Birmingham Personal Injury And Criminal Defense Law Blog

Why you never contact the victim in your domestic violence case

If you've been charged with domestic violence, there's at least one critical mistake you do not want to make: Contacting the victim.

Many defendants fail to understand exactly how serious this particular point really is -- especially when the incident that led to an arrest was overblown, two-sided or outright fictitious. They think that if they give their accuser time to cool down, he or she will start to regret the whole situation.

Alabama's new drunk driving laws add pressure

As of July 1, Alabama law enforcement officers have new weapons at their disposal in the form of additional penalties for charges of driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI charge can be brought against anyone that an officer reasonably believes is driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol.

Now, anyone arrested for drunk driving has to agree to have an ignition interlock device on their car -- even before conviction -- if they want to keep their license. The ignition lock must stay in place for a minimum of six months if an individual enters a pretrial diversion program. While many states make use of ignition locks to keep repeat drunk drivers off the road, most don't require first-time offenders to have them. Alabama officials, however, take the view that the interlock devices are most effective when used on first-time offenders.

Why is it important to post bail for your loved ones?

"If you get arrested, don't call me for bail money!"

Those are the words of many parents who are trying to impress on their young adult children the importance of staying out of trouble with the law. However, it's time to rethink that tactic. If your son or daughter is arrested on a drug charge (or for anything else) in Alabama, paying their bail may be the most important way you can protect their future.

When can police legally search my vehicle?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives all Americans protection “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” That means law enforcement officers cannot search your property – including your vehicle - simply because they feel like it.

So, what are the rules for a police officer going through your car’s back seat, glove compartment or trunk?

Safety strategies for motorcycle riding

Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating. But riding a motorcycle requires focus and vigilance. Today, there are high traffic levels and many drivers are on cell phones, drinking coffee, pop, tuning in the stereo and performing a million other distracting tasks. Distracted drivers have a difficult time seeing cars, let alone motorcycles. Alabama motorcyclists rack up a lot of miles throughout the year, so you should take a smart approach when you ride.

You can implement many important and useful strategies, so your ride is safe and fun.

The confusing legal status of marijuana-derived products

If someone asked you whether marijuana is legal or illegal, would you be able to answer right away? The status of pot and pot-derived products continues to change almost weekly in states around the country.

For the record, marijuana is still illegal here in Alabama. But it is legal to purchase and use certain marijuana-derived products as long as they contain trace amounts or less of THC, the high-causing ingredient in pot. Legal products include hemp and CBD oil, both of which were legalized nationally late last year as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. But as recent news reports have demonstrated, there is more than a little confusion about the legal status of these products, as well as conflicts between state and federal laws.

Deciphering Alabama's Voter Fraud Laws

1555669-ThinkstockPhotos-492602156.jpgElection season brings up many questions about voter fraud. What exactly qualifies as voter fraud? In what way is it illegal in Alabama? What punishments could you face in the state if you were to commit such a crime?The state takes many steps to combat voter fraud. For example, Alabama voters are required to show some form of identification at polls as of 2014. Voters may use a driver's license, non-driver ID, passport, military ID, student ID, or another option. Of course, there are many instances in which voter fraud is not preventable. Even presenting an ID at the entrance to the poll does not necessary curb fraud.You may have been accused of voter fraud and brought up on charges because you submitted somebody else's mail-in ballot, made a fraudulent vote, or coerced somebody to vote in a specific way. Thankfully, you have options for defending yourself against these charges, so long as you act quickly.Continue reading to learn more about voter fraud in Alabama as well as the best way to defend yourself against the charges.Understanding Crimes of Voter Fraud

Several types of voter fraud exist in Alabama. Depending on the severity of the offense, the charges you face will be based on the same level of severity. For example, changing somebody else's ballot to reflect a different vote is considered more serious than trying bribe or otherwise unethically influence someone else's vote.Most crimes related to voter fraud are misdemeanor offenses rather than felonies. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, with B and C misdemeanors falling closely behind. Your attorney will do their best to ensure you face the lowest charges possible.Changing votes, ballots, or results of any election in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted of this crime, you could face a fine up to $6,000. This conviction also comes with a potential imprisonment of one year.Providing false information in order to register to vote or when actually voting is considered a Class A misdemeanor too. For example, you could face this charge if you declared you were a United States citizen and eligible to vote, only for the government to later realize you were not a citizen at all.Attempting to influence a vote, which may include bribery, is a Class C misdemeanor. This crime comes with a fine up to $500 and a potential imprisonment of three months.For any of these crimes, the judge could choose to add another fine up to double the amount of the defendant's gain or the victim's losses because of the offense. While voter fraud is relatively rare throughout the nation, each state does its best to ensure that those who commit fraud face charges appropriate to the crime they are charged with.Defending Against Allegations of Voter Fraud Even though voter fraud charges may only amount to a misdemeanor, offenders should still consider it a serious offense as they can still face significant penalties if convicted of this crime.For the best defense, those charged with voter fraud should work with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the local regulations and consequences.One defense against voter fraud is declaring you were mistaken about your status as an American citizen. For instance, you might have come to the United States as a small child without realizing you were not legally able to vote.You can also argue that you did not knowingly alter another person's documents; you may have accidentally thought a mail-in ballot was your own, not a family member's.Are you concerned about voter fraud allegations? You need a strong criminal defense attorney. Contact Simms & Associates today to learn more about your legal options. 

Can You Face DUI Charges From an Accident You Didn't Cause?

1549363-822095452.jpgIf you had a few drinks at a party, got in your car to drive home, and another driver ran a red light and T-boned you, what happens next? The laws can be complex when it comes to issues like these. While you may not have been at fault for the accident (and your intoxication didn't cause the accident), you have technically still broken the law by driving under the influence.If you have been in an accident you did not cause after drinking alcohol, pay close attention to these tips. They could help you achieve the best outcome.

7 Facts About Juvenile Arrests

1542387-94913543.jpgAlabama law enforcement arrests minors every day. Officers may arrest minors for crimes ranging from shoplifting to first-degree homicide. Alabama courts determine how to charge minors for crimes the state accuses them of committing.If your child was recently arrested or may be charged for a crime as an adult, you need to read on.

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