Criminal Charges: How Cases Get Started
How police officers and prosecutors initiate criminal cases. more
Understanding Search-and-Seizure Law
When can the police search your home or car? more
When Juveniles Are Tried in Adult Criminal Court
When can juveniles be tried in adult criminal court? more
Miranda: The Meaning of Custodial Interrogation
Suspects have to be in custody and subject to questioning. more
In-depth discussion of common crimes and possible defenses. Explanation of defendants’ constitutional rights, description of the process from arrest to trial and beyond, overview of the juvenile justice system, and more.
Your Rights When Dealing With the Police
You ve seen it time after time on primetime television police shows cops slapping the cuffs on a perp and reading him his rights: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and
Many people believe that if they are arrested and not read their rights, they can escape punishment. Not true. But if the police fail to read a suspect his or her rights, the prosecutor can t use anything the suspect says as evidence against the suspect at trial.
Steps in a Criminal Case: Arrest to Appeal
A person s first thought upon landing in jail is often how to get out — and fast. The usual way to do this is to post bail . Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant appears in court at the proper time, the court refunds the bail. But if the defendant doesn t show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the defendant s arrest.
Even the most well-intentioned prosecutors file charges against innocent suspects occasionally. Regardless of the reason charges were filed, innocent defendants want to know what they or preferably, their lawyers can do to avoid a conviction. So, other than going to trial, how can defendants avoid a guilty plea or verdict?
Getting a Lawyer for a Criminal Case
Defendants charged with crimes are almost always best served by obtaining a lawyer, for the reasons explained below.
Proof Defenses in Criminal Cases
As anyone who has ever contested a traffic ticket knows, courts frequently assume that whatever an officer says is the truth, even when witnesses refute the police s version of events.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that no person shall “be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”
Crimes In Depth
Disorderly conduct (also called disturbing the peace in some states) is a crime that usually involves some kind of offensive or disruptive public activity. Criminal statutes in some states include public intoxication as one kind of behavior that can be considered disorderly conduct. In other states, public intoxication is a separate criminal offense, while the laws in other jurisdictions might include a crime called drunk and disorderly conduct. This article highlights disorderly conduct and public intoxication laws.
Manslaughter is an unlawful killing that doesn’t involve malice aforethought—intent to seriously harm or kill, or extreme, reckless disregard for life. The absence of malice aforethought means that manslaughter involves less moral blame than either first or second degree murder. (But plenty argue
Consequences of Conviction
A criminal record can create difficult downstream consequences whether you (or your child) was arrested or convicted (or both). For example, employers and landlords commonly ask job applicants and apartment seekers whether they have ever been convicted of (or perhaps even arrested for) a criminal offense.
A noncitizen of the U.S., whether an undocumented immigrant or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder) needs to understand the immigration consequences of any crime that he or she faces
The Juvenile Justice System
The juvenile justice system is separate from the criminal justice system. Read on to learn some basics on crime and punishment for minors.
Former juvenile offenders may be able to get a fresh start of sorts by filing a petition in court seeking expungement (sealing) of a juvenile court conviction.
Updates More from Nolo
Nolo posts updates to the latest versions of books and software when major legal or practical changes occur.
Nolo s Criminal Law Center covers criminal procedure, including topics like search and seizure and self-incrimination, in detail. The federal constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court is the starting point for our coverage of crim pro.