Louisiana House pushes to change sentencing laws

Several new bills have been proposed by the Louisiana legislature that could impact the way that those who have been convicted of a crime are sentenced. The bills have passed through the Louisiana House and were recently sent to the Senate. For those who have been charged with a crime, the new laws could provide clarification as to sentences that can be imposed against them if they are convicted.

The first bill that has been sent to the Louisiana Senate would increase the proposed penalties for those convicted of identity theft. Currently, those who are convicted of identity theft face fines and potential prison time. These penalties could be increased if the person accused of the crime is in a so-called position of trust. The $1,000 increase in fines would apply to those who are employed by hospitals, schools, clinics and other similar institutions.

In another bill, the House approved a new policy for calculating prison time and potential parole. This change would apply to those who have followed all of the rules while incarcerated, as long as they were nonviolent, non-sex offenders. Under the new rule, eligible prisoners would serve 40 percent of their time in prison and the other 60 percent out of prison under supervision. The change may allow some inmates to get out of jail earlier, since the current requirement is that an inmate spend at least 46 percent of a sentence in jail.

These proposed amendments apply only to those who have been convicted of a crime. However, understanding possible changes to the law can benefit those who have been accused of crimes. Knowing your rights and options can go a long way toward protecting your freedom.

Source: Nola.com, "Louisiana House approves higher fines for some in identity thefts," Ed Anderson, April 5, 2012

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