Lake Charles Law Blog

Criminal defense: Limitations when it comes to search and seizure

Facing the police is an overwhelming and confusing situation for many people in Lake Charles. Despite having very clear protections when interacting with law enforcement officers, many people are unsure of those rights. Some officers take advantage of this uncertainty to push past the legal limitations of searches and seizures. Any violation of search and seizure law is upsetting, but can be helpful when building a criminal defense.

Obtaining a search warrant from a judge is one of the main ways in which police may perform searches and seizures. Police must demonstrate they have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed. When executing a search warrant, officers can enter into the named location and may only search for items that are listed in the search warrant. Should officers find evidence out in plain view -- such as drug paraphernalia on a kitchen table -- they may also seize this property.

What are you asking a loved one to do as an executor?

Perhaps you thought that figuring out who will receive what as an inheritance was the hardest part of creating a will. Then, you needed to choose someone to serve as its executor. A name or two may have popped into your head, but before you just put a name in the document, you may want to consider what it is that you ask of that person.

Being an executor involves a great deal of work, and you may want to know what that entails so that you can discuss it with the person you consider choosing. Of course, once you read the list of duties, you may decide that person wouldn't fit well into this role, and you will need to go back to square one and pick someone else.

Driver charged in alleged drunk driving accident

A Louisiana man is facing serious charges related to a fatal bicycle accident. Accused of drunk driving, he is also charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular injury, vehicular negligent injuring and hit-and-run driving. Police believe that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit at the time of the accident.

The accident happened on March 2, 2019, and the nine bicyclists who were involved were apparently in a bike lane alongside a road. As the 32-year-old driver was traveling on the same road, his vehicle swerved and ended up in the bike lane. All of nine of the bicyclists were hit. A 27-year-old woman and 31-year-old man were killed in the wreck and had been pronounced dead while still at the site of the accident. Another seven suffered serious injuries.

Where do trusts fit in estate planning?

Trusts tend to evoke strong, negative emotions in many people. This is largely because trusts have been associated with extreme wealth and "trust fund babies" for a long time. This is a misconception, and Lake Charles residents who continue to ignore trusts when estate planning could be missing out on important benefits and protection.

Clarifying what a trust is may help clear up some confusion. A person, referred to as a grantor, creates the trust, which is a legal entity. The grantor then transfers assets to the trust, which will ultimately go to beneficiaries, or heirs. The grantor should name a trusted individual to act as the trustee, and he or she will manage the assets, make distributions to beneficiaries and more according to instructions. The instructions are contained in a trust document.

3 face criminal charges for alleged drug possession

Three Louisiana residents were recently arrested for allegedly possessing and selling illegal substances out of their home. All three are facing criminal charges for possessing a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance -- CDS -- with intent to distribute, possessing a Schedule II CDS with intent to distribute and possessing drug paraphernalia. Police say they were executing a search warrant just prior to the arrests.

Agents with the local police's narcotics enforcement division were the ones responsible for executing the search warrant at the three people's apartment. It is not clear what events led up to the decision that a warrant was needed. Once inside, authorities allegedly found two men and a woman, baggies commonly used when selling illegal substances, scales, paraphernalia and a number of various drugs. These include hydrocodone, Vicodin and marijuana.

Estate planning for a chronic illness

Living with a chronic illness is hard, but so is leaving loved ones without any information or instructions regarding end-of-life care. Estate planning gives people who experience chronic conditions the opportunity to do so. While estate planning is most commonly associated with handling a person's estate after his or her death, the process can also help that individual outline personal wishes regarding future medical care and more.

There are approximately 130 million adults who live with chronic illnesses, including many in Louisiana. Although many of these people have excellent relationships with their medical providers, this does not guarantee that their wishes will be respected. A living will, health care power of attorney and medical information release can make sure that a person's wishes are understood and upheld.

Are you considering creating an estate plan without help?

Like many Louisiana residents, you may have put off thinking about estate planning for a while. A sudden life event, such as the birth of a child or the death of a close loved one, may have you finally considering creating a plan of your own.

Though you may be ready to begin estate planning, you may feel hesitant to work with an attorney. Like many people, you may think that you could research and find the right tools yourself in order to create a plan that reflects your wishes. While you certainly do have DIY options, taking that route may not work in your best interests.

Criminal defense: Man accused of copy cat ice cream licking video

The hot summer months are the perfect time to enjoy some refreshing ice cream, but police in Louisiana say one man went a little too far. He was apparently trying to recreate a viral video that showed a teenager from another state licking a tub of ice cream and then putting it back on the shelf. He is facing multiple charges, including one for criminal mischief. It is not clear if he has any criminal defense plans yet.

The grocery store where the most recent incident allegedly took place notified police of the possibility of a copy cat licker. Police did not say how they identified the 36-year-old man, but they did find a video of the incident posted to his personal Facebook page. The video showed the man removing the ice cream tub from the freezer, taking off the lid and then licking and poking the top before replacing it in the freezer. Both his video as well as the teenager's involved the Blue Bell brand of ice cream.

How do irrevocable trusts fit into estate planning?

Everybody in Lake Charles should have a will, which will ensure that their final wishes are respected and upheld. Wills are also important for distributing assets to heirs, but what if someone needs a different approach to meet his or her needs? Irrevocable trusts can round out the estate planning process, but not everyone understands how these handy tools work. Here are a few things to people should understand about irrevocable trusts.

A person who creates a trust is called a grantor, and in the case of an irrevocable trust, a grantor cannot make any changes. Some people are hesitant to create irrevocable trusts because of this feature, and indeed revocable trusts -- trusts that the grantor can change or take back entirely -- are much more common. However, having the ability to change a trust does not necessarily make it a superior option. For example, irrevocable trusts limit a person's vulnerability to various legal judgments and creditors. This is because that person technically no longer owns any assets in the trust, which also means those assets are not included for estate tax purposes.

Criminal defense: Woman charged in fatal wreck

A Louisiana woman is facing criminal charges related to a recent fatal accident in which one person was killed. Police recently stated that they are considering bringing additional charges against the driver, although it is not clear what those charges might be. However, a defendant does not have to wait to hear about pending charges before he or she can start working on a criminal defense plan.

According to police, the 38-year-old woman was traveling on Interstate 55 when the wreck occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. There were three minors in her vehicle at the time. The circumstances leading up the wreck are still not entirely clear, but police say her vehicle ran off of the road before flipping up to five times. It landed upside down.

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