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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

Forensic evidence: way more fallible than many people believe

When they themselves are evaluated on their competency in carrying out tests and analyzing information that often sends third parties to prison for years or even life, they fail the exam on an astonishingly high number of occasions.

"They" pertains to that singular and limited group of so-called "forensic experts" that conduct exams and offer testimony at criminal trials on evidence linked to DNA, firearms, bite marks and additional matters.

New North Carolina sex offender law: too broad?

Anyone seeking a bit of confirming evidence as to why any individual in North Carolina facing a sex-crime charge might reasonably want to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately need simply take a look at the state's new sex offender law.

As noted by one national news outlet examining the legislation (which was passed earlier this month), it "will do nothing to stop sex crimes while continuing to isolate, penalize, and ostracize fully rehabilitated offenders who are attempting to rejoin society."

Larceny and theft: a broad umbrella of illegal offenses

The terms "theft" and "larceny" are often used in media accounts spotlighting crime and alleged criminal activity in a broad and interchangeable way, and it understandable that such is the case.

At the core of either of those terms is a focus on the fraudulent taking of personal property belonging to a company or to another individual. A lack of consent is centrally implied.

Can you find me now? Questioning the accuracy of call-detail reports

Fingerprints, DNA, eyewitness testimony. Add one more item to the list of "ironclad" evidence exposed as biased: cell phone data. If you have been following our blog, you may have read about instances in which the validity of DNA evidence was questioned due to the manner in which it was collected or tested. In court, prosecutors may present evidence that appears to be objective, when actually the interpretation of the information makes it quite subjective. Coupled with the testimony of experts, this type of misleading evidence can be bulletproof in court.

Such is the case with data revealed by cell phones. In addition to photos and texts that document an individual's daily life, cell phone records can pinpoint a person's location each time he makes a call. If the whereabouts of that individual are later called into question, law enforcement doesn't need to confiscate the individual's phone. In order to circumvent the Supreme Court prohibition of cell phone seizure without a warrant, officers may find it easier to obtain call-detail reports. Attaining this documentation can be done by merely contacting service providers and requesting their cell-tower data.

Examining options for first-time offenders

If you have been following our blog, you know that maintaining a clean criminal record is important if you are concerned about your future employment, educational opportunities and housing preferences. Basically, the three items on this list can impact all aspects of your life. Unfortunately, it's not only the presence of felonies that can limit your options. Having misdemeanors on your file can also restrict your freedom of choice.

Of course, you may not have been thinking of the long-term implications of your actions when you were arrested for a drug or alcohol crime. If your mistake was a first-time offense, you may benefit from one of several first-time offender programs. In North Carolina, these court-mandated plans exist in order to help individuals avoid the stain of criminal behavior on their records. Is it possible that you could qualify for a dismissal of the charges? Take a look at this list to see if you could benefit from a first-time offender course:

Argument for criminal reforms broad-based, compelling

At some future date, students in North Carolina and nationally immersed in historical details regarding the country's criminal justice system might be flatly perplexed by this huge irony: For decades, the prevalent view that locking people up at progressively higher levels and for increasingly longer prison terms would reduce crime actually spawned the opposite result.

The numbers to support that are at once, well, arresting, and always have been. As noted in a recent New York Times article on American criminal sentencing policies and the urgent need for reform, the crime recidivism rate is far higher for inmates released into society after lengthy incarceration terms than it is for defendants who spent time in alternative programs.

If you're a North Carolina boater, you might want to read this

What's the difference between the penalties imposed for a drunk driving versus a boating-while-impaired (BWI) conviction, respectively, in North Carolina?

Not so much anymore, in the wake of BWI-related legislation passed earlier this summer. Legions of boaters who like to relax on the state's varied waterways might want to take a moment to reflect on the particulars of a new law passed in late June.

Meet the Office Mascots

  • Sir Winston Churchill Connelly is a red Labradoodle bred from a mahogany miniature French Poodle and a red English Lab. He is doted upon by staff and clients alike, stealing their hearts with his sweet disposition. More Photos

  • Dustye is a gaited (also known as racking) Registered Tennessee Walking Horse. He is a sweet tempered, playful, noble buckskin who loves to give rides to kids. More Photos