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North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

How is DNA used in a sex crimes case?

In many sex crime cases, there is no DNA evidence found that can be used at trial. However, for the cases that do involve DNA evidence, it can be difficult to build an effective defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney, though, can determine if there was an error when the evidence was collected, stored or processed -- all of which can provide reasonable doubt in the minds of a judge or jury.

DNA is found in every cell in our bodies. It determines the color of our skin, hair and eyes. It is found in blood, sweat, urine saliva, skin tissue and semen. On an alleged victim of rape or similar sex crime, DNA might be found on his or her body or clothing, on furniture, drinking glasses, cigarette butts and more.

Alleged drunk driver crashes, woman killed in wreck

A retired schoolteacher is dead and the other driver who caused the wreck is now behind bars following a fatal collision in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, last month.

The 30-year-old driver was driving with his four children in his minivan when he collided with a retired schoolteacher's pickup truck, causing it to roll over. She died at the scene of the crash on Body Road.

What are the laws on gun ownership in North Carolina?

In North Carolina and all other states, federal law prohibits some people from possessing, transporting, shipping or receiving explosives, firearms or ammunition. The possession of a firearm may be constructive or actual.

Constructive possession of a firearm means that you are aware there is a firearm in your car, residence or some place similar and you can access that firearm either by yourself or through someone else. The court could consider that you have constructive possession of the firearm. Actual possession means the firearm is actually in your possession.

What are North Carolina's penalties for drug trafficking?

North Carolina vigorously pursues and prosecutes those suspected of trafficking illegal drugs within and across its borders. In order to stay on the right side of the law, it can help to understand the penalties imposed upon conviction of trafficking charges.

Even when convicted of trafficking marijuana, a drug that two states have legalized and many more are contemplating decriminalizing or have already done so, penalties are steep. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, those convicted of moving less than 50 kilos of pot or between one and 49 plants (regardless of their total weight) can wind up in jail for five years on a first offense. Their fines for individuals can be as high as a quarter of a million dollars and up to $1 million for those not considered to be individuals.

DNA from discarded cigarette upheld as evidence in North Carolina

Most people are aware that the Fourth Amendment protects them from unreasonable search and seizures. However, the courts sometimes rule on evidence that isn't covered under this amendment. Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that a discarded cigarette butt could be used as evidence in the rape and murder trial of a former school board member.

The defense attorney says that he disagrees with the ruling and plans to ask the North Carolina Supreme Court to review the lower court's ruling. "The key issue is privacy," the defense attorney stated. "All that [the defendant] was asking them to do was have a court agree that there was enough probable cause that he committed a crime to ask for his DNA."

North Carolina's Veterans Treatment Court

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The State of North Carolina has recently joined a growing contingent of states to address the surging numbers of veterans entering the criminal justice system by opening a Veterans Treatment Court. Considering that North Carolina contains massive military installations such as Fort Bragg and Camp Lejune (and recent estimates indicate that nearly 35% of North Carolinians are active duty military, veterans, or dependents), the institution of a Veterans Treatment Court in North Carolina is of paramount importance and provides an incredible tool to defense attorneys throughout the State.

North Carolina woman charged with embezzlement

According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue, a 56-year-old woman stands accused of embezzling approximately $30,000 in withholding tax money for the state.

The woman was arrested last month on six charges of embezzling state property. She is the owner of a business located on Jonestown Road in Raleigh, Future Young Scholars Child Development Academy.

What does North Carolina's open container law entail?

In North Carolina, the transportation of an open container of alcohol is governed by law. However, a violation of this law does depend on the type of vehicle it is in, where in the vehicle it is located and the type of alcohol.

For commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, dump trucks or garage trucks, no alcohol may be in the vehicle. It doesn't matter if the beverage is open or closed -- it is not allowed. This does not just mean when the commercial vehicle is in motion on the highway but also if the vehicle is parked.

New law may have little effect on marijuana drug crime arrests

Lately, getting both houses of Congress and the president to agree on anything seems like a victory -- even a federal spending bill. However, when President Obama signed the latest federal spending bill on Dec. 16, it did more than avert another government shutdown.

Among the provisions in the bill was one that discourages federal agents from going after marijuana operations in states where it is legal. An official with the Drug Policy Alliance hails this provision as a "real game-changer," both in attitudes about medical marijuana as a valid treatment for an array of medical conditions and in efforts to legalize marijuana on a federal level.

North Carolina Laura's Law increases DWI penalties

There is a law in North Carolina known as "Laura's Law" that increased the possible legal ramifications in some cases of driving while impaired. Enacted in 2011, the law was named after a teenager who was killed in an accident by a driver who was impaired. That driver had previously been convicted of DWI.

Under Laura's Law, convicted drivers with prior DWIs will have a longer alcohol monitoring period if given probation if a jail sentence is avoided.

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