FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

FindLaw Blotter - Crime Blog - Crime News - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog


No one (or at least anyone in their right mind) goes around looking for a fight.

But sometimes, whether you're looking for it a not, a physical confrontation may find you. If you find yourself the victim of an assault, what can you do to defend yourself without also potentially being charged with a crime?

Is it legal to fight back if someone punches you first?

Drunken driving suspects don't always argue "I wasn't drunk" or "I wasn't driving." Sometimes, they get a little more creative with their DUI defense theory.

Of course, the more creative the theory, the less likely it is to work. But hey, everybody needs a Hail Mary once in a while. And if a DUI is likely to impact your career (as it may for police officers and truck drivers, for example) one of these long-shot defenses might be worth trying.

Of course, defense strategy is something that you should discuss with your attorney, and if you're desperate enough to try one of these, you need an attorney, so consider this helpful information -- not legal advice. Here they are, from plausible to utterly nuts:

An Indiana man arrested last week and charged with the murder of a 19-year-old woman made his first appearance in court today after leading police to the bodies of six more women he is believed to have killed.

Despite his earlier cooperation with police, suspect Darren Vann, 43, was silent during his first court appearance, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Vann's refusal to answer questions posed by the judge caused the judge to postpone the hearing for a week; she also warned Vann that he may be held in contempt if he continued to stonewall.

If you've been charged with a crime, it should go without saying that showing up for your court appearances is important.

Even if the crime you are accused of committing is something as minor as a traffic offense, if you agree to appear in court and fail to show up, you may find yourself facing additional penalties. In cases where the charges are more serious, the consequences for failing to appear will likely be even more severe.

What can happen when a criminal defendant fails to appears in court? Here are a few of the potential consequences:

Ah, autumn. That time of year when leaves change, pumpkin-flavored foods proliferate, and college students become unruly. As you may have heard (and seen), Keene State College in New Hampshire was the site of injuries and arrests this weekend, when students attending various off-campus parties celebrating the annual pumpkin festival started throwing things, leading to tear gas and arrests.

College sometimes feels like a whole different universe than the rest of the world, but are the laws any different? What happens when you get arrested in college?

Here's what inquiring students need to know:

Police in Denver are warning parents about the potential for trick-or-treaters to get tricked into consuming pot-laced candy this Halloween.

With the passage of Colorado's marijuana legalization law, the state's marijuana dispensaries have begun selling pot-infused candy that often times looks nearly identical to regular candy, reports ABC News. Edibles such as marijuana-infused candies account for as much as 30 percent of sales at some of Colorado's legal dispensaries.

Now police are trying to get the word out to parents about the potential for children to be exposed to marijuana by inadvertently eating these marijuana-laced treats.

A Florida mom has been charged as a principal to attempted murder after allegedly driving her gang member son to go shoot someone.

Sondra Conegia, 54, the mother of attempted murder suspect Lewis Hawkins, 32, is alleged to have driven her son to the intended victim's girlfriend's apartment where Hawkins fired "four shots at him from a 9 mm gun," reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Hawkins then reportedly got back in Conegia's car and they left the scene.

No one was killed or injured in the shooting, and Hawkins has not yet been caught. So why is his mom still on the hook for attempted murder?

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a nightmare scenario for many drivers, but you may be able to legally refuse to perform one.

Refusing Breathalyzers and blood tests will likely result in the automatic suspension of your license, but the same may not be true for FSTs. There may be other practical and legal consequences for refusing to try to balance along the side of the road, but it may a driver's best legal option.

So can drivers legally refuse a field sobriety test?

Five Ohio teenagers accused of playing an Ice Bucket Challenge prank on an autistic classmate are facing criminal charges.

Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio charged the teens -- all juveniles, ranging in ages from 14 to 16 -- with disorderly conduct. In addition, three of the teens are charged with misdemeanor assault, reports the The Plain Dealer. The charges stem from an incident earlier this year in which the teens dumped a bucket of filled with urine, tobacco, and spit on an autistic classmate who thought he was taking part in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.

What are the details of this case, and how are juvenile criminal cases different from crimes involving adults?

The Department of Justice will no longer ask defendants who accept a plea deal to waive their rights to appeal their case based on bad advice given by their defense attorneys.

This is a bit of a departure from plea bargain tactics employed by federal prosecutors, which sometimes involve requiring an appeal waiver for any sort of plea deal. According to The Associated Press, this might not be that big a change, as only 35 of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices request that defendants pleading guilty give up their right to sue over ineffective counsel.

What does this change in DOJ policy mean for criminal defendants in federal court?