Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense

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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.

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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 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: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

It can sometimes seem like we have seen it all before. This is especially true in the criminal law world, where crimes are seldom novel, but often sad cycles continually repeating themselves. Though this is true in some cases, a recent prosecution in Massachusetts demonstrates that individuals can still find new ways to run afoul of the law and, when that happens, it can raise important questions about how these groundbreaking cases ought to be handled.

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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.