Archive for July 2011

American vs. Norwegian Criminal Justice

A truly excellent article in the Economist about the relative value of the Norwegian and American criminal justice systems: Nothing can be done to bring Mr Breivik’s victims back to life. The most compelling, non-mystical case for vengeance is that it offers some consolation to those wracked by desolation and fury at the murder of…

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How to Handle a DWI Stop and Arrest

So you’ve been out for the evening and had a couple of drinks. You’re on your way home, when all of the sudden you see those blue lights in the rear-view mirror. What do you do? If you’re reading this the day (or week) after being charged with a DWI, you should talk to a…

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Bath Salts? Drug Possession Enhancements

I have had clients accused of possessing synthetic drugs – known, alternatively as plant food, Spice, K-2, incense, and bath salts. One was disciplined by a military court which, before North Carolina enacted its new law, imposed punishments for possession of Spice, a kind of fake marijuana. Now North Carolina has gotten into the act,…

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Stop Snitching? Could be a Class G Felony!

Intimidating a witness interferes with the judicial process, which is designed to get get at the truth. Until this year, North Carolina punished Witness Tampering as a Class H felony. This year, North Carolina’s General Assembly decided that that punishment was not enough, and has now raised the punishment to a Class G Felony.

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Change to NC DWI Law: Having a Child in the Car

I’ve written elsewhere about Laura’s Law, which increases punishments or costs for all DWIs, and particularly is aimed a repeat DWI offenders. Up to $10,000 in fines, not to mention 120 days in jail in the harshest category. A lesser known change is the change to North Carolina’s rule that someone charged with a DWI…

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Driving While Licensed Revoked: The Toilet Bowl Effect

North Carolina has a budget deficit of… billions? So why, in an age of scarce resources and limited budgets, does the State continue to insist on punishing people for Driving While License Revoked with jail time, eating up court time, imposing costs on judges, prosecutors, police, and, let’s not forget, citizens. The DWLR, one might…

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Being Arrested is not the Worst Thing in the World

I’ve spent hundreds – maybe thousands – of hours in jail. I’m a criminal defense lawyer. On any given day, I may be in jail interviewing a client, or appearing in a jail courtroom, or trying to free someone. It’s what I do. Most people have never been in jail. Thankfully. Jail is, after all,…

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Changes to North Carolina’s Habitual Felon Law

North Carolina has a Habitual Felon Law (a.k.a a Three-Strikes law). This law enhances penalties for someone who has been convicted of three previous felonies (on independent dates, not overlapping) and is now facing a fourth felony. This law is different from North Carolina’s violent habitual felon law. North Carolina’s Habitual Felon law, as it…

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One Side of a Story

One of the unending frustrations of a criminal lawyer is watching his clients’ reputations being smeared in the media, among the clients’ friends or family, and with the clients’ employer. Unfortunately in our society, when someone is arrested, charged, or indicted, people assume there must be some reason for the charge. This is a natural…

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Red Light Cameras on the Chopping Block

Bill SB187 was passed by the Senate in April and now currently resides in the House. This bill would outlaw the use of red light cameras anywhere in North Carolina. Currently, there are only 20 cities or town in the State that still use them; locally that includes Cary, Knightdale and Raleigh. Offered up as…

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