Criminal Process

Body Cameras For Courts Too

The talk about body cameras for police officers is good. It’s good for officer safety, good to document the interaction between officers and the policed. We often know too little about these interactions. Police have a version, the policed have a version, and bystanders have their versions. Confusion can lead to false convictions and unchecked…

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North Carolina Misdemeanors: What is a Misdemeanor in North Carolina?

The state of North Carolina categorizes offenses into three main categories: Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions/Ordinance Violations. Infractions and ordinance violations are the least serious while felonies are the most serious. A misdemeanor classification is for less serious crimes, but a conviction of this type is still a criminal conviction and can impact your life negatively…

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What is a hung jury?

“Hung jury” is a slang term for a jury that is hopelessly deadlocked. Usually the judge will inquire of the jurors, through the foreperson, whether the jury is in fact deadlocked, or whether the jury would benefit from additional time deliberating on the case. While not all states require a unanimous – all jurors –…

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Legal Doctrine and Legal Realties – The Daily Life of Criminal Law

Most people are woefully ill-informed about the way that criminal law is actually practiced. That includes law professors, including most of the ones who actually teach criminal law. I recall taking a Criminal Procedure class – “Bail to Jail” – when I was a student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. UNC is…

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Shock and Awe: North Carolina Criminal Law Up Close

When I meet people who are accused of or under investigation for serious felonies – sex offenses, drug trafficking, pornography crimes, frauds or theft crimes, and homicides – they typically have a very naive view of the Raleigh criminal justice system. This naive view is especially true of people who have never been in trouble…

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Victory for Criminal Defendants

Discovery is the process by which each side in a legal dispute is entitled to receive information from the other side. Usually in a criminal matter, discovery goes one way – from the prosecution to the defense. That’s because in a criminal matter, the prosecution – through the police – such as the Raleigh Police…

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Magistrates and Criminal Law in North Carolina

A magistrate is not a judge, but is a judicial officer of the District Court. Each of the 100 counties in North Carolina has at least one magistrate. A magistrate has civil functions – including to marry, and to hear small claims suits – and has criminal functions, which I’ll discuss below. The general statutes…

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Liability for Crimes

Sometimes people are surprised that they may be implicated in a criminal act, even though they weren’t necessarily involved in all aspects of the crime. Liability for crimes can extend to everyone involved in various aspects of the crime, and can extend through time to involve aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact, and conspiracy.…

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Out of State Defendants in North Carolina Criminal Cases

What happens if you’re an out-of-state resident visiting or passing through North Carolina and you get into criminal trouble? Maybe you’re here to see a concert, and you’re accused of possession of drug paraphernalia, or felony possession with intent to sell a deliver (PWISD) marijuana. Maybe you’re visiting, have a few too many drinks, and…

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Top 10 Myths about Criminal Law

When people come into our offices, they have a lot of misconceptions about how the law works. For many people, this is the first time they’ve ever been in trouble with the law – or had family who has come in contact with police. So they’re scared, and worried, and believe that what they’ve seen…

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