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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

Report details why locking up juvenile offenders does more harm than good

Making mistakes is a major part of growing up and learning how to navigate life. Unfortunately, for some kids, mistakes related to drug use and possession, robbery, assault and drunk driving can have serious consequences that result in criminal charges. Mistakes are part of life and when a young person appears to be headed down the wrong path, it benefits all of society if measures are taken and employed to help a youth succeed.

While at face value the rationale mentioned above makes sense, a recent report by the Justice Policy Institute details how far too many juveniles in the U.S. are being locked up and incarcerated rather than provided with the help and counseling they desperately need. As a result, the lives of these young boys and girls are irreparably changed as negative experiences within the criminal justice system lead many down a path of recidivism and despair.

What activities may be considered cyber crimes?

Previously, many incidents of alleged theft involved circumstances in which an accused individual was believed to have personally take physical belongings from another. For example, an individual facing identify theft charges may have been accused of rummaging through someone's trash. Today, however, acts involving the unlawful access and use of sensitive personal and financial information readily involve the use of computers and are widely referred to as cyber crimes.

North Carolina residents have likely followed news of the recent cyber attack on Sony which was reportedly carried out by hackers from North Korea. Just this week, the United States military's Central Command Twitter account was also hacked by individuals claiming allegiance to the extremist organization the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Did New Jersey Real Housewife Teresa Guidice get special treatment at prison?

The media has been all agog of late, gushing how The Real Housewives of New Jersey female felon extraordinaire has already received a cut in her jail time down to 13 months. Fans may remember how she was originally sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to dozens of counts of bank, mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud, which allegedly saw them netted millions over several years.

Federal government cracking down on mortgage fraud

Any Charlotte area resident who has ever purchased a home or property likely went through the process of taking out a mortgage. The process of obtaining a mortgage loan can be complex and there are numerous financial records that must be provided and individuals who play a role in the loan process including the borrower, mortgage lender, loan processor, loan officer and real estate appraiser. Each individual has an important role to fulfill in the mortgage lending process and each must also ensure the information they both provide and are provided with is accurate.

Since the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, the federal government has taken steps to pass legislation that aims to "improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities fraud and financial institution fraud." As a result, today the actions of borrowers and financial professionals who work within the mortgage lending industry are closely and sometimes unjustly scrutinized.

Harsh penalties, liklely including prison time, may be a consequence of a conviction.  The United States Attorneys Office has massive law enforcemnt resources at its disposal from the IRS, Secret Service, FBI and others.  Even people have been involved only in a limited role on a few transactions have been targeted,  prosecuted and sentenced to jail.

If you have been contacted by law enforcement regarding improprieties in a property closing, retain experienced counsel before returning their call, even if they say that you are not under arrest and they only want to "clear some things up", "ask a few questions", "hear your side" etc.  Mortgage Fraud investigations are not for novices.  

Defending against misdemeanor and felony drug charges

An arrest for misdemeanor or felony drug charges may result from a number of circumstances and scenarios. Penalties associated with a drug conviction can amount to thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison.  All drug convictions result in an individual having a criminal record and should therefore be taken seriously. North Carolina residents who are facing drug charges would be wise to exercise their right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney.

Every drug case is unique and it's important to examine the facts of a case as well as the circumstances and events that preceded an individual's arrest. In cases where an individual pleads not guilty, a defense attorney may work to refute evidence, question whether an arresting officer followed procedural rules and laws and question the handling of evidence. Employing these types of defense strategies, a skilled defense attorney may be able to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed altogether. 

Were you arrested? Were your rights violated?

In recent months, questions surrounding U.S. police and procedural fairness and excessive force have come into question. Regardless of one's stance on this controversial topic, there are basic rights afforded to anyone who is arrested that police officers and other law enforcement officials must respect and by which they must abide.

In our last post, we discussed issues related to the Fourth Amendment and unlawful search and seizure. Potential violations of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights may occur in cases where a police officer searches an individual's person or car even though he or she failed to obtain verbal consent and lacks probable cause. In cases where a violation of an individual's Fourth Amendment rights subsequently results in an arrest and drug possession charges, a criminal defense attorney may seek to have evidence deemed inadmissible and charges dismissed.

U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on Fourth Amendment issues in NC drug case

When making traffic stops, police officers must follow and abide by certain procedural rules and laws. These laws exist to prevent officers from making indiscriminate and at-will traffic stops and help ensure that an individual's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from "unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government." While the purpose of the Fourth Amendment is clear, when it comes to traffic stops there may be questions about whether or not a police officer's actions were in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

A recent United States Supreme Court decision held that when officers make a reasonable mistake of law, the stop will still be allowed and no evidence will be suppressed.  In that case, the officer (from NC) erroneously believed that TWO brake lights were required when the actually only requred one.  The court allowed the stop, holding that the mistake was reasobable and the attorney's efforts to suppress the evidence (and dismiss the case) were not allowed.

Charlotte area teens face criminal charges for underage drinking

An individual’s teen years are often marked by many first successes and failures from which an individual learns and grows. It's during these formative years that a teen boy or girl begins exerting more independence and making more decisions on their own. Many adults can likely remember being a teen and recall the intense need to fit in, a need that may have lead one to engage in activities he or she knew were wrong or even illegal.

Several teenagers from the Charlotte bedroom community of Fort Mill were recently surprised at a private residence by a visit from the police. According to the police report, while his parents were out of town, a 17-year-old boy who lives at the home invited several friends over to his house to party.

Changes in criminal law may benefit North Carolina defendants

Being arrested can feel as though much of the control is out of a defendant's hands. From whether an individual will be eligible for bond to who the prosecutor will be, it sometimes seems there is little freedom of movement in criminal law. However, a new change to North Carolina law may put a little bit of control back into the hands of those accused of committing a crime.

The recent election in November included several measures for citizens to vote on. One of those measures that was approved gives defendants the right to request that a criminal case be tried in front of a judge instead of a jury of their peers. The only criminal charge that this does not apply to is first-degree murder, but only if the case involves the death penalty.

North Carolina school bus driver arrested on DWI charges

A 63-year-old North Carolina woman was arrested and accused of driving under the influence, and now could lose her job just before reaching retirement age. According to the North Carolina school district that employs the woman, she has been driving school buses for the district for the last 12 years.

On a recent Thursday morning, an assistant principal at a middle school where she drops off children alleged the bus driver's breath smelled like alcohol, which caused the school resource officer to suspect drunk driving.

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