Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.

Articles Posted in Civil Rights

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

Even if you did not commit a crime, talking to police officers during a traffic stop can be a stressful experience. When police suspect that you have committed a crime, they may want to search your vehicle. However, unless your circumstances meets the criteria that allow police to do a warrantless search, law enforcement officers need your permission to search your vehicle.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I talk to the police?”

The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, triggered a wave of nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

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

Several cities in North Carolina enacted a curfew in response to protests over the killing of George Floyd. In Charlotte, 30 people were arrested during the second night of protests, according to WBTV.

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

Arrests of anti-abortion protesters in multiple North Carolina cities, including Charlotte, made national headlines, prompting many high-profile politicians to accuse the police of violating the arrested protesters’ constitutional rights.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I ever plead guilty to a charge?”

After North Carolina’s “stay-at-home” order went into effect on March 30, 2020, to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many residents began to wonder, “Can I be fined or arrested for violating the order?” and “Are there criminal charges if I do not comply with the order?

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What am I obligated to do if I’ve been pulled for Drinking and Driving?”

In today’s society, it is not uncommon to turn on the news or open any social media platform and see a video of someone’s interaction with the police. The ever-present fear of police misconduct can create the sense of need to record police interactions. These types of recordings can be helpful in determining what happened between police and a suspect or individual. With a recording, no one can lie about what was said or misconstrue the actions of another because there is video evidence present. Of course, a video cannot show everything, and legally resolving any issues can take more evidence than a minute long video of one aspect of an altercation. Nevertheless, videos hold police accountable for their actions, as well as the individuals interacting with the police. Is recording a police officer legal, though? Do you have to inform the officers that you are recording them? The answer is: It depends.

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What am I obligated to do if I’ve been pulled for Drinking and Driving?”

Throughout the country, we often hear a lot of debate about an individual, or his or her property, being subjected to search by law enforcement. The Fourth Amendment of the constitution gives us the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. While there are many cases and court opinions that detail when law enforcement is able to search an individual, or his or her property, we often forget that an individual is able to voluntarily consent to a search. With voluntary consent to search comes a whole host of questions. Can a voluntary search be inferred? Are there particular factors that indicate a person has consented to a search? In the recent case of State v. Bartlett, the North Carolina Court of Appeals found that an individual’s race may be a factor in deciding whether or not a person has voluntarily consented to a search.

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

The world that we live in today often requires an extra level of security. The ever-present threat of an individual, or individuals, bringing dangerous weapons to public settings creates the need for buildings to adopt safety procedures to keep everyone safe. Court houses have security at the entrances of the building to stop people from bringing contraband in like guns, weapons, lighters, and other prohibited items. While metal detectors and security guards give off the impression of safety, are they constitutional? The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that individuals are to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. Are there exceptions to searches and seizure protection?

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

Guns and firearms are a big issue in the United States. Regardless of which side of the debate you agree with, the right to bear arms is granted by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Therefore, it is important to know the rules and regulations surrounding gun ownership and use. Not everyone is free to own a gun at any time. For example, those who have been convicted of a felony are restricted in their right to use and own guns. Felons who possess a firearm face additional criminal charges. Those facing additional charges have sometimes tried to use a justification defense for possessing the firearm. Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals elaborated on the applicability of a justification defense for use or possession of a firearm by a felon.

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

When law enforcement suspects that a person is in possession of contraband, a stolen item, or some other type of illegal substance/item, they will often obtain a search warrant to find that item. In North Carolina, a search warrant is defined as, “a court order and process directing a law enforcement officer to search designated premises, vehicles, or persons.” This definition gives potential for a location, vehicle, or even persons being subject to a search. Most commonly, search warrants are for places like homes, vehicles, etc. It is not as common for a search warrant to be executed for the search of an individual person.

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