According to Howard Kurtz, an experienced Raleigh lawyer with Kurtz & Blum, this case illustrates the reality that criminal behavior can be found at every level of our society. As members of a democratic society we put our trust in the hands of our elected officials.
These public servants are generally held to a higher ethical standard because of the temptation to use their considerable influence for personal gain.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
In criminal law, the discovery process, which takes place before and throughout the trial, plays a crucial role in ensuring that defendants get a fair trial. During this process, the prosecution provides the defense with the information they plan to introduce at trial, and vice versa.
This exchange of information allows either party to formulate the appropriate plan to counter each other’s arguments. For the defense, the discovery can also determine if a guilty plea should be entered—in this case, if the strength of the prosecution’s case proves to be insurmountable—or if a plea bargain might be a viable option.
While a lot of information can change hands during the discovery process, there are limitations to what can be exchanged. The identity of a confidential informant, for example, cannot be revealed during the discovery until a motion is filed and approved by the court to have the prosecution disclose his identity. Additionally, the prosecution’s work product, such as notes created by the prosecution for their own use, cannot be provided to the defense.
The criminal defense lawyer plays an important role in the discovery process. Using his sound judgment, the defense attorney can assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, thereby allowing him to advise his client accordingly about the best course of action in a particular situation.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Being involved in a car accident can mean sustaining one or more injuries, some more serious than others. For instance, a driver who is hit in the rear by another will likely sustain a neck injury in the form of a neck strain or whiplash.
As a kid, you were probably taught that whenever you hurt someone, you should say sorry. In a car accident, it’s best to forget this lesson, however. This does not mean you are turning your back on being morally upright; it simply means you are protecting your legal rights while investigation is ongoing.
In any car accident, downright admission of fault can result in negative consequences. Even when the other party is hounding you and screaming at you to carry the blame, avoid preempting the investigation. If you admit blame, this will likely be used against you once the other party files for a car accident insurance claim. Remember, even a slight admission like, “I should have looked more carefully…” can be misconstrued as admission of guilt.
As such, it’s best to remain civil and keep quiet after an accident. Let police authorities and insurance adjusters determine exactly who’s to blame for the accident. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and truthfully answer the questions asked by the police officers, but do no more than these. For your benefit, hire a personal injury lawyer who can help fight for your legal rights in such cases.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
In Wake County, if you get arrested for a DWI, you face a 30-day minimum revocation of your driver’s license at the outset of your case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be eligible to apply for a limited driving privilege after the first 10 days of revocation. The limited driving privilege is only allowed for work or school purposes.
Requirements for the limited driving privilege
To petition the court for a limited driving privilege, you’ll need to fulfill two requirements. First, complete a substance abuse assessment conducted by an approved service provider in Wake County and submit the results of your assessment to court. Second, follow the recommendation of the assessment, which can be to enroll in substance abuse education or treatment. You are not required to complete the recommended education or treatment to obtain your limited driving privilege.
The assessment will cost you some money, and you can expect the recommended education or treatment to cost you some more. Make sure to keep a record of all transactions and paperwork as they will prove useful.
What to do next
Once you’ve decided to proceed with the recommendation, give your attorney a copy of your court paperwork (including your citation) from your DWI case, a certified copy of your DMV driving record, and a copy of the results of your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Police conduct various field sobriety tests, but only three tests have been standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here's a rundown of the three:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
In an HGN test, the driver is asked to track a moving object, usually the police officer's finger or flashlight. An impaired driver would normally find it difficult to track the object because the nystagmus—involuntary eye movement—happens at lesser angles. Police also use the HGN test to find out what kinds of drugs the driver may have consumed.
The WAT test is one of two divided attention tests (the other being the one-leg stand test) where the officer instructs the driver to perform simple physical actions. Usually, the driver will be asked to walk on a straight line, heel-to-toe. A driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher may commit more than one mistake (e.g. falling down or balancing with arms).
One-Leg Stand (OLS)
The OLS test, as the name implies, requires the driver to stand on only one leg and lift the other six inches above the ground. The driver will also count while performing an OLS for 30 seconds but starting at 1,000 (i.e. 1,001, 1,002, 1,003). Just like the WAT test, committing two or more errors suggests a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
The combination of these standardized field sobriety tests accounts for an accuracy rate of 91 percent, according to studies.