From the Front Lines of the Drug War: Another Senseless Abuse of Police Power, in Furtherance of a Senseless Policy
A SWAT team investigating a young man allegedly in possession of a small quantity of drugs tossed a flash grenade into a baby’s crib, leaving a hole in his chest with critical burns in a pool of blood in a singed crib. The police denied the mother access to her burned child while they ravaged the house looking for an individual who didn’t live there, and drugs that were never found.
From the child’s mother:
The only silver lining I can possibly see is that my baby Bou Bou’s story might make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the “war on drugs.” I know that this has happened to other families, here in Georgia and across the country. I know that SWAT teams are breaking into homes in the middle of the night, more often than not just to serve search warrants in drug cases. I know that too many local cops have stockpiled weapons that were made for soldiers to take to war. And as is usually the case with aggressive policing, I know that people of color and poor people are more likely to be targeted. I know these things because of the American Civil Liberties Union’s new report, and because I’m working with them to push for restraints on the use of SWAT.
As of June 24, 2014, the child was taken out of a medically induced coma for his doctors to begin rehabilitation and assess the extent of his brain damage that resulted from this senseless overreach of police power exerted in furtherance of a senseless prohibitionist drug policy.Read More
More Evidence of Systemic Police Dishonesty: Emails Reveal Feds Requesting that Police Deceive Judges on Basis for Warrants
Following a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU of Florida, it has come to light that Florida police have been concealing the use of “stingrays,” which are essentially dummy cell towers that trick individuals’ cellphones into pinging through these fake towers, in order to collect personal information without the consent or knowledge of those being tracked.
From the ACLU:
In the email exchange, a Sarasota Police Department sergeant wrote that in a warrant application to a judge, a North Port Police Department detective had “specifically outlined the investigative means used to locate the suspect,” and the sergeant asked that the detective “submit a new PCA [probable cause affidavit] and seal the old one.” In other words, fix the old affidavit and keep the use of the stingray equipment secret.
From Wired Magazine:
At the request of the Marshals Service, the officers using so-called stingrays have been routinely telling judges, in applications for warrants, that they obtained knowledge of a suspect’s location from a “confidential source” rather than disclosing that the information was gleaned using a stingray.
You can read the emails here (PDF), which were disclosed following ACLU’s FOIA investigation.Read More
We all know that Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated is a serious kind of charge, with substantial consequences for those accused. But how does this kind of infraction make its way through the North Carolina legal process?
Local affiliate WRAL maintains some basic resources on Raleigh DUI/DWI law on its web site. These practical summaries of local law around intoxicated driving serve to remind the public of what drivers face when they’re charged with a DUI or DWI charge after encountering law enforcement patrols or sobriety checkpoints.
This guide points out that in North Carolina as in the rest of the country, illegal blood alcohol concentration levels above .08% trigger the kinds of legal liabilities involved in DUI/DWI violations. It also lays out the general guidelines for first offenses, which often involve jail time and suspension of a license, and harsher penalties for repeat offenses. Another thing that this guide mentions is the ongoing treatment or education programs that are often associated with even a first offense.
What this guide doesn’t cover is some of the lesser known consequences of DUI enforcement and conviction, such as costs for imposed monitoring equipment, or the range of factors that may weigh on a DUI/DWI case, and be useful in its defense. For example, there’s the issue of due process and fair enforcement, which is often overlooked unless the defendant has access to legal representation.
Evaluating Raleigh DUI/DWI Cases
The mandatory legal consequences of North Carolina DUI and DWI charges are part of why it’s so important for accused drivers to utilize qualified legal representation. Professional local Raleigh DUI attorney firms know what their clients are facing in terms of punishments that will cause a loss of income and other difficulties, which is why Raleigh NC DUI defense attorneys evaluate every aspect of a client’s case.
Using knowledge of federal, state and local law along with their familiarity with the standard DUI/DWI case, qualified DUI defense attorneys can give their clients the best chance of presenting a defense that will reduce or eliminate sentences that would take away their jobs or take them away from their families. Everyone understands that DWI/DUI are strongly enforced to protect the innocent, but without good legal representation, someone facing these kinds of charges may be subject to unfair or incongruous treatment related to another driver accused of the very same crimes. Adding qualified legal counsel to the process allows for fairness and balanced pursuit of the common good.
Getting Help From a Raleigh DUI Attorney
North Carolina residents facing DUI/DWI charges or violations can call the offices of The Hiltzheimer Firm. Our lawyers will help you to understand the charges that you are facing, what they may mean, and what your chances are of appealing or defending yourself against extended sentencing. Get a free consultation for DUI charges in Raleigh or local nearby areas like Wake County by calling 919-727-9227 or contacting us online. Let us help you to access your rights under the law.
