The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett
Phone: 704-899-5574

Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Law Blog

Eyewitness testimony is not always accurate

Most people have watched crime shows where the guilty party is picked out of a police lineup by a witness to the crime. The witness’s testimony is used at trial to send the wrongdoer to prison. TV makes it all seem so simple.

However, as is usually the case, real life is more complex. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful tool for the prosecution. That does not necessarily mean it is always accurate. Witnesses may be suffering from several issues that can call the accuracy of their identification into question. In some cases, witnesses may even be outright lying.

Dealing with lost property in North Carolina

Most in Charlotte may not have any difficulty defining what "theft" is: someone taking something from another. This may be why excuses offered by as to why someone was found to be in possession of another's property are dismissed as being just that. At the same time, however, most have encountered a situation where they have come across something that appears to be lost and taken possession of it. In such a case, they are retaining another's property, yet does keeping a lost item constitute theft

According to information shared by the Cornell Law School, whether or not an item is truly "lost" depends on the circumstances in which it was found. A lost item is something that one would reasonably surmise as having been unintentionally left by its owner. Something intentionally used but then forgotten, however, is classified as "mislaid property." An example of mislaid property might be a wallet left on a bar in a restaurant. Whoever finds it could probably guess that its owner pulled it out to pay his or her tab, but then forgot it. In such a case, one is obliged to leave the wallet with the owner of the establishment given that its owner would likely return there in search of it. 

What to know if your child is accused of a crime

In North Carolina juvenile offenses can have very serious consequences. Juvenile charges will have lasting effects on a child’s academic record as well as adult criminal history, which can result in even more severe offenses down the line. DurhamCountyNC.gov provides parents the following information, which is crucial should their children face criminal charges.

Before Court

Understanding North Carolina’s strict DWI penalties

North Carolina is known across the country as one of the strictest enforcers of DWI penalties. The reason behind this is the sliding penalty scale that has been implemented, which creates a series of levels to determine punishments for intoxicated drivers.

The higher up the scale, the harsher the consequences of a conviction. But what do the penalties of this sliding scale look like?

What is drug scheduling?

Facing drug charges in North Carolina can be an extremely stressful experience. This issue can be even more intimidating depending on the severity of the charges you’re faced with, in which case the way a drug is classified becomes a factor in the legal process. This is known as drug scheduling, which helps the court determine proper punishments in the event of a conviction. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) explains how illicit drugs are categorized according to drug schedules.

How Schedules Are Determined

Field sobriety test results are often faulty

Law enforcement officers in North Carolina watch for signs that a driver is impaired to give them probable cause to pull a vehicle to the side of the road. If an officer pulls you over, suspecting that you have been drinking, he or she may administer the standard field sobriety tests. The legal team at The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett knows that these tests often provide faulty evidence.

Officers should be thoroughly trained in how to administer the three roadside tests. They should know that you could have a medical condition that would prevent you from successfully completing the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand test. Many health conditions affect balance. An officer should also be aware of the many reasons other than alcohol impairment that your eyes may involuntarily jerk when you track a moving object from side to side during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Medications are often the culprit rather than alcohol.

How to expunge your criminal record in North Carolina

North Carolina recently made some major changes to its expungement legislation. The new law, Senate Bill 445, took effect in December of 2017 and substantially reduces the amount of time you must wait before applying for expungement of your criminal record.

Why is that important? Because if you have a criminal record, it can be hard to get a job, a home - even an apartment. The goal of this shortened waiting period is to allow you to get back on your feet sooner.

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The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett
130 North McDowell Street Suite C
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-899-5574
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