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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

How expungement works in North Carolina

A criminal record can continue to hold you back in life long after you pay the specific legal penalty imposed. People concerned about the possibility their criminal record may bar them from employment, housing and educational opportunities often ask about the possibility of expungement.

Expungement, also called expunction, can be difficult to obtain in North Carolina. A great deal depends on the specific facts of your case, so be sure to discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney.

1 facing drunk driving charges after collision with school bus

There are a multitude of circumstances that can lead an individual to exhibit erratic driving behavior. However, when an accident occurs under similar circumstances, the initial thoughts of the responding officers may lean toward intoxication. A 30-year-old man has recently been arrested and accused of drunk driving after he veered into the wrong lane and struck a school bus full of kids in North Carolina.

The incident is said to have occurred around 3:30 p.m. on a recent Tuesday, when a truck suddenly veered into the path of a school bus. The truck proceeded to collide with the bus before rolling over and erupting in flames. According to reports, several children were aboard the bus at the time, but no one was injured in the process.

2 facing multiple drug charges following alleged police pursuit

When law enforcement agents are investigating an area for drug activity, the actions of everyone nearby may be subject to increased suspicion. Should an individual attempt to evade a traffic stop during this process, belief of the presence of wrong-doing could be implied. Two individuals have been taken into custody and are facing multiple drug charges after allegedly leading police on a chase that they say ended with assault in North Carolina.

According to reports, the incident began when a detective was investigating information provided by an unknown source in relation to drug activity in the area. During this period, the detective claims to have come upon a suspicious vehicle and, after witnessing several traffic offenses, attempted to initiate a traffic stop. However, the detective claims that instead of complying, the driver began to flee, leading authorities on a short chase.

Court rules warrant for cellphone is unconstitutionally broad

If the police suspect you of a crime, is that enough to justify a warrant to search your home for whatever cellphones and electronic devices you may own? No, it's not, according to a recent federal appeals court decision. If they could, that would open the homes of all suspects to extensive searches, which would be unconstitutional.

The ruling comes from the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and many actions by federal agencies. Although it doesn't have jurisdiction over North Carolina, federal courts in our area are likely to give substantial weight to the ruling.

Study: Blacks and Hispanics more likely to be searched nationwide

A recent, large-scale study by Stanford University's Open Policing Project has found good evidence that African-American and Hispanic drivers are ticketed and subjected to vehicle searches at a higher rate than whites and that this is due to racial bias. Moreover, the effect does not appear limited to states with histories of discriminatory legislation.

For years, the Open Policing Project has been collecting traffic stop reports from across the nation and publishing them to a database. So far, the group has collected over 136 million records. Since some jurisdictions provide more complete information than do others, the researchers narrowed their focus for this study to about 64 million records.

3 things you should know about Ecstasy

Many people think that so-called recreational drugs are no big deal. This is a mistake. While it may be easier to find such drugs and take them, this does not mean that the consequences are any lesser. This is certainly true of substances such as Ecstasy, which is a popular party drug taken by youth and many other demographics. There are a few things you should know about this drug.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 13 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 have used Ecstasy. Other research, however, suggests that these numbers are on the rise. If you or your child has encountered legal trouble as a result of this drug, an attorney may be able to help. 

DOJ restarts work on validating suspect forensic techniques

In 2015, the FBI revealed the results of its review of hundreds of cases, dating back decades, in which members of its hair analysis unit had testified. In at least 90 percent of the cases, the FBI was forced to admit that its analysts had overstated the strength of evidence involving microscopic hair analysis. Unfortunately, hair analysis is not the only forensic science technique that has been challenged as either unscientific or less reliable than previously thought.

Handwriting analysis, bite-mark matching, certain ballistics tests and other common forms of forensic evidence have been found to be flawed. Prosecutors may have benefited from overstated expert testimony, but an untold number of defendants probably got convicted based on this misleading evidence.

Gun rights for domestic violence offenders before appeals court

A man who was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense in 1997 has sued the United States Attorney General to get his right to carry a firearm restored. At issue is a federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which permanently bans the ownership of firearms or ammunition by anyone "who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence."

The man lost his case in federal trial court and has now appealed it to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. His main claim is that his domestic violence conviction, a misdemeanor, "cannot categorically be labeled a 'serious' offense" that would justify stripping him of his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Criminal justice reformers concerned about possible pot crackdown

Advocates for criminal justice reform have been awaiting recommendations from the president's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, and they're are concerned. After observing recent policy pronouncements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who leads the task force, they worry the recommendations will signal a major federal crackdown on marijuana possession -- and for a controversial reason.

According to the head of the Brennan Center's Justice Program, Sessions and other Justice Department officials have been making a connection between marijuana, immigration, and increases in violent crime.

Despite bipartisan concerns, Sessions urges more civil forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made another policy announcement, again to the dismay of criminal justice reformers and civil rights advocates. Speaking at a meeting of the National District Attorneys Association this week, he said he would again allow federal law enforcement agencies to take hold of property seized by local law enforcement.

The new policy directive is aimed at increasing forfeitures overall. As you may be aware, civil forfeiture is a process in which law enforcement seizes cash and property that officers suspect is related to or was gained from illegal activity. The seizures can take place before any charges are brought and long before a defendant is convicted or acquitted at trial.

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