Recently a Statutory rape charge I had with a client was brought up in an article, which I have posted below. My client, while reaching a reduced plea of indecent liberties with a minor, fell victim to the strict nature of this law. There is very little maneuvering for defenses to a statutory rape claim, was there sexual relations or not. This is why it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney before ever talking to the police. It is a common and successful practice with detectives to say you raped her, being as this is a very vulgar and harsh claim. This puts the defendant on the defensive and naturally they say it was consensual. The police then have a confession to the intercourse, divulge to the defendant the age of the “victim” and arrest the defendant for statutory rape. Since statutory rape is essentially a strict liability offense, not knowing of the “victims” age is not a defense.
In the case talked about below in the article, my client was under the misguided belief that the “victim” (consensual relations and in a relationship) was of age. The strict nature of the offense does not take into account where the people met (bar, club etc.) or information presented to the other party (fake id’s or other clues of “victims” age). Unfortunately today with all of the online dating sites and gross amounts of misinformation it is incredibly easy for someone to get mixed up as to someones age. The statute does not take into account these advances in technology and where people meet (over 18 dating sites) and leaves many people very vulnerable. While the district attorney may have some sympathy, leaving it into an individuals hands is a dangerous proposition.November 26th, 2013 | Uncategorized
A Lincoln County NC woman was arrested today for felony child abuse after she took her 2 year old to the emergency room with a broken femur. WCNC.com had the report and stated that the authorities led to the arrest due to inconsistencies with the mothers story as well as a polygraph test. Eventually the mother admitted to twisting her childs leg while trying to change the diaper. Unfortunately child abuse charges have become all too common in Mecklenburg County, Cabarrus County and other counties across North Carolina. In most situations it tends to be a misdemeanor and is usually the result of a parent going too far with a disciplinary procedure. Due to the frail nature of a child’s bones and body, injuries will result much quicker and be more severe than contact with an adult. Many of the cases I see come in my office, are simply a parent getting angry at a child and taking that anger a shade too far. The law does allow for parental discipline and that is what typically creates a grey area in child abuse cases. Many times the case can turn on a single fact, picture or statement. As the defendant in this matter has learned and many others have learned, it is important to talk to an attorney before talking to the police. A criminal defense attorney has experience dealing with the police, and while they will typically not have you talk, they can relate information from you to the police. Criminal charges can have such an adverse effect on ones employment, schooling and many other aspects of ones life. It is always better to be safe and contact a criminal lawyer in your area before making any statements to the authorities.
See our page on defense of child abuse charges http://www.jcolaw.com/Child-Abuse.htmlNovember 5th, 2013 | Uncategorized
It is hard to turn on the news or read a newspaper article without something regarding school shootings. This past weekend there was a shooting at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC. This is just another example of the safety concerns regarding schools and the increased violence in this country. The increased use of weapons, especially guns and assault rifles has sparked nationwide debate on the Second Amendment. As a criminal defense attorney and someone who interprets the constitution strictly, I understand the right to bear arms. The criminal lawyer in me, however, prefaces that notion with the ramifications of owning a gun. While there are thousands of people who have no problem with gun ownership, for some people it becomes more of a legal issue and hassle to own a gun. I experience this quite often with concealed weapons and permits/lack thereof. While this debate continues to grow on a national scale, it is essential that all gun owners understand their rights and also understand why they purchased a gun to begin with. Whether it be for hunting, protection or other lawful means, it is important to understand the why so that the guns can be stored and put away when appropriate. Owning a gun is a responsibility and with each school shooting and peoples lack of control over their weapons, the louder the debate over their legality will get. As a criminal defense attorney in Charlotte I handle Assaults by pointing a gun, assaults with deadly weapons and other firearm offenses, I understand that there are many lawful uses for a firearm, but if you do get caught using one unlawfully give me a call and we can talk about your rights.
See our pages on Assault, Batter and Pointing a Gun: http://www.jcolaw.com/Assault-Weapon.html
October 29th, 2013 | Uncategorized
On Wednesday October 2, 2013 the charges for one of five suspects accused of a string of Breaking and or Entering charges in Charlotte had his case dismissed. The CMPD indicated that this was due to an arrest of the wrong person and DNA and surveillance indicating such. This is just another recent example of not only the breaking and or entering crime and its prevalence within the Charlotte area, but also of how mistakes can be made with investigations. This particular case was dismissed in large part to the ongoing efforts of the family, but in many situations (or most situations) that is simply not enough. While we all make mistakes in our jobs, when police officers make mistakes it has a significant impact on peoples lives. That is why having an experienced criminal attorney that handles breaking or entering charges along with other felony and misdemeanors can be so important. In cases like this, the attorney is the aggressive middle man between the defendant and the State. Their job is to help get/find the positive evidence as well as showing that evidence and explaining it to the District Attorney in charge of the case. While police mistakes like this are not the normal arrest scenario, it is important that you have an aggressive criminal defense lawyer fighting for your case, regardless of the facts.
