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Iowa City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Filing a motion for a judgment of acquittal

When you are facing a criminal charge, the top priority on your list is figuring out how to clear your name. This means taking the time to understand what defense options are available to you. While it is ideal to have the charges dismissed and not have to go to trial, this may not be an option for all defendants. Thus, exploring ways to reduce the charges or even obtain an acquittal is imperative.

Most defendants think of criminal defense strategies as mechanisms to have the charges against them dropped or reduced. If litigation proceeds, there are ways to avoid criminal penalties by filing a motion for a judgment of acquittal. A defendant could enter this motion after the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence in the case.

Helping you strategize a criminal defense

Facing criminal allegations is anything but easy. No matter if this is your first run in with the law or not, criminal charges, no matter their severity, can significantly impact the life of the accused. Because of this, it is imperative to understand what criminal defense options are available and how asserting a defense could help a defendant protect his or her personal or professional life.

Criminal defense methods are unique in the sense that they don't work in all situations. By looking at the charges, the evidence collected and the defendant's criminal history, a defendant may only have a few options or a multitude of defense routes.

A review of the elements of an assault charge

Most of the actions that the state of Iowa and the federal government have criminalized require more than just action in order constitute a criminal charge. For example, a person is generally not considered guilty of theft if they legitimately take something that they think is theirs but that is actually the property of another person. This instance is one of mistake, not criminality, mainly because the individual did not have the requisite mindset to commit the alleged crime.

The same is true when it comes to a charge of assault. An assault does not necessarily involve physical conduct between an alleged perpetrator and an alleged victim. An alleged perpetrator must first make an action or threat against the alleged victim that was meant to cause that alleged victim to experience fear; next, the alleged victim must actually experience apprehension or fear as a result of the actor's conduct or threat.

Don't let a drunk driving charge derail your New Year

During the holiday season law enforcement officials throughout Iowa are on the lookout for men and women who may be driving their vehicles while intoxicated. Between holiday get-togethers with loved ones and nights out with friends and co-workers individuals can find themselves in the difficult situation of needing to get home but having had an alcoholic drink.

When a law enforcement official arrests a person based on the suspicion of drunk driving they believe that they have sufficient proof of the driver's intoxication to make the arrest and turn it over to a prosecutor to have the charges proven under the law. However, it is possible for law enforcement officials to make mistakes and to make erroneous arrests based either on wrong information or evidence that was not properly collected under the law.

What are the penalties for a conviction based on heroin sales?

The state of Iowa seriously penalizes individuals who are alleged to have sold heroin within the state. The sale of heroin is a felony and depending upon how much of the substance the individual is alleged to have sold and to whom the drug was sold the person charged can face significant fines and periods of incarceration. This post will generally discuss the penalties for convictions based on the sale of heroin; specific questions regarding this and other drug crimes should be discussed with personal criminal defense lawyers.

A person convicted of selling less than 100 grams of heroin may be hit with a fine of up to $50,000. A conviction based on heroin sale of 100 grams of the drug to 1 kilogram of the drug may result in a fine of up to $100,000. Sales of heroin in excess of 1 kilogram are considered Class B felonies and may result in fines of up to $1,000,000 and up to 50 years of incarceration.

Murder defenses exist when premeditation is not involved

There are different felony charges that fall under the general crime of murder. For example, when an Iowan is charged with planning a person's killing and then executing the alleged crime, they may be charged with first degree murder. If the individual is charged with intentionally killing someone but not with having premeditated the crime, their charge may be second degree murder.

Second degree murder charges are very serious but individuals who must confront these difficult allegations do have defense options that may help them protect their rights and freedom. This post will discuss several second degree murder defenses but as with all of the information articles included on this criminal defense blog, the contents contained herein should not be read as legal advice.

Is marijuana legal in Iowa?

In the last several years states all across the nation have taken affirmative steps to legalize the possession of marijuana in some limited capacities. While some states allow for the medicinal use of the substance for individuals who may benefit from it as a treatment, others have approved the recreational use of marijuana in limited quantities. Iowa has taken neither of these steps and has on its books only a very narrow permissible use of a marijuana derivative.

Cannabidiol is an extract that is taken from the marijuana plant. The state has approved the use of cannabidiol in patients who suffer from intractable epilepsy but not for anyone else. If a person with intractable epilepsy is found to be in possession of cannabidiol they may still be arrested for possession.

Allegations of identity theft can become felony charges

Many Iowa City residents use their computers, smart phones and other web-connected devices to complete a number of important tasks. They may chat with friends through video streaming or texting, communicate with their doctors, keep up with the news and do work through online conferencing and emails.

From time to time, individuals share information online that is sensitive to their security. For example, a person's Social Security Number can be used to apply for credit or other financial obligations. If it falls into the wrong person's hands, it could be used to obtain financial benefits, like loans.

A violent crime charge can be a life-altering legal dilemma

Violent crimes are generally those criminal allegations that involve force against others and that result in bodily injury to the alleged victims. Murder, rape and assault all may be considered violent crimes and when an Iowa City resident is charged with one of these or other serious criminal allegations the lives that they know may be immediately altered. Depending upon the severity of their alleged crime a person may be taken into custody and not permitted release prior to their trial.

As such the mere claims of violence against a person by their accuser may change the course of a person's life. If they are unable to make bail or are unable to receive a bail amount they could lose their freedom even before they have been convicted of their alleged crimes. From the beginning of a serious criminal legal matter it can help for a person to have legal representation that will fight for their rights.

What are the elements of a murder charge in Iowa?

When a person dies because of another's conduct, it is not common for those people to face criminal charges. Here, a person who is suspected of causing another person to lose their life may face manslaughter or murder charges. Each charge has different elemental requirements. This post will examine the most serious of these charges: first degree murder.

There are six circumstances where a person may face first degree murder chargers. The first is if the death was caused by the alleged perpetrator's willful and deliberate action and if the action was premeditated. A planned murder is likely first degree murder.

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J. Dean Keegan and Thomas D. Farnsworth, Attorneys at Law
425 2nd Street South East
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406

Cedar Rapids Criminal Law Office

J. Dean Keegan and Thomas D. Farnsworth, Attorneys at Law
103 East College Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Iowa City Criminal Law Office

J Dean Keegan Thomas DS Farnsworth Keegan Legal

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