What is an Aggravated Battery Charge in Louisiana

The terms used in the criminal justice system, not only in Louisiana but across the country, are not easily discernible for laypeople. The lack of clarity is especially true when it comes to the charge of aggravated battery. So, what’s an aggravated battery?

Aggravated battery is a felony criminal charge for the intentional unauthorized use of force against another person’s body with a dangerous weapon.

Many people charged with aggravated battery may have a viable defense. To be found guilty of aggravated battery, the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Elements of an aggravated battery

In Louisiana, aggravated battery is defined as a battery committed in conjunction with special circumstances, such as a dangerous weapon. So to understand an aggravated battery, it’s essential to understand the criminal charge of a battery. LA Code RS 14:34

A battery was committed

The first element that must be proven is that the accused a battery. A battery is the unauthorized use of force against another person’s body that results in offensive touching or actual physical injury.

A battery charge requires actual contact that was intended but not necessarily violent, but it does have to be unwanted or offensive. LA Code RS 14:33

A dangerous weapon

The dangerous weapon could be most anything that can potentially cause serious harm or death if used in a particular way. Some things are inherently dangerous such as knives and guns and even baseball bats.

But other objects may be considered dangerous when used in a particular way that isn’t as obvious. For example, driving into a person with a car or kicking someone in the head with a steel-toed boot.

If the object is not obviously a dangerous weapon, then the government will have to provide case-specific facts to show the item is a dangerous weapon when used in this case and by the accused.

Aggravated Battery Sentences

Aggravated battery is a felony in Louisiana. A person found guilty of aggravated battery shall be fined not over five thousand dollars, and/or imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both.

By statute, one year of the sentence has to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence if the victim was attacked because they were an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a disabled veteran.

Crime of Violence

By statute, aggravated assaults are classified as crimes of violence. Persons convicted for crimes of violence have to serve 85% of their sentence and are not eligible for a deferred sentence under Article 893. Click here to read more about crimes of violence.

Probation for aggravated assault

Louisiana does allow probation for a person convicted of aggravated assault. Sentencing is left to the judge, and they have the discretion, send a person to prison, suspend the sentence, or place the person on probation.

If a judge sentences a person to probation, he typically orders the defendant to comply with special conditions, such as: paying fees, perform community service work, and attend classes.

Failure to comply with the conditions of probation will likely result in revocation of probation. If a person has their probation revoked, they will likely serve the remainder of their time in prison.

Defense to Aggravated Battery charges

Wrong person

The most common argument is that they have the wrong person. You didn’t do the crime and was somewhere else at the time the offense was committed, and you have an alibi witness.

No intent

Another common defense is that you didn’t intend to touch the victim or to cause them harm. For example, if a man were swinging a bat to exhibit his batting prowess and accidentally struck his wife who was standing nearby, the defense would be that he didn’t intend to hit his wife in the head.


Consent is a defense, and if it can be shown that the victim and accused were engaged in mutual combat, it may be considered that each is equally responsible for any injuries.

For example, if two women get into a shouting match in a nail salon and agree to “take it outside” to fight, then neither woman can claim that their injuries were a result of criminal battery. They both decided to participate in the brawl.


Self-Defense can be used as a defense. The accused must show he was using reasonable force to protect himself from an attack started by the victim, and the victim’s injuries were the result of their attempt to defend themselves.

For example, if two men are in a bar and one guy starts harassing the other and then hits the man and holds him on the ground and tries to take his watch.

The man reacts by striking the thief over the head with a beer bottle, causing a gash in his head, then the man that was first attacked used reasonable self-defense and would likely not be found guilty of aggravated battery.

If you’ve been charged with the crime of Aggravated battery, contact our office to speak with an experienced criminal attorney. We have offices in Hammond and Livingston, Louisiana. Call our offices at (225) 686-8006 or visit our website to email us.

How Do You Get a Restraining Order in Louisiana?

If you or your children are the victims of violence or have been threatened with violence, you need protection. A restraining order may be the protection you need. But do you know how to get a restraining order in Louisiana?

To start the process, you need to file a petition for a restraining order with the court. There are no costs or filing fees for filing the petition. You can get a copy of the forms here.

Restraining orders provide protection and deter an offender from attempting to contact you. In Louisiana, there is a lot to know about restraining orders, but the process of applying for one is simple.

Restraining orders

A restraining order is a particular type of protective order; it is a temporary civil court order of protection. It prohibits someone from carrying out a particular action, like approaching or contacting a specific person.