See our page on Breaking – Entering http://www.jcolaw.com/Breaking-Entering.html
The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC is a Charlotte and Concord North Carolina based law firm. We are a husband and wife team, focused on litigation in Criminal Defense and Personal Injury cases. We pride ourselves in fighting for each and every case and client. If you or anyone you know is in need of legal assistance, call one of our offices; Charlotte Office (704) 405-2580 and in Concord (704) 918-4747.October 9th, 2013 | Uncategorized
This topic was reported heavily the other day after NTSB came out recommending all states change their laws to a .05 intoxication level. Right now states are at a .08, including North Carolina. Driving while impaired cases and deaths are the main reason of concern and the focus on any decrease in the definition of intoxication. In the broader scope of things, this may be just another effort to assure DWI/DUI convictions. While most DWI cases are not won at hearing or trial because they are a .08 or less, if this were to be the new level of intoxication it would make Standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTS) more powerful for probable cause to arrest someone for DWI. The reason being, while I think the NHTSA would have to re-evaluate their tests, it could mean a passing score right now on a One-leg stand or HGN may still give a judge enough concern to see probable cause. Obviously it is way to early to truly speculate as to all of the ramifications if this new law were implemented, but there still should be a concern about citizens rights if this law came about without new SFST testing standards (which are based on the higher BAC).
Overall the passage of any new laws will likely be the result of federal government pressure by limiting highway funding or other alternatives. The federal government has not taken a stance on the issue yet, but it may only be a matter of time. This BAC level currently exists in many European countries and Australia, where they have much less DWI related fatalities as we do here in the States. While it is always important to be safe when driving an automobile of any sorts, if this lower BAC were to be presented as law there would be plenty of outrage and discussion. It will be interesting to see how this recommendation plays out over the next year or so as DWI deaths continue to be a pressing concern for almost all communities.May 15th, 2013 | Uncategorized
There are over 5,000 DWI arrests each year in Mecklenburg County alone. Unfortunately and fortunately for DWI clients, this is a very prominent area of criminal defense. This can be unfortunate because attorney’s from all areas of practice, will advertise or at the very least, handle DWI cases. This is unfortunate because DWI is extremely complicated. The most seasoned and experienced attorney’s in this area will be the first to admit, you cannot know it all. This can be a problem for clients because if they hire an attorney who does not study and handle cases of this nature routinely, they may end up with a poorly handled case.
DWI cases are something that need to be handled by an attorney who devotes his practice to the area of criminal law. It is very important to the success of the case, but also for the clients psychological well being. The fortunate part for clients with DWI cases is that there are plenty of ways to find an attorney. A DWI attorney can in most cases, be found through mailings to ones home or easily through the internet. This is good for clients because the competition, in theory, should help the practice of DWI law. In a perfect world not only will lawyers try to get these cases but will also pride themselves on obtaining as much knowledge on the subject as possible in order to make themselves more appealing to potential clients.
Things that should always be remembered when hiring a DWI attorney. First, if you are being quoted a consistent number, be wary of extremely low quotes. Second, focus and ask about what the firm and the particular lawyer who will handle your case focuses on. Do they handle only criminal cases (which includes DWI)? or Are they a general practitioner handling civil cases, wills and trusts etc.? The more focused an attorney is to criminal law, the better for the client. This is important to realize, because not only will they have more experience in that field, but they will also be familiar with other criminal attorneys. This is extremely important with DWI law because it is very complicated and if a particularly difficult or uncommon question arises, they will have a long list of colleagues to discuss it with. Hiring a DWI attorney is a necessary and very important step in handling your DWI case, make sure you consider these things before making the important choice.
Punishment is one of the most definite yet indefinite parts of criminal law. One of the most certain aspects of punishment is its inconsistencies. Throughout the various counties in North Carolina, the way DA’s offices handle cases and the way the Judges punish certain crimes will differ greatly. Even in the same courthouse different judges will render punishment on the opposite side of the punishment scale. While there are many different things to take in to account, North Carolina has pre-set limits to what types of punishments can be rendered and for how long.
While the pre-set limits on punishments give a degree of certainty in an uncertain atmosphere, the disparities still exist. This can be seen from speeding tickets all the way to felonies. Looking at speeding tickets in particular, one notices how neighboring counties differ significantly in how they handle certain speeds and violations. Mecklenburg County use to be a county that would rarely offer an Improper Equipment reduction to a speeding ticket. This however, appears to be changing now with a new District Attorney in office. Mecklenburg was always more strict in that regard than neighboring Union or Gaston county which frequently granted such a reduction. This is just a small example of how so many different factors can contribute to a defendants punishment. It is also another reason why representation in almost all criminal and traffic matters is essential, so defendants have someone who knows what to expect and who can provide accurate guidance.
Gun charges in North Carolina can be very serious offenses. They can range from simple possession of a gun without a permit to charges that are aggravated by carrying a gun. One common theme in handling cases involving guns, is that the DA’s offices are very hesitant to work out favorable deals. While this may be the case, it is still imperative for clients to hire an attorney to represent them on these matters.
A typical question that arises when handling misdemeanor gun charges is whether the client will get their gun back. Understanding the goal of every attorney is to satisfy their clients needs, a lot of the time a client needs to be reminded of perspective. While getting their gun back may be an ideal scenario, it can be an unrealistic goal in many circumstances. In many cases saving a clients ability to have a gun permit or a concealed weapons permit is a tall enough order, let alone trying to get the gun back as well. Clients may be disappointed in their loss of a gun but losing their ability to own or purchase a gun will have far greater long term consequences.