Discovery: What does the Prosecution have to disclose?

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The discovery process in a criminal case is designed to promote fair trials and encourage the settlement of cases.  A defendant has the right to know what evidence will be presented at trial in advance so that the defendant and his or her legal team can prepare their best defense. While television shows and movies love to portray the scene …

Do police officers have to wear body cameras?

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No. Each department develops its own policies surrounding the use of body cameras. Most major metropolitan city police departments do have the technology in place and policies on how and when the cameras are used. Most policies encourage officers to activate the cameras prior to the use of force if safe to do so.  Officers who fail to adhere to …

Can I Get a Ticket for Driving Too Slowly?

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As of December 1, 2017, in North Carolina, you may receive a ticket for driving less than the posted speed in the lane closest to the center or for impeding the steady flow of traffic. The fine is $200.  (NCGS 20-146) Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Maryland have recently or are in the process of passing similar laws.  Common roadside courtesy …

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 …