Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Criminal Law.
A summons provides legal notice to a party about a lawsuit. It is the first official notice that a defendant receives to notify him or her that he or she is being sued. In some instances, the summons may specify a specific court date, but in others, it does not.
Displaced aggression can occur when someone cannot aggress towards the source of incitement or provocation, so instead takes it out on something else and behaves aggressively towards another individual that had nothing to do with the initial conflict.
The U.S. Defense Department released its findings about the incidence of sexual assault and rape in our nation’s military. The report includes statistics from an anonymous survey and from reported incidents on file. According to the department’s results, the number of sexual assaults decreased over the past two years. In 2012, the survey found 26,000 victims of sexual assault in the military which decreased to 19,000 in 2014. These incidents are for unwanted sexual conduct including rape.
Attorney General Eric Holder “gets it.” He understands that the federal prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders. During his administration, there has been the biggest overhaul of federal sentencing in drug cases in more than twenty years.
As a result of changes to sexual abuse laws in California and a more liberal statute of limitations, attorneys in California now have a greater chance to pursue perpetrators of sexual abuse and obtain justice for their victims. Thanks in part to greater public awareness of the problem, recent reports in the news, and more women willing to come forward after being abused, a greater number of abuse and molestation victims can at last obtain some measure of justice for the trauma they’ve endured.
When accused of possessing marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, “molly,” or other illegal drugs or narcotics, the prosecutors have the burden of proving specific elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many people don't really believe they should go to the expense of hiring a DUI lawyer when arrested for a drunken driving offense. Do you really need an attorney, should you just plead guilty? There are plenty of questions you probably have, which is just one reason you should at least speak with an experienced defense attorney.
Dealing with informants is a controversial aspect of criminal law. Several Supreme Court cases have helped to mold this area of the law. States may have additional requirements under their laws.
Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, police are not allowed to simply stop any car in order to investigate the driver for a DUI offense. Both the U.S. and California Supreme Courts have held that officers must have reasonable or probable cause that the driver is violating the law before pulling a vehicle over. A traffic stop based on a mere suspicion or idle curiosity is not valid, and an officer needs an objectively reasonable basis for stopping a vehicle.
In certain cases, a lawyer may recommend hiring a private investigator. He or she may have existing contacts or may recommend that you find your own investigator. Here are some situations in which you may need a private investigator to assist you in your case.
Psychopathy is a personality disorder believed to be affecting 1-2% of the world's population. Those afflicted have certain personality characteristics: Shallow emotions, superficial charm, impulsiveness, and lacking any empathy or remorse, often leading to antisocial behaviors and criminal activity.
There are often completely different outcomes in similar criminal cases depending on the statute an individual is charged with. Prosecution must be accurate and precise in their charging decisions. Charging someone with the wrong crime can result in charges being dropped; cases are lost all the time due to technicalities.
If you are facing a felony conviction, the lasting effects on your career can endure for much longer than any time that you receive. Being convicted of a felony can have some of the following severe ramifications on your career.
It has been continually shown over the years by developmental psychologists that a child’s peer relationships are essential in proper emotional and social development of an individual. Around the time of puberty, these adolescents begin to become more susceptible to the influence of their friends, and less susceptible to the influence of family or parents.
The insanity defense is one of the least successful defenses in a criminal case. The determination of the suspect’s mental state at the time of the criminal offense, as well as at the time of trial can be a challenging task; the defense actually has the burden of proof in Federal cases, as well as most State charges, in showing the defendant to be insane.
A confession is probably the most damaging kind of evidence that you can give to the police, and will surely be presented in court in front of a jury. It is almost as bad as blowing into the Breathalyzer when you know you’ve had more than two drinks.
Most Common DUI Question Answered: What Do I Do If I Am Pulled Over?
Before a court can have jurisdiction over a defendant, the plaintiff must serve him or her with the legal documents that show that a legal action is pending against him or her. Here are a few ways that you may be able to use to locate the other party and to ultimately have him or her served.
In order for a plaintiff to proceed with a case, he or she must notify the defendant of a pending action against him or her. Through service of process, the defendant can receive this important information.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license can be as benign as a civil traffic violation or as serious as a third degree felony, depending on the reason for the suspension and/or your number of prior convictions.
A conspiracy is defined in law as an agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime. Although this may seem like a pretty straightforward definition, as with most criminal law, it is up to interpretation. Here we discuss Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals interpretation of a conspiracy charge, and how it applies to those accused of drug trafficking. In Hampton v. State, Albert Hampton appeals a guilty verdict of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
The Supreme Court recently decided you can be stopped for breaking a law that does not exist.
