Criminal Defense

THE EXPERIENCE YOU NEED; THE SOLUTION YOU DESERVE!

As one would expect in criminal defense matters, our clients often come to us anxious and confused about the unknown, in the face of governmental charges, investigation, and intrusion into their personal and professional lives.

Far too often our culture and even our criminal justice system is all too eager to presume someone guilty until proven innocent. This perversion of our system is dangerous and requires those charged to seek the help of experienced and talented advocates for their case.

Criminal Defense

At Sudduth & Associates, we commonly like to use the phrase that we “level the playing field” but we want to take a minute and explain exactly what that means. Think for a moment of all the resources in the possession of the State: officers to effect an arrest or issue a warrant, detectives to investigate a case and question witnesses, forensic equipment and laboratories to test evidence, and finally prosecutors, with their own investigators, armed with virtually unlimited resources with which to effectively prosecute the accused. It is as easy to see as it is disparaging just how stacked the deck is against the accused.

If you are accused, you need a team of investigators, paralegals, clerks, and attorneys who can just as aggressively defend the charge as the State can prosecute one. At Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves with being that leveling force for so many people.

As a former prosecutor, James Sudduth leads an incredibly talented team of individuals in aggressively defending the rights, reputation, and confidentiality of the accused. There is truly no substitute for the critical eye of one prosecutor evaluating the case of another prosecutor. Mr. Sudduth brings his attention to detail, years of professional experience, and genuine care for his clients to each case.

Criminal charges can be devastating: both professionally and personally. Level the playing field. Call us today so that we can fight for you! Our criminal defense attorneys defend those accused of all possible criminal charges, from the highest level felonies to the lowest level misdemeanors, whether at the local, state or federal levels.

Our services extend to every aspect of traditional criminal law, including and beyond the following areas:

Assault & Battery Criminal Charges

Whether you’re being charged on a misdemeanor or a felony level, an assault or battery charge can ruin your reputation and haunt you for years to come. Though assault and battery charges are some of the most common charges, each case is unique. The severity of the charge can depend on a variety of things: whether or not a weapon was used, as well as the degree of the alleged victim’s injuries

Assault and battery are usually closely associated with one another, but actually carry different definitions. Assault is the intention or threat to harm or batter someone; whereas, battery is when harm is actually inflicted upon somebody.

So what is it that makes an assault or battery charge a misdemeanor or a felony?

According to the Louisiana Law, there are different levels of assault and battery. In the case of assault (again, the intention or threat of a battery), there are several types of assaults that fall under the assault statue. Some of the most commons charges of assault are:

  • Simple Assault—assault committed without a dangerous weapon
    • Penalty: Maximum fines of up to $200 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both;
  • Aggravated Assault—assault committed with a dangerous weapon
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both;
  • Aggravated Assault with a Firearm—assault committed with a firearm (committed when there is a discharge from a firearm)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time of ten years, or both;

Battery, on the other hand, may carry more severe consequences because it actually involves force or contact.  Like assault, battery has an array of charges that fall under its statute; however, some of the most common charges of battery are:

  • Simple Battery—defined as “battery committed without the consent of the victim”
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both;
  • Aggravated Battery—battery committed with a dangerous weapon
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $5,000 and/or maximum jail time of ten years, or both;
  • Second Degree Battery—battery committed by an alleged offender where intentional bodily injuries are inflicted
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $2,000 and/or maximum jail time of five years, or both;
  • Aggravated Second Degree Battery—battery committed by an alleged offender where intentional bodily injuries are inflicted with the use of a dangerous weapon
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time of fifteen years, or both;

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Crimes Against Property / Theft Charges

When facing a property crime or a theft charge, there are several variables that can determine the fate of your case. For example, crimes that damage property or deal with theft all have one main thing in common: they all have understandably upset victims who want to be made whole for their injustice. This factor plays a large role in the minds of a prosecutor, specifically when considering sentencing and penalty options.

To simplify: in Louisiana, Criminal Damage to Property can be broken down into two separate offenses: simple and aggravated.

  • Simple Criminal Damage to Property—the intentional damage to any property without the owner’s consent (this does not include damage by fire or explosions)
    • Penalty (for damage less than $500): Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or jail time of six months, or both;
    • Penalty (for damage between $500 to $49,999): Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of two years, or both;
    • Penalty (for damage between $50,000 or more): Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time between one to ten years, or both;
  • Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property—the intentional damage to any property, watercraft, or movable where human life might be endangered (this does not include fire or explosions)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time between one to fifteen years, or both;

NOTE: Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property is one of the crimes that is labeled under Louisiana Law as a “crime of violence” and thus never allowed to be expunged. This can be a terrible consequence for someone who might take a plea deal and not know of this hidden consequence. One would normally not think of a property crime being classified this way, however this again shows the importance of having a skilled attorney at your side.

THEFT

Similar to the property crimes detailed above, theft charges—and their consequences—can also be categorized by the value that has been allegedly stolen. Theft, according to Louisiana law, is the “misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another.” Therefore, if you find yourself charged with theft in Louisiana, some of the most common charges are:

  • Misdemeanor Theft of Goods under $750 (Shoplifting)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both;

NOTE: misdemeanor theft is one of the more common theft crimes committed, yet most people don’t know the most dangerous part of a misdemeanor theft conviction: it is enhanceable. That simply means: the more times you do it, the worse it gets. For example, you could steal a pack of gum three times and be considered a felon. It’s not the amount – it’s the pattern of behavior that can lead to an increased vulnerability in your exposure to harsher penalties. This increased exposure is why the hiring of an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to avoid the very serious consequences of a possible felony conviction.

