Articles Tagged with sixth amendment

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

Under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to be represented by an attorney provided and paid by the state. While you can use a public defender if you cannot afford a private attorney, doing so might negatively impact the outcome of your criminal case.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Am I allowed to videotape an interaction with police? Can they make me stop filming?”

If you watch any TV crime drama, you will likely hear the phrase “right to a speedy trial.” This phrase is thrown about in many television scenes, but most people do not know what that means in real life. For most, a speedy trial means that criminal charges and prosecution must be done as quick as possible. Determining what the court finds to be “quick,” however, varies on many different factors.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

Lots of juicy television police procedurals spend time showing what goes on during jury deliberations. The deliberations often make for good television because of the interest people have in what goes on behind the scenes, a space usually out of view to most people. It’s fun to imagine what real jurors have to say to one another, something that in the real world, criminal defendants don’t have the luxury of knowing. The reason for the interest is that in almost all cases, a jury’s deliberations are meant to be secret.

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Should I talk to the police?”

The man suspected of planting the bombs on the Jersey Shore and in Manhattan last month is being represented by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after being denied access to a federal public defender.

J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need to hire an attorney if I have been falsely accused?”

Juries play an incredibly important role in our criminal justice system in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. The topic of jury nullification is one of growing national debate.  However, citizen, beware when it comes to spreading the word or even talking about practicing jury nullification anywhere near a courthouse. Courts vary in hostility towards the topic and doing so can have damaging consequences to the particular case and person. Where allowed, jury nullification allows a juror to vote Not Guilty according to conscience if they think there is enough evidence to convict a defendant but think that the sentence is in some way unfair or disproportionate, such as if:

J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Should I ever plead guilty to a charge?”

An exciting new ruling came out of the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals this February. This is the federal court that has jurisdiction over North Carolina, and it held that a state court was objectively unreasonable in not finding that a defendant’s trial attorney provided Ineffective Assistance of Counsel when the attorney failed to move to suppress the defendant’s confession.

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers : I was found not guilty of a charge, but my record still shows the charge

Today marks the start of the Supreme Court’s new term. Last year was a remarkable year, with important decisions touching on issues such as healthcare, gay marriage and privacy rights. This year appears to be no less interesting; with the court announcing that it would hear a range of controversial cases including ones on abortion rights and affirmative action. Amidst the more attention-getting cases, there are others of equal importance, including a very interesting one in the criminal realm about just how seriously the Sixth Amendment ought to be taken.

J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”


It is no exaggeration to posit that millions of men and women have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. At the very bedrock of our Constitutional system is the right of criminal defendants to trial by a jury of one’s peers.

Jury Selection Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…” It is the job of judges and courts to determine what laws mean—including the text of the Constitution.

In general, the Sixth Amendment jury-trial right has been interpreted to apply in both civil and criminal cases in which a defendant is threatened with an active prison sentence. Traditionally, felonies were defined as the more serious criminal offenses for which punishment often meant an active prison sentence, so defendants charged with felonies were generally entitled to trials by jury. Defendants charged with misdemeanors who did not face a potential prison sentence did not enjoy the right to trial by jury. Their cases were heard by a judge. Those cases are called “bench trials.”

With the advent and expansion of modern criminal codes, states have blurred the lines between crimes that may result in an active prison sentence. Many states—North Carolina among them—have different classes of felonies and misdemeanors, and some of the more serious misdemeanor offenses may subject a criminal defendant to an active prison sentence. That means nowadays some misdemeanor criminal defendants enjoy the right to trial by jury.

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