Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense

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

Being charged with a crime can be overwhelming. Suddenly, you are thrust into the court system and worried that you will be found guilty and face serious penalties for an action you may or may not have taken. Your criminal defense attorneys has the goal of achieving the best possible results for you under the circumstances. Most people assume that the only possible outcome for their case is the judge or jury finding them guilty or not guilty. While these are certainly two possible outcomes in criminal court, there are others. Criminal defendants in North Carolina are sometimes offered a plea bargain.

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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: “How can an attorney help me with my DWI?”

Most people in North Carolina rely on their car to get them from one place to another. While there may be public transportation options, rideshare options, or any other type of transportation, for the most part, people get around by car. Imagine being completely dependent on a car to get you to work, school, or even social events. What happens if you suddenly do not have a license anymore? For those individuals who are arrested and/or convicted for driving while impaired (DWI), that is a sobering reality. Often times, after an individual is arrested and charged for a suspected DWI, he or she faces immediate license revocation, even without the conviction. An arrest and/or charge is enough to revoke a license.

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

It is unsurprising that the general population is hesitant about having those who have been convicted of sex crimes re-enter society. Therefore, there are a variety and programs that have been set up to monitor offenders and even keep them out of certain areas, like schools. In North Carolina, there is another option, satellite-based monitoring (SBM). Depending on the level or severity of the sex crime of which a defendant is convicted, in North Carolina there is an SMB program into which some offenders must enter. There has been contention over SMB and when it is a reasonable part of a defendant’s sentence. Issues have arisen regarding whether SMB is a reasonable search that the Fourth Amendment grants. The court of appeals examined these issues in State v. Griffin.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What should parents tell their children to do when interacting with police officers?”

A chair is thrown in a cafeteria. What is your first reaction to that? Silly high school antics? Assault? Is this a crime? The North Carolina Court of Appeals had to deal with this very question. A high school student under the age of 16 threw a chair in the cafeteria of his high school and ran out of the room. A school resource officer followed the chair throwing student out of the cafeteria, snuck up on him, and grabbed him by his shirt. After being confronted about the chair throwing incident, the student claimed that he was just goofing around with his brother when the chair was thrown. Initially, the student was caught off guard being apprehended by the school resource officer, but calmed down within minutes of being approached and taken to a conference room.

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Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

One of the fundamental rights that American citizens have is the right to privacy. We have the right to feel secure in our person and be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and government intrusions. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution grants us this right. The crux of the Fourth Amendment is providing protection from the police, or other governmental institutions, from searching you or your belongings without the proper justification. The American judicial system has a whole host of cases dealing with exactly how far the right to privacy extends.

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

Being charged with a crime in North Carolina can be scary. Suddenly, you are facing serious penalties and even a prison sentence that could be devastating to your life. In criminal cases, most people think of a defendant being found “guilty” or “not guilty.” Not guilty is the ideal finding in a criminal case, but that is not always the result. When defendants hear a guilty verdict, they might think that their lives are ruined. In criminal cases in North Carolina, there are some options for a defendant, even after a finding of guilt.

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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: “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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We have previously discussed a new expungement law that will go into effect in North Carolina in just a few weeks. The measure, scheduled to be implemented on December 1, 2017, is aimed at improving the currently cumbersome expungement process. The law is specifically designed to make the process faster and simpler for those hoping for a fresh start. Though we have mentioned several aspects of the new law, we have not yet discussed in detail the requirement by background check entities to delete expunged records. For more information about this issue, keep reading.

 
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Before we jump into the details of the duty to delete expunged records, we should take a moment to reiterate some of the most important aspects of the new law. Currently, anyone interested in an expungement must wait a long time, 15 years for felonies or misdemeanors, assuming the conviction is first-time and non-violent. The newly revised law says that the wait time for first-time, non-violent felonies will be dropped to 10 years. First-time, non-violent misdemeanors will have even short waiting periods, as these will now be reduced to only five years. The new law is also helpful to those eager to get a clean slate in that it removes limits on expungements for dismissed charges or not guilty verdicts.