  • Felony Theft (between $750-$4,999)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $3,000 and/or maximum jail time of five years, or both;
  • Felony Theft (between $5,000-$24,999)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or jail time of ten years, or both;
  • Felony Theft ($25,000 or more)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $25,000 and/or jail time between five to twenty years, or both;
  • Misdemeanor Illegal Possession of Stolen Things (under $500)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both; (this penalty only applies to first time Illegal Possession of Stolen Things offenders)
  • Felony Illegal Possession of Stolen Things (between $500 – $1,499)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $2,000 and/or maximum jail time of five years, or both;
  • Felony Illegal Possession of Stolen Things ($1,500 or more)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $3,000 and/or maximum jail time of ten years;

BURGLARY

Burglary is defined as “the unauthorized entering of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure, movable or immovable, or any cemetery, with the intent to commit a felony or any theft therein.” The law further details specific penalties if the structure is a: pharmacy, place of business, inhabited dwelling or “home”, or a religious building.

Normally, if you are simply in an area that you do not belong you might be charged with: unauthorized entry or criminal trespass. However, those charges can quickly change to felony burglary charges if law enforcement or prosecutors have reason to believe you intended to commit or theft or any other felony while in those unauthorized places.

 

It is imperative to get skilled representation on your behalf, to explain your side of the story to prevent charges from unnecessarily escalating. Let our firm, with experienced attorneys and professional staff, represent you in giving your case the best legal outcome possible.

ARSON

Another common criminal offense that falls under the Crimes Against Property & Theft Charges is arson. Arson, as defined by Louisiana law, is:

  1. “The intentional damaging by any explosive substance or the setting fire to any property of another without the consent of the owner”;
  2. “The starting of a fire or causing an explosion while the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of another felony offense even though the offender does not have the intent to start a fire or cause an explosion.”

Arson crimes vary widely: injury by arson, simple arson, arson with intent to defraud or the false communication of a planned arson. While arson crimes are rare, they do carry very serious penalties and anyone accused of the crime will need the steady hand of a skilled defense attorney to ensure that their future and livelihood are not sacrificed.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Criminal Appeals

Once a case has been tried and a verdict rendered many Defendant’s fear that the case is over. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Defendant along with their attorney has several tools in their toolbox in order to make sure that the first trial was fair and if it wasn’t then to move for a new trial. We are going to discuss some of those possible remedies below, now remember not every item may apply to your case, however this is meant to give you a brief overview of just some of the items that we at Sudduth and Associates, LLC practice in the appellate field.

  1. Post-Conviction Relief
    1. At the outset we should note that any applications for post-conviction relief are riddled with rules and procedural hurdles that make the assistance of an attorney absolutely essential to any chance of success.
    2. Second, we should also note that there is a two-year period after the judgment of conviction and sentence bas become final wherein a Defendant can file an application for post-conviction relief. See C. Cr. P. Art. 930.8
    3. In general, the grounds for an application for post-conviction relief are: (1) the conviction was obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution or Louisiana Constitution, (2) the Court exceeded its jurisdiction, (3) the conviction or sentence subjected the Defendant to double jeopardy, (4) the limitations to bring prosecution had expired, (5) the statute creating the offense is unconstitutional, (6) the conviction violates the ex post facto application of law, or (7) DNA results prove the Defendant is factually innocent by clear and convincing evidence.
  2. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
    1. Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a Defendant has the right to not just counsel to assist in their defense but more importantly they have the right to competent and effective counsel in preparing their defense. For a variety of reasons sometimes a defense attorney may miss an opportunity to cross examine a key witness, may fail to make a key objection, or any one of thousands of mistakes that can be made during a trial.
    2. We pause to note that not all mistakes mean a Defendant had ineffective counsel; rather a Defendant’s case should be carefully evaluated to see if we can make a good faith argument to the Court of Appeals that the Defendant’s attorney at the trial level was ineffective.
  • Choice of Counsel
    1. Unlike Assistance of Counsel, discussed above, choice of counsel is an entirely different right that the Defendant is entitled to. For example, if a Defendant has been granted a Public Defender and then the Defendant or their family gathers the money to afford a “private attorney” or their counsel of choice that right must be protected.
    2. Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a defendant not only has the right to an attorney – they have the absolute right to the attorney of their choice.
    3. Trials have been overturned and new trials granted on this reason alone.
  1. Excessive Sentence
    1. Under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. This is an incredibly vague term and has been subject to much litigation. Like all areas of constitutional law – the Eighth Amendment is not immune – the law is complicated.
    2. However, under certain circumstances Defendants have seen success in challenging their sentence as “excessive” and getting it reduced.
  2. Motion for New Trial
    1. This motion is based on the idea that the Defendant has suffered some injustice in the first case and therefore a new trial must be initiated, based on the following grounds: (1) the verdict is contrary to the law and evidence, (2) one of the Court’s rulings on a written motion shows prejudicial error, (3) new and material evidence has come forward that would have changed the verdict, (4) the defendant has discovered since the judgment or verdict of guilty a prejudicial error, (5) the Court is of the opinion that the ends of justice would be served by the granting of a new trial, or (6) the defendant was a victim of human trafficking.
    2. This motion must be filed and dealt with by the court before sentence is imposed on the Defendant, so time is of the essence.
    3. So if your attorney at the trial level is not comfortable handling the appeal contact us today to get us started soon on your case.
  3. Writs of Habeas Corpus
    1. This writ is one of the oldest creatures in our law and dates back to its original use in England under the Common law system. The writ once translated means “produce the body.” This writ enables the individual to hold accountable the State’s awesome power to restrain liberty. It was used extensively in England to challenge the King’s use of commissions, councils, and courts where people were often held for incredibly extensive periods to be interrogated.
    2. In the American System, our Founders viewed the writ as so important they wrote into the body of the Constitution itself. Specifically Article I, §9 “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Case of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” The Bill of Rights, which includes the first ten amendments to the constitution, are widely viewed as an afterthought. They were amendments – added later. The writ of habeas corpus were so important that the Founders of our country agreed to place that right in the Constitution itself.
    3. In modern day use, we use this Writ to challenge sentences and convictions once they are final through post-conviction relief. A unique aspect to this avenue of attack is that it allows us a remedy in Federal court. The writ of habeas corpus has a dovetail back into the federal process. It is possible to appeal a conviction through the entire state system and then challenge that same conviction again in the Federal system through this writ.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Criminal Drug & Gun Charges

Though many states have become increasingly flexible on their drug penalties, Louisiana has not yet joined that crew. It is true that Louisiana has shifted, though reluctantly, its mindset in terms of drug penalties; it still remains one of the staunchest proponents in ensuring that drug possessors, users, and traffickers suffer incredibly high penalties.

