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St. Louis Legal Blog

Criminal liability for another person's actions

Helping someone else commit a crime can cause you to face criminal charges of your own. Accomplice liability, often referred to as aiding and abetting, is a legal provision that dispenses the same penalties as those that would ensue for the actual crime itself.

If you face aiding and abetting charges, a major issue in your case will be the degree of the help you provided. Many discussions of this legal issue center on the question of how much help is enough to trigger these charges.

The ignition interlock law promotes more than road safety

A bill signed by Governor Jay Nixon in 2015 is aimed at keeping more drunk drivers off the roads in Missouri. However, it has a second purpose: to help people who have drinking problems turn their lives around.

The bill puts teeth in the existing ignition interlock law, which needed a boost to make it more effective.

What happens if I refuse a breathalyzer test?

If law enforcement ever pulls you over for the suspicion of drunk driving in St. Louis, you may be tempted to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Although you have the right to say no, doing so could be a mistake, especially if you did not drink or you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is under the legal limit. If you are drunk, a refusal can have serious and long-term complications that can affect the outcome of your situation.

Here are some of the consequences that you face if you refuse a breathalyzer

There's A Right Time To Protect Your Rights With Police

Among the debates that President Trump has helped to heat up is whether police are encountering more widespread disrespect and mistrust from civilians. During his campaign and since he has been in office, the president has frequently stated that the Obama administration too often blamed law enforcement authorities for fatal shootings and other tragic encounters between officers and civilians.

Police officers have one of the toughest jobs imaginable, and the majority of them perform that work admirably. However, a recent story out of North Carolina provides an example of why many people feel they cannot always trust law enforcement officers.

Driving While Impaired: Erroneous Breath Tests Can Lead to Serious Convictions

Felonious DWI convictions can lead to steep financial penalties, permanent revocation of a driver's license, and even substantial prison time. When someone is pulled over under the suspicion of driving while impaired, there are a number of tests that a law enforcement officer may use to try and measure someone's blood alcohol concentration, also known as BAC.

One of these tests is called the Breathalyzer, a machine that measures the amount of alcohol in someone's breath and uses this as a surrogate for the estimation of BAC. If someone's BAC is greater than 0.08 according to the Breathalyzer, a DWI conviction can result; however, there are numerous reasons that a Breathalyzer can return an inaccurate reading.

What happens when the FBI and the Geek Squad work together?

Technology is part of our everyday lives, but its ubiquity also means that problems arise that require a technician to fix. When we turn in our computers for repair, technicians often have unfettered access to personal information including documents, photos and videos. Most people do not engage in illegal activity online or keep compromising information on their devices, but new incentives from law enforcement could turn your computer repairman against you.

A recent report shows alleged collaboration between the FBI and Best Buy's Geek Squad, one of the largest technology support service organizations in the country. In one incident, the FBI reportedly paid as much as $500 to a Geek Squad manager in Kentucky for turning over images alleged to contain child pornography.

Alford plea used for lesser charge in sex assault case

A case related to sexual assault can grab headlines quickly in today's world. Both parties of the defense and the prosecution can be put under the microscope of public opinion no matter the actual result of the trial.

Incidents are especially high-profile today if they involve athletes, racial ties or people of different abilities. All three of those factors came together for a group of high school football players in Idaho in October 2015. The trial then resulted in a unique plea agreement for one defendant who was charged as an adult. The same plea used by the football player can be used in courtrooms nationwide.

What happens at the first hearing after charges are filed?

You have been charged with a crime. However, it is your first run-in with the law. What happens next? What are your options? If you do not understand the criminal justice process, it may help to read on. It all begins with the first appearance.

The very first hearing is an arraignment. You will appear before a judge who will state, to you and the open court, the nature of your charges or indictment. Thereafter, you will have an opportunity to make your plea. In the State of Missouri, those options are the following: not guilty, guilty, not guilty due to mental disease or defect or a combination of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Employing entrapment to defend against federal drug charges

It all boils down to this: you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a kid, indiscretions may have led you to form relationships with unsavory individuals. While you may consider those interactions to be anchored firmly in the past, it's possible that others still mark you as vulnerable due to those associations.

Unfortunately, those who have ties with objectionable people are often targeted by police who are looking for leverage against criminals. Pressured by the police, you may have been unduly encouraged to engage in unlawful activities in exchange for favors of some sort. Rather than being rewarded, however, the end result of your acting with police encouragement could be the accusation of participating in a serious crime rather than a commendation for supporting a law enforcement operation.

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