Content Related To 'criminal-law'

Speak To Attorney

Lea en español In a criminal situation, ask to speak to your attorney first before you give a statement to the police. If you believe that you might be considered a suspect at the time of a crime or think that you could be considered a suspect at a later date, make sure you speak […]

What's the difference between an assault & battery?

The terms “assault” and “battery” usually are heard used together, but they are distinct charges. An assault is defined as a threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force. Contrary to what many think, physical contact is not necessary for an assault. An assault occurs when a stranger points a gun at another […]

What is Jury Nullification?

Lea en español When a jury believes a law has been applied erroneously or a law is immoral, the jury may return a verdict of “not guilty” even if the members believe the defendant is guilty. This, in effect, nullifies the law for the purposes of that trial and is known as jury nullification. It […]

Before Arrest : the DWI Traffic Stop

Lea en español Last update: Aug. 29, 2008 Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause Contrary to popular belief, police officers are not required to have probable cause to pull over a person. All they must have is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is about to be committed. This is a lower standard […]

After Arrest for DUI/DWI: The Legal Process

Lea en español Last update: Aug. 29, 2008 Typically after a DWI arrest, a suspect is taken to jail and given a chance to perform more sobriety tests or repeat the ones conducted at the roadside. Like the tests at the roadside, the suspect may choose whether to perform them, except in the case of […]

Electronic Surveillance

Lea en español Using electronic devices to keep surveillance over a person may implicate the investigated individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. One form of electronic surveillance is attaching a “bug” to a person’s telephone line or to a phone booth and recording the phone conversation. Courts have held that this practice constitutes a search under the […]

Search & Seizure Law

Lea en español The 4th Amendment protects two fundamental liberty interests: the right to privacy and the right to freedom from arbitrary invasion. A search occurs when a government employee or agent violates a reasonable expectation of privacy. A seizure is the interference with an individual’s possessory interest in property. The property’s owner must have […]

COMMENTARY: Supreme Court Averts Danger by Disallowing the Death Penalty for Child Rape

by Jeff Stanglin, J.D. July 3, 2008 The Supreme Court has undoubtedly lurched toward conservatism in the past 20 years, but death penalty cases have largely been an anomaly. Just in the past six years, the Court has banned the execution of juveniles and mentally retarded individuals, ruling that such executions violate the Eighth Amendment’s […]

When May Police Conduct a Warrantless Search of a Home?

Lea en español Typically, the police may not conduct a warrantless search of a home. The warrant must specify what the police are looking for and at what location they are likely to find it. The search is limited to areas where it is reasonable to believe the item may be found. Police are allowed to […]

Criminal Forfeiture

Lea en español Forfeiture, the government seizure of property connected to illegal activity, has been a major weapon in the federal government’s war on drugs since the 1980s. The U.S. Department of Justice established the Assets Forfeiture Fund in 1985 and seized $27 million from drug-related forfeitures that year. As the dollar values of seized […]

Defenses to Crimes

Lea en español The defenses raised in criminal cases generally fall into two categories: you did not commit the crime, or you committed the crime, but should not be held responsible. Defenses Based on a Claim of Innocence The most powerful defense when you did not commit the crime is the establishment of a solid […]

Fundamental Rights of the Accused

Lea en español 5th Amendment Rights Under the 5th Amendment, you have the right to refuse to answer questions, or make statements, that might incriminate you. This applies at any stage of a criminal investigation or prosecution. The 5th Amendment also contains the Due Process Clause, which protects you from suffering certain consequences without due […]

Criminal Law Types

Websites General HG: Criminal Law – Links to criminal code for all 50 states. Also links to international resources, articles, and other information. Penal Law – Comprehensive online digest of American criminal law. Links to statutes, cases, and analysis. Theories of Criminal Law – Excellent essay from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Types of crimes […]

Getting served with a subpoena

It can be confusing and even frightening to be served with a subpoena, especially if you do not know what’s involved. A subpoena is a summons to appear in court. No matter the reason, you need to appear in court on the appointed day and time or else you may be held in contempt of […]

What to do if you're caught in a hit-and-run accident

Lea en español A hit-and-run auto accident occurs when a party refuses to stop after the accident. If your car is hit by an automobile and the driver flees the scene, your first concern should be to get medical care. If you are not hurt, try to recall as many details as you can about […]

What distinguishes a misdemeanor from a felony?

Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors result in a jail sentence of less than one year incarceration and must be served in a city or county jail rather than a state or federal prison. Defendants who can’t afford an attorney are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney. A person convicted of a misdemeanor is allowed to vote, serve on a […]

Can the police ever arrest without a warrant?

If police have probable cause (a definable reason) to believe that a crime has been committed and that the suspect committed the crime, they can make an arrest without a warrant.  For example, a drunk driver who exhibits obvious signs of intoxication can be arrested on the spot without applying for a warrant. There is […]

What is the ''Three Strikes'' law?

The federal ”Three Strikes” provision, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c), “provides a vehicle to take the most dangerous offenders out of the community and keep them out,” according to a summary from the Justice Department. Under the Three Strikes provision, a federal defendant receives a mandatory life sentence if convicted of a ”serious violent […]

The difference between lying and entrapment

Many people assume that if a person wishing to buy drugs approaches an undercover police officer, the case will be dismissed if the officer lies and denies working for the police. But that is not generally true.  Police may lie, but they may not be involved in “entrapment”. Entrapment occurs when police induce or persuade someone to […]

Civil violation, misdemeanor, felony

Civil violations (also known as infractions, minor violations or petty offenses) are charges punishable by fine or other sanctions without jail time. An example may be a license suspension for refusing to take a breathylizer test. Misdemeanors generally have a sentence of a year or less in jail. Felonies carry a sentence of more than […]

The U.S. Sentencing Commission

The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets sentencing guidelines for criminal law matters that are used throughout the country. The USSC website is a great resource for staying on top of trends in sentencing and researching federal and state sentencing statistics. Social Share

When to contact a lawyer

If you have committed a crime, are accused of committing a crime or believe you are being investigated for a crime, it is time to get an attorney involved. An attorney can advise and assist you in dealing with the police and can also help keep the matter as private as possible. Social Share

White Collar Crime

Lea en español White-collar crime generally involves financially motivated offenses perpetrated by business and government employees or officials. The crimes are not violent, and are usually committed by persons in whom some level of trust or autonomy is placed. They frequently cause significant losses for companies, investors and employees. The Types of White-Collar Crimes Fraud.By […]

NJ Internet Sexual Predator Law Bans Some Sex Offenders From the Internet

by Laura Smith Jan. 4, 2008 New Jersey is the latest state to pass laws dealing with the volatile mixture of computers, the Internet and convicted sex offenders. The state, along with Florida and Nevada, has made it a crime for some convicted sex offenders to use the Internet. The law affects sex offenders who […]

Texas Inmate Plans for Freedom as DNA Exonerations Continue in Texas

by the GetLegal editorial staff Jan. 3, 2008 Charles Chatman has spent the last 27 years in prison, having been convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison in 1981 at the age of 20. Now 47, Chatman is expected to be released, making him the 15th person in Dallas County to be wrongfully […]

Misdemeanor Crimes

Lea en español As a general rule, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that carries a penalty of up to one year in detention. In most instances, the incarceration is in a county jail or similar facility, rather than a prison. Most misdemeanor convictions also require the payment of a fine. Probation, community service, and […]

Traffic Tickets

Lea en español Though many individuals may consider them little more than a nuisance, traffic citations are generally considered to be criminal offenses. The fines for certain types of infractions can be substantial and can lead to significant increases in the cost of auto insurance premiums. In some circumstances, traffic convictions can add points to […]


Lea en español A prior criminal record can haunt you for years, making it difficult to get a job, obtain credit, or find a decent place to live. Under certain circumstances, however, you can expunge a prior arrest or conviction, so that, for all practical purposes, it no longer exists. Qualifying for Expungement Though the […]

The Late Claude Howard Jones’ Innocence Hangs on a Single Strand of Hair

Lea en español by Laura Smith Sept. 11, 2007 A 1-inch piece of hair is proving to be a Texas-size bone of contention. The hair: Authorities are not sure whose head it came from. The bone: Some criminal justice groups want the hair for DNA testing, and a district attorney doesn’t want to give it […]

Death Penalty Losing Support as Science Uncovers Flaws

Lea en español by Paul Goetz June 13, 2007 The thought of being sentenced to serve time for a crime you didn’t commit certainly can cause uneasiness and fear. Add the possibility of facing the death penalty as an innocent person and your mind may question whether the system we have in place needs some […]

Criminal Law

Lea en español Learn about some specific types of criminal offenses. We all make mistakes. When we do, it is important not to make things worse through ignorance of the law or of our rights. If you find yourself facing criminal investigation or prosecution because of choices you have made, the more information you have […]