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The Limits of Expunging Your Criminal Record

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By Janet Portman, Attorney

Raising Constitutional Issues in a DUI/Criminal Case

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Evidence gathered during a DUI traffic stop can sometimes be excluded from trial, if the officers have violated the search and seizure rules that stem from the Fourth Amendment.

Using a Gun for Self Defense: Laws and Consequences

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What Are Extenuating Circumstances?

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A crime may be charged as a lesser offense, or a sentence may be light, if extenuating circumstances (or mitigating factors) convince the prosecutor or judge to cut the defendant a break.

What Happens During Booking?

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Defendants who are arrested and taken to jail are normally booked shortly upon arrival.

Booking records provide information about the people who are brought to jail. Because booking creates an official arrest record, arrested suspects who can post bail immediately often can’t be released until after the booking process is complete. Even suspects who receive citations in lieu of being taken to jail often must go through a booking process within a few days of their arrest.

Police Searches of Backyards

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Learn when the government can peak into your private property.

The Fourth Amendment protects your home—including your yard—from warrantless searches in most instances. Your yard is considered “curtilage,” land that surrounds and is associated with a house and is worthy of privacy protection. (Courts determine where curtilage ends on a case-by-case basis.)

How Judges Set Bail

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Judges set bail based initially on a "bail schedule," but they can raise or lower the amount, based on the circumstances of the case.

Judges ordinarily set a bail amount at a suspect’s first court appearance after an arrest, which may be either a bail hearing or an arraignment. Judges normally adhere to standard practices (for example, setting bail in the amount of $500 for nonviolent petty misdemeanors). However, judges can raise or lower the standard bail, or waive bail altogether and grant release on the defendant's "own recognizance," or O.R., based on the circumstances of an individual case.

Can I be charged with a crime for driving on a suspended or revoked drivers license?

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Getting an Attorney to Handle Your Criminal Case

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There's a lot at play when it comes to legal representation.

Truancy Among Teens

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