Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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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.

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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.