Criminal Law

Ted Shouse focuses his practice exclusively on defending people charged with crimes in state and federal courts in Kentucky. He understands that there is no substitute for listening carefully to the needs of the client and then working very, very hard to protect that client. He has successfully defended the liberty, reputation and at times even the lives of his clients.

Government Investigation

Mr. Shouse has represented many people who were being investigated by either state or federal authorities. It is imperative that you have an experienced lawyer, who knows how investigations ought to be conducted, at your side if the government is investigating you. Mr. Shouse has successfully presented his clients’ position to investigating organizations and has even been able to persuade prosecutors not to pursue criminal charges.

If you, or someone you care about, is under investigation by law enforcement you should have an experienced lawyer with you. Often the police will conduct interrogations of suspects at the end of their investigations – this makes persuading them not to charge you very difficult. You need a lawyer who can present your position to the police.

By having an experienced lawyer with you you may be able to avoid being charged.

State Court

The criminal courts of Kentucky are divided into four levels (Mr. Shouse has had success at every level):

  • District Court

    This is where misdemeanors are handled and where most felony charges begin. There is no such thing as a “minor offense” – every criminal charge is serious and important to the client. Mr. Shouse knows this – there are no small cases, only small lawyers. Mr. Shouse will treat your individual situation with the seriousness it deserves and will work with you for a satisfactory resolution.

  • Circuit Court

    This is the court where felonies are prosecuted. The consequences of a felony conviction are severe: prison, loss of civil rights and destruction of reputation are some of them. Mr. Shouse has handled thousands of felony cases and has tried many cases before circuit court juries throughout Kentucky. Mr. Shouse is known for his persistence, tenacity, and intelligence in defending felony charges.

  • Court of Appeals

    This is the initial level of the appellate courts of Kentucky. Criminal sentences of less than 20 years are appealed first to the court of appeals. Mr. Shouse has argued cases before this court and has experience drafting the written briefs that this court considers.

  • Kentucky Supreme Court

    This is the highest court in Kentucky. Mr. Shouse has successfully argued before the Supreme Court and obtained a unanimous opinion freeing his client from Kentucky’s death row.

Federal Court

Federal criminal charges often carry even stiffer penalties than those in Kentucky State Courts. There is no parole in the federal prison system and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines often mandate very long prison sentences. Mr. Shouse has experience successfully representing clients in federal court and has successfully persuaded federal authorities not to bring charges against his clients.


Mr. Shouse has handled dozens of appeals in both state and federal court. An appeal is a complicated writing process. The appellate courts look very carefully at the record of the case to determine if the trial court made any legal errors that need to be corrected.

Persuasive written and oral advocacy are critical to success in the appellate courts. Your case needs to be presented logically and on its legal merits.


Post-conviction proceedings are generally a convicted persons last chance at release from prison. In a post-conviction action, the facts of the case can, at times, be reopened to bring new evidence before a court. Mr. Shouse has handled many post-conviction actions, including proving that his client served eleven years for a rape he did not commit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need an attorney even if I am innocent?

    Yes. The government, as represented by prosecutors and police officers, is generally in the business of arresting people and obtaining convictions. Despite what they may say, they are generally not in the business of helping you if you are accused of a crime. Some police officers even have special training on “obtaining confessions.” They rarely want to hear your side of the story, and if they do, it is because they think it will help them convict you. Sometimes police officers have even told suspects that a lawyer is not necessary if someone is innocent in hopes that the suspect will give them enough information to make a case against the suspect. Always ask to speak with a lawyer before speaking with the police.

  • Can the police just stop me for no reason?

    No. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section Ten of the Kentucky Constitution bar unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally speaking, there are three types of interactions between the police and citizens: 1. a consensual encounter, 2. a brief investigative stop, or, 3. a custodial arrest. A consensual encounter is any interaction in which the suspect consents, like a casual conversation on the street between a police officer and a citizen. For the police to conduct an investigative stop, the police officer must have a suspicions that crime was or is about to be committed, and that officer’s belief must be reasonable. During this investigative stop, if the police also have a reasonable suspicion that the person is armed, the police may “pat down” the person’s clothing to make sure the person is unarmed. Police officers are not allowed to conduct a full-scale search during this stop. For a full-scale search or arrest, the police officer must either have a warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and the that the suspect committed it. Of course, if the suspect consents to a search, then the police may conduct a search.

  • Are the police allowed to search my car after they give me a citation?

    Generally not. A citation is an alternative to an arrest. Technically, when a person is given a citation, they are not under arrest, so the search that goes along with an arrest is not allowed. However, again, if the suspect consents to a search then the police may conduct a search.

  • Should I get a Public Defender?

    If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the answer is absolutely yes. Because most public defenders work in one jurisdiction, they are often uniquely qualified to give advice about the courts in which they practice. Also, people who become public defenders usually do so because they are committed to helping people with limited resources. Indeed, depending on the jurisdiction, jobs at public defender offices can be hard to get and attract some of the best and brightest lawyers and law students. Unfortunately, however, public defenders are only for people who cannot afford a lawyer, so if you can afford a lawyer and you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime, you need to hire a lawyer.

  • Should I take a breathalyzer test?

    You should know that if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test after the police request on, Kentucky law mandates that your license will be suspended even if you are ultimately found not guilty of the DUI. If you have not been drinking, taking the test may be the quickest way to show the police that you are not intoxicated. However, machines are not foolproof, and a bad result on a breathalyzer test can sometimes make it more difficult to obtain a good result in court.

  • The police did not read me my rights. Shouldn't my case be dismissed?

    Miranda v. Arizona is a famous case in which the United States Supreme Court held that before a confession is admissible in court against a defendant, 1. the police must have informed the suspect that he has a right to counsel and to remain silent, and 2. that the suspect mist have intelligently, knowingly and voluntarily waived those rights. However, this only applies to custodial interrogations. In other words, Miranda only applies to those suspects who are in custody and who are being questioned. It does not protect statements made to private citizens, and it does not apply to statements that are not make in response to questioning. Even if the police violate Miranda, the violation usually only invalidates the statement itself (or any fruits thereof) not other evidence that the police obtained independent of the statement.

  • The prosecuting witness wants to "drop the charges." Will my case be dismissed?

    Prosecutors handle thousands of cases a year, and prosecuting witnesses who want to “drop the charges” are not uncommon. While it is true that lots of cases are dismissed because of the failure of a witness to appear, it is also true that lots of cases are prosecuted anyway. If a prosecuting witness becomes uncooperative, the prosecutor may simply proceed without that witness. Often, in domestic violence cases, prosecutors believe that prosecuting witnesses don’t know what is good for them, and they will prosecute cases despite the prosecuting witnesses wishes to the contrary.

  • Can I get a new judge?

    Usually not.