Many people are surprised to learn that law enforcement officers are not simply allowed to stop any vehicle they see on the road.
When a person is charged criminally with a DUI offense there are several different pleas that he or she can enter in court.
With the march of modern technology ever forward, interesting new gadgets find their ways into our pockets. Take, for example, the rise of recent gadgets to help keep intoxicated drivers off the road. Of course, when technology makes its way into our lives, the law is often not far behind. So how will pocket breathalyzers affect the law?
Domestic violence is a serious accusation and can have devastating effects on the life of those accused.
Most of us have probably heard or been told that anything we tell our doctor is confidential. While this may be reassuring, it may have left you wondering why it was true and what the reason for that confidentiality was? How far does it extend? Would it hold up in court?
Retrograde extrapolation is the scientific and mathematical process used by chemists and toxicologists to estimate what a person’s blood alcohol content was at a specific time based on test results obtained at a later period of time. In the context of DUI cases, it is often used to determine whether or not a driver had a BAC of 0.08 or higher at the actual time of driving based on what the BAC was at the time of testing.
In our modern, connected age, it seems everyone has a tablet or laptop computer that they use on a daily basis. These computers usually have built in webcams and microphones which, while very useful for legitimate purposes like video calls, can also be a vehicle for embarrassment, identity theft, and spying on your most intimate moments. So, what does the law have to say about using someone's webcam or computer microphone to spy on them?
We are all well aware of the dangers of driving intoxicated or while otherwise impaired. Not only can you seriously injure or kill someone (including yourself), you may also face jail time, fines, and loss of your license. What other possible consequences exist for getting a DUI?
When it comes to intellectual property, many of us think of copyrighted works of art, patented products, or trademarked logos. All of these items are intellectual property, but infringing on someone's intellectual property rights is usually handled as a civil matter, not criminal. So, is it ever possible to commit the crime of theft with regard to intellectual property?
Earlier this year, HB5701, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, was passed and signed into law in Illinois. This law is more colloquially known as the Ban the Box law and presents Illinois job applicants with greater opportunities to secure employment. Similar laws are becoming popular throughout the United States. Currently, 12 states have statewide Ban the Box laws and 19 states contain at least one city or county with this type of law.
Illinois joined the growing group of states to allow the use of medical marijuana.
Every year, millions of Americans use the services of psychics, mediums, palmists, and others who claim supernatural abilities. While most see such activities as entertainment and not to be taken too seriously, there are many who believe it wholeheartedly and, as a result, often find themselves out thousands of dollars before they realize they have been had. This leads many to wonder whether there are any laws that regulate psychics.
What has been perceived as a rash of inappropriate teacher-student relationships has led to some interesting new legal territory. Concerned about interaction between teachers and students, a number of jurisdictions have passed laws variously prohibiting social media contact to physical contact (such as hugging or spanking). So, how much contact should children and teachers have with one another?
A recent new concept has entered the legal lexicon: “Affluenza.” It was first used in the case of a Texas youth accused of stealing beer, driving intoxicated, then killing four people with his car. So what is “Affluenza,” and how was it used in a legal setting?
The implications that a DWI charge can have on your employment.
Explaining the process of representing oneself in a criminal case, and outlining the risks involved with doing so.
Kids will be kids, or so the saying goes. As such, children often roughhouse and get into small fights in the schoolyard. Most parents, teachers, and administrators, while not pleased by such conduct, know that it is an inevitable part of life in the school system and for many, a rite of passage for the children involved. But legally, when does it go from a simple schoolyard brawl punished by detentions or suspensions to a battery that could be punished by jail or a civil lawsuit?
Some believe bomb threats to be an extravagant prank, others use them to avoid responsibilities like exams or bills, and still others use them to hide some other nefarious purpose. Whatever the reason, making bomb threats is a very serious crime with heavy criminal penalties. So what are the consequences for making bomb threats?
Bitcoin has become increasingly popular as an alternative form of currency over the last several years. The digital currency offers interesting new options for secure and private transactions, for earning money through “Bitcoin mining,” and, unfortunately, for money laundering. What is the threat of Bitcoin and money laundering and what is being done to stop it?
Designed to provide parents with specific things to consider before choosing a criminal defense lawyer to represent his/her child who has been charged with a crime.
If you were pulled over during a holiday or any other time of year, you may have been arrested for DUI. However, there are several defenses that a criminal defense attorney may raise to protect you from a conviction.
Prom, homecoming, and other formal dances are rites of passage for millions of American youth. So, it is perhaps surprising to many that such an activity may be regulated by the law, but in many jurisdictions it is. And, we are not talking about exotic or belly or other suggestive types of dancing. These laws apply to any kind of dancing, including the stuff your grandparents were doing. So, what are some of the more unusual laws against dancing?
