Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Criminal Law.
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.
Whenever someone dies it is normal for the survivors to want to find an explanation and a person to blame. Unfortunately, in some cases, nobody is to blame, and it was just that person's time. But, in other cases, when the death could have been avoided and someone else was in a position to prevent it, a wrongful death may have occurred.
When someone is arrested and cited for a DUI offense, the driver typically is released from jail the next morning and given a citation with a future court date. Generally, the arrested driver must sign a notice to appear showing that he or she is aware of the future court date and that he or she promises to appear in court on the scheduled arraignment date. Missing this court date can carry serious consequences.
A DUI accident that results in a fatality is a tragedy for all parties involved and their families. However, the particular factual circumstances surrounding the fatality will impact what type of criminal charges are ultimately filed.
All too often stories appear on the news of children in trouble with the law. Some bring guns or knives to school, others are shoplifting or stealing cars, and of course, there are always the ones who get into fights. Often, public outcry demands that something be done against the parents as well as the child. So, who is responsible when a child breaks the law?
Abuse comes in many forms - emotional, physical, verbal, sexual - and to anyone - young or elderly. Learn how to identify abuse and prevent it.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), but how do these translate to boating? Is it illegal to boat while drunk? If one is cited for boating under the influence, will that affect their driving license? Can you be given a breathalyzer on your boat?
Many have wondered whether body paint is sufficient covering to be considered clothing such that a person could not be arrested for public nudity. This question becomes popular particularly around holidays like Halloween, but has often come up with relation to art projects, political protests, and even sporting events. As with so many things in the law, the answer is unsatisfactorily vague.
In the United States, bounty hunters are sometimes employed to chase down those who miss their hearings or trials in criminal cases.
In today’s world Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired is the poster child of the campaign against bad actors behind the wheel, and with good reason.
Five points you should know about breach of trust before you accuse somebody
In both evaluations – winning and execution evaluations- there must be a good channel of coordination between the plaintiff, which is the client, and his lawyer.
Millions of Americans experienced bullying at some point as a child. I personally experienced bullying between 5th and 8th grade when I went through a phase where I stopped growing up as much as out for a few years. Psychologically, I saw myself as a short, fat kid for years after, well into college when I was actually 6'3” tall and well built. The effects of bullying can be damaging and long lasting.
Many professional athletes over the last two decades have been subjected to humiliation and ridicule after it was revealed that they used steroids to gain a competitive edge. From the Olympics to cycling to professional baseball, it seems no high level sport is safe from the use of such banned substances, a practice often called “doping.” But why are steroids illegal?
How much time must pass between DUI convictions before a new charge is no longer considered a "second DUI"? Many people who have old DUI convictions on their record may not realize that the old conviction can be used to enhance the penalties on any subsequent conviction for driving under the influence. However, there is a limit to how long a prior DUI conviction can affect the mandatory sentencing requirements on a new DUI charge.
We have all seen police shows where, immediately upon arrest, a police officer begins telling the suspect “you have the right to remain silent...” The list of rights the officer is about to recite are known as Miranda Rights. So what happens if the officer does not read you your Miranda Rights at the time of arrest?
It is well known that in American law, in order to convict someone of a crime, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is only one side of the equation. The defendant also has an opportunity to present evidence to support a defense. So what kinds of defenses can one raise in a criminal case?
You may have heard of someone using an alibi to avoid criminal liability, either in real life or on a television show or movie. But what is an alibi? How does it work? What are the legal consequences fo claiming an alibi?
Getting arrested is an incredibly stressful, confusing experience, both for the person under arrest and their friends and loved ones. And, once taken to jail, there is probably just one thing on everyone's mind: getting that person back out of jail. So, how is that done?
Voyeurism is often defined as illegally recording another person, often for sexual gratification. The actual definition varies by each jurisdiction in accordance with the state’s definition of the crime. The consequences of being convicted of this crime are often quite serious.
If you've been driving around Alexandria and you have been pulled over for DUI, you need an Alexandria criminal defense lawyer. This is true whether or not you're actually guilty.
Congratulations, you've been initiated into the criminal justice system and you need a good Alexandria criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Graffiti is an unusual topic in the art world. Several artists have become iconic for their graffiti art works, like Keith Haring and Banksy. But how does the law deal with the debate between free expression, art, and the crime of defacing others' properties?
The term assault is used with relation to any number of different crimes and civil offenses, often incorrectly. So, what is assault, actually? And what are the different types of assault?
In many stores today we see the signs warning about being on camera and advising that shoplifters will be prosecuted. Despite these measure, every year billions of dollars worth of products are stolen from retailers. So what is shoplifting, how is it different than other types of theft, what are the possible consequences, and what impact does it have on society?
