(844) 815-9632

fleeing from justice

SXSW Crash Kills 2; Alleged Drunken Driver Arrested

An alleged drunken driving crash at SXSW claimed two lives and injured about two dozen people after a car barreled into a crowd Thursday morning. Austin, Texas, Police Chief Art Acevedo told CNN that an unnamed male suspect is in custody facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle for plowing into the crowd at the South by Southwest festival. What will prosecutors have to prove in order to convict, and what legal options may be available for victims of the crash? Driver Faces Serious Criminal Charges The driver responsible for killing two and putting at least 23 in the hospital was allegedly intoxicated and fleeing police when he collided with the SXSW crowd. According to CNN, the two persons who were killed in the crash were riding their light motorcycles (read: scooters) when the allegedly drunken driver hit them. Under Texas law, causing the death of a person while committing a felony is first degree murder. Since the unnamed driver is also alleged to have caused the death of the two SXSW attendees, he could potentially face the death penalty. In addition to the threat of capital punishment, the man accused of injuring at least 23 people is facing 23 corresponding aggravated assault charges. Aggravated assault is applied when there are serious bodily injuries, and CNN reports that some of the injured are in critical condition. Even without the two capital murder charges, the allegedly drunken driver could be facing anywhere from 46 to 460 years in prison. Civil Lawsuits Possible The criminal charges facing the driver aren't the only way his victims will find justice -- he can also face lawsuits in civil court. The families and loved ones of the two persons killed in the SXSW crash can certainly file wrongful death charges against the man alleged to have run over the two. The 23 survivors (and any others injured by the crash) can potentially sue the drunken driver for battery, and can hope to collect damages for any medical bills or associated costs stemming from their injuries. These civil suits will likely be put on hold until the suspect's criminal charges have been resolved. If he is convicted for the assaults and murders, then the victims should easily obtain a civil judgment against him. Given the extent of the injuries and damages, however, it is unclear whether the suspected killer will have the money to pay for these judgments. Related Resources: 2 dead after car crashes into SXSW crowd (The Austin American-Statesman) In Car v. Bike Crashes, Why Are Charges So Rare? (FindLaw's Blotter) Mars Heiress Charged in Fatal Crash (FindLaw's Blotter) Dad Gets 90 Years for DUI Crash; 5 Kids Killed (FindLaw's Blotter)
continue reading

Toddler Heroin Case Lands N.J. Dad in Jail

Police arrested the father of a toddler after daycare providers discovered 48 packets of heroin in his 2-year-old son's jacket. Phillip Young, 27, of New Jersey, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child. What's in store for him as his case proceeds? Endangering Welfare of a Child In New Jersey, a parent can face child endangerment charges for causing harm to a child in a manner that, in turn, causes the child to be abused or neglected. There are several degrees to the charge. It can encompass behavior spanning from leaving children in cold cars to more willful and extreme actions such as emotionally and physically torturing children. To be convicted, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the parent knew such conduct would make the child abused or neglected. In this case, the father likely knew he was harming his child if he did in fact place heroin in his son's pocket. Considering the child is only 2 years old, there was a very real danger of him ingesting the narcotic. Fortunately, there was no indication the toddler was aware the drugs were in his pocket, New York Daily News reports. Although the child was unscathed, it's pretty safe to say that the father's alleged actions would fit within the state's broad definition of child endangerment. Such charges may also trigger a child welfare investigation. Thus far, it's unclear whether that's happening in this case. Bail Set at $85K Young is being held on $85,000 bail, the Daily News reports. Bail is a process through which an arrested criminal suspect pays a set amount of money to obtain release from police custody, usually after booking. To post bail, Young or someone on his behalf, called a surety, must make the payment to the court. The court will then issue a document or a court order explaining the conditions of his release. If Young fails to show up to court after posting bail, he could face a fine, imprisonment, or both. It would be tacked on consecutively to any other criminal sentence. Related Resources: Toddler: Heroin stuffed in boy's jacket (Reuters) Another Tanning Mom Charged With Child Endangerment (FindLaw's Blotter) Dad Left Baby in Car to Go Gambling (FindLaw's Blotter) 'Hot Sauce Mom' Convicted of Child Abuse in AK (FindLaw's Blotter)
continue reading

Fleeing From Justice: What Can Happen?

Fleeing from justice is an overall bad idea. Not only will you be considered a fugitive, but there are no legal benefits for trying to escape criminal prosecution. Of course, that hasn't stopped criminals from trying to hide from law enforcement. But even some of the most notorious fugitives like mob boss Whitey Bulger eventually get caught. Same with lesser-known folks who try to get away with things like being a deadbeat parent. So while each situation is different, here are a few examples of what can happen to criminals who try to flee from justice: The statute of limitations for the crime won't apply. For federal crimes, the statute of limitations for the crime committed doesn't run out just because the criminal is on the run. For example, if the statute of limitations for a crime is five years, but the criminal intentionally hides out in another country for 10 years to avoid prosecution, he can still be prosecuted for the crime if he's caught even though the five-year limitations period has passed. A warrant will be issued for your arrest. If a criminal has an upcoming court date but doesn't show up, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest because he's in contempt of court. For fugitives who flee from one state to another to avoid arrest, a fugitive from justice warrant will be issued in one jurisdiction for someone who's a fugitive in another jurisdiction. Your mugshot may make you (in)famous. Criminals attempting to escape the law are not only facing legal problems, but could also face reputational issues. Law enforcement frequently shares mugshots of wanted criminals on its social media pages and with the media, so everyone will know you're fleeing from justice. Bounty hunters can potentially track you down. Bounty hunters are authorized by the law to track down criminal defendants who skip out on their bail and fail to appear for their court dates. Bounty hunters have a monetary incentive to track down criminals on the run, so even if law enforcement officers don't catch you, a bounty hunter might. You may face extradition. Criminals who flee to another state or country can face extradition back to the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. For criminals who've fled to other states, the state seeking extradition must file the proper documents, show that you've been charged with a crime in that state, and show that you're a fugitive. This means that you intentionally went to another jurisdiction to avoid getting caught. If you need more help understanding how the law applies to criminals fleeing from justice, consult a criminal defense attorney in your area. Related Resources: Fugitive sought since 1977 found in California (MSN News) Fleeing Police by Car is a Violent Felony (FindLaw's Blotter) Joran Van Der Sloot's U.S. Extradition Set for 2038 (FindLaw's Blotter) 5 Countries With No U.S. Extradition Treaty (FindLaw's Blotter)
continue reading