Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Published on:

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

A woman named Julie Cantu recently experienced one of the (many) negative aspects of today’s information age. While out on a first date, the man asked her several normal get-to-know-you questions, but then included an odd one about whether she had experienced any brushes with the law. Julie was perplexed about the question and when she got home Googled herself. She was horrified to discover that there, after her LinkedIn photo, was another, much less flattering one: her mugshot from years before when she was arrested for drunk driving.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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

Those who follow issues involving criminal law may know that the United States is an outlier among other countries in the world when it comes to punishment of juvenile offenders. For years the U.S. was among only a small number of countries in the world where individuals could be sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as minors. That changed about eight years ago, bringing the U.S. somewhat more in line with practices in other developed nations. Though the change was heralded as a good thing by many, a recent case that was granted cert by the Supreme Court highlights the dangerous loopholes that still exist in current criminal practice.

Published on:

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

When we think of the law we often imagine rules that are set in stone. The law is meant to remain constant, allowing certainty over time and consistent treatment, two ways of ensuring that justice is meted out equally. Given the general presumption of consistency, a recent proposal under consideration in Florida has garnered attention. The plan will allow the state legislature to make new criminal laws retroactive, in certain cases. To learn more about what the plan would mean for residents of Florida, keep reading.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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

It can be hard to imagine anything worse than having a loved one pass away. The death of a child, a parent or a spouse can be crippling. It is not only emotionally draining, but can be financially taxing as well. You are forced to cope not only with great loss, but are then busy dealing with administrative issues and must also  figure out how to pay the often pricey bills associated with burial or cremation. For those in already tight financial circumstances, this can feel impossible.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.