They are often needed when couples separate, divorce, or are in fear for their safety. Louisiana statutes outline situations eligible for requesting restraining orders:

Types of protective orders

A restraining order, temporary restraining order, and protective order are terms often used interchangeably; however, in Louisiana, they each have a distinct legal meaning. The following is an explanation of these terms:

  • Emergency Temporary Restraining Orders: An emergency temporary restraining order is filed during an emergency and outside regular court hours. If the court grants an emergency temporary restraining order, it provides immediate protection from an abuser. You must go to court and request a temporary restraining order or a protective order on the next business day because the temporary emergency order expires.
  • Temporary Restraining Orders: You can request a temporary restraining order in conjunction with a long-term protective order. The court can issue a TRO without the abuser present; however, the abuser will be notified of the rule against him, and a date for a hearing will be set. See RS 46:2135
  • Long-term Protective Orders:  After a hearing, a court can issue a protective order that lasts up to 18 months unless otherwise stated. However, some parts of the order last indefinitely, specifically the section saying the abuser should not “abuse, harass, or interfere with the petitioner or his/her employment; should not go near the residence or place of employment of the petitioner, the minor children, or any person on whose behalf the petition was filed.”

Who can file for a restraining order?

Anyone can request that a court issue an order restraining a person from activities of potentially harmful behavior, but only those orders issued to prevent domestic abuse, dating violence, or stalking are included in the Louisiana Protective Order Registry.

The following persons are eligible to file an order of protection under the Louisiana Protective Order Registry:

Domestic Abuse Assistance Act 

The domestic abuse assistance act, as defined by L.A. R.S. 46:2131, outlines the parameters for filing a request for a protective order against a family member.

To be eligible to file under the domestic abuse assistance act, the petitioner must meet specific requirements. Specifically, the relationship between the abuser and the person requesting protection must be one of the following:

  • Family members can file: Family members are defined as spouses, former spouses, parent/child, stepparent/stepchild, grandparent/grandchild. An abuser could also be a household member.
  • Household members can file: Household members are persons who currently or formerly lived in the same residence with the abuser and who is involved or has been involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with the abuser.
  • The parent, or an adult household member, or district attorney on behalf of a minor child or an adult deemed incompetent.

Protection from Dating Violence Act

The protection from dating violence act is codified in LA. R.S. 46:2151 and extends the same protections as the Domestic Abuse Assistance Act to dating partners. Dating partners do not have to have lived together to be eligible.

Protection from Stalking Act

A protective order can be filed by a person who’s being stalked by a stranger or acquaintance under La. R.S. 46:2171, et seq.

Protection for Victims of Sexual Assault Act

Under La. R.S. 46:2181, a person who has been sexually assaulted by a stranger or acquaintance can file a petition for a protective order.

How to get a restraining order

To get a restraining order, you can contact an attorney, law enforcement, call an abuse hotline, go to the courthouse, or call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

If you go to the sheriff’s office or the courthouse, they will provide you with forms to fill out to request the restraining order. Once this is done, arrangements are made for you to speak with a judge so you can explain your circumstances.

If the judge grants the temporary restraining order, a hearing will usually be set within two weeks. Make sure you show up for the court date. During the trial, the judge will decide the duration the permanent restraining order will be in effect, and if you have children, he will address any existing child custody arrangements.

Domestic violence during child custody is taken very seriously by the courts. The child custody order may be temporarily adjusted and re-evaluated after conditions set by the court have been met, and the restraining order is removed.

Where is it proper to file for a protective order?

You can file a petition for a protective order in the parish you lived with your abuser, where you live or the parish where your abuser lives. You can file in the parish the abuse occurred, or if divorce has been filed, the petition can be submitted in that parish.

What to do if the abuser violates the protective order?

The best thing to do when a person violates a protective order is to call 911 and inform the authorities of the violation immediately. If the police do not arrest him, be sure a police report is filled out. You need to document all the information about the occurrence, the name of the officer, the report number, date, and time of the offense.

You can also file a notice of civil contempt with the court for the abuser’s violation of a court order.


Can You Undo (Reverse) An Adoption in Louisiana?

Your biological child was adopted, and you want to know if the adoption can be reversed. Or maybe you were adopted and are curious if the adoption can be undone. Questions like this are common, so can you undo an adoption in Louisiana?

Yes, in limited situations, adoptions can be reversed in Louisiana. The laws regarding the nullification of adoptions are stringent and are rarely granted.

There are various reasons a person may want to undo an adoption, but once a final order approving the adoption has been entered, it isn’t very easy to reverse. If you formally consented to the adoption, it is almost impossible.

Filing a Petition to Undo an Adoption

In Louisiana, the preferred nomenclature to reverse an adoption is a Motion to Annul Adoption. Courts typically don’t undo an adoption.

Who can petition the Courts to Annul an adoption?

  1. The Child’s Birth Parents – In Louisiana, a child’s biological parents can file a petition to annul an adoption in certain situations. In some states, the adoptive parents can consent to the reversal of adoption and agree to relinquish parental rights back to the birth parents.
  2. The Child’s Adoptive Parents – The child’s adoptive parents may petition the court to undo an adoption in very limited circumstances.
  3. The Child – There may be reasons a child wants to cut bonds with their adopted family. These usually occur later in life due to failed relations.

