Articles Posted in Court Procedures

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

We have discussed bail before. Specifically, we have discussed the ways in which the current bail system in place in many states is designed in such a way that disadvantages the poor and minority communities. The bail system allows those with money or access to money to avoid incarceration, while punishing those without financial resources by remaining behind bars. Many argue bail is even worse than simply inequitable, it reinforces and even exacerbates financial disparities in the criminal justice system. When a poor person is not able to make bail, he or she will then spend weeks or months behind bars awaiting trial. During this time he or she will likely become unemployed and create substantial hardship for the family left behind, making it even harder to reintegrate as a productive member of society.

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

One of the many new changes going into effect on December 1, 2017, involves North Carolina’s private warrant system. The subject seldom gets much attention, but because of the important consequence it can have, deserves some explanation. To learn more about what private warrants are, how they operate in North Carolina, and what is set to change as of December 1st, keep reading.

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

To the surprise of many who once thought it impossible, there appears to be growing pressure across the country to make changes to the current bail system in place in most jurisdictions. Recent reform efforts have succeeded in a handful of states, while efforts are underway in many others to push for change. Chief among them, legislators in California have started the process of addressing the broken bail system and a change in a state as large as California could quickly send ripple effects across the country.

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

The mugshot is something that an average person would immediately associate with a brush with the law. The assumption is that anyone and everyone who is arrested or convicted of a crime must have been booked and had his or her mugshot taken. While that is true in many cases, it is not the case all the time. A recent high-profile case dealt with exactly this issue and ended with the defendant being ordered by a judge to report to have his mugshot taken.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”What is an expungement?”

Most people do not spend time worrying about things like the discovery process. It is legalistic and confusing to those not familiar with the criminal justice system. Though it can be complicated, it is incredibly important and worth understanding. Discovery is meant to shed light on evidence, creating transparency in a justice system that can, at times, be troublingly opaque. As a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates, the discovery process can sometimes go wrong and, when it does, it can have serious consequences.

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

A commonly repeated trope of the criminal justice system is that lady justice is blind. We say this because we hope that all are treated fairly before the law. The hope is that only evidence, cold hard facts, play a role in determining guilt or innocence, not a person’s money, family, background, race, or looks. Though there are reasons to doubt how true this is in practice, especially in years past, it’s been an ideal worth striving for. A recent study appears to indicate that there is plenty of room left to strive, concluding that a person’s physical appearance can have an impact on criminal sentencing.

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

It’s been more than 10 years in the making, but the criminal case revolving around Bill Cosby came to the end, rather quietly, over the weekend. Though people have speculated for some time that Cosby had behaved inappropriately if not outright criminally with many dozens of women over the decades, it wasn’t clear whether any prosecutor would be able to make charges stick, especially so many years after the incidents were alleged to have occurred. One in Norristown, Pennsylvania tried and ultimately failed to convince a jury that Cosby was guilty of aggravated indecent assault.

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

After former FBI director James Comey’s recent testimony before Congress, the media has been awash in conversation about obstruction of justice. The question on many minds is whether Comey’s testimony made a sufficiently compelling case for obstruction of justice charges, something that could land President Trump in serious legal hot water. But what is obstruction of justice and what might happen in this case even if it is found to have occurred? To find out, keep reading.

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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.