In many criminal cases, especially in federal white collar prosecutions, the defense is "I didn't know what those other people were doing." This defense is in line with a basic principle of our criminal justice system -- that people are only responsible for their own actions. However, there are times when it simply doesn't work.
Murder has long been different from other crimes in that it has no statute of limitations and can be charged even when death occurs long after the criminal act. Another long-standing principle in the law is that the constitutional provision against double jeopardy means that a person can't be tried twice for the same action. What happens when these two principles collide?
Finding a good lawyer is an important part of dealing with any sort of legal problem. Whether you need a trust drawn up or a will created, the right attorney will help you get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Unfortunately, many people aren't quite sure how to find a trustworthy lawyer. If you've never had to meet with someone for legal advice or counseling, chances are that you are unsure of where to start searching. No matter what type of lawyer you need, there are several ways you can be sure to get the best help possible for your personal situation.
When police are in a home due to consent, a warrant, or exigent circumstances, their actions are generally limited to the specific purpose for which they entered, and any searches not directly related to that purpose violate the Fourth Amendment. One exception is a protective sweep, which allows officers to check for additional people or immediately accessible weapons. However, as one federal court recently affirmed, officers may not automatically conduct a protective sweep in all circumstances.
Weapons offenses generally arise in two circumstances. One is as an add-on charge to a violent crime. The second is when police search a person or their vehicle after making contact for some other reason such as during a routine traffic stop. No matter what the original circumstances were, police arresting someone on a weapons charge must have discovered the weapon through legal means.
Being charged with solicitation of or patronizing prostitution can have long lasting effects. In addition to the criminal consequences, prostitution charges carry a stigma that may result in family problems, losing a job, and a damaged reputation in the community. Although you may want to just go into a shell and cut yourself off from the outside world following a prostitution-related arrest, the better course of action is to start aggressively fighting the charges as soon as possible.
Over the years, the use of no-knock warrants has grown exponentially. With a regular warrant, police are required to knock and announce their presence before entering a private building. No-knock warrants allow police to immediately make forcible entry. Because of this, their expanded use has been hotly contested.
Many people have seen TV and movie glorifications of bank robberies, but bank robbery charges cover far more than a violent stick up followed by a stand off with the police. Nearly any act designed to take money from a bank could result in federal felony charges resulting in decades in prison. This applies to any person that the government believes to have provided assistance in a bank robbery no matter how remotely they were connected to the actual act of robbing a bank. If you or someone you know has been charged with bank robbery, it's important to have a thorough understanding of bank robbery laws and possible defenses.
n almost any criminal case, the defendant will be faced with a choice -- (1) go to trial and face severe consequences if they lose or (2) plead guilty in exchange for lighter consequences. Depending on the nature of the charges, the difference could be years in prison versus probation or a career-ruining criminal conviction versus the equivalent of a speeding ticket. Throughout the entire case, the prosecutor will be there reminding the defense attorney, and ultimately the defendant, of what's at stake.
Resisting arrest, fleeing from the police, and escaping custody are all separate offenses that apply whether or not you committed the offense police originally suspected you of. For this reason, it's important that you obey any order given by a police officer no matter how wrong you think they are. Failing to do so may quickly result in the police tacking on numerous charges. Here's everything you need to know about those charges.