Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I am charged by campus police could I still face jail time or probation?”

It’s something relatively few people have experienced (thankfully), but if and when you do, the practice likely comes as a terrible surprise. Police, unbeknownst to many, have the right in many states to stop people and seize assets they believe might have some connection to a criminal act. These seizures can take place without first convicting a person of committing a crime and, in some cases, even without ever charging the person with a crime. The practice likely seems shocking given that it appears to run counter to one of the foundational ideas of the American criminal justice system: that all people should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

You’ve heard it a million times before, someone who may be in a bit of hot water says they’re going to “plead the Fifth”. It’s happened most recently with President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The Senate Intelligence Committee asked him to come and testify about issues relating to his connections with Russia and it was just revealed that Flynn will be pleading the Fifth, refusing to testify to the Committee or turn over any documents related to the issue. So what exactly does it mean to plead the Fifth and how does it work? To learn more, keep reading.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

Though sticks and stones may break our bones, words are never supposed to hurt us, right? The reality is that words hurt all the time and when they do, they can sometimes cause serious damage. In the legal world, cases involving hurtful words and accusations fall under the umbrella of defamation or libel.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

When most people think of hate crimes they imagine criminal acts that occur because one person was motivated by a particular animus against the victim. This animus can be based on a number of things, such as the victim’s race, gender or sexual orientation. If such animosity motivates a crime, it stands to reason that the defendant could be charged with committing a hate crime. However, as a case in West Virginia demonstrates, that might not always be true.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Am I allowed to videotape an interaction with police? Can they make me stop filming?”

A recent incident in Wilmington highlighted an area of legal uncertainty. The case involved an Uber-driving criminal defense attorney, a smartphone and an irritated police officer. Though this particular dispute was resolved with a public apology by the Wilmington Police Department, it begs bigger questions about how other similar incidents might be handled in the future, especially if a case were to make its way to court. To learn more about the legal issues surrounding recording police officers in North Carolina, keep reading.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”A past conviction is keeping me from finding work. What can I do?”

For many people, what goes on inside the walls of a prison isn’t the focus of much attention. Most seem content to embrace the idea that what’s out of sight should be kept out of mind. Unfortunately, this tendency to ignore sometimes-difficult issues allows the issues to continue to cause harm.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”

The Supreme Court will soon hear an important case touching on several hot topics: immigration, deportation and crime. The Court will weigh into the thorny issue of how much power the government should have to deport immigrants who are found to have committed criminal acts. The case comes at an especially heated time given the recent election and heated rhetoric surrounding the topic of immigration, legal and otherwise.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”

To many people, involuntary commitment in a psychiatric facility seems like the equivalent of jail when it comes to restricting your freedoms; for some, it could be considered even worse. However, the majority of the N.C. Court of Appeals feels differently, with a divided panel recently ruling that a man who was involuntarily committed after he tried to kill himself was not in custody for Miranda warning purposes.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

A recent article in Bloomberg discusses the danger that comes when prosecutors become persecutors. Though everyone agrees it is important to obey the law, some prosecutors take the power to enforce our many laws and run wild with it. Interpreting often vague legislation broadly can give the government sweeping power to target nearly anyone it disagrees with. It’s for this reason that prosecutors are called to exercise restraint and use their extensive power only when absolutely necessary.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

The term “riot” is a sensitive one in many cities across the nation these days, including in the Queen City. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police arrested at least 72 people over the six (6) days of protests and riots that occurred after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott last month.