Grounds for an annulment of an adoption

A procedural process must be adhered to in the adoption process. If the process was tainted either by fraud or duress, the adoption could be reversed. The most common attack on approval is that the consent of the biological parent was obtained through fraud.

The Louisiana Constitution guarantees that a birth father has the right to develop a relationship with his child; this is established in the following language: “no person may be deprived without due process of law under our state constitution.” The Lousiana Supreme Court established the following rights of unwed fathers in reference to adoptions:

  1. An unmarried father’s right to veto the adoption of his child cannot be terminated or forfeited without notice and a hearing on this issue. If no response to a proper notice is received from the father, or he can’t be found in a reasonable time, the court may terminate his parental rights.
  2. When a birthmother executes an act of surrender of an illegitimate child and identifies the father, he must receive notice of the adoption. He has the right to file an opposition to the adoption.
  3. When the mother names the alleged father, but his whereabouts are unknown, a curator will be appointed and make a diligent effort to locate the father. If the father can’t be found, his parental rights are terminated.
  4. If the mother claims that the birth father is unknown, his rights are terminated after a diligent effort has been made to identify the father.

It’s not too difficult to imagine how fraud could find its way into the process to deprive a father of proper notice of the adoption of his child. For example, a mother could list a fake name as the father of her child on the birth certificate, and the biological father never receives notice of the adoption.

Note: The Louisiana Children’s Code presides over the adoption laws in Louisiana and provides a legal framework for adoption in the state. Notably, Louisiana’s legal system distinguishes itself from other states by following the civil law system.

If you need help with an adoption, contact our office to get an experienced family law attorney. We have offices in Hammond and Livingston, Louisiana.

Are Divorce Records Public in Louisiana?

Going through a divorce is tough and can get ugly. There are usually tons of documents filed, especially if alimony and child support are involved. Having sensitive documents in the clerk of courts office raises an issue, are divorce records public in Louisiana?

Yes, most of the documents are part of the public record unless there is a specific reason they should be sealed.

Although most documents are public, there are some steps you can take to limit access to your divorce documents by the public.

What records are public?

There is no federal constitutional provision that gives the public the right to access judicial records and proceedings. However, the United States Supreme Court established that a trial is a public event, and all information is public property. (Check out the case of Craig v. Harney, 67 S.Ct. 1249, (1947) to learn more about open access to records.)

Divorce documents filed with the clerk of court are considered public records. These documents must be kept by the court and are available to the public, meaning any person can inspect, examine, and copy the filings regardless of the purpose.

The reason people don’t regularly access these records is they’re unaware of the process required to retrieve the documents, or they are don’t know the materials are publicly available. And of course, there is the expense; governments do not provide copies for free.

However, governments have made it easier and cheaper than ever to obtain public records. Most documents can be assessed through the clerk of court’s website for a minimal fee. So, for a small fee and a little knowledge, anyone can obtain a copy of your “confidential” divorce documents.

Sealed Records

When a court deems records are sensitive and should not be public, they can enter an order to have the records sealed. Individual documents could be sealed or the entire divorce proceedings.

When a record has been sealed, a person must obtain a court order to view the documents. For example, a court may seal divorces that deal with children, domestic violence, or sensitive business information. They might also seal documents that contain false accusations that would be harmful and create undue harm.

Sealing your records

To have your documents sealed, you need to file a motion with the court requesting the records be sealed. In the action, you will need to convey the reasons you believe sealing the documents is necessary.

Just because you file a request, it is not automatic that the court will grant your motion. You need to provide proper reasons before the judge agrees to seal your case. You can’t just claim it will be uncomfortable for you if the record isn’t sealed.

The Louisiana Supreme court took up this issue in the Copelands divorce case. Al Copeland, the founder of Popeyes Fried Chicken, requested his divorce records be sealed from the public. The New Orleans Times-Picayune wanted to see the documents and filed a suit to obtain access.

The district court and court of appeals agreed with the Copelands that the documents should be sealed, but the Supreme Court disagreed. They found that there may be some justification for sealing portions of the proceeding, but a blanket order sealing the entire record was not warranted.

If you file a motion to seal your divorce proceedings, it would be advisable to request specific pages or parts of documents to be redacted and not file a motion to have the entire record sealed.

If you need help with your divorce, contact our office to get an experienced family law attorney. We have offices in Hammond and Livingston, Louisiana.

Can You Get Arrested For Being High?

It is becoming common for states to decriminalize recreational marijuana use or approve it for medical purposes. But, can a person still get arrested for being high?

Not typically, but if being high leads to violating public intoxication laws, then yes. It is a violation of these laws when you disrupt the peace, cause a disturbance, or pose a threat to others.

Many Louisiana residents may not realize that you can get arrested for being high. But, in Louisiana, public intoxication is a crime regardless of the substance you used.

Being high can lead to your arrest.