If you’ve been charged with a drug offense in Louisiana, you need to make sure you’re equipped with an attorney who is properly versed on drug crimes, the differences between controlled dangerous substances (CDS), and has the appropriate defense strategy to help you through your charges. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony-level drug offense, our firm is experienced in defending clients who are faced with all drug crimes, such as:

  • Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Possession
  • Misdemeanor and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Felony Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking/Drug Manufacturing

Additionally, it’s important to remember that not all drugs are alike; therefore, the penalties associated with them are kept unique. Everyone has the right to a properly administered prescription from a physician, but prescription medication can often times be assumed as tools of abuse or trafficking by law enforcement agencies. Prescription drug charges are prosecuted very seriously and come with severe penalties. If you have a prescription from a doctor and have been charged with a drug offense, you could have an affirmative defense for your case.

Finally, many drug related stops are made through routine traffic stops. Most people are often unaware of their constitutional rights during these stops. It has been our experience that many of these stops raise possible constitutional defenses. Having a skilled defense attorney who understands all the fine nuances of constitutional law is imperative to being effective in defending a drug charge. Our firm has the skill and knowledge to raise those issues and effectively argue them in court.

GUN CHARGES

The Second Amendment: The right to bear arms. It’s a Constitutional pillar that our great state of Louisiana cherishes very profoundly. Louisiana is a sportsman’s paradise and for the vast majority of us who were born and raised in Louisiana, who have grown up around hunting, we’ve been more familiar with guns from an early age. Unfortunately, however, there are times where these freedoms and rights—like owning and operating a firearm—that we have been privileged with, can get us into trouble.

Louisiana is an “open carry” state, meaning that a permit is not needed when possessing a firearm if the user is of the legal age of 17 or older. However, there are stipulations to this law, especially in regards to individuals that have been previously convicted of certain crimes in the past. In saying that, if you are not well-versed on the laws surrounding firearms, it could get you in further trouble. If you are a convicted felon, you are prohibited from owning and operating a firearm for ten (10) years from the completion of your sentence date (probation and parole included). If you have a conviction for one, or more of the following crimes, your right to bear arms might be in jeopardy:

  • Weapons offenses
  • Burglaries
  • Crimes of violence
  • Felony drug crimes
  • Sex crimes
  • A Domestic Abuse Protective Order (Louisiana Uniform Protective Order)

 

Additionally, it’s important to note that firearms in the presence of illegal narcotics can turn a mistaken-riddled night into a nightmare for your future. It almost seems cliché, but it’s true: guns are the not-so-distant relative to drugs and can signal to law enforcement agencies that there is more to the story than just the occasional dabbling of drug use, but could actually be the intent to sell narcotics. This could cost you exponentially in a variety of ways and the loss of your Second Amendment rights is just the beginning.

If you’ve been charged with a crime involving firearms, it’s important to have an attorney who can explain your rights to you and can thoroughly analyze your case. Let our firm of experienced attorneys and professional staff give you the best defense and peace of mind possible.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

DWI / DUI Charges

Out of all of the criminal offenses in Louisiana, drunk driving is undoubtedly one of the most meticulous and scientific charges to sift through. Whether you are a first-time offender who might have had one drink too many at dinner or a party, or someone who is familiar with surpassing the 0.08% blood alcohol level (or BAC), it is important to have an attorney who can analyze the specific facts involved in your case and walk you through the DWI process.

Like all criminal offenses, the outcome of your current charge will rely heavily on your criminal background and history; therefore, every client’s case is unique. Many factors can play large roles in the prosecution of your case. For example, when determining how to charge a DWI/DUI offender, prosecutors must weigh the evidence presented to them, such as:

  • Was there an accident caused by the alleged offender?
    • If so, were there any innocent victims involved? What damages did they incur?
    • If there were victims involved, to what extent were they injured?
  • Has the alleged driver ever been charged with and convicted of DWI/DUI before?
    • If so, how many times?
    • If there is a history of DWI/DUI, when was the last time the alleged offender was convicted?
  • Is the alleged offender under the legal drinking age of 21?

PENALTIES:

  • DWI First Offense Penalties
    • Fines between $300-$1,000
    • Jail time between 10 days-6 months
      • Jail time may be suspended if the driver:
        • is placed on probation;
        • has served 48 hours in jail or has agreed to complete 32 hours of community service;
        • agrees to complete a driver improvement program;
        • agrees to complete a court-approved substance abuse program;
    • Suspended license for one (1) year
    • Ignition interlock device may be required

 

[NOTE: if your blood alcohol level is double the legal limit of 0.08%, or more, you could be subjected to harsher penalties for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.]

NOTE: Like many charges in Louisiana, if you are a habitual offender of the same charge, such as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the penalties become increasingly severe.

  • DWI Second Offense Penalties
    • Fines between $750-$1,000
    • Jail time between 30 days-6 months
      • 48 hours of which cannot be suspended and must be served); however, the remainder can be suspended if the driver:
        • spends 15 days in jail;
        • agrees to complete 240 hours of community service, in addition to a court-approved substance abuse program;
        • completes a driver improvement program;
        • is placed on probation with the required installment of an ignition interlock system in their vehicle
    • Suspended license for two (2) years 

[NOTE: if your blood alcohol level is double the legal limit of 0.08%, or more, you could be subjected to harsher penalties for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.]

