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North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

What is the role of a grand jury in federal crimes?

If you have been accused of a federal crime in North Carolina, you may have a lot of questions about the legal process you are about to experience. Prosecution for federal crimes generally gains momentum when a defendant is officially charged. However, this process is somewhat different from that used to address lower-level crimes. Today, we walk you through the process of being formally charged with a federal offense.

Potential felony charges require prosecutors to submit evidence to an impartial group of citizens who are known as a grand jury. The grand jury may call witnesses to testify, and evidence will be presented to support the prosecutor's case. An outline of the case is also provided. The grand jury will vote to determine whether enough evidence exists to charge the individual with the crime. Grand juries can either recommend the case for prosecution or decide not to charge the defendant based on the evidence.

Jury convicts Charlotte man of federal crimes for sex trafficking

A North Carolina man has been convicted of several sex crimes by a federal jury in Charlotte. The man, age 31, was accused of federal crimes including sex trafficking and pimping, according to official sources. The federal jury debated for just about two hours before convicting the man. He was found guilty on counts of kidnapping, producing child pornography, witness tampering and promoting prostitution.

Authorities say that the defendant had been operating a large sex trafficking ring in Charlotte for about three years when he was arrested in November 2013. The man as accused of using websites to recruit local girls -- some as young as 16 -- to his sex-for-pay scheme. He allegedly promised the girls that they would be included in a family and enjoy a generally better life.

Man in North Carolina faces four charges for sex crimes

A 23-year-old man recently went before the Catawba County Criminal Superior Court in North Carolina, facing accusations that he had committed numerous sex crimes. As a result, it was determined that he should spend 26 months in jail. This is not the man's first experience with sex crimes that involve minors.

In fact, the man had already been convicted for crimes that took place in Missouri, back in 2009. At that time, his conviction indicated that he was guilty of sexual misconduct, a felony charge, that involved a minor who was under the age of 15.

North Carolina's DWI laws notoriously tough

Did you know that North Carolina has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the nation? That's right, even before a 1999 legal crackdown on DWI, this state has had a reputation for being tough on crime when it comes to intoxicated drivers. With a comprehensive system that includes the use of ignition interlocks and strict penalties -- including jail time -- it is important that drivers learn about the details of the drunk driving allegations they are facing in North Carolina.

In this state, there are five levels of offenses for drunk driving violations. The lowest, Level V (or Level 5), comes along with a $200 fine and a minimum 24-hour jail sentence. Judges can suspend the sentence, but the convicted driver may have to complete several hours of community service and refrain from driving for the next month.

3 men accused of federal crimes after drug-related kidnapping

Three men are facing federal allegations after they apparently kidnapped an area man after a drug deal gone wrong. Official reports show that the trio, ages 22, 26 and 57, have been charged with federal crimes including kidnapping. The defendants appeared in a federal court in North Carolina, but they may be extradited to South Carolina to actually face trial. They are accused of not only kidnapping the man, but also demanding ransom and holding the victim at gunpoint.

Official reports say that the men are accused of kidnapping a 23-year-old victim. That man was involved with an organization that engaged in drug sales, and he had apparently previously delivered about 200 pounds of marijuana to a customer. The victim gave the drugs to the customer, expecting financial compensation for the drugs at a later time. However, that client apparently made off with the marijuana and never paid the man. The drug group, based in Mexico, decided to hold the victim and his father accountable for the loss of $200,000 -- the cost of the missing drugs. When they could not pay the bill, the victim stopped working for the Mexican trafficking group.

Elementary educators arrested on prescription drug charges

There mere mention of drug dealing often conjures up visions of several people huddled together in a dark alley while passing money and drugs back and forth. For one North Carolina town, the drug deals were allegedly taking place in a manner nobody would ever have suspected.

Several arrests that were made this week on drug charges were the culmination of a four-month investigation into the matter. Those arrested included a 48-year-old doctor and his 44-year-old wife, a second-grade teacher at a local elementary school. Three other employees of the school, including two teacher assistants and a third-grade teacher, were also arrested. More arrests were made, including an administrative assistant at a preschool facility, a teacher at a local religious academy and another female suspect who was not employed at any school.

Former teacher accused of sex crimes with student

A North Carolina woman who had taught for Durham Public Schools has been accused of maintaining an inappropriate relationship with one of her students. The 37-year-old woman is formally accused of sex crimes including engaging in a sex offense with a student and taking indecent liberties with a student. North Carolina law dictates that it is illegal for any teacher to engage in a sexual relationship with a student, no matter the student’s age.

Authorities report that the woman is accused of maintaining the relationship with a female student. The pair met in 2012, when the student was 15 years old. Officers say that they are not entirely sure when the relationship turned sexual, though that information is currently being sought through the criminal investigation. The woman resigned from her teaching job in April; she had been working at the school as a dance teacher since 1997.

North Carolina doctor pleading guilty to federal crimes, fraud

A former North Carolina physician has pleaded guilty in connection with federal allegations of health care fraud. The man, who had been an owner of Northcross Medical Center in the Charlotte area, was an internal medicine physician. The 55-year-old man was accused of federal crimes after he apparently used his medical center to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Official reports show that the man was also accused of tax evasion, dodging as much as $800,000 in tax debt.

Authorities say that the man and others at his practice were engaged in submitting false claims for procedures from 2009 to 2013. Most of those claims related to hemorrhoidectomies and other similar procedures. In many cases, those services were never provided, but the federal government compensated the center because of their filings through Medicare and Medicaid. Further, it appears that many of the man's patients did not even qualify for the treatments that they were supposedly receiving.

Defendants accused of hiding sex crimes behind daycare business

Yet another North Carolina resident has been arrested in connection with an alleged child pornography operation that was based in Harnett County. That man, age 50, was arrested on June 24. He faces serious criminal allegations of first-degree sex crimes, according to news reports.

Authorities say that the man was apprehended after investigators released photographs of his face in an attempt to identify him. Those investigators say that video tape exists implicating the man in the recorded assault of a child. Four other people have already been arrested in connection with the case, which alleges that a daycare and mentoring initiative was used as a front to create child pornography. A 33-year-old man is the primary defendant in this case.

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