Being high in public can lead to your arrest in certain situations. It is a violation of  RS 14:103 Louisiana law governing disturbing the peace to be publicly intoxicated.

The term “intoxicated” is not limited to being under the influence of alcohol but includes illegal drugs, controlled substances, or another intoxicant (including inhalants such as paint thinner or glue).

Public intoxication arrest typically occurs because of some disturbance, such as injuring other persons or harming property, or posing a threat to your safety.

To gain a conviction, prosecutors don’t need test results but often rely on the testimony of the arresting officer to prove their case.

A charge for disturbing the peace can result in a fine of $100 or less, 90 days or less of imprisonment, or both. The baseline penalty can be enhanced depending on the specifics of the crime.

Disturbing the peace is a charge that will remain on your criminal record unless you get it expunged. An expungement is a civil action to seal your criminal record, making these records unavailable through the State or Federal authorities.

Can I Get Arrested for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana?

Yes, in Louisiana, the possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana is illegal. In specific circumstances, marijuana can be used for medical purposes.

While it is not technically a crime to be loaded in public, possession of any amount of marijuana is still illegal (unless you have a prescription).

Louisiana considers marijuana to mean all parts of plants whether growing or not;  the seeds;  the resin extracted from any part of such plant;  and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.

The law does not restrict the use of mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of a plant which is incapable of germination, or cannabidiol when in a drug product approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Persons who drive high are subject to Louisiana DWI/DUI laws. If an officer pulls you over and believes that you are high, he may search your vehicle and even arrest you on a marijuana DUI.

What Are the Criminal Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Louisiana?

The penalties depend on the amount you are charged with possessing and your prior criminal record.


First and second offenses for possessing marijuana is a misdemeanor in Louisiana. You will face a fine of up to $300 and have a drug charge on your record.


From the third offense or more, possessing marijuana in Louisiana is a felony. You are looking at up to two years in prison and more substantial fines.


If you are caught possessing large amounts of marijuana (2,000 pounds or more) and distributing it to others, you can face up to 20 years in prison.

Do You Need An Attorney?

Although an arrest for disturbing the peace laws may seem silly, these charges can stain your record. If you are charged with a crime and are considering an attorney contact our office. We are experienced and can evaluate your case and inform you about your best options.

Can I Have Delayed Onset of Back Pain from a Car Accident?

You had a car accident and didn’t feel much pain at the scene. But in the days and weeks following the accident, your back begins to hurt. Is the back pain from the car wreck? Can a person have delayed onset of back pain from a car accident?

Yes, it’s common for victims of car accidents to have delayed injury-related pain after a car wreck. The back pain could be a severe injury and not realized at the time of the collision.

Even collisions resulting in minor damage to your vehicle can cause serious injury. We are all individuals and our bodies react differently to injury and pain. Some people may feel pain immediately, and others not.

How Long does it take for a Back Injury to Show Up?

The length of time a back injury causes an individual back pain varies based on the person and type of injury. Victims of car accidents are excited, and their adrenaline is flowing, masking pain.

Most people at the scene are concerned about superficial cuts and bruises; otherwise, they are happy they walked after the accident. It isn’t until they go home and try to relax that they begin to feel the pain caused by the wreck.

Often a person will wake up the next day stiff and sore in parts of their body that felt normal when they went to sleep. Even more often, the pain is not noticeable until days following an accident.

The time-lapse between the collision to the feeling of pain often happens in injuries to the spine. The gap in time is due to the complex nature of the spinal structure.

Sometime pain may not become evident for days or weeks after the wreck. The spine is the most frequent area affected in an auto collision, more specifically the back and neck.

How Long Does Back Pain Last After a Car Accident?

The severity of your injury determines the length of time back pain lasts. In most cases of muscle strains, soft tissue damage, and bruises should heal with six weeks of the accident.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted a study of whiplash victims and found their rate of recovery from soft tissue injury to be within three months.

The length of time a person suffers back pain depends on the seriousness of the damage caused to the spine. Some people experience back pain a year or longer, even for the rest of their lives.

An MRI or CT scan of your spine will be able to determine the source of your back pain and help determine the length of time you could suffer in pain.

How do I Know if My Back Injury is Serious?

Most cases of back pain are the result of soft tissue damage often referred to as strains or sprains. Strains and sprains happen when a person’s muscle or ligaments tear or overstretch. These can resolve over time but should be examined by a physician.

Symptoms of back sprains or strains include tenderness, swelling, and muscle spasms. These can resolve with the passage of time, but it is prudent to schedule an examination with a physician.

However, the following symptoms are indicators that require you to see a physician:

  • severe lower back pain
  • bowel and bladder problems
  • numbness, weakness, or loss of sensation in one or both legs
  • difficulty walking tingling and numbness that radiates down the legs.
  • prolonged back pain

The symptoms described above are indicative of a serious problem with the spinal structure, possibly a herniated disc pressing on a nerve root. It could also be vertebrae damage or ligament.