  • DWI Third Offense Penalties
    • Fine of $2,000
    • Jail time between 1-5 years (with or without hard labor)
    • Suspended license for three (3) years
    • Ignition interlock system required in vehicle
    • Confiscation of vehicle (at the discretion of the District Attorney)
    • Probation for remainder of sentence, in addition to:
      • 240 hours of community service;
      • court-approved substance abuse program or an evaluation and inpatient/outpatient substance abuse treatment;
      • a minimum of six (6) months of home incarceration;
      • a requirement to obtain employment;
      • a driver improvement program;
  • DWI Fourth Offense Penalties
    • Fine of $5,000
    • Jail time between 10-30 years (with or without hard labor)
    • Suspended license for three (3) years
    • Ignition interlock system required in vehicle
    • Confiscation of vehicle (at the discretion of the District Attorney)
    • Probation not to exceed five (5) years, in addition to:
      • 320 hours of community service;
      • court-approved substance abuse program (i.e. DWI or Drug Court) or an evaluation and inpatient/outpatient substance abuse treatment
      • home incarceration that parallels the amount of time in probation
      • a requirement to obtain employment;
      • a driver improvement program;
  • DWI Child Endangerment Law
    • Additionally, if you have been charged with a DWI and had a child 12 years of age or younger in your car, the minimum mandatory sentence for each offense cannot be suspended.
  • Underage DWI First Offense Penalties
    • Fines between $100-250
    • Jail time between 10 days-3 months
      • Jail time may be suspended if the driver:
        • is placed on probation;
        • agrees to complete 32 hours of community service
        • agrees to complete a driver improvement program;
        • agrees to complete a court-approved substance abuse program;
        • has their driver’s license suspended for the length of one (1) year;
        • Ignition interlock device may be required;
  • Underage DWI Second Offense Penalties
    • Fines between $250-$500
    • Jail time between 30 days-6 months
      • Jail time may be suspended if driver is placed on probation, in addition to:
        • serving 48 hours in jail;
        • completion of a driver improvement program;
        • completion of a court-approved substance abuse program;

or

  • completion of 80 hours of community service work;
  • completion of a driver improvement program;
  • completion of a court-approved substance abuse program;

The above penalties discuss the minimum and maximums, while we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Federal Criminal Defense

At first glance, the criminal process between the State Court system and the Federal Court system seems similar. In both systems there is an:

  1. Investigative Stage – involving law enforcement gathering facts and witnesses
  2. Arrest – pending the results an arrest warrant may be issued, if an arrest warrant is issued then the question of detention or release on bail begins
  3. Bail – your attorney can move on your behalf to have a bail set with conditions to avoid detention.
  4. Pre-Trial Motions – these are initial appearances, arraignments, and motions for preliminary examinations
  5. Discovery – information is exchanged between both sides
  6. Pre-Trial Hearings – these are the stages where offers/negotiations/deals are exchanged between both sides in an attempt to resolve the case without the need for a trial
  7. Trial – is the actual empaneling of a jury to hear the case.
  8. Post-Trial Motions/Appeals – it is important to note that this section is more fully covered here, however for this brief purpose let us say that if the Defendant wins, i.e. a Verdict of Not Guilty is entered, the case by and large is over. However, if the State wins, i.e. a Verdict of Guilty is entered, the case is far from over and the Defendant has many tools available to them to challenge that ruling.

Outside of this very broad overview, the two systems vary greatly. You will need a trial attorney with experience in dealing with the Federal system. Usually in Federal cases the Pre-Trial Hearing stage is vastly different than in State court and an inexperienced defense attorney can mistakenly place their client in a much worse position by trying to force a case into trial.

However, the greatest difference lies in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. A highly convoluted and complicated guideline that often times ties the hands of prosecutors and judges in issuing the fairest sentence. You will need a detail-oriented attorney who can navigate those complex waters to give you the best result possible.

Our Firm consists of talented attorneys and paralegals with experience filing documents into the Federal system along with attorneys who have worked for Federal judges and then the Federal Criminal System from the inside. Mr. Sudduth has not only clerked for Federal judges but tried numerous cases in the Federal system. That experience coupled with his experience as a former State prosecutor makes him an invaluable asset to have in your corner.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Homicide & Violent Crimes

HOMICIDE

  1. First Degree Murder (La. R.S. 14:30)
    1. Different from second-degree murder a first-degree murder occurs when the offender has a specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm and when the offender is engaged in any number of specifically enumerated felonies.
    2. There are perhaps two key differences between first and second degree murder:
      1. In first degree murder the death penalty is possible
      2. In first degree murder the specific motivations/intentions or even the specific victim can enhance an otherwise second-degree murder case into first-degree murder.
    3. PENALTY: death or life in prison without parole 
  1. Second Degree Murder (La. R.S. 14:30.1)
    1. Is the killing of a human being:
      1. When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm; or
      2. When the offender is engaged in any number of specifically enumerated felonies even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.
    2. PENALTY: life in prison without parole
  • Manslaughter (La R.S. 14:31)
    1. A homicide which would otherwise be first or second degree murder but is committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection, or
    2. A homicide committed, without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
    3. PENALTY: Not more than 40 years at hard labor.
  1. Negligent Homicide (La. R.S. 14:32)
    1. Negligent homicide is the killing of a human being either through criminal negligence or by a dog or other animal when the owner is reckless and criminally negligent in confining or restraining the dog or other animal.
    2. PENALTY: At hard labor for not more than 5 years, fined not more than 5,000 dollars or both.
  2. Vehicular Homicide (La. R.S. 14:32.1)
    1. Vehicular homicide in general is the killing of a human being caused by the offender operating a vehicle, boat, plane, etc…regardless of the intent of the offender, if the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    2. PENALTY: shall be fined not less than two thousand dollars (2,000.00) nor more than fifteen thousand dollars (15,000.00) and shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than five years (5) nor more than thirty years (30).

