Criminal Law Articles
Articles written by lawyers and expert witnesses worldwide
explaining the different aspects of Criminal Law.
Many cities around the US deal with the problem of graffiti art everyday. Sometimes it may be a name, a threat, an image, a symbol, or a brilliant canvas of the graffiti artist's imagination. Whatever the case, it usually involves painting something on someone else's property. So, whose rights should win out? The artist's right to free speech or the property owner's right to the quiet use and enjoyment of their own property?
A recent study by the Vera Institute of Justice, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, reports that there are over 3,000 jails in the United States.
Wisconsin Marijuana Laws and Penalties for Possession, Paraphernalia, Growing and Intent to Deliver/Sell/Distribute
Hearing that there is an eyewitness to a crime can cause a great degree of apprehension in a criminal case. However, there are several ways that a criminal defense lawyer can challenge such eyewitness testimony.
The procedure of adoption of a child from Ukraine is complicated, expensive and long. Ukrainian legislation makes the process of adoption transparent as much as possible, candidates must prove their welfare and reputation (in the broadest sense of these words) to exclude the possibility of adoption by dishonest and careless parents.
The following are the different laws regarding credit card crimes in Virginia.
Two of the most commonly prosecuted computer sex crimes laws in the US are child pornography sex crimes and solicitation of minor sex crimes. These two charges have different statutes that make this kind of activity criminal in VA, MD & in the Federal Courts.
It seems like every year another cult ends up in the media, having amassed weapons, engaged in child sex crimes, or after killing or abducting someone. This has led many to ask how cults remain legal in the United States.
Anyone who has watched an American crime show (and even some in other countries) probably have heard someone “read their rights.” But, what are these, why do police always say them, and how do they work?
The use of deadly force is an extremely sobering event. Despite dozens of expressions that joke about shooting somebody, choosing whether or not to actually use potentially lethal levels of violence against someone is no laughing matter. If you need to make this decision, it is important to understand when it is okay to take such action and when it is not.
Some of the most critical mistakes in a criminal case occur after a suspect is arrested. Here is a list of things to do and not to do if you find yourself in this predicament.
With a variety of self-help forms and resources available to individuals today, it may be tempting to attempt to do legal work yourself and avoid the often expensive endeavor of having to hire a lawyer. However, many tasks are better suited for a professional.
We just received a phone call from a scammer informing us that we were entitled to $9,000 of Government Grants.
Although some individuals may opt not to hire an attorney to handle their DUI case, there are several situations in which a defendant can benefit from having a private attorney. Here are some issues to consider when making this important decision.
Know the real meaning of robbery as per law in Washington. Also, know the categories of robbery, and discover how it differs from burglary.
Returning to the United States after being deported or removed is a violation of federal law. Alleged offenders could be sentenced to prison before being returned to their home countries—where they could face additional consequences as well.
Texas has unique sex crime laws, and each case can "go federal" for different reasons.
They are a routine part of our modern, online world: Internet scams are a daily annoyance for many. Often found in annoying emails, website popups, and other dark corners of the web, these digital scam artists seem to be everywhere today. And, with many of these scams operating overseas, it has left many to wonder what they can do if they fall victim to the tricks of someone from another country.
Traffic stops by law enforcement are serious business. More often than not, motorists are pulled over because of driving infractions and/or traffic violations.
Eddie Ray Routh was recently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Navy Seal, Chris Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield.
If you’ve violated DWI in NY, the repercussions can be staggering; a negative impact on your career, increased insurance premium costs, personal and family embarrassment and a ruined driving record which can take years to repair. We’d like to share some of the common DWI questions.
For decades, virtually every employment application included the common question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” It did not matter if it was a misdemeanor or perhaps a more serious offense that resulted in spending time in prison.
While a summons may require another party in the case to appear, a subpoena can require that a particular person appear in court or for other proceedings. Additionally, this legal tool can be used to acquire information that one of the party desires.
Probation is a conditional sentence, meaning that if the defendant does not comply with the conditions, the probation can be revoked and the suspended jail sentence can be imposed. Probation conditions vary widely by geographic region, as well as the type of court that entered the probation. In some cases, a judge may impose specific provisions, while in others, a probation officer may impose certain conditions.
Most people see their pets in a light similar to their own children. So, when a dog misbehaves it may be easy for an owner to overlook the bad behavior and forgive the errant puppy. But, what if the dog bites someone? Are there legal ramifications? What should an owner do?
It's not easy being charged with a crime. If you're innocent, of course, it's a complete shock; if you're guilty, perhaps you've known this has been coming for a while – but it's still a very difficult situation to go through once the justice system has in effect taken hold of you and your life.
