• Criminal Defense

    • I’ve Been Arrested, Do I Need a Lawyer?
      Never answer police questioning without having an attorney present, as anything you say and do can later be used against you. It is also in your best interests not to represent yourself, as criminal cases can be complex, and protecting your rights, future, and freedom requires the skill of someone who knows the nuances of Louisiana’s criminal laws. Precht Law Firm will fight for your rights.
    • Do the Police Have to Read Me My Rights?
      The Miranda warnings exist to protect your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. If a police officer reads you your rights, then asks you if you understand those rights, it is assumed that anything you say after, including things that can be taken as an admission of guilt, are voluntary and were not given because you were intimidated by the officer questioning you. If you have been arrested, are in police custody, have consented to police entering your home, or other situations, law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights. If you were in custody and not read your rights, or if you did say something incriminating before your Miranda rights were read, your attorney may be able to argue that those statements cannot be used against you.
    • What Happens if I Have Been Pulled Over for Drunk Driving?
      If you were found driving erratically and an officer pulls you over with the suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated, they will generally ask you to perform a field sobriety test so they can assess your level of impairment. These tests can involve heel-to-toe walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet backwards, or checking your eyes for pupillary constriction. If you refuse, the police will generally make you submit to chemical testing, including breathalyzer, blood, and urine tests. If you refuse to take a chemical test, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for up to a year and you may face additional, harsher penalties.
    • What Does “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” Mean?
      The prosecution must prove you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to convict you for a crime. This is a high standard and jurors must base their decision on that fact that a reasonable person would find the defendant guilty based on their “moral certainty.” All defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and it is the prosecution’s job, or their “burden of proof,” to build the case against the defendant. These are important standards under the Constitution, where no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
    • What Happens if My Child Is Arrested?
      Juvenile offenders face a different justice system than their adult counterparts, one that is focused on rehabilitation over punishment. Arrested minors will face an intake officer who will evaluate their situation and decide if filing charges will be necessary. If the officer decides that the crime was not severe enough to warrant formal charges, the minor may face less severe punishment, including counseling, community service, and paying restitution.
    • How Are Sentences Handed Down?

      If convicted, the sentence you receive depends on a number of factors unique to your specific case. These issues can include the type of crime, if there are statutory sentencing guidelines for the crime, the existence of a prior criminal history, the victims or financial amounts involved in the offense, and other issues. From this, the judge can decide on penalties, including fines, community service, jail or prison time, and probation.

      If you are convicted for a misdemeanor, you will generally face less than a year of jail time. Felony convictions, in the other hand, carry a prison sentence of more than a year. The judge may decide on lesser or more severe penalties, based on the circumstances, except when a mandatory minimum sentence exists in the law, such as in cases involving firearms, drugs, and “three strikes” felony convictions.

    • Do Police Need a Warrant to Arrest Me or Conduct a Search?
      In most cases, police do not need a warrant to arrest you if there is probable cause that you committed a crime. Probable cause means that the arresting officer has more than a “bare suspicion” that you have committed the offense, even if they did not witness you doing so. This can arise from witness testimony, after a chase has occurred, when the police believe someone may be in danger, or in other situations.