NOTE: This crime can tie closely together with DWI crimes or even boating accidents. Even terrible accidents can face stiff penalties if the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

These are the some main categories of homicides that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with a homicide of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

ROBBERY

  1. Armed Robbery (La. R.S. 14:64)
    1. Armed robbery is the taking of anything of value belonging to another from the person of another or that is in the immediate control of another, by use of force or intimidation, while armed with a dangerous weapon.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of armed robbery shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than ten (10) years and for not more than ninety-nine (99) years, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
  2. First Degree Robbery (La. R.S. 14:64.1)
    1. First-degree robbery is the taking of anything of value belonging to another from the person of another, or that is in the immediate control of another, by use of force or intimidation, when the offender leads the victim to reasonably believe he is armed with a dangerous weapon.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of first-degree robbery shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than three (3) years and for not more than forty (40) years, without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of imposition or execution of sentence.
  • Armed Robbery with a Firearm (La. R.S. 14:64.3)
    1. Though this is a separate statute, which creates the allusion of it being an entirely separate crime – it is not. This is really more accurately viewed as an enhancement provision.
    2. A dangerous weapon, which you have seen referred to throughout this robbery section can be anything. A regular writing pen, if used in a certain manner, can be classified as a dangerous weapon under these statutes.
    3. Therefore, when the dangerous weapon used is a firearm there is an additional five (5) years added to any sentence imposed for armed robbery or attempted armed robbery.
  1. Second Degree Robbery (La. R.S. 14:64.4)
    1. Second-degree robbery is the taking of anything of value belonging to another from the person of another or that is in the immediate control of another when the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of second-degree robbery shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than three (3) years and for not more than forty years (40).
  2. Simple Robbery (La. R.S. 14:65)
    1. Simple robbery is the taking of anything of value belonging to another, from the person of another or that is in the immediate control of another, by use of force or intimidation, but not armed with a dangerous weapon.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of simple robbery shall be fined not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000.00), imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than seven (7) years, or both.

NOTE: Throughout these statutes you will see the words “anything of value.” Many people confuse robbery and think that money must be taken in order to be guilty of robbery. This is NOT the case. Anything of value, which is incredibly broad, which if taken in a way described within these various statutes will lead to that act being defined as robbery.

These are some of the main categories of robberies that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with a robbery of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

KIDNAPPING

  1. Aggravated Kidnapping (La. R.S. 14:44)
    1. Aggravated kidnapping is the doing of any of the following, with the intent to force the victim, or any other person, to give up anything of value:
      1. The seizing and taking of a person, by force, from one place to another
      2. The enticing or persuading of any person from one place to another
  • The imprisoning of any person
  1. PENALTY: life imprisonment at hard labor without parole
  1. Second Degree Kidnapping (La. R.S. 14:44.1)
    1. Second degree kidnapping is the doing of any of the acts listed under Aggravated Kidnapping, where the victim is:
      1. Used as a shield or hostage;
      2. Used to assist in the commission of a felony or the flight after an attempt to commit or the commission of a felony;
  • Physically injured or sexually abused;
  1. Imprisoned or kidnapped for seventy-two or more hours, except as specifically discussed elsewhere;
  2. Imprisoned or kidnapped when the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon or leads the victim to reasonably believe he is armed with a dangerous weapon.
  1. PENALTY: imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five (5) nor more than forty years (40). At least two years of the sentence imposed shall be without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
  • Aggravated Kidnapping of a Child (La. R.S. 14:44.2)
    1. This is the unauthorized taking, enticing, or decoying of a child under 13 years old by someone who is not a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of child – with the intent to take that child away from their parents or legal guardian.
    2. PENALTY: Imprisoned for life at hard labor without benefit of parole
  1. Simple Kidnapping (La. R.S. 14:45)
    1. Simple kidnapping is:
      1. The intentional and forcible seizing and carrying of any person from one place to another without his consent.
      2. The intentional taking, enticing or decoying away, for an unlawful purpose, of any child not his own and under the age of fourteen years, without the consent of its parent or the person charged with its custody.
  • The intentional taking, enticing or decoying away, without the consent of the proper authority, of any person who has been lawfully committed to any institution for orphans, persons with mental illness, persons with intellectual disabilities, or other similar institution.
  1. The intentional taking, enticing or decoying away and removing from the state, by any parent of his or her child, from the custody of any person to whom custody has been awarded by any court of competent jurisdiction of any state, without the consent of the legal custodian, with intent to defeat the jurisdiction of the said court over the custody of the child.
  2. The taking, enticing or decoying away and removing from the state, by any person, other than the parent, of a child temporarily placed in his custody by any court of competent jurisdiction in the state, with intent to defeat the jurisdiction of said court over the custody of the child.
  1. PENALTY: Fined not more than $5,000.00 dollars imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five (5) years or both.

These are the some main categories of kidnapping that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with kidnapping of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

Sexually Based Offenses

Rape, and in general, all sexually based offenses are incredibly difficult topics. Not simply because they are uncomfortable to speak about but because there is nothing more intimate and personal than the sexual relations between individuals. Sexually based offenses are considered by law enforcement to be some of the most heinous in the entire criminal justice system.

However, once an allegation is made this intimately personal matter becomes public knowledge and subject to intense public scrutiny. Simply an allegation of improper sexual conduct can be devastating to the career, reputation, and future for the defendant. However, as a society we must also recognize how difficult it is on the victim to come forward and speak knowing the scrutiny they will likely face.

The purpose of this section is to provide a brief overview of the various rape offenses and the associated penalties. Remember, that none of this is to replace a legal consultation but to provide an overview of this area of law for the non-lawyer reader:

  1. Rape (La. R.S. 14:41)
    1. Rape is the act of anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse with a male or female person committed without the person’s lawful consent. Emission is not necessary, and any sexual penetration, when the rape involves vaginal or anal intercourse, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.
    2. This is the legal definition – as you can see the issue in any rape case centers on the idea of consent.
  2. First Degree Rape (La. R.S. 14: 42)
    1. First degree rape is a rape committed upon a person sixty-five years of age or older or where the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
      1. When the victim resists the act to the utmost, but whose resistance is overcome by force.
      2. When the victim is prevented from resisting the act by threats of great and immediate bodily harm, accompanied by apparent power of execution.
  • When the victim is prevented from resisting the act because the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon.
  1. When the victim is under the age of thirteen years. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age shall not be a defense.
  2. When two or more offenders participated in the act.
  3. When the victim is prevented from resisting the act because the victim suffers from a physical or mental infirmity preventing such resistance.
  1. PENALTY: Life in prison with no possibility of parole.