Have you recently been pulled over for suspicion of DUI? Have you been charged with DWI or DUI? If so, it's imperative that you retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney right away.
While the country has been focused on ISIS and issues with domestic espionage, the current administration under United States Attorney General Eric Holder has made three major changes in federal sentencing law.
It is late at night, you have to work in the morning, but all you can hear is the thumping of your neighbor's stereo next door. You have asked them to turn it down before, but they do not seem to get it and the racket continues. Now, it is time to take things to the next level. So, what can you do about a noisy neighbor?
A proposed bill that will drastically change current DUI penalties has passed New Jersey’s state Senate and needs only to be approved by Governor Christie before becoming law.
Anyone who has seen a cop show has probably memorized a person’s “rights.” The common warnings regarding the right to remain silent and the right to consult a lawyer are well known. However, citizens may not be aware of the implications of what happens when these rights are not read or given to them.
Blackmail is a term often thrown around somewhat loosely. Often it is used to mean that someone is making you do something you would prefer not to. That is not technically the definition of blackmail. True blackmail is a serious crime. It can have devastating financial and social consequences, subjecting the victim to intense psychological trauma. That is why it is important to know that if blackmail is happening now, or has happened in the past, there are things you can do about it.
Updated March 2015 - If you received a letter from this scammer, please contact HG.org at http://www.hg.org/contactus.asp. We are gathering information about a scam using the HG.org logo. The letters are sent by a scammer using the name of lawyer office Ramon Pérez Lucena. The letters are mailed from Valencia, Spain. The scammer requests 50-50 split on €7.5 million left in an account.
The University of Virginia has issued strict guidelines to its fraternities in effort to improve safety at parties. The move was made following a highly publicized and controversial rape scandal that led to a mandatory suspension of all Greek social activities at the university.
Each state has its own statute of limitations in which to formally charge an individual with a crime.
Most Americans believe that they can legally use force to protect themselves in the event of an attack, or the threat of death or bodily injury by another. What most Americans don’t realize is that the law of self defense is not always applicable as a defense.
Comedian and actor, Bill Cosby, is no stranger to the spotlight, but his recent media attention has not been favorable.
Although some states permit marijuana use for medical or recreational reasons, federal housing is based on federal laws. At the time of publication, marijuana use was still outlawed by federal law. However, guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows the nuances in laws that federal housing projects are currently laboring under.
When an individual is stopped by the police it can be an overwhelming experience, especially when there is the possibility of criminal charges.
Everyone makes mistakes. Those of us who have made impulsive or uniformed decisions in our lives may have suffered severe consequences for them, such as being arrested or serving time in jail.
Under Colorado law a DUI or DWAI offense is a misdemeanor. Circumstance surrounding the offense could lead for felony changes; but the drunken driving offense itself is always a misdemeanor. Legislation currently in the Colorado House of Representatives looks to change that.
The fundamental attribution error is a term, which refers to the common human error in which people tend to underestimate situational influences and overestimate individual personality factors, when explaining behavior.
In Missouri v. McNeely, the United States Supreme Court decided that a blood draw is a search which is protected under the Fourth Amendment.
Even though you do not have a legal education, a pro se plaintiff or defendant is still expected to comply with the same rules of evidence as seasoned lawyers. In federal cases, the federal rules of evidence must be followed. In state cases, state and local court rules must be followed to ensure that the judge receives relevant and reliable information.
While many individuals are aware of their right not to incriminate themselves, they may also be able to prevent another person from testifying against them. The law recognizes several privileges that prohibit certain individuals from testifying against a person.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides individuals the right not to serve as a witness against themselves. Through this amendment, a witness may prevent the disclosure of evidence that can ultimately be used against him or her in a criminal case. There are a variety of situations in which a person may assert this privilege.
Millions of Americans fear what can happen during a traffic stop. The names “Ferguson” and “Rodney King” have taken on a significance in the national psyche that will not soon be shaken.
Following the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Mike Brown, Americans began to start asking more critical questions about transparency in law enforcement. Many groups and individuals called for increased surveillance and some municipalities in the United States went so far as to equip police officers with body cameras so all their actions on the job could be monitored.
Marijuana has made headlines for the last few years in a new and, to some, unexpected way. Rather than reports of massive drug busts and seizures, the latest news has been about more and more states legalizing the drug. But, this has led many to rightly question just how legal marijuana really is. Has the federal government legalized it? If not, do states have the right to make the drug legal? Is this change permanent?
Many individuals are hesitant to appear in court out of fear or a lack of familiarity with the court system. There are several ways that you can get the testimony that you need to assist you in your civil or criminal case.