If you have any prolonged back pain schedule an appoint to see a spine specialist. It is best to see a doctor as early as possible for treatment to avoid any permanent damage.

Why does my Lower Back Hurt After a Car Accident?

Your lower back mostly likely is causing you pain because you suffered either a muscle sprain strain or have discogenic pain. Discogenic pain originates from damage to a vertebral disc.

The most common causes of discogenic pain are lumbar sprains, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, and degenerative spinal diseases.

Lumbar Sprains

Sprains in the lumbar region are the result of overstretching of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the back caused by trauma. Strains and sprains typically can’t be diagnosed by imaging and instead rely on doctor experience and patient consultation to determine the diagnosis.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the channel housing the spinal nerves and spinal cord. Spinal stenosis happens in the natural course of aging; however, it can be caused by trauma such as a car accident.

Trauma can rupture disc or bone fragment and invade the spinal canal space, applying pressure to the nerves or cord, resulting in pain.

Disc Herniation 

The spine has a cushion-like disc between vertebrae, the vertebral disc is filled with a soft material. When the material protrudes out of the disc, it’s referred to as a disc herniation. The protruding material often contacts the surrounding nerves causing pain.

Degenerative Spinal Diseases

Degenerative disc disorders is a general term used to describe many different injuries and symptoms related to the break down of the spine or its parts as the body ages.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

If you have been involved in a car accident, there is a time limit within which you must file a personal injury and property damage claim. Unfortunately, each state has its own time limit. So be sure to check the time limit in the state you had your accident.

If you were hurt because of another’s negligence, then you are entitled to receive compensation for your losses and pain and suffering.

Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Claim in Louisiana

Louisiana has a brief window of time to file a personal injury claim, one year. Your legal claim for damages must be recorded in the court within one year of the date of the car wreck. The one-year limitation includes a claim for property damage as well. The time limit begins on the day of the crash.

The time limit to bring a suit is based on Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, which states: “Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.”

Article 3492 codifies that any lawsuit for injury or property damage must be filed within one year, which includes any claim for injury or vehicle damage by a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist after a traffic accident.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and sustained injury contact Sonja Bradley, in Hammond Louisiana, or Livingston Louisiana.

Motorcycle Accidents In Louisiana: What You Need To Know.

South Louisiana has a high amount of motorcycle accidents. Are the accident caused by road conditions, unsafe drivers, or is that motorcycles are inherently dangerous?

The rate of automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents are about the same. However, people involved in motorcycle accidents die or sustain severe injuries at a significantly higher rate than people in car accidents.

Motorcycle riders like the freedom of the road, but it the pleasure worth the risks? Compared to cars, motorcycles make up a small percentage of road travel, is this because of the perceived dangers of motorcycle accidents? There is a lot of concerning information about motorcycle riding in the United States.

Is Riding a Motorcycle Dangerous?

It goes without argument that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), provides that motorcycles made up only 3 percent of vehicles registered in the United States in 2017.

However, the fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2017 was six times the death rate for passengers of cars. Fatalities on motorcyclist occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passengers in cars in traffic crashes.

A look at 2017 numbers shows there were 5,172 motorcyclists killed, a three percent decrease from the previous year. Let’s look at some of the key findings in the NHTSA report:

  • Twenty-nine percent of motorcycle fatality crashes in 2017 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses;
  • Impaired drivers by vehicle type (27% for motorcycles, 21% for passenger cars, 20% for light trucks, and 3% for large trucks);
  • Forty-three percent of motorcycle riders who lost their lives in single-vehicle crashes in 2017 were alcohol-impaired
  • Motorcycle riders killed in crashes at night were three times more frequently alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day in 2017
  • NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017 and that 749 more people could’ve have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
  • In States without universal helmet laws, 57 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2017 weren’t wearing helmets and only eight percent in States with universal helmet laws

These numbers illustrate the dangers of riding motorcycles on the road. I encourage you to check the NHTSA website to view the most current numbers.

What is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?

Cars have to share the road with motorcycles. However, they frequently seem to forget, but there are many causes by motorcycle drivers that could be prevented. The following is a list of some causes of motorcycle accidents:

