Archive for February 2012

Teenagers sentenced as Level 1 NC DWI

As predicted, North Carolina’s new DWI statute – passed last year and in effect as of December 1, 2011 and affecting all DWIs committed on or after that date – is having a significant impact on people charged with Raleigh DWI offenses. The most significant effects have occurred in cases involving young people who have…

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Probation following a NC DWI Conviction

Following a Raleigh DWI conviction, a Defendant may be placed on supervised on unsupervised probation. If the defendant has gotten an assessment, and can pay all of his court costs and fines on the day of conviction, then the defendant will in most cases be placed on unsupervised probation for Level 3, 4, or 5…

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Fingerprint Analysis is Unreliable

Most people get their understanding of forensic science from crime shows, such as CSI, or movies. The impression that’s given is that forensic science is incredibly accurate and reliable. For instance, most people believe that fingerprinting analysis is a reliable way to determine whether someone touched an item. Or they believe that shoe print analysis…

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Stopping for Weaving is Unconstitutional

Police may stop a vehicle for reasonable suspicion – specific facts that suggest criminal activity may be afoot – or probable cause that the car in fact is committing a crime by, perhaps, speeding, having expired registration, or violating another motor vehicle law. When police rely upon reasonable suspicion, they must be able to articulate…

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Can Police Stop a Vehicle for a Broken Brake Light?

The answer is: it depends. If both brake lights are out, then the car is violation of NC motor vehicle law, and a police officer may stop the vehicle. But if just one brake light is out, and nothing else unusual is observed about the vehicle or the driving, a police officer may not stop…

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Definition of Probable Cause in North Carolina

Probable cause a standard used at different points in a criminal process – it is the standard used to arrest, the standard used to indict, and the standard used to issue search warrants. In each of these situations, someone might be arrested, indicted (charged), or searched without probable cause being shown. In the event that…

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Working on a Felony Drug Contract

Someone recently asked me: I sold marijuana to an “informant” twice. The second time I was brought in by police and offered a deal to become an confidential informant. I was told if I brought in 5 controlled drug buys. My first buy went bad, and the cops ended up revealing my cover. After that…

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Vehicle Seizure and North Carolina DWI Cases

North Carolina law allows police to seize vehicles in a number of circumstances, including if you’ve been convicted of a prior DWI or are in a civil revocation period for a prior DWI arrest and are arrested for a subsequent DWI. Therefore, it’s possible for your vehicle to be seized even if you’ve never actually…

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Tuck in Your Shirt! Criminal Contempt in NC District Courts

Judges in North Carolina, whether they are District Court or Superior Court judges, have the power to rule in contempt hearings pursuant to N.C.G.S. Chapter 5A. Criminal contempt can be punished by censure, imprisonment up to 30 days, or a $500 fine, or any combination of the three. Criminal contempt can come in two forms:…

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First Degree Burglary in North Carolina

We’re approaching that time of year when the weather starts to get a little nicer (although this year has been a very mild winter in Raleigh!) Around this time, people start coming out of their homes to enjoy the weather, to have fun, and to hang out with friends. And each spring in Wake County…

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