All posts by Chris Moreno

Long-Term Effects Of A Juvenile Crime Conviction In North Carolina

If you or your child are become entangled in the juvenile court system, you may be concerned as to how this will affect his or her life longer-term. Like an adult (over 18) who commits a crime, there are repercussions that could persist long after his or her 18th birthday, sometimes called “collateral consequences.”

What Is A Juvenile?

Long-Term Effects Of A Juvenile Crime Conviction In North CarolinaAs of December 2019, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile. The state’s “Raise The Age” initiative took 16- and 17-year old out of the adult court for most misdemeanors and moved them into the juvenile justice system. So now this age group has the chance for a “clean slate” at the age of 18, and the chance to start over, just as if they were 15 and under.

Additionally, the juvenile justice system in North Carolina (as is in most of the US) focuses on rehabilitation, rather than retribution, although incarceration figures into both. Youths are sent to “correctional facilities” rather than prisons. The idea is that the juveniles will be re-educated to become productive members of society, rather than continually cycling through the criminal justice system.

Social Stigma

It’s no secret that juvenile males are more likely to commit crimes than females, and they are arrested more often than females. Juveniles don’t always make the best decisions, particularly quick decisions.

Going through the juvenile justice system is expensive for parents, and if they are unable to pay the high-dollar costs of fines and rehabilitation, the charges may follow him or her into adulthood. Because the individual lacks the education, he or she may find themselves unable to find anything but low-paying employment.

An adolescent with a record may be labeled as a “criminal” may face social retribution from family, friends, and others in the community. Some juvenile criminals continue into a life of crime and stay there their entire lives.

Education And Employment

Because more than 60% of colleges and universities include questions about an applicant’s criminal history on their application, juvenile delinquents have a distinct disadvantage for both higher education and employment. While it’s not impossible, it can be difficult to get into higher learning with a criminal history as a juvenile. Many are more likely to ascent to two-year programs rather than four-year programs. However, many arrestees are more likely to drop out of high school, long before they’re anywhere near the point of applying to college or a trade school.

Companies that offer jobs to teenage applicants may be put off by an arrest and/or conviction of a juvenile, and many occupations may prohibit someone with a juvenile arrest record from participating.

Future Income

A study by Eric Hyla at Illinois Wesleyan University notes that youths with an arrest make, on average, reduces their income $6,000 than their peers who had no criminal convictions. This figure is only for one arrest, and doesn’t take into account multiple arrests. The study also shows that children who grow up with more affluent parents tend to have higher incomes later in life despite an arrest.

However, when education is included, the youth’s future income increases by $3,000 with one year of education. Individuals who were not arrested had two additional years to devote to education, and a conviction of a juvenile conviction does not necessarily impact future income if education is included. Without it, future earnings can be significantly impacted, especially if the juvenile continues committing crimes as an adult.

Housing

If the juvenile’s family lives in public housing, it’s very likely that they will be evicted because of the arrest.

Private housing (such as a rental home or apartment complex) may also have a clause that includes activity that affects the well-being of the community. Any criminal activity can put the family in jeopardy of violating the terms of the lease, leading to evictions.

When the juvenile becomes an adult, it’s also likely that they will have difficulty obtaining housing for themselves and their families.

Dewey P. Brinkley, Raleigh’s Juvenile Court Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime, your first goal should be to keep the case from moving into adult criminal court. You should also find a juvenile court attorney who can investigate and determine your chances at trial.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any criminal charges, major or minor. He will work to ensure a fair trial and that your child’s rights are protected.  Call today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your Life

Many people don’t think much of it if they find themselves charged with a misdemeanor crime. You may believe that a misdemeanor is on the same level as a parking ticket, but it isn’t. If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor, your life can still be severely impacted. Although it isn’t as serious as a felony, a misdemeanor is still a crime, and you should take it seriously.

