Kentucky Law Blog

Can I get out on bail if I am charged with a crime?

Bail is usually a monetary sum paid so you can get out of jail before you go to trial in a criminal case. It is a guarantee that you will show up in court when you are ordered to answer to the charges. In some Kentucky cases, you may be able to be released on your own word that you will return for your trial and obey all rules set by the court. According to the Kentucky Court Rules, almost all charges are eligible for bail.

This means that if you are arrested and jailed for a crime, you should be offered the chance to bail out once you go in front of a judge. The judge sets the amount of bail you are required to pay, which is usually based upon the crime you are being charged with and may be based in part on whether you are considered a risk if released. You do not have to file anything to request bail for most crimes.

Ignition interlock devices: What you should know

DUI charges come with serious consequences, including heavy fines and driver’s license revocation. In some cases, you may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Although this device may be costly, it may allow you use your vehicle for transportation to school, work, doctors’ appointments and other necessary destinations. If you are asked to install an ignition interlock device on your motorcycle or vehicle, it helps to know how these machines work.

Interlock devices are small breath test machines that are wired directly to the vehicle’s ignition system. Before your vehicle will start, you must exhale into a tube that is connected to the device. The machine will then evaluate your blood alcohol content level, and if it below the preset limit, the vehicle will start. IIDs also require the driver to submit additional samples occasionally throughout the drive. If at any time, the device reads a sample that is above the BAC level limit, it will lockup. You must then wait for a certain period of time before the device will let you attempt a restart.

A warrantless search may leave you looking for answers

A traffic stop can be intimidating. It is normal to feel nervous when a law enforcement officer steps up to your vehicle and asks for your identification. You may be trying hard not to look suspicious even if you know you haven't done anything wrong.

Police officers may take advantage of your nervous state to trick you into surrendering your rights. For example, if the officer who pulled you over convinced you to allow a search of your vehicle, the results may have been criminal charges that extended beyond a traffic citation.

What is considered marital property?

Kentucky is one of many states in the nation that follows an equitable distribution of property model when couples choose to file for divorce. Rather than split all marital property equally in half, the judge presiding over the case will determine who is entitled to what after careful consideration of several factors.  In order to do this, however, the judge must have a comprehensive list of each party’s separate property, as well as all of the property that has been accumulated during the course of the marriage. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we know that some people may not receive all of the marital property they are entitled to. When going through divorce, you should understand what property you are able to receive in the divorce settlement.

Marital property and assets are those which have been amassed while the couple was married. Many people instantly think of homes, vehicles, furniture and other possessions the couple may share. Yet, there are a number of other things that may be considered marital and are eligible for division in a divorce case. These include the following:

  •          Expensive collections, such as cars, art, horses, coins, antiques or wine.
  •          Gifts that spouses gave to one another during the marriage.
  •          Golf course or country club memberships.
  •          Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds.
  •          Intellectual property, such as patents, royalties, copyrights and trademarks.
  •          Travel reward points.

When hiding money means a breach of marital trust

Many Americans fall in love and get married, trusting in "happily ever after" to make things work. Unfortunately, not too long after the wedding, reality usually sets in. Along with it comes the financial difficulties that most married couples tend to face. In fact, fights about money are by far one of the top predictors of divorce, with a survey indicating "money" as the third leading cause after "infidelity" and "basic incompatibility."

Perhaps worse than arguing about money, though, are statistics showing the likelihood of married couples going so far as to hide money from each other. Study results indicate that the more a couple argues about finances, the more likely they are to be hiding spending habits or even assets from each other. This, in turn, raises the couple's likelihood of divorce. Could this apparently all-too-common issue be destroying your marriage from the inside out?

How does Kentucky penalize repeat DUI offenders?

If you find yourself pulled over and subsequently charged with drinking and driving in Kentucky after an earlier driving under the influence conviction, the penalties you face tend to intensify. Per the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety, you may face a serious charge if the law enforcement official who pulls you over administers a breath test and your blood-alcohol content registers above 0.08 percent. The same is true if you are under 21, and your BAC registers above 0.02 percent.

As you might imagine, the penalties associated with drinking and driving become harsher with each conviction. If you are over 21 and convicted of this offense for a second time within five years in the state of Kentucky, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $500 in fines and serve between two and 30 days behind bars. You can also prepare for a 90-day alcohol or substance abuse treatment program as part of your punishment, and the court may also order you to submit to between 48 hours and 30 days of community service. Furthermore, you face a revocation of your license for a period of somewhere between 30 and 120 days.

What visitation rights do Kentucky grandparents have?

If you are a grandparent in Kentucky and animosity exists between your grandchild’s parents, you may not be able to visit with your grandchild as much as you may like, or at all. If you would like more visitation with your grandchild, often the easiest method is to simply make your request known to the child’s parents. You may be able to pursue grandparent visitation through the court system, however, if you cannot agree to it through other means, if the court believes visitation with you is in the best interest of the child.

In making this determination, the court may consider several factors. Your existing relationship with your grandchild’s parents is among them, and the court will also likely consider whether you have had visits with the child in the past as a method of assessing the strength of the relationship. Even if you have not had visitation with your grandchild up until this point, you may still get future visitation if there is evidence that you have attempted to initiate meaningful contact with your grandchild previously.

How you can enforce a child support order in Kentucky

As any parent knows, children are expensive. Even without various luxuries, it is still costly to clothe, feed, educate, and shelter them. Having both parents contribute financially to raising a child is therefore crucial and a right afforded to every child.

Unfortunately, there are parents who don't take child support orders seriously, or they feel as though it doesn't matter if they make a payment or not. Under these circumstances, parents who are supposed to receive these payments may need to take action to enforce a child support order. This can be done in a variety of ways.

Kentucky a leader in criminal justice

A criminal record can have dire implications for job seekers in many areas of the United States. Recently, however, Kentucky introduced legislation in an effort to ease the way for persons attempting to find work and support their families after serving out sentences.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that in January 2016, the Kentucky House approved House Bill 40 with broad bipartisan support. Prior to this bill, a Kentucky resident charged with a violation or misdemeanor could seek to have his or her charges expunged from public record five years after completing the associated sentence. The new legislation allows persons convicted of Class D felonies to do the same.

Is forensic science always reliable?

If you have been charged with a crime in Kentucky, you may be attending a trial to determine whether you are guilty of the crime. At the trial, evidence that has been collected from the crime scene is often presented to the judge and/or jury. Although this evidence may have a major impact on the court’s final decision, studies show that the way evidence is processed may lead to inaccurate results. These inaccuracies could cause a person to be wrongfully charged with a crime they did not commit.

According to the Innocence Project, the misapplication of forensic science practices is the second leading cause of wrongful convictions in the U.S. Of the 349 people who have been exonerated from their prison sentences after being wrongfully convicted, 46 percent of the cases involved bad forensic science. In some cases, the methods of testing that are used to evaluate evidence have not been scientifically validated as reliable methods. For example, bite mark comparisons, shoeprint analysis and hair analysis have not been proven as reliable scientific methods of producing evidence.  

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