon, if the new attorney general has his way.

Jeff Sessions, the newly appointed attorney general, made clear in a statement recently that prosecutors throughout the land are now encouraged to pursue harsher penalties for marijuana possession. Furthermore, judges will most likely be instructed to hand down sentences according to mandatory minimum guidelines.

Police want DUI arrestees to say where they had their last drink

A new law in Kansas City may spread the blame around for drivers who drink and then get behind the wheel. Law enforcement has added an element to their questionnaire when pulling over an individual who they suspect has been drinking, or even at sobriety checkpoints. Under the new policy, drivers will be asked where they were last drinking. The measure is intended to crack down on bartenders and establishments that may be regularly serving their patrons alcohol well after the point of intoxication.

The policy is in conjunction with a city ordinance that places fairly strict restraints on establishments that serve alcohol. under the local ordinance, no one may serve alcohol to those who are intoxicated, appears intoxicated, or even to "habitual drunkards."

New proposed law targets sex offenders

Facing sex offense charges is a complex and dangerous situation that should never be taken lightly. There are many kinds of convictions that can limit your behavior and rights after the fact, but sex offenses are some of the most egregious. Usually, this is because the public generally has an exceptionally poor view of sex offenders and is not troubled by impinging on the rights of those who have been convicted of a sexual offense.

This may seem reasonable for more extreme sexual offenses, but these restrictions often apply their heavy-handed approach to those who received convictions for lesser offenses that are still considered sexual offenses. The classic example is, of course, the teenagers who are dating in high school and one of them turns 18, while the other is still a minor. It is clear that such a relationship does not warrant ruining the elder teen's life indefinitely, but some particularly parties have no problem doing so.

Lawmakers claim new law will not make school fights felonies

Missouri recently passed a new law that seemingly opened the door for minors to be prosecuted for felony charges if they get into a fight in school. Now, top prosecutors are speaking out to clarify that minors will not actually be in danger of facing those felony charges. This is welcome news for students and parents throughout the state, but still a troubling precedent to have laws on the books that can be interpreted in such a way.

Several weeks ago, two separate school districts made statements expressing that school fights can now result in felony charges for students. Various news outlets pounced on this surprising turn of events, including several outlets at the national level. Many parents and civil rights groups have expressed concerns that not only is a felony an extremely harsh punishment for the crime, it increases the likelihood of students in certain areas being funneled straight from school to prison. Most schools have internal policies that dictate how they respond to fighting. However, in certain circumstances, the school must report incidents to law enforcement, which can lead to criminal charges.

New criminal code increases punishments

Long-anticipated sweeping changes and updates to the Missouri Criminal Code recently went into effect on Jan. 1, marking the culmination of 10 years of vetting and careful legislative planning. The updated code has been the point of both contention and cooperation across many sectors of the criminal justice system, hopefully in the spirit of creating a more just system in Missouri. How well justice will be granted is still to be seen.

Much of the new legal architecture focuses on creating a more granular approach to charges and sentencing. The range of charges has been increased up to five felony classes, while other areas of the law provide more nuanced ways of defining charges, while attempting to eliminate redundant or unnecessarily harsh crime definitions and recommended remedies. Under the new laws, defendants will face more incremental increases in sentencing for a variety of crimes and instances of repeated crimes.

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