NOTE: physical infirmity is referring to a quadriplegic or paraplegic; whereas, mental infirmity is referring to someone with an intelligent quotient (IQ) of seventy (70) or lower. So that is not referring to physical or mental inability due to impairment from alcohol or drugs.

  • Second Degree Rape (La. R.S. 14:42.1)
    1. Second Degree Rape is the same act(s) as in the First Degree statute, the difference now becomes the reason that the victim does not/cannot consent:
      1. When the victim is prevented from resisting the act by force or threats of physical violence under circumstances where the victim reasonably believes that such resistance would not prevent the rape.
      2. When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of stupor or abnormal condition of the mind produced by a narcotic or anesthetic agent or other controlled dangerous substance administered by the offender and without the knowledge of the victim.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of second degree rape shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five (5) nor more than forty (40) years. At least two (2) years of the sentence imposed shall be without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
  1. Third Degree Rape (La. R.S. 14:43) (Before August 1, 2015 referred to as “Simple Rape”)
    1. Third Degree Rape is the same act(s) as in the First Degree statute, the difference now becomes the reason that the victim does not/can not consent:
      1. When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
      2. When the victim, through unsoundness of mind, is temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
  • When the victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim, other than the offender, and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.
  1. When the offender acts without the consent of the victim.
  1. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of third degree rape shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five (25) years. Note here that there is no minimum.

Third Degree or “Simple” rape is perhaps one of the more frequent forms of rape accusations that are leveled. The Defendant is not held to an “actual knowledge” standard rather it is a “should have known” standard. Therefore, if you have a situation where one party is too incapacitated to possibly understand and/or consent and the offender has reason to suspect that – it is always best to not go forward.

These are some of the main categories of rape that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with rape of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

Rape is an incredibly intertwined and complex area of criminal law. Often times the cases are circumstantial and depend heavily upon the credibility of the various parties. Having an experienced trial lawyer who understands how to appropriately cross-examine witnesses and make a compelling case on your behalf to a jury of your peers will be indispensable to a successful verdict.

 

SEXUAL BATTERY

The simplest explanation for sexual battery is that unlike rape where penetration of some sort is needed (no matter how slight), sexual battery involves only the touching of certain body parts without consent and without penetration. A crime traumatizing for the victim and one that carries tough penalties for the Defendant however it is deemed by the law to be somewhat less severe than rape.

  1. Sexual Battery (La. R.S. 14:43.1)
    1. Involves intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim by the offender without consent or even if there is consent if the victim is under 15 years of age and is at least three years younger than the offender.
    2. Again there are several other caveats and conditions involving age and condition of the victim – so be sure to consult with an attorney.
    3. PENALTY: No more than 10 years with or without hard labor (no mandatory minimum).
  2. Misdemeanor Sexual Battery (La. R.S. 14:43.1.1)
    1. Misdemeanor sexual battery is the intentional touching of the breasts or buttocks of the victim by the offender using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the offender, directly or through clothing, or the intentional touching of the breasts or buttocks of the offender by the victim using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the victim, directly or through clothing, when the offender acts without the consent of the victim.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of misdemeanor sexual battery shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned for not more than six months (6), or both.

NOTE: Even though a misdemeanor this offense is not eligible for an 894 to allow for an expungement. For more information, consult our expungement page here.

  • Second Degree Sexual Battery (La. R.S. 14:43.2)
    1. The actions that constitute this crime are the same as listed under Sexual Battery described above in this section, the only difference is that the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury on the victim.
    2. Serious Bodily Injury – means bodily injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.
    3. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of second degree sexual battery shall be punished by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than fifteen years (15).
  1. Oral Sexual Battery (La. R.S. 14:43.3)
    1. Oral sexual battery is the intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim by the offender using the mouth or tongue of the offender, or the touching of the anus or genitals of the offender by the victim using the mouth or tongue of the victim, when any of the following occur:
      1. The victim, who is not the spouse of the offender, is under the age of fifteen years and is at least three years younger than the offender.
      2. The offender is seventeen years of age or older and any of the following exist:
        1. The act is without the consent of the victim, and the victim is prevented from resisting the act because either of the following conditions exist:
          1. The victim has paraplegia, quadriplegia, or is otherwise physically incapable of preventing the act due to a physical disability.
          2. The victim is incapable, through unsoundness of mind, of understanding the nature of the act, and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.
  • The act is without the consent of the victim, and the victim is sixty-five years of age or older.
  1. Lack of knowledge of the victim’s age shall not be a defense.
  2. PENALTY (PART I): whoever commits the crime of oral sexual battery shall be punished by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than ten years (10).
  3. PENALTY (PART II): whoever commits the crime of oral sexual battery on a victim under the age of thirteen years when the offender is seventeen years of age or older shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not less than twenty-five years (25) nor more than ninety-nine years (99).  At least twenty-five years of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

NOTE: That when the victim is under 13, the minimum increases from 0 to 25 years and the maximum increases from 10 years to 99 years. Also notice that lack of knowledge age is NOT a defense.

These are some of the main categories of sexual battery that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with sexual battery of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

 

OFFENSES AGAINST MINORS

There are many crimes in the Criminal Code that affect minors. This portion deals with those offenses against minors that involve sexually based offenses. Parents and children should be aware of this section of the code because it criminalized sexual acts between two consenting individuals if they have not reached the age of majority.

  1. Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile (La. R.S. 14:80)
    1. Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile is committed when: a person who is seventeen years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is thirteen years of age or older but less than seventeen years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender and when the difference between the age of the victim and the age of the offender is four years or greater; or a person commits a second or subsequent offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, or a person who has been convicted one or more times of violating one or more crimes for which the offender is required to register as a sex offender under R.S. 15:542 commits a first offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
    2. Lack of knowledge of the juvenile’s age shall not be a defense.  Emission is not necessary, and penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime.
    3. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten (10) years, or both, provided that the defendant shall not be eligible to have his conviction set aside or his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.

