Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Caylee’s Law Would Allow Felony Criminal Charges against Parents of Missing Children

Efforts around the country to pass legislation that would allow charges to be filed against parents who fail to report when their children are missing, are gaining momentum. In Florida, lawmakers have already proposed legislation that would allow felony charges to be brought against parents who wait too long to report that their children are missing. Other states are considering similar measures.

The Florida legislation came after a petition was signed by more than 700,000 people calling for such legislation. Under the Florida proposal, parents who fail to report a missing child under the age of 12 after 48 hours, could face felony charges. Additionally, the Florida legislature would also allow felony charges to be brought against parents who fail to report a child's death or the location of the child's corpse within two hours of the death.

The calls for such legislation have emerged after the acquittal of Casey Anthony for the murder of her two-year-old daughter. Anthony was acquitted of the murder and other charges, but was found guilty of lying to investigators. These were misdemeanor charges that led to a four-year prison sentence. However, had there been a law requiring parents to report their missing children, she could have been sentenced to up to 15 years.

Other states around the country are also considering such measures. In Utah, lawmakers are in the beginning stages of drafting a bill that would make it a felony to fail to report a missing or dead child. The bill will be presented in the next legislative session. Similar efforts are underway in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Colorado, people have been sending mass e-mails to legislators to push for a similar law.

From experience, Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys have noted that when laws are designed purely to honor a deceased person, they usually end up doing more harm than good. These laws have little reasoning, and are designed simply to appease the public.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ten Reasons Why You May Be Pulled over for DUI

Even though it may seem so, police officers rarely pull persons over on suspicion of drunk driving on a whim. They look for signs of intoxicated driving before they decide to pull someone over. Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers believe you’re at a much higher risk of being pulled over for drunk driving if:

• You’re weaving between lanes
• You’re drifting between lanes
• You’re driving at excessive speeds (defined as 10 mph above the speed limit)
• You’re driving too close to the vehicle in front of you
• You apply the brakes frequently and unnecessarily
• You’re driving the wrong way
• You almost hit another vehicle, pedestrian
• You drive off the highway
• You fail to obey traffic signals
• You’re driving at inappropriately low speeds

If a police officer notices such driving behavior, the officer is likely to pull you over to investigate. Once you're pulled over, if the police officer has reason to believe that you're intoxicated, he may subject you to a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test can include a number of smaller tests. These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, probably known as the penlight test, in which you will be required to follow a pen with your eyes, while the officer monitors your eye movement or angle, a heel-to-toe test to determine your ability to follow instructions and walk a straight line, as well as a one-leg stand test.

Other simple tests involve reciting the alphabet. However, only the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, one-leg stand and the heel-to-toe test are considered fairly reliable. After the field sobriety test, a police officer may ask for a chemical test too. The results of all these tests are meant to be used as evidence of your condition at the time you were pulled over.