Legislative News

New Louisiana Motorist Laws Effective August

Louisiana DWI Dui Defense Attorney

 

Today is August 1st.  This means that many laws and amendments passed during the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session will affect motorists throughout the state starting today. Below I have listed a few notable changes affecting motorists.  Please note: the new laws pertaining to DWI arrests and convictions are not included in this list.  I will post those next week.

 

1. School Zone Cell Phone Ban: Motorists are now prohibited from using any type of hand held wireless communications device while traveling through schools zones during posted hours. The law includes use of a cellular/wireless device for engaging in a voice call, accessing, reading, or posting to a social networking site, and/or writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication. The school zone cell phone ban does not apply if the device is being used to report an emergency, is being used in a hands-free manner, or while the vehicle is lawfully parked. Upon first violation of the school zone ban the fine is $175, subsequent violations can be up to $500, and if a crash occurs during the time of the violation, fines can be increased.

 

2. LA Litter Law Updates: Amendments to the LA litter law now specifically include cigarettes and cigarette butts to the official definition of litter. Additionally, the fine for a first offense increases to $300 with 8 hours of community service in a litter abatement program, second offense to $700 with 16 hours of litter abatement, and a third and subsequent offense to $1500 with 80 hours of service in a litter abatement program.

 

3. Six Year Driver’s License Renewal: The renewal period for Louisiana driver’s licenses has been extended from four years to six years with a fee increase to cover the extension of the renewal period. Fee increases vary by class of license, area of residence, and age of license applicant. (This amendment does not go into effect until July 1st, 2015).

 

4. Inspection Exemptions for Certain Trailers: New amendments to LA inspection sticker requirements exempt single axle two-wheeled trailers and boat trailers from state inspection requirements and the obligation to bear a valid safety inspection certificate/sticker. While exempted from the inspection process, the trailers must still possess the required safety equipment to operate on Louisiana roadways.

 

5. Vehicle Inspections Can be Conducted in Rain: Another amendment added to the LA inspection sticker requirements changes an old requirement that vehicle inspections stations could not inspect vehicles on rainy days. This new amendment allows vehicles to be inspected when it is raining if the conditions are safe and the vehicle can accurately be checked.

 

6. Increased Penalties for Fatigued Drivers in Fatal Crashes: Motorists who fail to maintain control of their vehicle due to falling asleep and directly or proximately cause the death of a human being, face increased penalties under Louisiana’s Careless Operation law. In addition to the Careless Operation penalties, motorists involved in a fatality crash may also be charged with Negligent Homicide.

 

7. Vehicular Homicide classified as a Crime of Violence: The act of Vehicular Homicide (causing the death of a person due to a crash where the driver was impaired) will now be classified as a crime of violence when the offender’s blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.20 grams percent. The amended classification allows for increased penalties for impaired drivers involved in fatality crashes.

 

 

If you or a loved one are in need of an attorney to assist with motorist related offenses, please contact Attorney Elizabeth B Carpenter.

 

 

Three New Louisiana Laws Regarding Gun Rights

 

Governor Bobby Jindal has signed three bills into law.  Two of these bills expand gun rights, while the third one restricts gun rights.

 

  • Carrying Weapons in Establishments that Serve Alcohol

A new law that allows concealed-carry permit holders to carry their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol — the establishment must make most of its money from the sale of food rather than alcohol.  This law will also permit off-duty law enforcement officers to carry their guns into bars.  However, no one will be allowed to drink alcohol while carrying a weapon in restaurants.

The state’s concealed-carry law already allows for permit-holders to carry guns in restaurants that serve alcohol, the criminal statute outlawing guns at places that sell alcohol didn’t list an exception for restaurants that also serve alcohol.

  • Expand Louisiana “Stand Your Ground” Law

Under current law, a person who kills an intruder coming into his car or house is given the benefit of the doubt and can use self-defense as a lawful reason for the killing. But the same self-defense argument could not be legally applied to situations where a person hurt, but didn’t kill, the intruder.

This law essentially closes a loophole.  The belief is that people who end up harming — but not killing — an intruder or a carjacker should not be charged with attempted murder if those who kill those people don’t face those similar consequences.

  • Restricted Gun Rights for People Convicted of Domestic Battery

Anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence and is under a legal protective order will be prevented from owning a gun for 10 years under a new law.

The National Rifle Association — which usually fights gun restrictions — remained neutral on the domestic battery provision, which is probably why Jindal agreed to sign the bill.

It has been said that Louisiana leads the nation when it comes to spouses murdering spouses with firearms.  I do not know if this is true.

 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a gun crime or domestic abuse battery, contact Attorney Elizabeth B Carpenter, New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney.