NOTE: this crime is one that is enhanceable. Meaning if someone commits a misdemeanor carnal knowledge offense more than once they can be charged as a felon.

  1. Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile (La. R.S. 14:80.1)
    1. The same act(s) that constitute felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile apply here, the only difference is that the age gap between the victim and offender is greater than 2 years and less than 4 years.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or imprisoned for not more than six months (6), or both.
  • Indecent Behavior with Juveniles (La. R.S. 14:81)
    1. Indecent behavior with juveniles is the commission of any of the following acts with the intention of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of either person: (1) any lewd or lascivious act upon the person or in the presence of any child under the age of seventeen, where there is an age difference of greater than two years between the two persons. Lack of knowledge of the child’s age shall not be a defense; or (2) the transmission, delivery or utterance of any textual, visual, written, or oral communication depicting lewd or lascivious conduct, text, words, or images to any person reasonably believed to be under the age of seventeen and reasonably believed to be at least two years younger than the offender.  It shall not be a defense that the person who actually receives the transmission is not under the age of seventeen.
    2. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than seven years (7), or both, provided that the defendant shall not be eligible to have his conviction set aside or his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.
    3. PENALTY (PART II): whoever commits the crime of indecent behavior with juveniles on a victim under the age of thirteen when the offender is seventeen years of age or older, shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labor for not less than two nor more than twenty-five years.  At least two years of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

NOTE: when the age of the victim drops below thirteen (13) the penalties increase dramatically. From a minimum of 0 increased to 2 years and a maximum of 7 increased to 25 years and the ability to have the conviction set aside under Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893 is lost.

These are some of the main categories of the offenses against minors that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with offenses against minors of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

 

INTERNET CRIMES AND PROSTITUTION

As we mentioned in the section above, the crimes we detailed in the section “Offenses Against Minors” are not the only ones in the Code. We felt it more appropriate to move even those crimes that affect minors into a larger section that deals with Internet/Computer Based Crimes. In the 21st century our human interaction is increasingly more virtual and therefore our criminal activity is more virtual. The Louisiana legislature has been slow to respond, however there are a few noteworthy statutes to mention.

From a constitutional standpoint, we must say that many of these internet and computer based statutes are frighteningly vague and broad in their scope and effect which in turns affects more conduct that would otherwise not be criminal. Many of these statutes do not even have an intent element, otherwise known as mens rea, so this requires an especially talented attorney to defend you from these accusations. Some of these crimes are detailed below

  1. Pornography Involving Juveniles (La. R.S. 14:81.1)
    1. It shall be unlawful for a person to produce, promote, advertise, distribute, possess, or possess with the intent to distribute pornography involving juveniles.
      1. The statute is incredibly lengthy and this is an exceedingly simple explanation therefore it is imperative to consult an attorney for assistance.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever intentionally possesses pornography involving juveniles shall be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) and shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five years (5) or more than twenty years (20), without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
    3. NOTE: This is an enhanceable crime (meaning the more times committed the worse the penalties get and of course for Defendants that are distributing pornographic materials the penalties increase).
  1. “Sexting” (La. R.S. 14:81.1.1)
    1. No person under the age of seventeen years shall knowingly and voluntarily use a computer or telecommunication device to transmit an indecent visual depiction of himself to another person.
    2. No person under the age of seventeen years shall knowingly possess or transmit an indecent visual depiction that was transmitted by another under the age of seventeen years in violation of the provisions of Paragraph (a) of this Subsection.
      1. An increasingly common and easy to commit crime – with the advent of various social media sites like Snapchat and Tinder for example.
    3. PENALTY: For a first offense, the offender shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), imprisoned for not more than ten days (10), or both. Imposition or execution of the sentence shall not be suspended unless the offender is placed on probation with a minimum condition that he perform two eight-hour days of court-approved community service.
    4. NOTE: This is an enhanceable crime meaning the more times committed the worse the penalties get.
  • Computer Aided Solicitation of a Minor (La. R.S. 14:81.3)
    1. Computer-aided solicitation of a minor is committed when a person seventeen years of age or older knowingly contacts or communicates, through the use of electronic textual communication, with a person who has not yet attained the age of seventeen where there is an age difference of greater than two years, or a person reasonably believed to have not yet attained the age of seventeen and reasonably believed to be at least two years younger, for the purpose of or with the intent to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the person to engage or participate in sexual conduct or a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B), or with the intent to engage or participate in sexual conduct in the presence of the person who has not yet attained the age of seventeen, or person reasonably believed to have not yet attained the age of seventeen.
    2. PENALTIES: The penalties vary greatly depending on the age of the victim, the age of the offender, and the relative gap or difference between the two.
  1. Unlawful use of a Social Networking Website (La. R.S. 14:91.5)
    1. The following shall constitute unlawful use of a social networking website: (1)  The intentional use of a social networking website by a person who is required to register as a sex offender and who was convicted of R.S. 14:81 (indecent behavior with juveniles), R.S. 14:81.1 (pornography involving juveniles), R.S. 14:81.3 (computer-aided solicitation of a minor), or R.S. 14:283 (video voyeurism) or was convicted of a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 in which the victim of the sex offense was a minor. The provisions of this Section shall also apply to any person convicted for an offense under the laws of another state, or military, territorial, foreign, tribal, or federal law which is equivalent to the offenses provided above.
    2. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of unlawful use of a social networking website shall, upon a first conviction, be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) and shall be imprisoned with hard labor for not more than ten years (10) without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
    3. NOTE: this is an enhanceable crime meaning the more times committed the worse the penalties get. Also, quite alarmingly this crime requires no intent. Simply being a sex offender and being on any social media site, regardless of your intent is enough to be found guilty. Usually a statute will require someone to have a malicious intent, however the scope of this particular statute is incredibly broad.

 

In Louisiana it is not simply prostitution that is criminalized but even further the soliciting for it, inciting and/or promoting it and of course human trafficking.

