Criminal Defense Blog

Reckless Murder Charge, Guilty 4-Year-Old DUI Plea, and Deadly DUI Crash

Posted in Alabama DUI News, DUI, Uncategorized |

New DUI Bill, ALEA launches spring campaign, and recent DUI charges


News for Alabama, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shore DUIs.

If you or someone you know are facing driving under the influences charges, please contact experienced defense attorney Ketcham Law.

Posted in Alabama DUI News |

January Alabama DUI News


The latest breaking DUI news in Alabama during the first month of 2022.

Posted in Alabama DUI News |

DUI Cases During the COVID-19 Pandemic


There has been a noticeable change in the number of DUI cases since the outbreak of COVID-19.  While some places like Florida, who have been fully open since the pandemic, may have seen an influx of driving under the influence instances; others like California, who have been on full lockdown, have witnessed a decline.

What can affect drunk driving rates during a pandemic?

Increases in DUI Cases

If an area has experienced an influx of driving while under the influence cases, it may be due to:

  • Individuals stress levels
  • Increase in local patrol officers
  • Closure of certain roads (due to building delays, etc)

At the height of the pandemic restaurants and bars were forced to close their doors while alcohol sales increased across the country.  Job loss, isolation, and other stressors could all be contributors.  Along with the increase of DUIs most of these areas also so increases in domestic violence cases.  

Declines in DUI Cases

Alternatively, other parts of the country may have experienced declines in DUI cases during the later part of 2019 and beginnings of 2020.  These factors may have been attributed to:

  • Social distancing.  More people were staying in their own homes instead of driving from restaurants and bars.
  • Courthouses scaling back or even suspending their operations.
  • Decline in roadside field sobriety tests.  With people required to wear masks, officers may have been less likely to notice slurred speech over muffled masks.  Also, many did not feel comfortable blowing in breathalyzers without proper sanitization. 

If you are facing a DUI charge in the state of Alabama, contact criminal defense lawyer Woody Ketcham in Birmingham.  Experienced in DUI, drug offense, and other crimes.

Posted in DUI |

Sexual Harassment Accusations


Sexual Harassment Charges 

Reading about sexual harassment accusations have become part of our daily routine. It seems that every day there is an article out or media announcement of an individual being fired from there job or under investigation for sexual harassment or a sex crime.  The #ibelieve and the #metoo movement has greatly changed the way the media reports these accusations and how the general public perceives such accusation. Many times the sexual assault accusation is false, but the accusation alone can end up causing all the damage in the world to the accused.

If You Have Been Accused of a Sex Crime Then You Must Hire Counsel Immediately 

Being accused of sexual assault or rape is as serious of an accusation that anyone can be faced with.  Sadly, in cases such as these, just being accused of a crime can ruin someone’s life.  Many times an individual is accused of a sex crime but is never charged or given the opportunity to defend the claim or clear their name.  The “she said, he said” nature of sex crimes can put the accused individual in a very dangerous predicament. If you have been accused of a crime, seek legal counsel immediately.  Someone accused of a sexual crime must be very careful in how they address the accusations, but also must be advised as to how to be proactive and stay out in front of all the possible negative press and fallout that comes from the accusations.

If you have been accused of or charged with sexual assault or some other sex crime, contact Ketcham Law today at 205-296-4233.

Posted in Sexual Assault |

DUI and Football Season


In Alabama we take our football very seriously. Alabama and Auburn fans spend a lot of time tailgating and watching their team’s game on the television at local bars. Because of this we generally see an uptick in Alabama DUI arrests during footballs season. If you or someone you know is faced with a DUI arrest then you need Ketcham Law to defend you.

Penalties for DUI in Alabama

There are different possible sentences for a Alabama DUI conviction depending on your criminal record.  On the first conviction you can face up to one year in a county or municipal jail, however, there is no minimum mandatory jail sentence.  For a second conviction you could face a minimum of 48 hours and up to one year in jail, plus community service.  After four or more convictions, within a 5 year period, you can be charged with a Class C Felony with a sentence of 1 to 10 years. Fines and court costs are also generally high when it comes to DUI offenses.

Your driver’s license is effected as well. Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI. The number of points assessed, depends on the severity of the offense and the number of prior convictions.

Take Your DUI Charge Seriously

I generally remind people that while someone normally does not spend much time in jail for a DUI, a DUI conviction carries with it lifelong consequences. When you are charged with a DUI you immediately face issues of whether or not your employment will be effected and if you will be able to drive. Your license could be suspended, your car insurance could increase, and your employer may have employment rules that prohibit having an employee that has a criminal record. Do not let a DUI arrest be the reason you lose your job or prohibit you from getting the job you desire.

If you have questions regarding a DUI or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Spring Break Arrests


Alabama Spring Break Arrests 

Unfortunately many college students find themselves handcuffed and in the back of a police cruiser during spring break. In Alabama though the number of arrests over spring break appears to be down from the past few years.   The numbers would indicate that fewer arrests have been made in popular spring break destinations such as Orange Beach and Gulf Shores in 2017.

Common Spring Break Arrests

The majority of Alabama spring break arrests that occur in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores involve alcohol consumption and under age possession of alcohol. Minor in possession of alcohol is usually the most common arrest that occurs over the spring break season on the coast.  Public intoxication, DUI, open container violations, and drug possession are also common arrests that get made over the month or so long spring break season in the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores areas.

