Conflicting stories have surfaced around a recent altercation between two young men and a Metro security guard in St. Louis. The incident underscores the importance of having a criminal defense attorney ensure that your side of the story is told and that your rights are protected.
Now that so much personal, identifying information is stored online, prosecutors and the courts are under significant pressure to take a tough stance against identity theft. Depending on the circumstances, an identity theft charge may be prosecuted in state court or federal court.
False allegations of sexual assault are unfortunately a reality in the criminal justice system. For a sense of how often people are wrongly convicted based on false allegations, see our previous post, "DNA evidence: A powerful tool in Missouri criminal defense."
Dash cameras and body cameras have a double purpose in law enforcement. They allow police officers to obtain video and audio evidence that could potentially be used against defendants, and cameras can also be used to hold police officers accountable when they violate people's rights.
Gun crime charges can lead to serious consequences in Missouri, especially if the defendant is accused of another crime in addition to a gun-related offense. In fact, even if you have taken all of the legal steps to purchase, possess and carry a firearm in Missouri, you can still be charged with a crime if a prosecutor believes that you provided a gun to a person who isn't permitted to have one.
The question of whether a police search is legal can be a complicated matter. Even if a search warrant has been issued, the scope of the warrant is limited. Generally, a search warrant authorizes police to search for particular items of evidence in particular places. If investigators illegally search beyond the scope of the warrant, then evidence seized in the search may be kept out of court.
Being convicted of a sexual offense in Missouri can result in penalties beyond jail time, including the requirement to register as a sex offender. The kinds of convictions for which a person must register include kidnapping, sexual assault, promoting prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
It's called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and if you're accused of a RICO violation, then you may be facing criminal penalties and costly civil lawsuits, even if you have not personally committed a crime. Prosecutors may bring a RICO charge if they believe you ordered or helped others to commit crimes.
The work of defending an accused individual's rights often involves fighting to keep evidence out of court or fighting to include evidence that the prosecution wants excluded. Innocent people may face years of prison time if the prosecution isn't effectively challenged.
The circumstances that lead to allegations of assault are rarely as simple as prosecutors would have us believe. Many factors have to be considered, including the intention of the accused. For example, did the defendant intend to cause bodily harm to another person, or was the injury an accident resulting from a momentary lapse in judgment? In other cases, accused individuals were only trying to defend themselves.