Murders of or by foreigners in Egypt – Thankfully these cases are rare, but unfortunately they aren’t unheard of. Not the most common of foreigner crimes in Egypt, murder (or a killing) can be classified as follows: self-defence, manslaughter, deliberate murder. In terms of statistics, self-defence is usually behind a foreigner killing an Egyptian citizen.
Financial fraud – the most common and most profitable ‘business’ activity that turns to foreign residents. Real estate fraud, illicit car sales, cheated insurance, denial of services that you have paid for–you name it. You should seek protection from a law firm in Egypt in any of these cases; don’t wait and be protected from the very start.
Two male nurses accused of committing elder abuse faces up to six years in prison if convicted at trial.
For many people who are stopped and arrested for driving under the influence after going through a DUI checkpoint, a very common question is whether or not these checkpoints comply with the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that an officer must have probable cause that the driver is engaged in some sort of illegal activity before he or she can legally pull that vehicle over.
When a criminal defendant is confronting a criminal case and is slated to go to trial, it is the criminal defendant’s decision whether to proceed to trial or to plead guilty in order to avoid it. While his or her lawyer can provide information about the pros and cons of going to trial, the lawyer cannot generally make this decision for the client. However, before a criminal defendant decides to plead guilty, he or she should be aware of the consequences of this action and any alternatives.
What happens when famous pieces of art are stolen and law enforcement leads run dry? Private recovery agencies are called upon to bring back these multimillion dollar masterpieces, often taking years to track the work, earning staggering fees, and blurring the line between legal and illegal activities.
Domestic violence can happen anywhere and is not bound by race, religion, or socio-economic status. But, recent studies show that African American women are at three times the risk of experiencing a lethal domestic violence event than any other racial groups in America. Indeed, domestic violence murders are among the leading causes of death of black women ages 15 to 35.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly known as the “ATF”) is responsible for regulating guns in the United States. A current loophole allows individuals to obtain weapons such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns through corporations, trusts or other legal entities.
Every state is responsible for passing laws regarding local standards for moral conduct. As a result, each state has enacted its own laws regarding sex crimes. Most are common to every jurisdiction, such as laws prohibiting rape, sexual contact with minors, and public exposure. But some laws are so unique and so inexplicable that they are worth review.
Generally a license is suspended in Georgia for one of two reasons.
Gambling is restricted in America, though its popularity is increasing. Laws regarding gambling are important not only for those involved with gaming operations, like casinos, bingo, or poker tournaments, but also for the average person who wants to know whether he can legally start a betting pool among his friends or at his office, has an idea for a new business model involving some form of chance, or if he can legally participate in an online poker tournament.
Every year, thousands of people are arrested on drug possession charges. Many of these charges relate to very small amounts of controlled substances in a person's car or on their person. These cases are an enormous percentage of the criminal court dockets of every state, leading to almost routine behavior of drug possession defendants and sentencing. But, it is possible to fight these types of charges and obtain a more favorable outcome.
Hundreds of people plead "guilty" to drunk driving charges everyday. Unbeknownst to them, their lives will be dramatically changed for years to come. So, before saying "guilty", take the time to evaluate defenses to the drunk driving charge.
In every criminal case, whether a misdemeanor or felony, there are 5 key actions that the best criminal defense lawyers take. These actions ensure you get fair bond conditions (pretrial release) and a chance to examine the evidence against you. Once the evidence is examined, your attorney will identify your best defense, and file the appropriate motions to advance your defense.
On Monday, September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis opened fire in the Washington Naval Shipyard, killing 12 naval and civilian personnel before he was ultimately killed himself by law enforcement. However, much to the surprise of the general public, the weapon that Alexis used to kill 12 innocent people was legal, since when he purchased it, Alexis had no record of either a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
Millions of Americans engage in creating fantasy football teams. It can be a fun way to add an extra layer of enjoyment to the season and, for some, to add an extra investment in the fan's favorite players and teams. While most fans only worry about who they will start on their fantasy team on Sunday, if their league has an entry fee or awards prizes, they may be engaging in illegal activity.
In recent years, incidences of public nudity have increased. In some instances, this is innocent fun, like ritual moonings in Orange County, California, and worldwide naked bike riding events.
Are you looking for the best criminal defense attorney? Here’s an overview of the most essential aspects to consider when looking for the best attorney.
On February 20, 2011, a teenage driver was sending a text message when he accidentally swerved across the middle line and killed the driver of a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. The incident was clearly an accident, but was the teen's action of composing text messages while driving so wanton and reckless that it could amount to criminal homicide?
America's largest banking institution is facing charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for a practice of hiring the children of foreign officials. The case will test how broadly the federal law can be applied to practices as common as hiring an influential person's children in order to gain a small advantage in negotiations.