Alabama Law and Spring Break

Getting arrested is never a pleasant experience and it can cause consequences that are life changing.  While a lot of arrests that occur during spring break are for minor offenses, it is always wise to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Underage college students sometimes have options available to them under the law that can protect their future and their permanent record.  Make sure to contact a criminal defense lawyer in Alabama if you have been arrested over spring break.  Call Ketcham Law at 205-296-4233 if you have any questions regarding an arrest or a criminal law issue.

Posted in Drug Possession, DUI, Underage Drinking |

Alabama Domestic Violence


Understanding the Law in Alabama Regarding Domestic Violence

In Alabama, depending on the severity of the alleged action, domestic violence charges are generally misdemeanor charges.  Regardless, Alabama courts take domestic violence charges seriously and a conviction can have a substantial impact.  One thing to consider is that you can lose your right to own or possess a gun if one is found guilty of a domestic violence charge.  In most cases, evidence surrounding a domestic violence charge will come from the victim and the suspect, both of which telling their own version of what happened.  There may be other witnesses or past evidence of a history of violence or abuse that will be considered. If you are facing a domestic violence charge in Alabama, here is what you should know.

Classifications of domestic violence charges in Alabama

There are basically three classifications of domestic violence charges in Alabama, based on the severity of the alleged actions committed.  The purpose of Alabama’s domestic violence law is to protect a specific class of people: spouses (current or former), parents, children, household members and people with which the suspect has a romantic relationship.  The three categories are First, Second and Third Degree Domestic Violence.

First Degree Domestic Violence

As with other crimes in Alabama that are ranked by degree, a First Degree charge is the most serious.  A First Degree Domestic Violence charge involves a first degree assault charge.  This would include actions where “a person intends to cause serious physical injury to another person and does so using a dangerous or deadly object or weapon; when someone intends to disfigure another in a serious and permanent matter or attempts to destroy a physical aspect of another person; or commits any of these acts in the course of committing another serious crime such as arson and/or kidnapping.”

Second and Third Degree Domestic Violence

Similarly, a Second Degree Domestic Violence charge involves a second degree assault. This charge is considered a felony charge, bringing with it a possible sentence of a minimum of six months in jail with no early release. A Third Degree Domestic Violence charge is a misdemeanor offense, which is generally the most common domestic violence charge. Third Degree involves a person is found to have committed a third degree assault.

If you have questions regarding domestic violence, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation either online or by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

Posted in Domestic Violence |

Drug Cases And The Use of A Informant


Confidential Informants in Drug Cases

It is not uncommon in drug cases for prosecutors to use evidence from a “controlled buy” to support the charges.  Although these types of cases can be difficult to defend, there are several ways to fight evidence gathered from a confidential informant.  If you need help defending yourself from these cases, our criminal defense firm can help.

What is meant by a “controlled buy?”

A controlled buy is basically a situation setup by law enforcement where a confidential informant is sent in to buy drugs from a suspect.  In many cases, the confidential informant is facing some type of criminal charges themselves, so their cooperation is motivated by the possibility of lessening their own charges.  Typically, the process requires that the confidential informant be thoroughly searched before going into the controlled buy to ensure they are not already in possession of any drugs.

The informant is given money from the police department, with the serial numbers recorded, to ensure that the money is actually given to the suspect.  Law enforcement monitors the controlled buy through audio and/or video surveillance, which is usually recorded.

How credible is the confidential informant?

It is important for law enforcement to protect the credibility of the informant as much as possible.  By searching the informant, surveilling the buy, and taking other similar measures, the goal is to eliminate the possibility that the informant could plant the drugs on the suspect in order to fulfill the deal with the police.  The fact that the confidential informant is often a convicted felon, their credibility is already at issue. On the other hand, when law enforcement fails to follow proper procedures, then credibility becomes an issue that can be used to defend against these charges.

What type of defense could I have?

From a defense perspective, there are many different strategies that can be used to defend against drug charges based on evidence from a confidential informant.  For example, if it can be shown that the confidential informant had the opportunity to obtain drugs and plant them, the evidence obtained in the controlled buy would be useless.

If you have questions regarding drugs charges, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

Posted in Drug Possession, Drug Trafficking |

Buzzed Driving DUI


Buzzed Driving is Still Drunk Driving

We all know there is a legal limit for blood alcohol, when it comes to drunk driving laws.  But many people do not realize that, even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit of .08%, you could still be charged with a DUI in Alabama. An officer can arrest you for DUI and cite you for being “under the influence” without a record of your actual blood alcohol content.

What is “buzzed” driving?

In Alabama, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for being charged with a DUI depends on your age.  If you are under age 21, then the limit is .02%.  For everyone over age 21, the limit is .08%.  If you are a commercial driver, meaning you have a CDL, then the limit is .04%.  Generally speaking, buzzed driving is classified as any blood alcohol level between .01% to .07%.  Remember, regardless of whether you are under the legal limit, you can still be charged with a DUI in Alabama.

$3.8 million verdict in a “buzzed” driving case

A teenager in Geneva County was driving while buzzed when he ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle.  The two passengers in the car he hit were seriously injured, as well as the other teenage passenger in his car. Although his blood alcohol level at the tie was only .059%, he was still sued in civil court by each of the victims.  The jury ultimately awarded $3.8 million in damages to the three victims. The lesson that should be taken from that incident is that, even if you do not feel as though you are intoxicated, you may still be held liable if you cause an accident while buzzed.

If you have questions regarding DUI in Alabama, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation either online or by calling us at (205) 296-4233.


Posted in DUI |