Columbia, Missouri Criminal Defense Blog

'Gone Girl' highlights false rape claims and the harm they cause

It's because of false accusations that discussing rape has always been a sensitive subject in our society. As a society, we don't want to assume that all accusations of rape or false; but on the other hand, we know that false accusations can and do happen in this country and even in our state.

This was a point that was briefly highlighted in the movie "Gone Girl," an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel with the same title. For those who have not seen the movie, there is a scene in which Ben Affleck's character meets up with his missing wife's ex-boyfriend to ask him about a rape allegation she made against the ex in the past.

How does a Breathalyzer determine intoxication?

When it comes to drinking and driving, there are two things that most people know: 1.) this form of reckless behavior is illegal in all states and 2.) in order to avoid a DUI charge, your blood-alcohol level must be less than .08 if you are over the age of 21.

As you may already know, police can determine your blood-alcohol level using one of two methods: a breath test or through chemical testing. While chemical testing is relatively easy to figure out how it works, Breathalyzers are more of a mystery to many people. In this week's post, we will look at how these devices work to help answer the question: how does a Breathalyzer determine intoxication?

Missouri man pleads guilty to embezzlement, sentenced 70 months

When you are given access to a company's funds by someone of authority at that company, there is a trust that you will use those funds for the betterment of the company. If you misappropriate those funds and use them for personal use though, you not only break this trust but you will be doing something that is considered illegal in every state, including here in Missouri.

This misappropriation of funds is called embezzlement and it's a crime that carries with it a steep price: your freedom. Our Boone County readers can perhaps best see this exemplified after looking at the case of a 61-year-old Neosho man who pleaded guilty in February to several theft charges for embezzling more than $4.9 million from his employer.

Springfield man asserts right to own guns despite past felonies

In August, voters in Missouri passed Amendment 5, which prohibited violent felons from owning a fire arm. Considered by most to be a step toward reducing repeat violent offenses among felons, the thought may never have crossed anyone's mind that the language of the law could be interpreted differently than how legislators intended it.

But as a recent case demonstrates, the current wording of the law creates a loophole that a 63-year-old felon would like the state to acknowledge. Some of our Columbia readers may have already heard about the man's motion to dismiss the weapons charges currently against him -- charges he believes should not have been levied against him.

The innocent picture that could lead to criminal charges

Everyone has one. That embarrassing picture of your child running around the house completely naked or a picture of them in the bath tub after a day of playing in the mud. Decades ago these types of snapshots were considered innocent and accepted by society. But as society's views on indecent photography grew stricter, taking photos like this was no longer seen as cute but as shameful.

Our Missouri readers can see this by looking at several cases from across the nation. In each of the cases, parents thought they were doing something innocent -- simply taking photographs of their children. But when investigators stepped in in two of the cases, these parents quickly learned that what they thought was innocent now comes with legal consequences.

Can you fool a Breathalyzer into thinking you're not drunk?

We've all heard them before: those urban myths about drinking and driving and how to avoid criminal charges if you get stopped. One myth says that if you suck on some pennies, the copper will neutralize the alcohol. Another says that swishing with mouthwash before an officer administers a breath test is the best way to get out of a DUI arrest.

Not only are the majority of these myths wrong, but partaking in some of them can actually lead to serious drunk-driving charges in the process. And depending on if you seek the help of a skilled attorney, and how effective you are at presenting your defense, you could find yourself facing a conviction as well -- even if you were not intoxicated.

Facing sexual misconduct charges? Speak with an attorney

Being accused of any crime can be devastating and quite frightening. However, there are some crimes that may be particularly upsetting. For example, sexual misconduct allegations can destroy a person's career and reputation, even if that person is never convicted or the claims turn out to be baseless.

Whether you are accused of offenses related to child pornography, sexual assault or statutory rape, it is important to remember that you have the right to speak with an attorney and take steps to aggressively defend against charges. Our law firm understands how serious these charges can be and how much is on the line for a person accused of a sex crime.

Race disparity in prisons highlights potential racism in laws

Did you know that Hispanics and black people are three times more likely to be stopped by police and searched for drugs than white people? It's a potentially disturbing fact for some of our Missouri readers who may have experienced this potential racial profiling for themselves.

Although many people would argue that justice is blind and that our nation's laws are black and white, some people would argue that this isn't the case, such as the statistic above shows. Furthermore, there are laws, both state and federal, that could further exemplify this point.

Protesters allege bias in police shooting investigation

Peaceful protests have given way to riots and looting in some areas of Jefferson, Missouri, following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. The 18-year-old was shot and killed outside a low-income housing complex last week.

At least one witness has stated that the young man had his hands up and was not struggling when he was fatally shot in the head and chest. The officer, on the other hand, has reportedly said that he believed the teen was reaching for a gun.

Could white collar crime be next in line for sentencing reform?

Earlier this year, new federal sentencing guidelines went into effect for people convicted of certain nonviolent drug crimes. Now, some defense lawyers and other advocates of prisoners’ rights are pushing for similar reforms in the sentencing of white collar crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud and insider trading.

The changes that have been suggested for the white collar crime sentencing guidelines would affect individuals charged with certain federal financial offenses. Many financial crimes can be prosecuted in either state or federal court, so people charged with these offenses in Missouri could be affected.

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