We are all familiar with the idea of individuals committing crimes and facing the consequences of those actions. But, what happens if a corporation commits a crime? Who is responsible?
On a Saturday night in September, 2013, an emotionally disturbed man ran through Times Square in New York City mimicking the action of firing a gun at police. Believing in the heat of the moment that they may actually be under fire, the officers responded with actual bullets, hitting two innocent bystanders. Just a few months earlier, nine bystanders were hit by police bullets during a shootout with a disgruntled man who shot a former coworker in the financial district.
While many criminal defendants decide to plead guilty early in the process in order to save time or to get a deal with the prosecutor, there are many times when it is reasonable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer. If one of the following applies to you, consider speaking with a criminal defense lawyer.
Since the American TV Show ""Breaking Bad" sweep over the whole world, a lot of foreigners are found to be involved in drug crimes in China. They are facing very serious penalty for China government lists the kind of crime as one of the top felonies.
In September, 2013, a man from Missouri was charged with child sex trafficking in the case of a developmentally delayed girl from Massachusetts who disappeared a few days before week and was later found safe in Rhode Island. Cases such as these raise a number of questions, including which state has jurisdiction, which laws apply, and what can be done.
It seems like the headlines are constantly filled with new stories of politicians quite literally caught with their pants down in scandals with prostitutes. This often raises the question of why we do not treat prostitution in the same was as pornography. Why is sex for money okay in one setting and not another?
Those with sick and elderly loved ones forced to live out the end of their lives in pain have often wondered why physician assisted suicide is illegal and what laws prevent it. The answer is a mix of politics, historic legal precedent, and the black letter of the law.
On September 12, 2013, a New York City driver reportedly hit the accelerator instead of the brake as he pulled into a parking space. The result: he ran over 5 teenagers standing on the sidewalk. Fortunately, none of the teens was seriously injured. But, to the shock of many, officials announced they did not intend to press charges in what they considered a purely accidental incident.
George Zimmerman: Domestic Violence Raises Questions About Use of Violence and Florida Stand Your Ground Law
On September 9, 2013, George Zimmerman, infamous after his slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and subsequent acquittal, made headlines again over a domestic violence dispute. Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman's wife, told a 911 operator that her husband George "was going to shoot" her and her father at their Florida home. So, would she have had the right to shoot George Zimmerman had he threatened violence?
We all know the dangers of intoxication or drug use before getting behind the wheel of a car, but when else can intoxication be against the law? It might surprise you to know that there are ways to commit DUI without even being in a car. In fact, there are many laws affecting intoxication and being aware of some of the more unusual ones could be the difference between a fun night out and a legal nightmare.
Those who have been convicted of a crime often face a sentence that includes probation. While many are familiar with the concept of probation, the idea of violating it may seem a bit more foreign. What counts as a violation? How serious is it? What are the possible consequences?
Many illegal sexual attacks and illegal sexual behaviors often do not happen in public areas. Therefore, many accusations are made without any witnesses to these crimes. Approaching these cases requires a dual commitment of protecting the victim who is reporting the crime and protecting the defendant’s legal rights.
Assault is a serious criminal charge. Its consequences are serious. Knowing the potential consequences and defenses can help criminal defendants protect their legal interests.
For those who have either been injured by a hit and run driver, or those who have lost a loved one, it is clear that hit and run accidents can turn an already unpleasant event into a truly horrible one. For those who caused the accident then fled the scene, usually in a panic, the consequences can be severe.
A felony charge is pursued by a prosecutor when a serious crime is committed. A federal felony is category of crime that involves breaking a law at the national rather than local level. Both types of felonies carry similar punishment.
Much has been made over the last few years about a push to legalize marijuana. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making it the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 19 more states, and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, for a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia with public medical marijuana programs.
Gun laws are largely a matter of state law. Although certain federal laws regulate some guns, like automatic weapons, states are generally able to control the issuance of concealed weapons permits.
Many have questions regarding whether it is legal to carry a knife (or a particular type of knife) in their location. There is a good reason: laws vary widely from state-to-state and from municipality to municipality. As a general rule, most states will allow the carrying of small utility knives, but even then they can only be carried in certain places. Following is a quick primer on common knife carrying laws.
Sadly, the news is constantly filled with reports of various sex crimes, like rape, teachers having sex with underage students, and child pornography rings. Another frequent story is that of the sex offender or predator who offends again and hurts somebody. But what is the truth behind sex offenders and predators? Which crimes will result in registration? How can you find out about sex offenders near you? Just how big of a threat do these people pose?