Along with an emergence of new Raleigh, North Carolina nightlife, local law enforcement is getting serious about enforcing DWIs through an enhanced system of sobriety checkpoints. Local reporting online from February shows a consistent framework of sobriety checkpoints that apparently have been initiated, in part, by previous DWI court cases.
In addition to the traditional sobriety checkpoint, reporters are noting other kinds of control situations including “saturation patrols” in busy downtown areas, where police officers may observe bar patrons and others, to try to determine who is driving under the influence.
Working Within the Process
One item that’s also revealed in the February report is that previously, some judges ruled that Raleigh law enforcement departments could not use checkpoint evidence in court, because of a lack of consistent guidelines.
One case that was reported on involved an officer mandating a blood test without a warrant, after poor performance on field sobriety tests and a driver who declined to give a breath test.
State officials, law enforcement workers attorneys all understand that it’s important to enforce traffic laws to decrease traffic fatalities and injuries. However, it’s also important that law enforcement departments work within the legal framework, in order to avoid abuses of power that can have devastating effects on those who may be unfairly or excessively targeted.
Many of those local Raleigh drivers who are singled out for DWI enforcement can have their sentences adjusted, or even get their cases thrown out, be relying a professional Raleigh DUI defense attorney who will evaluate whether a traffic stop or other police activity was in keeping with federal, state and local law. Many times, elements of the legal process are not followed correctly, which can lead local judges to dismiss a case. When individuals are charged, on the other hand, they may face extreme penalties on drivers licensing, as well as financial costs, not limited to fines, but also extending to costs that they may have to pay for their involvement in the legal process, for instance, the costs of wearing a monitoring device. Many will also face strict family and lifestyle changes as a result of probation.
A Raleigh DUI Defense Attorney will help to balance the legal process to understand the rights and needs of local DUI/DWI defendants and their families against the need to enforce traffic laws uniformly and fairly.
DUI/DWI Defense Lawyers in Raleigh, NC
In and around the Raleigh, NC area, Chetson Hiltzheimer represents those who are charged with DWI or other crimes in downtown Raleigh as well as Wake and Durham Counties and other nearby areas. Our professional criminal defense attorneys represent clients in speeding and traffic, DUI/DWI, drug possession, or felony charges and other criminal cases. Contact us to get a professional defense lawyer on your side to help you handle your case and understand your rights under the law. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation.
Raleigh/Durham DWI lawyer Ben Hiltzheimer is a criminal defense attorney with offices in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, who represents individuals charged with DWIs and the full spectrum of misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 899-9404.
A disturbing event at a local Raleigh area department store shows the kinds of abuses of power that sometimes happened when private sector security staff become involved in altercations with public citizens.
News from the NewsObserver online in February shows a chilling incident at a local Belk store, where a security staff person allegedly tried to extort sex by texting a 23-year-old woman accused of shoplifting from the store.
According to reports, the text messages tried to convince the woman that sexual favors would be rewarded by a reduced or eliminated sentence. Now, local law enforcement have arrested the 37-year-old security worker, whose case is pending.
Shoplifting and Criminal Defense
In the American justice system, individuals are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, the system does not always work fairly, and those accused of a wide range of nonviolent crimes are often unduly or harshly penalized because of someone else’s actions. That can be someone in security staff, as in this case, or someone within the justice system who is not representing events fairly or otherwise manipulating the legal process. Or, as in other disturbing events involving extortion and abuse of power, it could be someone within a workplace, or even an opportunistic outsider trying to prey on the vulnerability of someone who has been targeted by local law enforcement.
A professional Raleigh shoplifting attorney will step in to help defend those who may not be able to defend themselves against a complex and often intimidating legal system. Criminal defense lawyers will do the fact finding and research required to document what really happened in a shoplifting case or other misdemeanor charge or criminal accusation. Individuals rely on these legal professionals to represent them and get them access to justice under the law.
Criminal Defense Attorneys in Raleigh, North Carolina
The best Raleigh shoplifting attorney teams work with knowledge of federal and state laws, as well as familiarity with local Raleigh, North Carolina laws and ordinances, in order to effectively represent their clients’ best interests in court. These professionals can keep those with pending criminal charges informed about their options and their status, and how to get fair sentencing or penalties for a misdemeanor charge or other similar charge.
If you or someone in your family has been unfairly targeted by law enforcement or anyone else, talk to the Raleigh shoplifting attorney professionals at The Hiltzheimer Firm. We have experience representing North Carolina individuals and families against many different kinds of unjust allegations or abuses of process. We will work with you to figure out the legal status of the case, and how to move forward with your best interests in mind. Call or visit us online to arrange for a free consultation, to help get legal power on your side as you face legal challenges.