Maybe you got into a fight with someone and the police were called and you got arrested. Perhaps you were picked up on suspicion of drunk driving. Maybe it was something else. Either way, you kept waiting for the arresting officer to launch into the "Miranda" warning that you've heard so many times on TV. You know, the one that starts out, "You have the right to remain silent," and details what can happen if you don't, among other things.
Far too often, people's lives are overshadowed by a single mistake in their past. New legislation in North Carolina, known as the Second Chance Act, will help people escape their past by clearing their criminal records.
You got into a fight with your girlfriend and it got out of control. The police were called. Your girlfriend made allegations that you were assaultive. You were charged with domestic violence. Now, your entire life has been turned upside down and you'd give anything for the whole case to just go away. Should you ask your girlfriend to drop the charges?
A lot of states take a dim view of repeat criminal offenders. In North Carolina, that view is reflected through a "habitual felon" charge.
If you've been charged with a crime, you'd probably ideally prefer to either have the charges dropped or be acquitted.
Americans are pretty fond of "do-it-yourself" projects, but there are some areas of life that should never be handled without experienced assistance. In particular, we're talking about plea deals.
When defense attorneys talk about the consequences of an arrest, they often speak of the collateral damage to a defendant's life -- including the possibility that an arrest and conviction will haunt the defendant's footsteps forever. A decades-old theft conviction for shoplifting, for example, could make every potential employer distrust you. A charge for assault over a bar fight in your youth could continue to brand you a "violent" person for years -- even if you weren't convicted.
Plea bargains are an integral part of the criminal legal system. Prosecutors like them because they're always counted as a "win" in their statistics. The courts like them because they help keep the system moving and reduce the backlog of cases that need to be heard. Defendants like them because they can often carve out a deal that's much better than they'd likely get if the case went to trial.
A North Carolina woman was subjected to a tactical-style assault on her home by the police this past July and arrested on an open warrant that she didn't even know existed. She now faces up to 19 months behind bars.
Do politics have you dreading Thanksgiving this year? If so, you're not alone. It's estimated that a millions of families with political divides cut their meals short every year because of tension and fights.