Do I have to go to court for my traffic ticket?

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Whether you must appear in court depends on the type of violation.  You may always appear in court to challenge your ticket or to plead guilty to the charges.  Certain traffic offenses may be handled without going to court by paying the fine and court costs prior to the court date listed on your citation. These traffic offenses are commonly …

Can I refuse a Breathalyzer?

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Although the answer can vary by state, in many cases, a refusal is itself a criminal or civil violation subject to stiff penalties.  In addition, if the DWI case is proven against you, there may be additional penalties imposed beyond those for the drunk driving offense. In North Carolina, refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not carry criminal penalties, …

Are the police required to knock before entering my home with a search warrant?

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Under most circumstances, even if officers have a search warrant, they have to announce themselves and their purpose before entering a home. This “knock-notice” or “knock and announce” is rooted in the Fourth Amendment’s protections and also many state laws. The knock notice rule requires in most instances that officers not enter a dwelling without permission until the occupant has …

Should I Make a Statement to the Police?

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The short answer is NO!  If you are the subject of a criminal investigation, being held for an interrogation, or placed under arrest, do not make any statements to the police. You should first consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help guide you through the criminal investigation process. Although you may think you can effectively present your …

Eighth Circuit: No Speedy Trial Rights for Prisoner Placed in Administrative Segregation

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We think you may find this article explaining one of the limitations on the Sixth Amendment’s right to a speedy trial interesting… By Christopher Zoukis, Prison Legal News “The Eighth Circuit ruled on September 15, 2016, in a per curiam opinion, that the Sixth Amendment’s right to a speedy trial is essentially not applicable to prisoners held in administrative segregation pending criminal …

How Self-driving Cars Could Determine the Future of Policing

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We think you may find this editorial on how self-driving cars could shape the future of traffic enforcement and policing interesting… By Orin Kerr, The Volokh Conspiracy Opinion “I was recently asked to predict the future of policing. My first reaction was curmudgeonly. It can’t be done, I responded, at least in a useful way. My second reaction was to …

Speed Cameras and Due Process – Drivers Should Know Their Rights

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We think you may find this article on the prevalence of traffic cameras and the due process issues they raise interesting… By Thomas Soldan “The District of Columbia and neighboring Prince Georges and Montgomery counties in Maryland are among a growing number of jurisdictions, local and nationwide, using digital cameras to enforce speed limits. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway …

Arrests undone: Suspects freed as prosecutors drop cases due to body camera videos

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We think you may find this news article on allegations of police misconduct and planting evidence in Baltimore drug and gun cases interesting… By Kevin Rector, Catherine Rentz and Tim Prudente, Contact Reporters for The Baltimore Sun “By the time Isiah Jones shouted “Twelve! Twelve!” to warn his friends of the sudden police presence on their West Baltimore block, it …

Nine Lessons About Criminal Justice Reform

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We think you may find this analysis on recent trends and successes at the state level in criminal justice reform interesting… By BILL KELLER (Adapted from remarks to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, San Francisco, July 17, 2017.) “Since November, a kind of fatalistic cloud has settled over the campaign to reform the federal criminal justice system. With a law-and-order …

Discovery: What and When the Prosecution Must Disclose

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The discovery process in a criminal case is designed to promote fair trials and encourage the settlement of cases.  We think you may find this article discussing discovery policy and the prosecution’s disclosure duty helpful… By Paul Bergman, UCLA Law School Professor        “Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. For example, …