Congress and President Obama have both taken recent steps in passing two measures that move in the right direction to solve the immigration crisis in the United States.
Just as with real world dating, sometimes Internet dating can be dangerous. People may not be who they say or may actually be dangerous. Online dating services may use your personal information and photographs for purposes other than what you had intended. Internet dating sites may actually put tracking software on your computer or expose you to identity theft, computer viruses, or other harm. So, if you have been injured by a dating site in some way, it is common to wonder whether you can sue?
The United States Constitution provides protection for individuals from illegal searches and seizures. Whether a search is constitutional depends on the particular circumstances of the case.
Over the last few years there have been a number of television shows regarding the polygamist lifestyle. This has led some to wonder whether polygamy may be legal anywhere in the U.S. It also raises questions about why bigamy is outlawed and whether this is a trend that may be changing.
Many remember a time before 9/11 when using a fake ID was almost a rite of passage, and those caught doing so were usually subject only to having their ID confiscated, a thorough scolding, and being sent home to answer to likely irate parents. While still prevalent, using fake ID's is no longer considered a harmless practice and those caught making or using them can face very severe criminal punishments.
Designed to provide parents with general information about the Pennsylvania criminal process in the event that their child has been charged with a crime.
Movies and television shows often glamorize the world of espionage. But, in reality, is it quite so exciting? Aside from the lack of martinis and frequent shoot outs to save the world, the reality is that espionage is a crime in the United States.
As more and more states are opting to pass laws authorizing either medical (or in the recent case of Colorado) recreational marijuana use and sales, it has become increasingly common to wonder what the new legal limitations are on the product.
Much of what most people know about the American justice system is derived from television and movies. Unfortunately, these are entertainment and not as focused on conveying the truth about the legal system as delivering a compelling story. Even the news has a tendency to “spin” the truth in a way that makes it more interesting to the audience in order to increase the audience. As a result, here are 5 common myths about the American justice system:
Section 226 of the Thai Criminal Procedure Code of B.E. 2477 (1934) prohibits, in a criminal case, the admission of evidence that is obtained by unlawful means.
Over the last few years, a number of unscrupulous websites have developed around Americans' increasing comfort with sharing private, intimate photos with one another. While the photos are usually not intended for public consumption, often after a rough breakup or other event in which the recipient is left unhappy, that person will post those photos for the world to see. But is this legal? More importantly, can the site where the photos are posted legally charge you to take them down?
Whenever cold weather approaches, there is an increase in the number of people who leave their cars running unattended in an effort to warm them up before driving anywhere. While this might be good for the engine and make for a toasty commute, it may not always be legal.
It is an ugly reality, but it is known to happen: petty people misusing the very serious charge of rape as a way to gain an upper hand, get revenge, or otherwise harm another person. The results of such a false accusation can be devastating, even if the person wrongfully accused is ultimately acquitted. So, what can the innocent person do in such a case? What are the consequences to the false accuser?
The arrival of 3D printing technology has led to some amazing new possibilities for things like replicating broken parts, creating amazing works of 3D art, and manufacturing entire items from patters found online. But, as is usually the case with any new technology, someone finds a way to use it for something sinister. Several creators invented 3D printed plastic guns and made plans available online. But, are these 3D printed plastic guns legal?
Colorado law widely regulates the use of medicinal drugs and outright bans the use of most harmful non-medicinal drugs.
Everyday, millions of people login from all over the world to experience various virtual worlds. Some are part of a video game, others are intended to allow for social interactions, and still others include elements for commercial dealings. Whatever the purpose, any environment in which people interact can lead to friction and disagreements of various sorts. This has led many to ask whether the laws of the real world can or should apply to virtual world problems.
Social media is everywhere today; from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn, it would be almost impossible for an employer not to have someone working for them that has some form of social media presence. While you might be able to keep an employee from updating their Facebook status from the office, can you do anything about what they say or do about you or your company on their social media in their own time? Indeed, can you fire someone for their social media complaints about work?
Criminal convictions are often discovered by potential employers and landlords upon completing a background check. A conviction can follow a person around for his or her lifetime in some cases. Seeking to expunge or seal your criminal record may help this information to be removed from the public eye. However, it may not completely remove the conviction from a person’s criminal record.
Have you ever wondered why, in a system of justice that relies so heavily upon people telling the truth, every witness is not strapped to a polygraph machine (i.e., a lie detector)? It is a logical question that leads to others about how interrogations and investigations are conducted when polygraphs are used. So, is a polygraph test admissible as evidence?