In our modern digital age, even having a mug shot, let alone a conviction, can create difficult and embarrassing circumstances. Employers may be unwilling to hire, potential romantic partners may be hesitant to even meet, and landlords may not be willing to rent to you. So what can you do about getting a conviction expunged from your record?
Both DUI and DWI have made their way into our common speech, but often we forget exactly what they mean. Moreover, there is often confusion over the distinction between a DUI or a DWI that can be enhanced by the variations between differing jurisdictions.
Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized use of someone's credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it. State and federal laws both come into play with relation to credit card fraud, as may your agreements with your credit or debit card issuer.
In criminal prosecutions, one often hears various drugs referred to by different schedules. But what are the schedules, which drugs are on them, and what do they mean?
You have been stopped, either in a car, in a public place, or walking down the street, and an officer asks you to do something you do not think you should have to do. This would probably be a request to search your person or vehicle. So, when an officer asks you to empty your pockets, allow a search of your car, or for some other consent to search, how do you say “no” without bringing on more suspicion and a possible arrest?
The vast majority of criminal cases never go to trial. These cases are either disposed of by a plea bargain or dismissed outright. This article explains two common ways by which criminal cases are disposed of in a plea bargain that may also result in a dismissal upon completion.
A common topic on spy shows and mobster movies, money laundering may be an unclear concept for many. What is it? Is it illegal? If so, why? What are the elements of this crime?
A few weeks ago, we discussed the criminal consequences of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in Texas. This article covers some of the civil (i.e. non-criminal) consequences that you might face as a result of a DWI charge.
The disclosure of student records can be important an issue in litigation, including cases involving students and educational matters, child custody and support cases and other areas of civil litigation.
Few sex crimes bring more negative connotations to mind than those related to child pornography. In our computer age where information, images, and videos can be rapidly and easily accessed, this has become a growing area of concern. Although search engines have become better at filtering out inappropriate materials, it is still possible to occasionally come into contact with these matters, either intentionally or not.
By far, one of the most common class of crimes to pass through the American legal system is the drug case. Whether possession or distribution, drug cases have gotten a lot of attention from both the media and legislators since the 1980's and the beginning of the “War on Drugs.” However, these laws are changing for some substances, like marijuana, so it is important to get a basic understanding of the state of the law related to controlled substances.
The first consequence that most people think of is, of course, jail time. The amount of jail time that can be imposed varies, depending on the level of the offense and the circumstances of the offense.
Like expunctions, orders of non-disclosure can prevent the disclosure, from the general public, of the existence of a criminal record.
It is a difficult topic to discuss or even think about, but rape is a real part of every civilization. Although improvements have been made in the legal system, prosecution of a rapist can still be a drawn out and painful process, and often the victims of rape have no idea what to expect. This article will discuss what rape is and what a victim should expect from the prosecution of the crime.
Computer crime is one of the fastest-growing types of illegal activity, both in the U.S. and abroad. Indeed, much of the computer crime Americans face is from foreign sources, making regulation of these activities by police authorities exceedingly difficult. While the Internet links people together like never before, it also provides endless opportunity to criminals seeking to exploit the vulnerabilities and trusting nature of others.
In Florida, domestic violence is defined as any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
As many judges are fond of saying, ours are courts of law, not courts of justice. “Justice” is an often subjective term that fails to take into consideration the best practices for society at large. Laws are generally intended to create the best outcome for all people in all situations. But, what happens when the best intentions go awry?
Someone who has been victimized by domestic violence can seek protection through the issuance of a restraining order. This order instructs the alleged abuser from having any contact with the victim. Before a court will issue a restraining order, the victim has to provide reasonable proof that physical abuse has occurred. If issued, the alleged abuser must typically stay at least 100 yards away from the victim.
Arson is the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Some states also include other places and things in the scope of items that can be burned and constitute arson, such as cars, businesses, churches, etc. In any event, arson is usually considered a second degree felony and is very serious.
Child abuse is never acceptable. Of course, what constitutes child support and what is discipline may sometimes be a gray zone. While the government stays out of our personal relationships in most instances, when it comes to child abuse and domestic violence there can be serious legal consequences. Thus, it is important to know what type of behavior is considered abusive and against the law, and the legal consequences those accused of abuse may face.
In most states, crimes are classified in one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Sometimes, there are also a third class of crimes called petty crimes or violations, and are usually punished by a fine with no jail time (these often include traffic infractions). Understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor can be critical in understanding charges against a person, terms of plea agreements, and potential punishments.
Prostitution is one of those legal issues that creates an intense debate and will likely remain an issue in America for years to come.
RICO stands for the “Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” Act. It was a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed in the United States in 1970 with the goal of financially crippling the Mafia. However, it has evolved to have a variety of applications today against many organizations aside from the Mafia.