A DUI charge (called "OVI" in Ohio) is a serious offense. Although charged as a first degree misdemeanor, a first DUI conviction in Ohio includes mandatory penalties, including three days in jail, high fines, and a license suspension for up to three years.
When I think of a judge imposing a federal sentence, my mind often drifts to the Wizard Of Oz and that little masked man standing behind the curtain.
New law permits DWI defendants to drive after having the machine installed. NJ Senate on February 5 voted 29-4 to change the DWI Law to require a car interlock device. Senate Bill No. 385 is now being submitted to the Governor for signature. The Assembly approved the bill in June, 2014.
Assault and aggravated assault charges in Florida differ based on a variety of factors, including if a deadly weapon was involved in the offense and who is the alleged victim. Assault generally is a misdemeanor with possible jail time, but aggravated assault is a felony offense with harsher penalties.
Possession of prescription drugs without a prescription and/or obtaining them by fraud crimes are rapidly becoming some of the most frequently charged felonies and misdemeanors in Okaloosa County.
Women addicted to drugs are faced with very few options towards sobriety upon learning they are pregnant. With no inpatient facilities in the State of New Jersey that will accept pregnant women addicted to drugs, it is more often than not recommended by their health care professional that they engage in a methadone treatment based recovery program during their pregnancy.
A 23 year old Pine Beach police officer has been suspended without pay, arrested for drunk driving, and could face criminal charges for a shooting incident that occurred shortly before 6:00 am on Friday, January 16, 2015 in Lacey Township, NJ. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the shooting and has indicated that the shooting may have been accidental.
In some situations, an arrest may be made after information is provided by an anonymous tip or through the use of a confidential informant. However, the standard is different for the reliability of information derived from these sources in order for a law enforcement officer to establish probable cause.
Under New Jersey’s social host liability laws, people who serve alcohol to guests in their homes are liable for any injuries that a guest may cause if they become intoxicated.
The rape trial of two Vanderbilt ex-football players has brought national attention to the growing epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.
For those states that have a statute of limitations for rape, some period between three to thirty years is common. However, not all states have a statute of limitations for rape and others have exceptions to their own statutes.
The terms “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these are two different standards, with reasonable suspicion being the less exacting standard. Reasonable suspicion is all that is required for a law enforcement officer to conduct an investigatory traffic stop.
Criminal penalties tend to be harsh so that the state can accomplish its goals, including deterring similar future conduct from the defendant and others. Some states provide for lighter sentences for certain individuals, including youthful offenders. Alabama is one of these states.
Individuals who are involved in an automotive accident may react negatively due to fear, confusion or guilt. This is especially true if the person is driving without a valid license, was drinking and driving or otherwise feels culpable for the accident. However, leaving the scene of an accident can have several negative consequences.
Over the recent past both police departments nationally as well as the Denver police department have been increasingly in the public eye for what many would characterize as a disproportionate use of force.
Alcohol has been shown to be one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents; around 58% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol in a research review article. An article written by Michael Sayette and colleagues in Psychological Science, suggests a factor contributing to the commonality of DUI arrests: mind wandering.
Searching for, viewing and downloading adult pornography is not illegal. But, there is a problem when sexually explicit images of children sneak into group of otherwise legal images during a bulk download. No matter how you receive it, even if accidentally, possession of child pornography is illegal.
Fraud is defined as taking or gaining from another, property, money, vouchers or anything of value by deception or lying or trickery which is supported by verbal means or written documents, causing the victim to rely on the same to willingly handover or something of value from himself to the person committing the fraud.
While several Latin American countries have vowed to combat corrupt practices and have enacted legislation to formalise their intentions, meaningful change requires active enforcement as well as the political will and sacrifice to exact it.
Because courts and legislators recognize that minors sometimes lack judgment skills and may have indiscretions in their youth, juveniles are sometimes permitted to seal criminal juvenile records. By sealing or expunging their records, juveniles may be able to get a fresh start when they become adults.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by agents of the government. This does not mean that individuals are free from all searches and seizures, but only that they are protected from “unreasonable” ones.
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.
While many people associate the Fifth Amendment with not incriminating themselves, there are other important aspects of this Amendment to the United States Constitution. This Amendment provides a number of important rights.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Common DUI Question Answered: What Do I Do If I Am Pulled Over?
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.
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.
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.
When a person is charged criminally with a DUI offense there are several different pleas that he or she can enter in court.
Many people are surprised to learn that law enforcement officers are not simply allowed to stop any vehicle they see on the road.
Domestic violence is a serious accusation and can have devastating effects on the life of those accused.
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.
Illinois joined the growing group of states to allow the use of medical marijuana.
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.