With the rise of social networking, many have lost some of their concerns about personal privacy. Indeed, millions of Americans share the intimate details of their lives with an audience of dozens to thousands to sometimes even millions of people everyday, and think nothing of it. But what happens when someone begins to use this information against you? Are they violating any laws by following you online or bothering you on the Internet?
Recently, I was approached by someone asking me about a situation that occurs all too often. Her grandmother's estate had been bled dry by someone who was supposed to be taking care of her. My friend wanted to know what the legal rights and responsibilities of the parties were in this situation and what could be done about it.
Whenever jobs become scarce, one of the first industries to see a boost is higher education. In order to compete, many job seekers return to college (or go for the first time) to get a degree in a particular career field in order to better be able to compete for jobs. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous institutions that take advantage of those in this position, selling replica degrees from actual universities or offering degree programs despite lacking any accreditation.
It is a nightmare scenario that occurs all too often: after a breakup or divorce, your ex picks up your kids when they are not supposed to or disappears with them after a visitation. Sometimes this is done to hurt the other parent, sometimes it is done out of a sincere desire to spend time with the child(ren). Whatever the case, the effect is the same: terror, confusion, concern, and often a nagging question about what one should do. So, what do you do when your ex kidnaps your kids?
Yes, it does happen. While the majority of those who are arrested at the international border with cars laden with narcotics know that of their illicit cargo, there are the occasional blind mules –those who were duped by strangers, business associates or even loved ones to carry the contraband.
The prosecutor and the judge may prefer to dispose of cases through a plea bargain because doing so helps to manage case loads and reduce the number of cases that require a full trial. This helps to decrease the expense that the state will pay for this portion of the criminal justice system. Criminal defendants may also realize certain advantages by accepting a plea bargain. However, they must also be aware of the disadvantages.
Imagine this: you go to the car dealership, financial information in hand, ready to buy a car. A few weeks later you discover that someone has stolen your identity. Based on the information stolen, you realize that it was taken from the car dealership. Maybe you get some of the damage undone, maybe not. Aside from the actual thief, who you may never be able to identify, can anyone else be held responsible?
Domestic Violence in relation to RA 9262. Domestic Violence is an act of aggressive behaviour within the home and towards a member or members of the family such as but not limited to physically inflicting bodily harm to a spouse or children, verbally assaulting a member of the family, sexually abusing the wife, partner or even the children.
Psychologists and sociologists will tell you that humans have a natural tendency to want to trust one another. Unfortunately, there are many who would exploit that natural tendency for illegal personal gain. Whether the famous “Spanish prisoner” scam or the phony charities that seem to pop up after natural disasters or around the holidays, fraudulent activity is an unfortunate reality of the modern world. So, how can one avoid those scams?
An Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) is a device that connects to a vehicle’s ignition and requires a breath sample from the driver in order to start the vehicle and to keep the car operating.
One complication that can make handling a DWI much harder is when the defendant is from another state. This raises numerous issues that may not have simple answers. Every state has slightly different laws, and these laws can change at any time, so it is difficult to know how some of these issues may be resolved. We will separate common types of issues that arise when cases occur across state lines.
Over the last few years, a number of drugs have made it to the market that, while not technically illegal, had the same effects as taking other, outlawed narcotics. Unfortunately, many of these drugs only made the news after something unfortunate happened, like an overdose, an accident caused by someone intoxicated by the alternative drug, or a celebrity disclosing their addiction to it.
Of all the concepts in the field of criminal law, few are more hotly debated, and more subject to constantly inconsistent results, than the concept of constructive possession. But what is it? How can someone be held responsible for possessing drugs or guns that are not on their person (especially if there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of who may actually be the owner)?
In order to get charged with a criminal offense in Colorado, the police are going to be involved in some way. This means any law enforcement agency.
Everyone has seen a few cents on the ground, likely dropped while someone pulled a ring of keys from their pocket. While we would probably not think twice about picking up a penny, what if it was a bank envelope full of $100 bills? It may seem like a dream come true, but there are certain legal obligations when one finds misplaced money.
It is an age old question that many of us have debated at one point or another: should executions be legal? Are they an effective deterrent and means of punishment, or is it an expensive and anachronistic practice from a less civilized time? Regardless of where you come down on the debate, one key factor that always seems to come up is cost. So, which is cheaper: execution or life in prison without parole?
After a natural catastrophe, riots, terrorist attack, or other devastating event, it is not uncommon for some members of society to take to the streets and begin taking almost anything they want. Sometimes looters only take necessities, like food, water, and toilet paper, but more often than not, looters are taking items of value like televisions, computers, jewelery, etc. How does the law deal with this and what are a person's rights when trying to prevent looting?