 

Louisiana’s Fight Against Heroin: Dying For A Fix

 

 

It only takes seconds to fill a syringe with a lethal dose of heroin.  Tuesday night’s dose can provide a pleasurable high, while Friday’s dose can have a 20-something year old discovered dead, foaming at the mouth.

I’ve had acquaintances that one would never suspect partake in such reckless behavior. I also had a friend die from a heroin overdose, and no one, except his suppliers, even knew he used the drug. While other drugs, such as alcohol, cocaine and meth can take years to kill someone, heroin can take seconds!

In recent years heroin has seen a huge growth in popularity among younger segments of our population. Back in the seventies we had images of junkies in a SOHO stairwell strung-out from years of drug abuse. Today, America’s heroin user is a high school or college student- well educated and from an affluent community.

On the local level, sheriffs, police chiefs and coroners, individually, are reporting:

  • A heroin death a week since the start of 2013 in Jefferson Parish.
  • Heroin-related deaths have tripled since 2012.
  • Heroin use has reached epidemic proportions.
  • Jefferson Parish leads the state in overall heroin deaths – 87 fatalities in 2012.

One explanation for this spike in heroin use is Louisiana’s implementation of a better tracking system for prescribing and selling pharmaceutical CDSs, which is reducing the street supply of those drugs.  People who were once addicted to the great supply and accessibility to prescription opioids like Oxycodone (Oxycontin) and Vicodin are now turning to heroin for relief.  Heroin is cheaper, does not require a prescription and readily available.

In 2001 the Louisiana Legislature passed a law reducing a mandatory life sentence with no benefit of parole or suspension of sentence for heroin distribution to a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years and maximum of 50 years.  Some lawmakers are now regretting this action.  In the current 2014 Legislative Session, two bills have been introduced, SB9 and SB87, which will effectively raise the maximum sentence for heroin distribution and possession with intent to distribute to 99 years and raise the minimum sentence to 10 years with the requirement that 5 years be served without parole.  I commend the legislature for attempting to punish the distributors more aggressively rather than the users (addicts).  Nevertheless, I doubt that this law will have the desired effect, i.e. reduce heroin use.  I do not believe that longer periods of incarceration produce lower risks of recidivism.  In fact, I believe the contrary.  When someone is incarcerated, after a period of time any potential for rehabilitation ceases and the risk of recidivism increases.  Prisoners become too institutionalized for society after a while.  What was once believed to be a solution to a problem only produces additional problems.  Furthermore, for every individual who is incarcerated for heroin distribution, there is someone else waiting to step in place as a distributor regardless of the potential criminal penalties.

 

If you or someone you know needs addiction help of any kind, please contact a local physician or treatment center.  Modern medicine has created many tools and solutions to assist heroin addicts get clean.

If you are caught in the web of Heroin and currently facing legal troubles, please feel free to contact me.  I have helped many individuals with heroin distribution and possession charges.

 

5/12/2014 Update:  I was wrong.  The legislation is also trying to change the sentence for possession of heroin to a mandatory minimum of 5 years, even for a first time offender.  Shame on you!  To be continued…

 

7/8/2014  Update:  I recently learned that neither SB9 nor SB87 passed.

 

 

 

LACDL Adopts Marijuana Policy Statement

 

I am happy to report that the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (LACDL) voted last week to adopt an official policy statement related to the possession and use of marijuana. The 2014 legislative session has a number of marijuana-related bills up for debate. The LACDL Marijuana Policy Statement is as follows:

 

We believe that marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts students, lower income classes, African Americans, and other ethnic minorities who bear the brunt of cannabis arrests and prosecutions. The responsible consumption of marijuana by adults in private should not be defined as criminal behavior deserving of arrest, potential jail time, a criminal record, and the lifelong stigma that accompanies it. Criminalizing marijuana is a disproportionate response to what, at worst, is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

 

The LACDL Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt the official Marijuana Policy Statement.

 

About LACDL

 

The Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL) is the only professional association of attorneys devoted exclusively to the profession of Criminal Defense. The LACDL mission is to promote a fair, accurate, and humane criminal justice system through education, advocacy, and the development of effective and professional defense lawyers. For more about LACDL, please visit www.LACDL.org.

 

 

Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2014

 

In 2007, the U.S. Senate declared January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in an effort to raise the consciousness about this issue. When you hear the term, Human Trafficking, you probably think of sex slavery or forced prostitution.  I think that it is important for people to understand that the term is far more encompassing than that. Human trafficking is not just sex slavery. It is forced labor in cleaning services, farmlands, factories, nail salons and many other industries. It is holding humans captive, and forcing them to work for free, by threatening them.  It is essentially modern day slavery.

