What are my rights when I see blue lights behind me?

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First there must be a reasonable suspicion of a law or infraction or a necessary safety measure to pull you over. This can be violating the speed limit, having a broken tail light, or fitting the description of a suspicious vehicle alert. Second, you do not have to pull over until you can do so safely. You have the right …

Can I Use Deadly Force Against a Home Invader?

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The use of force, deadly or otherwise, against a home invader or trespasser on any private property is governed by a law commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine (NCGS 14-51.1). This comes from English common law where homes were referred to as a person’s castle. Any lawful occupant of a home, motor vehicle or workplace is not required to …

What is the Difference Between a Preliminary Hearing and a Trial?

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Preliminary hearings are used to screen cases to determine which cases merit a full trial. Preliminary hearings are often short and occur only in front of a judge (no jury involved). The burden of proof is lower at a preliminary hearing, requiring the prosecution to show probable cause that the defendant committed the crime, not beyond a reasonable doubt as …

What is reasonable doubt?

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Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard of evidence and it simply means that a reasonable person can logically conclude based on the evidence presented at trial that the person is guilty of the crime.  The purpose behind the high standard of proof is to prevent a person from losing any liberties due to a wrongful conviction.   This …

Can Store Employees Detain Me if They Suspect Shoplifting?

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Yes, a merchant has the authority to detain and question a suspected shoplifter until the police arrive.In general, the merchant (or its employee) must have ‘probable cause’ that shoplifting occurred before stopping the shopper for questioning. Rules are in place to ensure that the merchant and its employees act with reasonable justification so that they do not infringe upon the …

What is Terrorism?

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Terrorism is considered any criminal tactics used to carry on a conflict without the adversary realizing the nature of the threat. The FBI’s definition: “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”  The U.S. Department …

Parents Don’t Turn Children Into Criminals

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We think you may find this article helpful… by Stanton Samehow For decades, mental health professionals have dissected the lives of mass shooters and serial killers trying to determine what “went wrong” during their upbringing  Invariably, the role of the perpetrator’s parents is scrutinized while trying to identify causes.  The assumption seems to be that mothers and fathers were at …

What crimes are considered ‘white collar’?

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The following crimes are most often labeled as white collar crimes: Bank Fraud: Fraudulent activity that deprives a bank of its funds. Blackmail:  A demand for money or other assets under threat of injury (bodily, property, reputation, etc.).  Bribery:  When something of value is offered with intent to influence the actions, opinions, or decisions of the taker. You may be …

What is an indictment?

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In felony cases, if an individual is arrested a complaint may be entered to charge him or her with the crime. An indictment is used as an alternative to a complaint, as a formal accusation against the individual suspected of committing the crime. The indictment may be entered prior to arrest. A complaint is signed by the prosecutor while an …

Can I Get My Criminal Record Expunged?

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It depends. There are very limited factors that allow for the expungement of criminal records. Expungement is the legal process that erases your criminal record from most of the searches (although some higher level security searches will still have access to these records).  The main benefit of an expungement is that when you are asked whether you have any criminal …