Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

What started as an ordinary traffic stop turned into a felony charge for one North Carolina man. Keith Sellars was driving home from dinner when he was pulled over by a cop for running a red light. While the cop was running Sellars’s license and conducting a background check, it became evident that there was a warrant out for Sellars’s arrest, according to the New York Times.

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

We have discussed civil asset forfeiture before and how there is growing consensus around the country that the practice has many negatives and unfairly impacts those who are already among the most vulnerable. The system enriches local law enforcement departments, allowing them to seize the personal property of individuals who may never be charged with a criminal offense. Critics have long complained about the practice and those complaints seem to finally be catching the attention of lawmakers empowered to pass meaningful reforms.

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

We have discussed civil asset forfeiture many times before, usually noting the ways in which the practice is used to unfairly seize assets from often-innocent individuals, enriching law enforcement agencies at the expense of the public. Given how lucrative civil asset forfeiture can be for law enforcement agencies across the country, there is little incentive for states to take action to reform the broken system. Thankfully, legislators in one state appear to be ready for a change and are considering important revisions to the existing law.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How is social media evidence used in divorce proceedings?”

When we think of arguments involving the First Amendment and free speech, we often conjure up images of brave people taking stands on important topics. There are a number of landmark Supreme Court cases devoted to the subject, all examples of the power of the Constitution, which permits citizens to stand up and say or do what they want, even if it’s unpopular.

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Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

It’s been a few years now since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark DUI decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota. That case represented a major development in drunk driving jurisprudence and the impact continues to be felt across the country. Since the Supreme Court issued its opinion, state courts have struggled to interpret the decision and decide how it impacts cases that were pending prior to its issuance.

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

Criminal cases are seldom very exciting. Though TV and movies would have you believe differently, the reality is that court rules and procedures restrict what participants are able to do spur of the moment and instead try and make the process more predictable. It is quite rare for a prosecutor or defense attorney, even more so, a judge, to make a decision or take an action seemingly out of the blue.