 

In Louisiana, much attention has been paid to the issue lately in terms of legislation and advocacy groups.  Last summer, Governor Jindal signed three new human trafficking related bills into law.  The most significant bill broadened Louisiana’s Racketeering Laws by adding the following crimes to the definition of racketeering statute: female genital mutilation, aggravated kidnapping of a child younger than 13, human trafficking, trafficking of children for sexual purposes, bigamy, abetting in bigamy and the sale of minor children. Racketeering laws are utilized by prosecutors to target members of an organization engaged in criminal activities.  This new bill will allow tougher penalties against groups of individuals who are engaged in human trafficking activities. The Louisiana racketeering provides for a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 50 years or a fine up to 1 million dollars, or both.

 

Another bill strengthens enforcement of current law that requires certain establishments to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline number. The bill adds penalties for the failure to post the hotline number and allocates the authority to promulgate rules regarding posting specifics to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

 

The third bill provides for pre-adjudication diversion programs for juveniles who allegedly engaged in prostitution related offenses due to sexual exploitation by human traffickers.  The purpose of the bill is to help rehabilitate these young people rather than punishing them.  This bill also takes additional steps to protect victims of human trafficking by creating a civil cause of action for victims, making victim restitution mandatory and establishing victim assistance guidelines for law enforcement, District Attorneys and the Attorney General’s office.

 

Important Information

 

As a criminal defense attorney in the New Orleans area, I have defended individuals who were accused of Human Trafficking.  These client’s face harsh criticism and blood thirsty prosecutors.  My law firm is dedicated to providing our clients with a high level of guidance and the legal advocacy they deserve. My top priority is to create the strongest defense possible and help my clients avoid or minimize the penalties associated with human trafficking charges.

 

 

New Louisiana Bill Aims to Create the Crime of Unlawful Storage of a Firearm

New Orleans Weapons Crimes Attorney

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter — Weapons and Gun Defense Attorney

 

The Louisiana News Bureau has just announced a proposed bill that aims to create the crime of unlawful storage of a firearm.    This is House Bill 4 by Rep Norton.The proposed law provides that it is unlawful to keep or store a firearm unless it is in a locked container or is equipped with a lock to render the firearm inoperable.

 

The law proposes the following penalties:

First violation of a fine of not more than $300.

Second or subsequent violation of a fine of not more than $500, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

Proposed law creates an exception if the firearm is on the person or is in use.

 

With all due respect to Rep. Norton, I think that this is the most ridiculous piece of legislation.  I would like to understand the purpose of it.  Will this make the public safer?  In light of the recent gun related tragedies in Colorado and Connecticut, I think that we are going to see a lot of proposed frivolous legislation such as this.  Again, I think that this in a legislative intent to fix a symptom instead of a problem.  What was the real issue in the recent massacres in Co. and Ct?  The lack of sufficient funding and options for mental health treatment in this country.

 

If you have been accused of a gun or weapons crime in the New Orleans area, contact Elizabeth B. Carpenter to schedule a consultation.  We are ready to take action and stand by your side.

 

 

New Bill Would Eradicate Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Marijuana Possession In Louisiana

New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law — New Orleans Marijuana Defense Attorney

 

Serving Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. John, Baton Rouge, St. Charles, Plaquemines Parishes.

 

New Bill Would Eradicate Mandatory Minimum Sentences For

Marijuana Possession In Louisiana

 

Both the Louisiana House and Senate will reconvene for the 2013 Legislative Session in April 8, 2013.  As an attorney, I subscribe to email alerts regarding legislative news.  This evening I was thrilled to see a proposed bill that would eradicate mandatory minimum sentences for Marijuana Possession.

 

This bill is House Bill 103, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans.  The proposed bill will lessen penalties for repeat offenders and not subject offenders to Louisiana’s Habitual Offender Law (RS La 15:529.1).    This new law would also apply to synthetic cannabinoids.

 

I am actually opposed to the legalization of synthetic cannabinoids due to the severe health complications associated with its use.  Of course, complete legalization of Marijuana would obliterate the demand for synthetic cannabinoids.

 

As a final thought, I think that Representative Badon is going to have a battle to fight in Baton Rouge over this new bill.  The state and local governments as well as substance abuse clinics love the money that they can extort out of people who are found guilty of Marijuana Possession.

 

The following is a chart demonstrating the proposed changes to the law:

 

house-bill-103--8c8d7dbeb88fb218

If you or a loved one has been charged with a Marijuana Offense in New Orleans area.  Contact a New Orleans Drug Crime Attorney – Elizabeth B. Carpenter.  We offer discounted fee for Marijuana Offenses!

