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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps facing second drunk driving conviction

During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, many North Carolinians were glued to their television screens as they cheered on the swimming sensation known as Michael Phelps. During that Olympic Games, Phelps went on to break world records, winning a total of 18 gold medals and 22 medals total.

The cheering fans of those Olympic Games likely seemed a distant memory when Phelps was recently arrested and charged with his second DUI. Police near Baltimore report they pulled Phelps over after the vehicle he was operating was observed speeding and crossing the highway's double center line.

Punishments associated with sex crime conviction, punitive and far-reaching

In a few weeks, many North Carolina children will take part in the yearly ritual that is Halloween. As children dressed as ghosts and goblins take to neighborhoods in search of candy, they will likely encounter some darkened homes where no one is passing out candy. In some cases, the darkened home may be by choice. In other cases, the resident inside the home may be legally prohibited from turning on their lights to trick-or-treaters.

North Carolina is among a handful of states that have passed so-called "No Candy" laws targeted at preventing registered sex offenders from passing out candy to children on Halloween. While proponents of the No Candy law contend it helps protect vulnerable children from sexual predators, there is no hard data to support this claim.

New Statute increases second offense of Carrying Concealed Weapon (Gun/Firearm)

Effective December 1, 2014, the offense of Carrying a Concealed Weapon (Gun) will be punishable as Class H felony for a second or subsequent offense. It is being increased from what previously had been a Class I felony.

New Statute may allow dismissals of misdemeanors & low level felonies

Effective December 1, 2014, a new law allows the judge to defer further proceedings without entering a judgment of guilt, with the possibility of conditional discharge later on. Some pre-conditions include that the defendant is guilty of a low level felony or a misdemeanor, that the defendant and the prosecutor consent, that the defendant has not been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors and has not previously placed on probation. The defendant is placed on probation to allow him/her to demonstrate good conduct. If the defendant fulfills the conditions, the guilty finding will be withdrawn and the court will dismiss the proceedings.

Is there a way to get rid of criminal charges?

A criminal conviction can negatively impact an individual's life in numerous and often unexpected ways. From a misdemeanor drug charge related to possession of marijuana to felony charges related to financial fraud, individuals facing criminal charges would be wise to turn to a legal defense attorney for advice and assistance.

In cases where an individual was found not guilty of criminal charges or was convicted of and carried out the terms of a sentence including possible fines and penalties, jail or prison time and probation; a criminal record still exists. In some cases, however, an individual may be able to have a criminal record expunged or essentially wiped clean of any record of all or certain criminal charges.

Men exonerated 30 years after false conviction

Today, police and prosecutors widely rely upon DNA evidence when investigating crime scenes and pursing convictions. However, prior to DNA testing capabilities, law enforcement officials relied heavily upon witness accounts and circumstantial evidence. In cases where an individual was suspected of committing a crime and arrested, police officers also relied heavily upon information discovered during questioning and interrogation sessions.

In 1984, two half brothers, ages 19 and 15, were picked up by North Carolina police and questioned for five hours about the disappearance, rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. With no lawyer present the brothers, who were known to have mental disabilities, were rattled by the police officers and, desperate to go home, made up a story detailing the girl's rape and murder.

Individuals convicted of white collar crimes face longer prison sentences

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice took steps to retroactively reduce the sentences of many nonviolent drug offenders. Reasons cited for the decision included a stance that mandatory drug sentencing guidelines were bias, discriminatory and overly punitive in nature.

We recently reported about how, similarly, some are calling upon the federal government to reduce sentencing guidelines related to so-called white collar crimes. However, a recent Reuters analysis shows that sentences for white collar crimes have actually increased more than 31 percent from 2009 through 2013.

What are the penalties associated with a DWI in North Carolina?

Individuals in North Carolina who face drunk driving charges may be subject to significant penalties that will have significant and numerous personal and professional ramifications. After a DUI conviction the ripple-effect of consequences is set in motion and can quickly result in an individual losing his or her job, motor vehicle and freedom. Additionally, A DUI conviction is likely to negatively affect an individual's personal relationships and create financial hardships.

Many North Carolinians know that state's DWI laws and penalties are among the most punitive in the country. But most don't know the specific penalties and fines associated with a first or second DWI conviction.

Why mandatory drug sentencing reform is needed

Every day when North Carolina residents open the newspaper or turn on the T.V., there are stories about teens, men and women who have been sentenced to prison for drug-related crimes. According to the nonprofit Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the vast majority of individuals who are charged and subsequently convicted of drug crimes are non-violent offenders many of whom have no prior criminal record. Yet, in North Carolina and other states, a conviction of distributing or possessing a drug such as marijuana, cocaine or ecstasy means an individual is subject to mandatory drug sentencing laws and may spend years in prison.

During the 1980s the passage of punitive mandatory drug sentencing laws quickly resulted in hundreds of thousands of individuals being locked up in federal prisons across the country. The result? Mothers lost sons and daughters, children lost mothers and fathers and individuals lost the ability to overcome drug addictions and obtain the help they so desperately needed to make better choices and build better lives.

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