  • Speeding: Speeding is dangerous in any vehicle, but more so on a motorcycle. Speed limits establish a safe rate of travel on a particular roadway. It takes into consideration reaction times, curves, and general road conditions. Death in a crash is more likely to occur at a higher rate of speed;
  • Driving under the influence. The number of fatal motorcycle crashes illustrated in the NHTSA numbers proves that motorcycle drivers influenced by drugs or alcohol are at increased risk of an accident;
  • Lane splitting is the maneuvering of a motorcycle between vehicles on a roadway. Lane splitting causes a substantial amount of accidents, cars are often not aware of a motorcycle and will unexpectedly shift lanes hitting the bike;
  • Sudden stops: A vehicle that stops quickly creates a dangerous condition. Tailgating results in rear-end accidents. When riding a motorcycle, always follow a safe distance behind traffic. A sudden stop could result in severe injury or death to a motorcyclist;
  • Inexperienced drivers:  Inexperienced motorcyclists likely are also unsafe drivers. They lack the experience to avoid wrecks and create dangerous conditions not only to themselves but other motorists as well;
  • Left-turn accidents: Misjudgments of distance while making a left turn are causes of injury and death to motorcycle riders.
  • Dangerous road conditions: Driving a motorcycle on broken concrete or roads with potholes, and debris, causes bikers to lose control of their motorcycle and crash;
  • Motorcycle defects: Motorcycle manufacturer just like with any other product sometimes have a poor design or faulty part which creates a condition that leads to an accident.

If You Ride Reduce the Risks of an Accident.

The first thing you should realize when riding a motorcycle, you are in a vulnerable position, so be alert and be visible. Some other steps you can take are:

  • Wear a helmet: Helmets save lives. NHTSA estimates helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017 and that 749 more lives would’ve been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets. Nineteen states require motorcyclists to wear helmets, while three states-Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire-have no helmet use laws at all.
  • Older riders: If you are over 40, you may need to consider getting off your motorcycle. Motorcycling requires more brain function and focus than driving a car. 54% of motorcyclists killed in crashes were age 40 or older, and older riders sustain more severe injuries from accidents. Why does this occur? It could be declining vision and reduced reaction time in older riders or fragility.
  • Anti-lock brakes (ABS): Anti-lock brakes provide a better and safer stop for a motorcycle. Motorcycles with ABS are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
  • Avoid cafe-style racing motorcycles: Cafe-style motorcycles require unique skill sets and can go fast. Motorcyclists on cafe-style bikes are four times more likely to die in a crash than riders of other styles of motorcycles.
  • Training: Most states offer motorcycle safety classes. The classes teach how to maneuver a motorcycle in different weather conditions and during specific traffic conditions.
  • Clothing: Wear protective clothing that is visible. Leather helps to prevent road rash. The brighter you are, the easier for others to see you.

Louisiana State Police Motorcycle Safety Program

Louisiana has an unusually high motorcycle accident rate. The high instances of wrecks could be caused by several reasons, poor road conditions, inattentive drivers, or lack of motorcycle driver training. The state police are taking steps to reduce motorcycle accidents.

The Louisiana State Police established a program designed to save motorcyclist lives. It is the Louisiana Motorcycle Safety, Awareness and Operator Training Program.

The basic course is 15 hours and its designed for beginners. It teaches the physical skills, proper attitude, and knowledge for navigating safely in traffic. It is an excellent program if you are interested or want more information click the link above to register.

Do I Need A Motorcycle Lawyer?

If you or someone you know has been in a motorcycle accident, you need to contact an attorney. Injured parties are entitled to recover for their losses, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damages they suffered.

One of the risks you shouldn’t face is going without the compensation you are owed. Sonja Bradley has offices in Hammond and Livingston Louisiana

To read about “Important Steps to Take if You’ve Neen in a Car Accident,” or learn about “Negligence Law in Louisiana,” click the highlighted links.

Charged With a DUI/DWI in Hammond, Louisiana?

Sonja Bradley has been representing clients charged with DWI in Tangipahoa Parish and the surrounding area for over 19 years.  If you or someone you know is accused of a DWI/DUI in Hammond, Louisiana, you need an experienced attorney to fight for you.

Many criminal defense attorneys seek quick plea deals for their clients. This is not how your case should be handled. A good defense attorney will review your file thoroughly and know the applicable law. Good attorneys keep their clients advised of all aspects of the case so the client has the information needed to make an informed decision.

After a review of the facts and law, it is sometimes in the clients best interest to enter plea discussions.  If a plea is not in your best interest, you will have Mrs. Bradley extensive experience and knowledge on your side at trial.  An attorney prepared to take a case to trial is vital in obtaining the best outcome.

Mrs. Bradley understands the clients’ welfare is the goal of effective representation.   She will advise her client on the best course of action, but the ultimate decision is the clients’.

Sometimes, litigation can not be avoided, and the best outcome will be achieved by having an experienced DWI/DUI attorney handling your case.  The goal for Mrs. Bradley is to provide the best representation possible.

DWI/DUI convictions can have a lifelong effect on the well being of a persons’ life, Sonja Bradley understands this and takes all cases seriously.  If you need an attorney that will put your needs first, then you need to call Sonja Bradley today at 225 686 8006.  You can click on the link to read the Louisiana statute that pertains to DWI/DUI charges here. http://legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=78752

The followings are the relevant laws as they pertain to DWI/DUI charges.