 

  1. Prostitution (Definition) (La. R.S. 14:82)
    1. Prostitution is (1) the practice by a person of indiscriminate sexual intercourse with others for compensation, (2) The solicitation by one person of another with the intent to engage in indiscriminate sexual intercourse with the latter for compensation.
    2. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of prostitution shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or be imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.
    3. NOTE: this is an enhanceable crime meaning the more times committed the worse the penalties get.

 

  1. Commercial Sexual Activity (Trafficking) (La. R.S. 14:82.2)
    1. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly give, agree to give, or offer to give anything of value to another in order to engage in sexual intercourse with a person who receives or agrees to receive anything of value as compensation for such activity.
    2. PENALTY: whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or be imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.
    3. PENALTY (as it relates to trafficking): whoever violates the provisions of this Section with a person the offender knows to be under the age of eighteen years, or with a person the offender knows to be a victim of human trafficking as defined by R.S. 14:46.2 or trafficking of children for sexual purposes as defined by R.S. 14:46.3, shall be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00), imprisoned at hard labor for not less than fifteen years (15) nor more than fifty years (50), or both.
    4. NOTE: this is an enhanceable crime meaning the more times committed the worse the penalties get.
  • Solicitation, Inciting, & Promoting (La. R.S. 14:83, 83.1, 83.2, 85, 86)
    1. Soliciting for prostitutes is the soliciting, inviting, inducing, directing, or transporting a person to any place with the intention of promoting prostitution.
    2. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of soliciting for prostitutes shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.
    3. Inciting prostitution is the aiding, abetting, or assisting in an enterprise for profit in which: (1) customers are charged a fee for services which include prostitution, regardless of what portion of the fee is actually for the prostitution services, (2)  when the person knows or when a reasonable person in such a position should know that such aiding, abetting, or assisting is for prostitution, and (3) when the proceeds or profits are to be in any way divided by the prostitute and the person aiding, abetting, or assisting the prostitute.
    4. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of inciting prostitution shall be fined not more than one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both.
    5. Promoting prostitution is the knowing and willful control of, supervision of, or management of an enterprise for profit in which customers are charged a fee for services which include prostitution, regardless of what portion of the fee is actually for the prostitution services.
    6. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of promoting prostitution shall be fined not more than five thousand ($5,000.00) dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two (2) years, or both.
    7. Letting premises for prostitution is the granting of the right of use or the leasing of any premises, knowing that they are to be used for the practice of prostitution, or allowing the continued use of the premises with such knowledge.
    8. PENALTY: Whoever commits the crime of letting premises for prostitution shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.
    9. Enticing persons into prostitution is committed when any person over the age of seventeen entices, places, persuades, encourages, or causes the entrance of any other person under the age of twenty-one into the practice of prostitution, either by force, threats, promises, or by any other device or scheme.  Lack of knowledge of the other person’s age shall not be a defense.
    10. PENALTY: whoever commits the crime of enticing persons into prostitution shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than two (2) years nor more than ten (10) years.

NOTE: most of these prostitution related charges involve substantially higher penalties when the person involved is under 18 years of age.

These are some of the main categories of prostitution and internet crimes that we frequently see, however please remember that this is a VERY broad overview and you should still seek legal counsel if charged with prostitution or internet crimes of any kind because there are many caveats, exceptions, and defenses that are available that are not discussed here.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Traffic Violations & CDL Issues

Traffic violations: we’ve all had our fair share of experiences with them. You know what we mean. Driving down the interstate, with two minutes to get to work and you’re ten minutes away. What do you do? Speed, right? Then all of a sudden, in your rearview mirror you see the red and blue lights–a cop. Now, not only will you be extra late to work, you’ll probably be forced to pay fines for speeding and your insurance premium may go up. Traffic violations are the thorn in the side of a commuter, but they’re a necessary evil to ensure that all drivers arrive at their destination safely. However, even though traffic violations such as speeding, seat belt requirements, reckless driving, or driving without a valid driver’s license may seem harmless and easy to take care of, they can come with harsh consequences whether you are a daily commuter trying to get to work on time or are employed as a truck driver for a company.

Drivers who are required to carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL) because of their job are expected to have a clean driving record. In 1986, Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which compelled drivers driving buses or semi-trucks to pass standard testing and kept unqualified or irresponsible drivers off the road. Due to these safety restrictions that have been imposed on drivers, employees who have a CDL and drive irresponsibly, risk the chance of losing not only their commercial driver’s license or their hard-earned money, but they also risk losing their job.

If you have a traffic violation that you would like assistance on, seeking the help of an experienced attorney, who has proven results when dealing with all traffic crimes or CDL (commercial driver’s license) issues, could drastically increase your probability of better results.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

White Collar Crime

White collar crimes are often referred to as some of the most meticulous and difficult cases to analyze due, in large part, to the influx of information that is present, experts that are needed, and mathematic and financial information that can be confusing. If an alleged offender is found guilty of a white collar crime, they could be facing serious jail time and fines. Some of the typical charges that fall under the scope of white collar crimes are:

  1. Money Laundering
  2. Fraud (Corporate, Loan, Mortgage, Bank, Health Care)
  3. Embezzlement
  4. Corruption
  5. Conspiracy
  6. Bribery
  7. Antitrust Violations

Mr. Sudduth entered the legal profession with a financial background and is proud to offer this service to his clients. Very few criminal defense firms want or have the skill to handle white collar crime cases because of their financial nature and complexity. At Sudduth & Associates, we are not only happy to take the cases, but we thrive in defending them. Regardless of your status or job title, protecting your reputation is essential and discretion is paramount; therefore, you need a firm that is willing to protect you every step of the way.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Your Name

(required)

Your Email

(required)

Subject

Your Message

Human Test

http://saa.legal/wp-content/themes/saa/css/fonts/svg/basic_paperplane.svg

Client Intake Form

Useful Links

About   |   Our Team   |   Testimonials

If you are unsure what to put or whether a question applies to your situation, you may leave it blank.