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.
Domestic violence is a complicated issue that tends to arise from deeply emotional situations. In a split second, you may make decisions that don't necessarily reflect your real intentions. Alcohol or drugs may fuel your anger and contribute to the problem.
If you want to get a millennial's attention in the political arena, talk about criminal justice reform. The vast majority of this younger, larger generation that is now becoming a huge political force is concerned about the way that the legal system and ordinary people interact.
You may or may not know this, but North Carolina is finally taking steps to fix what many people (especially defense attorneys) believe is a 100-year-old mistake. That's when North Carolina's government defined 16-year-old children as "adults" under the criminal justice system.
The first time anybody faces criminal charges, they're usually in shock. Most people don't set out to commit a crime -- and they're stunned by the circumstances that have led them to their situation.
A North Carolina woman who blew a .16 -- or higher -- on several Breathalyzer tests has had her drunk driving conviction overturned on appeal. The case is a fascinating example of just how seriously the courts take the issue of "probable cause" when the police make a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving (or anything else).