In Louisiana, the particular circumstances surrounding your DUI charge will affect your penalty.  For example, enhanced penalties, including jail time, enhanced penalties include aggravating factors such as:
1) Committing an offense with BAC of 0.15 or higher
2) Committing an offense with BAC of 0.20 or higher
3) Committing an offense while a minor 12 years of age or younger was in the vehicle;

A 1st Offense DUI DWI Offense conviction is a misdemeanor crime.  The penalty for a first offense DUI in Louisiana is:
•    You can be fined from $300 to $1,000 fine ($750 to $1,000 if BAC 0.20 or more)
•    You could be sentenced to serve time in jail from 10 days to 6 months
•    You can have your driver’s license suspended for 12 months drivers license suspension (2 years if BAC 0.20 or more)
•    You may be eligible for a restricted hardship driving license immediately, with an ignition interlock will be required for the entire time of applicable suspension period for at least 12 months if convicted with a high BAC of 0.20 or more
•    You could have to perform 32 hours of community service and attend a court-approved substance abuse program
•    The court could also require you to attend an improved driver improvement program
•    You will have to provide an LA SR22 Insurance Requirement (proof of financial responsibility)

A 2nd Offense DUI DWI Offense conviction is a misdemeanor crime. Penalties in Louisiana for a conviction of a 2nd offense DUI DWI are as follows:
•    Fines range from 750 to $1,000
•    You could receive a sentence of incarceration from 30 days to 6 months in jail
•    Your drivers’ license suspended for 24 months (4 years if BAC 0.20 or more)
•    You could be restricted to a hardship driving license available after 45 days, and an ignition interlock will be required for the entire time of applicable suspension period
•    You may have to complete 240 hours of community service
•    You may have to attend a court-approved substance abuse program
•    The court could require you attend an approved driver improvement program
•    (IID) ignition interlock restriction upon drivers license reinstatement
•    You will have to provide an LA SR22 Insurance Requirement (proof of financial responsibility)

A 3rd conviction for a DUI DWI Offense is a felony. The penalties in Louisiana for a conviction for a 3rd offense DUI DWI are as follows:
•    You may have to pay a fine of $2000
•    You could be sentenced to incarceration from 1 to 5 years.
•    Your driver’s license will be suspended for 36 months
•    If you enroll in a DWI or sobriety program and you are in good standing, you will be eligible to apply for a restricted drivers license (hardship license) after the passage of 45 days suspension period
•    You are required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment programs as ordered by the court.
•    You may be required to attend a court-approved substance abuse program
•    You may be required to attend a court improved driver improvement program
•    You could have your vehicle seized and sold.
•    You will have to provide an LA SR22 Insurance Requirement (proof of financial responsibility)

The contact information for the Tangipahoa’s Sheriff’s office or District Attorney office click here. Our resources page has helpful telephone numbers and website address you will need.

To read an interesting article answering the question, “Can You get a DUI on a Horse,” click here.

What Factors Are Used To Determine Child Custody?

Factors Used by the Court to Determine Child Custody.

In all child custody discussions, the “best interest” of the child is paramount. In Louisiana law, “best interest” is a term with a specific meaning. It is so critical to the determination of custody that guidelines have been enacted.

The “best interest” of the child takes into consideration his or her safety and security, mental health, emotional development, and happiness. Commonly it is in the child’s best interest to stay foster a close relationship with both parents.

However, oftentimes situations dictate that either the mother or father have sole custody. It is important to remember that decisions made now will have a lasting effect on the future relationship between you and your child.

The legislature established guidelines for the courts to follow in determining child custody in Louisiana. The following are the factors used by the courts:

La. C.C. Art. 134. Factors in determining a child’s best interest

Art. 134. Factors in determining a child’s best interest

  1. Except as provided in Paragraph B of this Article, the court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of the child, including:

(1) The potential for the child to be abused, as defined by Children’s Code Article 603, which shall be the primary consideration.

(2) The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.

(3) The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.

(4) The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.

(5) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.

(6) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(7) The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.

(8) The history of substance abuse, violence, or criminal activity of any party.

(9) The mental and physical health of each party. Evidence that an abused parent suffers from the effects of past abuse by the other parent shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody.

(10) The home, school, and community history of the child.

(11) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.

(12) The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party, except when objectively substantial evidence of specific abusive, reckless, or illegal conduct has caused one party to have reasonable concerns for the child’s safety or well-being while in the care of the other party.

(13) The distance between the respective residences of the parties.

(14) The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.

  1. In cases involving a history of committing family violence, as defined in R.S. 9:362, or domestic abuse, as defined in R.S. 46:2132, including sexual abuse, as defined in R.S. 14:403(A)(4)(b), whether or not a party has sought relief under any applicable law, the court shall determine an award of custody or visitation in accordance with R.S. 9:341 and 364. The court may only find a history of committing family violence if the court finds that one incident of family violence has resulted in serious bodily injury or the court finds more than one incident of family violence.

