Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”
In what is reported as the first federal ruling of its kind, a federal judge in New York ruled this August that the government cannot use a fake cell tower known as a stingray to locate a drug suspect in his apartment. A stingray simulates a cell phone tower in order to determine a mobile phone’s physical location; the device acts to intercept data from a targeted phone and other information from other phones that are within its vicinity.
J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”
Kenneth Lamont Clark runs a strip club and his patrons pay for their entertainment with cash. A lot of cash. So when deputies in Harnett County who were partnering with a United States Drug-Enforcement Agency task force pulled over and searched Clark, they found cash. Lots of it. Two stops—the first on Feb. 26, 2013 and the second on March 12, 2014—netted law-enforcement officials some $130,000.
Clark was not issued a citation in either of the stops, nor was he charged with a crime. Nonetheless, since the deputies who pulled Clark over claimed drug-sniffing dogs “alerted to drugs” in his vehicle, they seized Clark’s money.
Federal law allows agents to seize currency that “was used, or intended to be used, in exchange for controlled substances, or [currency that] represents proceeds of trafficking in controlled substances[.]” North Carolina law contains no similar forfeiture law. In order to get around that, local law-enforcement agencies partner with law-enforcement officers in federal agencies. Under a program called “equitable sharing,” if local law-enforcement officials make the bust, they get to keep most of the money seized.
Last month, United States Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order placing more restrictions on the seizure of assets pursuant to the equitable-sharing program. The restrictions mean that it will be tougher for local law-enforcement officials to seize and keep proceeds of alleged criminal activity unless the alleged criminal activity “relates to public safety concerns, including firearms, ammunition, explosives, and property associated with child pornography.”
Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?
On average, American professionals commit several crimes per day, according to lawyer Harvey Silverglate. He wrote a book on the subject titled Three Felonies a Day. Silverglate and many others—including the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys—think Americans have to contend with too many criminal laws, so many in fact that most Americans are unaware of what, exactly, is illegal.
At common law, in order to be found guilty of a crime, a prosecutor had to demonstrate that a person possessed both a guilty mind—that is, he or she intended to commit the crime—and that the person did indeed commit the crime. American criminal law developed out of the British common law system, which in turn developed out of the Roman Civil Law system. The Romans called the guilty act “Actus reus” and the guilty mind “Mens rea.” A prosecutor needed to prove both to convict.
At the time of the founding of the United States, the federal government was vested by the Constitution of the United States with certain limited powers. The power to police common-law crimes was reserved to the states. The states employed the common law in order to provide and maintain order, and over time, states passed criminal codes or statutes—written laws—that superseded, replaced or were in addition to common-law crimes.
Eventually the federal government got into the act of policing crimes. The Congress passed laws creating certain agencies—the Federal Bureau of Investigators, the Drug-Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms—and gave to these agencies the authority to arrest, prosecute and imprison people for violating new federal criminal statutes.