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criminal defense Archives

Why are 'no-knock' warrants used?

Typically, even if the police have a warrant to search your home or apartment, they're going to knock first before they attempt to come in. They may show you the warrant to demonstrate that you can't refuse the request, but you still open the door for them and have some idea of what's going on.

When the police can act without a warrant

In many cases, to search a residence or make an arrest, the police need to have a warrant. Citizens are protected in this way by the Fourth Amendment. However, knowing that the reality of police work means that warrants cannot always be given out in time, there are exceptions to this rule. A few key ones are noted below:

Traumatic experiences can cloud witnesses' memories

Witness memory is not actually very reliable, despite how much it is used in court. People remember things differently than they happened or can't remember them at all. In some cases, during a traumatic experience, a witness can make a crucial error.

Infractions, misdemeanors and felonies: a brief explainer

There really are only three types of criminal charges that can be filed against an individual accused of committing an offense. Within these three types of charges there may be subsets and varying characteristics, but the three basic types of crimes still are the focus of the criminal justice system

Your Miranda rights: a few very important sentences

Even if you don't know them by their legal term, you know that the following sentences grant you some very important rights during an arrest: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, and if you can't afford one, an attorney will be appointed to you."

Don't forget: you have the right to a speedy trial

This often gets lost in the grand topic of criminal charges and the act of defending those charges, but it is nonetheless an important element to the entire topic: how long can the police hold you for a crime you allegedly committed before they actually charge you?

Protect yourself and your livelihood by getting an attorney

As we have written in this space in recent weeks, the criminal justice system is full of convoluted systems and archaic rules that only hurt people who are accused or convicted of a crime. Now, to a certain extent, that's the whole point of the system. But far too many stories are coming out about people who are accused of minor crimes suffering consequences worthy of a headline-grabbing felony. That's just not right, and those who are accused or convicted of a crime -- any crime -- need to be wary of the punishment they face. 

New program allows NYC judges to forego bail in certain cases

A few months back, we wrote a post about a new law enforcement program being tested in the Pacific Northwest. Under the program, low-level offenders were placed into diversionary support groups with a case manager -- instead of throwing them in handcuffs and starting a potentially endless cycle of crime for that individual -- and, as a result, their recidivism chances dropped significantly.

Oliver skewers bail system with enlightening segment

John Oliver's weekly show, "Last Week Tonight," is known for being funny while also being enlightening, but the show uses language and imagery indicative of a premium cable channel, so be forewarned if you click our source link and play the video. With that said, Oliver's look at the bail system a couple of weeks ago is astounding, and it really drives home the point that this system is broken.

Crimes can trigger a vicious and endless cycle for the accused

A recent story in the New York Times will show many of our Visalia, California readers how certain elements of the criminal justice system just don't work. The story centers on how missed child support payments can lead to a terrible downward spiral that constantly ends with the individual losing their job, landing in jail, racking up more penalties and fees on their child support, and then, unable to find a job due to their criminal past, they miss child support payments.

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Law Offices of Derek P. Wisehart
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Visalia, CA 93291

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