Acts 1988, No. 817, §2, eff. July 18, 1988; Acts 1990, No. 361, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, No. 261, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1994; Acts 2018, No. 412, §1, eff. May 23, 2018.

To read the text of the legislation click this link https://legiscan.com/LA/text/SB291/id/1800646

As you can tell there is a lot that goes into determining custody. If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in your custody battle hire Sonja Bradley she has over 18 years experience fighting for her clients’ rights.

Contact Sonja Bradley your attorney in Hammond Louisiana, Denham Springs, Louisiana, Ponchatoula Louisiana, Livingston Louisiana, Albany Louisiana, Amite Louisiana, Walker Louisiana and surrounding areas.

Expungements In Louisiana


People often talk about getting their records expunged.  But what is an expungement and are all crimes eligible to be expunged?  If you have questions about expungements keep reading this article.  What an expungement is and what crimes qualify for expungement are explained.

An expungement is a civil action which seeks to have a criminal record sealed, making these records unavailable through the State or Federal authorities.  Specifically, it is the “Process by which records of a criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository.” See Black’s Law Dictionary

An expungement is not a pardon.

Every state or local jurisdiction may have their own laws governing the scope and procedures concerning expungement. In many places, the records are not removed completely and may be used again in subsequent offenses, sentencing enhancements or other means.

 Once you have been arrested a paper trail has begun and regardless of if you are charged or convicted of a crime, you will now have a criminal history. This can have negative consequences on your future regarding your employment opportunities, access to government benefits and parental rights.


Can I have a Misdemeanor Expunged in Louisiana?

Yes, misdemeanors are eligible for expungement after the prosecution is dismissed, 5 years have passed since you successfully completed your sentence, or the prosecution is set aside under La.C.Cr.Pr. Article 894(b).


Yes, sex crimes and domestic abuse battery crimes. Click the link for a complete list of violent crimes that can not be expunged. Violent Crimes.


A felony can be expunged after prosecution is dismissed or conviction set aside under L.C.Cr. Procedure Art. 893(E).  If you have successfully completed your sentence and 10 years have passed without any other felony charges-pending or convictions-you are eligible for an expungement.

Remember sex crimes, domestic abuse or domestic violence are not eligible for expungement nor crimes against a minor under 17, nor crimes of violence as defined by La.R.S. 14.2(B) nor convictions for distribution or manufacture of any drug or controlled substance. Click the link to see a list of violent crimes as defined by the State of Louisiana and can not be expunged. Violent Crimes.


No, you still need to file an expungement to have your record sealed.  A first-time offender pardon does return some rights and prevents your records from being used against you in certain circumstances, but does not shield your record as an expungement will.


You can file for an expungement immediately if you were not charged, successfully granted a motion to quash or were found not guilty.  If you were charged but the District Attorney has not instituted prosecution after the passing of the legally allowable time limit to prosecute you may have the right to file for an expungement. Criminal offenses have varying times associated with the amount of time a DA has to charge for a crime.  For example, a DA has 10 years to institute a prosecution for sex crimes against a juvenile but only 6 months for misdemeanor crimes. 


The fees associated with an expungement vary by parish, the following is an example of the most common charges by agency, $250.00 to the Louisiana State Police, $200.00 to the Criminal District Court Clerk, $50.00 to the parish District Attorneys office and $50.00 to the local sheriff.  If you hire a private attorney those fees will be separate. Check with 21st Judicial District Court clerks office to get the most current prices: http://www.tangiclerk.org/

Certain individuals may be eligible for an indigent waiver of fees. You will have to check the rules to see if you qualify.  Generally, you will have to show your income and meet the following requirements: have no prior felony convictions anywhere in the country, have no pending felonies, the offense for which you were prosecuted ended in an acquittal, motion to quash, or it has been dismissed/refused and the time limit for prosecution has expired. Of course, the crime you are seeking to expunge must be an eligible crime for expungement.


It depends on several factors.  It should take approximately 60 days for the agencies to respond to the application.  Then an additional 60 days for the State Police to mail a Certificate of Compliance. However, note that you are dealing with government agencies and it may take some follow-up calls to keep the process on track.


Click the following link to the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association website to access forms and materials you will need to file.  Also, note that all expungements must include a Motion for Expungement with required forms.  If you have any questions or need assistance with this form call our office at (225) 686-8006. To find forms you can go to the website of the Louisiana Clerks Of Courts Office here: http://www.laclerksofcourt.org/Expungement%20Forms%20Index.htm

CONTACT SONJA BRADLEY YOUR CRIMINAL LAWYER IN Hammond, Louisiana, Denham Springs Louisiana, Walker Louisiana, Ponchatoula Louisiana, Amite Louisiana, Albany Louisiana, and surrounding areas.


TANGIPAHOA PARISH WEBSITE: https://www.tpso.org/

LIVINGSTON PARISH WEBSITE: http://www.lpso.org/