 

 

Synthetic Drug 25I: A New Schedule I Drug

New Orleans Drug Crime Attorney

 

By Elizabeth B Carpenter — Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans 

 

Elizabeth B Carpenter Law is a premier law firm for Drug Crime defense.  We have defended almost every type of Drug Crime imaginable in South Louisiana.   If you are in need of a New Orleans drug crime attorney, contact our office today.

 

 

 

Synthetic Drug 25I: A New Schedule I Drug

State health officials, top lawmakers and law enforcement personnel announce steps they have taken to ban a dangerous new drug, 25i, making it illegal in Louisiana.

This relatively new drug, 25i, also called Smiles or N-Bomb, has been added to the state’s Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, effective immediately.  It is classified as a Controlled Dangerous Substance — Schedule I.

Simple Possession of 25I will carry a sentence of 4 to 10 years.

Manufacturing and Distribution of 25I will carry a sentence of 5 to 50 years.

Lawmakers began eyeing criminalizing the drug after an Arkansas man died last week in New Orleans after reportedly overdosing on 25i at a festival.

At least five people have died nationwide this year after taking 25i, including the man who died in Louisiana, according to officials. Other deaths reportedly occurred in Minnesota, North Dakota, California and North Carolina.  Today, Louisiana becomes the second state, along with Virginia, to make 25i illegal.

Louisiana revised statute 40:962, gives State Health Officials authority to add new compounds as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act by rule if the substance has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in the U.S., and if there is no accepted safety use of the substance under medical supervision.

Officials said the synthetic drug is commonly manufactured in China and India, and is being sold in powder and liquid form online, which is how people access it in the United States.

 

Elizabeth B Carpenter — New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney

 

Calculate Your Blood Alcohol Content — BAC Calculator

New Orleans DWI DUI Attorney 

 
Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. —  DWI DUI Attorney New Orleans 

 

Serving DWI DUI Clients In Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, New Orleans, LaPlace, Hammond, Mandeville and Covington!

 

Legislators and law enforcement have really been cracking down on DWI / DUI in Louisiana.  It is quite frightening because: 1.) We are a State that likes to enjoy our cocktails and 2.) When you do the math, it is easy to see how little alcohol is necessary to be considered legally intoxicated.  All the officer needs is sufficient probable cause to pull you over.

 

 
Check out the BAC Calculator

 

ABOUT ATTORNEY ELIZABETH B. CARPENTER

Elizabeth B. Carpenter has completed courses on NHTSA DWI Detection and Field Sobriety Testing and the breath testing machine known as the Intoxilyzer 5000. These are the same courses law enforcement must take when training. This level of dedication to her practice helps her challenge the common errors that police officers make during a DWI arrest.

For more information about attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter see her criminal defense website and her New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Blog. Ms. Carpenter is a skilled criminal attorney who defends against DWI chargesdomestic violence chargesDrug Crime, and sex crimes, among others in the New Orleans metro area. Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law can also be followed on Facebook.

Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. is an experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorney. She received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Law School, and is a member and supporter of theLouisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Her law offices have successfully represented clients in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. John, St. Tammany and St. Charles Parishes. Carpenter’s mission is to provide clients with exceptional, personalized, and professional service.

 

 

 

Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal Inspires New Laws In Louisiana

Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans

 

Elizabeth B Carpenter — Attorney New Orleans

 

 

 

Penn State University sex abuse scandal has resulted in new laws in Louisiana to penalize those who fail to report allegations of child sex abuse and protect those who do.

One measure protects whistleblowers who report child sex abuse from employer retaliation, while two others penalize those who fail to report to law enforcement. A fourth adds certain classes of athletics coaches to the list of individuals required to notify authorities if they suspect child sex abuse.

Under previous Louisiana law, child care providers, members of the clergy, mental health workers, elementary and secondary school teachers and others listed in the state children’s code were required to report any abuse or neglect they encountered. But if you were an average citizen and discovered child abuse, the law did not force you to report it.

Now, no matter who you are, if you see a kid being sexually abused, you have an absolute, ironclad responsibility to report that to the legal authorities immediately

Adults who fail to report it could face up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine if convicted.  This is a felony.

One lawmaker who sponsored the measure mandating that coaches report any signs of sexual abuse has said he found the facts surrounding the Pennsylvania case so offensive that he had to come up with a way to strengthen laws that protect children.

“That’s where this piece of legislation really came from; it was a reaction to that and the desire to make sure that our laws were strong enough to protect our young people,” he said.

These laws will go into affect August 1, 2012.

 

 

 

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