Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”
A Johnston County court has appeared in the news recently for kicking a woman out of court while she was breastfeeding her baby in a sling, according to WRAL. Danielle Bell needed to appear in traffic court. She brought her 3-month old child with her. While waiting for the case to be called, sitting in the back of the courtroom, she breastfed her baby who was covered up in a sling. A deputy of the court told her that children under the age of 12 were not permitted in the courtroom and asked her to leave. Bell’s husband took the child outside of the courtroom.
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”
Like other criminal defense attorneys, I would almost never recommend that a defendant waive one’s right to a jury trial.
Until last week, defendants in North Carolina could not be convicted of a felony but upon unanimous verdict of a jury of one’s peers. Now that right has been diluted, and criminal defendants have a new right: the right to waive their rights.
For the second time in two years, voters in the Tar Heel State have amended North Carolina’s State Constitution. Earlier this year, a pair of federal court judges struck down a 2012 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
This time around, voters in the Old North State narrowly passed a state constitutional amendment that will enable defendants in criminal superior matters to waive jury trials.
Article I, Section 24 of the Constitution of North Carolina will now read:
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”
Many defendants in criminal cases may find coming to the county courthouse for mandatory court appearances to be an unpleasant experience in the company of unpleasant people. Criminal defense attorneys visit courthouses every day, so we are very much in tune with the procedures—and personalities—of courthouses and courthouse staff.
Although, technically speaking, we are “officers of the court,” we are subject to many of the same processes to which the general public and criminal defendants are subject. In theory and sometimes in practice, attorneys have the credentials to bypass security checks at the entrances to courthouses, but many times it is easier and more expeditious to just go through security than to try to explain to an officer why one should not have to take one’s belt and shoes off and pass through a metal detector.
Attorneys who do not appear in court very often or who are handling a case in a county for a first time may be asked by deputies stationed in courtrooms to produce identification. All of this is done to protect courtroom staff—judges, prosecutors and clerks—as well as jurors, defendants and the public.
While spending time in the company of dozens of armed guardians may not meet the definition of “pleasant,” an incident in a Charlotte courtroom on Tuesday underscores why officers are understandably wary of nearly every face they see entering a courthouse and courtroom.