When Do the Police Have Probable Cause to Conduct a Search?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that no U.S. citizen can be subject to an unreasonable search or seizure without a warrant backed by probable cause. This fundamental protection is core to protecting the rights of American citizens from potential abuse by law enforcement. But what exactly is “probable cause,” and what happens when police conduct a search or seizure without it? Continue reading “When Do the Police Have Probable Cause to Conduct a Search?”

What is an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACOD)?

When people talk about the criminal justice system, usually the conversation revolves around three outcomes in criminal cases: taking a plea deal, being convicted at trial, or being acquitted at trial. However, there is one surprisingly common outcome that many people do not talk about, known as an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (also called an ACOD or ACD). But what is an ACOD, and why might it matter to you?

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What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

Broadly speaking, the law divides all crimes into two different categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Most people also know that, generally speaking, misdemeanors are considered as less serious than felonies. But what exactly is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, and why should it matter to you? Continue reading “What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?”

When Should You Take a Plea Deal?

It is estimated that approximately 90 to 95% of all criminal cases end with a defendant taking a plea deal. As a result, shockingly few cases ever make it to trial, regardless of the merits of a defendant’s case. But what is it that determines whether taking a plea deal is a good idea, and when is it potentially better to go to trial?

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The Pros and Cons of Excercising Your Fifth Amendment Rights

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects every American’s right against self-incrimination, also known as the right to remain silent. This right is essential to protecting people from being forced into false or coerced confessions by law enforcement. However, there are benefits and risks to invoking your Fifth Amendment rights, and you should know them before you invoke it.

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Five Reasons Not to Allow the Police to Search Your Property

One of the most basic rights Americans have, enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, prohibits law enforcement from conducting an “unreasonable search or seizure” without a warrant probable cause. However, there are numerous loopholes in this protection, foremost among them that police do not need a warrant if you allow them to search your property of your own free will. Here are five reasons you may not want to comply with a police request to search your property:

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What You Should Know About Police Brutality

If you have paid attention to the news, then chances are that you have heard the term “police brutality” more than once. This is more than a controversial topic of conversation, however, as people who suffer from police brutality often must deal with the legal, financial, and medical consequences for years afterwards. But what exactly is police brutality, and what should you do if you experience it? Continue reading “What You Should Know About Police Brutality”

What Happens When the Police Violate Your Rights?

The United States Constitution guarantees people a number of crucial rights that can help protect them against abuse from law enforcement. However, police officers can still violate these rights, resulting in serious potential harm as you suffer the indignities of the justice system. So what exactly happens when the police violate your rights, and how does the law protect your rights? Continue reading “What Happens When the Police Violate Your Rights?”

What Happens If You Are Arrested for a DUI?

Driving under the influence, more commonly known as DUI, is one of the most serious traffic offenses you can be accused of. Unlike most other traffic offenses, though, you can face far more serious consequences than simply getting a traffic ticket, or having points put on your license. Here are five things that may happen if you are arrested for a DUI: Continue reading “What Happens If You Are Arrested for a DUI?”

Five Reasons Not to Defend Yourself Pro Se

If you have been arrested by the police for allegedly committing a crime, you may believe you can handle things by yourself. You may feel there is no point in getting a lawyer, or that it is too expensive, so representing yourself pro se (without a lawyer) is a good idea. However, you may find that without a lawyer, you will have a much harder time defending yourself against criminal charges. Here are five reasons you should not try to defend yourself pro se: Continue reading “Five Reasons Not to Defend Yourself Pro Se”