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Charlotte NC Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

After 105 days, wrongfully charged North Carolina man freed from jail

Imagine being accused of and charged with a crime you didn't commit. After spending 105 days in jail, one North Carolina man who was wrongly convicted of serious criminal charges is speaking out. His life turned upside down, the 50-year-old man lost his house, job and good name when he was arrested and charged with sex crimes including rape and child pornography.

This past June, police officers in one North Carolina community closed in on individuals believed to be involved in a child pornography ring. Appealing for the public's assistance in tracking down the suspects, police released photographs of the individuals. Upon learning his photo was included among those of the suspects, the 50-year-old man reported to authorities to clear up the misunderstanding. The only evidence linking the man to any of the other suspects was a photo from 2011, when, in an unrelated matter, the man visited the home of one suspect.

Ferguson Grand Jury decides not to Indict Darren Wilson for Michael Brown shooting

In the wake of the Ferguson Missouri Grand Jury's return of a No True Bill of Indictment against Police Officer Darren Wilson, there are many questions about the role of a Grand Jury.

For more than 25 years, aggressively defending the rights of criminal defendants

Being arrested and charged with committing a criminal act can be a terrifying experience. Individuals facing misdemeanor or felony criminal charges are often unaware of the serious penalties associated with criminal convictions related to drunk driving, theft and drug possession.

In addition to paying costly fines and penalties, an individual may face time in jail or prison, loss of his or her driver's license and probation. A criminal conviction often negatively impacts an individual's personal relationships and employment status. What's more, having a criminal record can continue to have far-reaching implications when an individual attempts to find housing or secure another job. 

Recent Humane Society break-in could lead to serious penalties

Recently, the Humane Society of Charlotte was broken into. The damages - including theft and vandalism - are estimated to be in the thousands of dollars. The damages include two stolen computers, a smashed computer monitor, a broken do and sliced wires. A spokesperson noted that the break-in occurred after all of the employees had left for the night. No animals were harmed during the occurrence.

Even though it might seem like a minor offense, breaking and entering, and vandalism can carry hefty consequences. Not only will an individual accused of this crime potentially face a criminal record that could limit housing and educational opportunities in the future, but there could be immediate penalties as well. A criminal conviction can mean jail time, fines, restitution, community service or probation.

A drug trafficking conviction can have far-reaching repercussions

U.S. and North Carolina drug laws provide stiff penalties for individuals found to be in possession of or distributing illegal drugs. For individuals who are found to be in possession of illegal or prescription drugs and/or large amounts of cash, it’s likely that he or she will also face criminal drug trafficking charges.

Criminal charges related to drug trafficking are classified as felonies and therefore carry stiff penalties including hefty fines, minimum mandatory prison sentences and probation. Additionally, upon release from prison, a felony drug conviction can negatively impact an individual's ability to find a job and secure housing. For many, the stigma attached to a drug conviction also adversely impacts personal relationships and one's own self-esteem, thereby making it difficult to turn one’s life around.

What is mortgage fraud?

During the housing boom of the early 2000s, North Carolinians along with the rest of the nation, scrambled to invest in real estate. As home values continued to steadily increase, purchasing a home was considered one of the most sound and smartest ways to invest money. However, during the mid-2000s as the housing bubble began to burst, millions of U.S. homeowners were suddenly strapped with underwater mortgages and facing foreclosure.

In light of investigations and reports of questionable borrowing and lending practices, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act was passed in 2009. Today individuals convicted of criminal charges related to mortgage fraud face stiff fines and penalties. Prior to the enaction of FERA, borrowers, appraisers and lenders were allowed to engage in practices that are today considered illegal. It's important, therefore, to understand what types of financial transactions and activities may be considered mortgage fraud.

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