The term “insider trading” seems to pop up in the news with a fair degree of frequency. Celebrities have even been accused of engaging in it, like Martha Stewart. But what is insider trading and why is it illegal?
Every year, millions of Americans visit the little bodegas and shops, often located in ethnic ghettos of large cities, to purchase counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. Others buy these items online, at flea markets, or dozens of other locations. Wherever one goes, there is some question as to the legality of such transactions. After all, one is knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademarked and copyrighted work. Is this legal?
Before a driver can be arrested for a DUI offense, the investigating officer must be able to form a reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. This will be based on the officer’s observations of the driver’s appearance and demeanor and information about drinking or drug use the driver voluntarily provides when asked.
Battery domestic violence is a misdemeanor case in Las Vegas Nevada. But a domestic battery by strangulation is taken more seriously and can result in a felony charge.
The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, the United States Supreme Court has held that a drug dog sniff that is conducted during a lawful traffic stop does not constitute a search as an individual does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in illegal contraband within a vehicle. However, there are specific rules that police officers must follow when bringing a dog sniff dog to the scene.
In this modern digital age, it is often common for romantic partners, particularly those in long distance relationships, to exchange revealing photos of one another. These photos are often intended for the eyes of the receiver only. But, how can you be sure? What happens if you break up or the other person turns out to be less discrete than you had hoped? Is it illegal for someone to share those photos with others?
Law enforcement officers are adamant about cracking down on drunk drivers. But what is considered reasonable suspicion when making those stops? Reasonable suspicion can be complicated in DWI cases, but officers must believe some form of criminal activity has taken place before a stop can be made.
Seeking a protective order after an instance of family violence can be complex. A protective order can be used to help a victim of family violence feel safer by restricting his or her interactions with the alleged abuser. However, there are several elements that must be proven to ensure a court would approve a protective order.
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when the loss could have been avoided. Often in cases of medical malpractice, those who are left behind after a loved one's passing wonder why the doctor is not going to jail for murder. Is it possible for one to charge a doctor with murder when their treatment of a patient was so poor as to result in death?
A discussion about what constitutes drug paraphernalia in New Jersey, as well as the penalties and consequences.
Admit it, you have probably thought about it. What can you legally say to a cop and get away with it? Maybe an officer pulled you over on the wrong day, maybe you distrust cops, or maybe you just like living on the edge. Whatever your reasoning, you might be surprised to find out that getting a little mouthy is not technically an automatic one way trip to jail.
For those who have never been to prison, considerations of prison food are probably not high on the list of concerns about prison conditions. But, many a prisoner has suffered through daily rations of “nutriloaf” and probably has a very different take on the matter.
One frequent concern that those arrested for driving under the influence may have is what effect a DUI conviction would have on a potential military career.
Obviously, going to jail or prison involves having one's rights curtailed. But, that does not mean inmates in the United States are without basic human rights. Even the most hardened criminal has basic rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you or someone you know may be facing incarceration, you should know your rights, or what your friend or loved one's rights are or will be while behind bars.
Incarceration of any kind is designed to be an unpleasant experience. But, the policies, rights, and daily life of an inmate can be very different between these two types of institutions. So, what is the difference between jail and prison.
Most people understand that piracy of copyrighted works is illegal. But, many do not understand what piracy is or whether their role in the act of downloading pirated materials is a crime. Immense amount of data are downloaded everyday using file sharing programs called “torrent clients.” That means that millions of Americans are using torrents to share files, often containing pirated materials, which may leave you wondering, “Is it legal to download torrents?”
For those of you who have not been following this story, let me catch you up. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete in modern history, was charged with his second DUI on September 20th, 2014.
Child abuse and neglect are ugly realities. Turning a blind eye to the act can doom a child to serious injury, emotional trauma, or even death. Children are the victims least able to stand up for themselves since they depend entirely upon their parents for food, care, and legal status. So what do you do if you suspect child abuse or neglect? How can you report it and protect a child in danger?
After the recent economic downturn, the news was filled with stories about various Ponzi schemes. Bernie Madoff became notorious for defrauding millions of dollars from high-profile investors through such a scheme. So what is a Ponzi scheme and why is it illegal?
Bitcoin is a form of electronic currency that functions without being backed by any governmental authority. Bitcoin is often called a “cryptocurrency” because it is decentralized and uses a complicated system of cryptography to prevent double-spending. This form of currency has become a matter of great public interest as authorities debate whether it is legal and, if so, how they can regulate its use in illegal transactions and monitor it for tax purposes.