Defining The Misdemeanor

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your LifeNorth Carolina divides misdemeanors into four categories: A1, 1, 2, and 3. These will depend on the seriousness of the offense you’re charged with, and can rage from simple marijuana possession to things like larceny (theft) and property damage.

  • Category 3 incurs a maximum fine of $200 and up to 20 days jail time
  • Category 2 incurs a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 60 days jail time
  • Category 1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 120 days jail time
  • Category A1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 150 days jail time

Can you afford to go to jail for 1 to 20 days? Chances are your employer will terminate you, and you’ll have a much more difficult time finding another job after a conviction.

Of course, the outcome of your case will depend on a number of different factors, including your criminal record or lack thereof, the facts of the case, and any agreements you and your defense attorney reach with the district attorney’s office. Some charges, such as minor traffic infractions, will incur no jail time.

How A Misdemeanor Can Cause Problems Later

Conviction of a misdemeanor still means that you have a criminal conviction, and you when asked, you will have to disclose your criminal record, whether it’s a single conviction or more than one.

Misdemeanor charges stay on your record, and nearly always show up on a background check. No matter how old they are, an employer will eventually find out about it once they request it. This means that a criminal conviction will show up on background checks related to:

  • Job applications
  • License applications
  • Housing applications (such as apartment complexes and other rental properties)
  • Mortgage loan applications
  • Student financial aid applications

A misdemeanor may prevent you from applying for and being hired for certain types of jobs, and restrict where you can live.

There may be occasions where an old county-level conviction may not show up in another county, or on a state level. But you should never assume that it won’t show up on a background check, especially for an employer.

Even for the most minor infractions such as simple affray, you should retain defense counsel against a misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have a criminal record, no different than if you’d committed a more serious or violent felony. Like a felony, the misdemeanor will follow you around for the rest of your life.

Expungement

Criminal convictions in North Carolina of any kind do not automatically disappear from your record, no matter how old they are.

Texas, California and several other states have a “seven-year rule,” meaning that any records that are more than 7 years old will not show up in a background check. However, North Carolina has no such rule, but you can request to have an old record cleared with an expungement.

If you were arrested and/or convicted of a misdemeanor many years ago and have not had any other charges since then, it is possible to have your case expunged, or removed, from your record. Even if you were arrested and charged but found not guilty, a record still exists of this action.

Once you apply for an expungement and the court grants it, you will no longer have a criminal record, and you can legally answer the question about your criminal record with a confident “no.”

The rules surrounding expungement are complex. That’s important to discuss a possible expungement of your misdemeanor case with a criminal defense attorney so you can start the process and get on with your life.

Let Dewey P. Brinkley Defend You Against A Misdemeanor

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who understands the law and the Raleigh court system. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor like simple assault or disorderly conduct, no matter how minor, he can defend you in criminal court and work for the best possible outcome. Call Mr. Brinkley today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

 

How Serious Are Drug Related Charges In Raleigh, NC?

More than 45% of imprisoned people in the US are in jail because of drug charges, about half a million people nationwide, roughly one in five. Drug charges are also one of the main reasons for incarceration in North Carolina.

When most people think of drug charges, they usually think of felony charges such as production and distribution. But since North Carolina law contains very harsh penalties for drug charges, even a misdemeanor can be a serious offense.

Types Of Charges

How Serious Are Drug Related Charges In Raleigh, NC?Generally, North Carolina has two types of drug charges: trafficking and possession, which are also graded by the type of drug involved. Possession is a lesser charge than trafficking, but both can carry very strict penalties, including fines. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a reason you can be arrested, even if you have no drugs at the time of your arrest.

Misdemeanors are usually considered “minor,” such as simple possession of marijuana, and can lead to smaller fines and the potential for short jail sentences for first offenses. However, subsequent misdemeanors can bring additional jail time.

Charges and jail time are also related to the amount of a drug on your person at the time of your arrest. For instance, if you are carrying less than 28 grams of cocaine, a Schedule II drug, you’ll be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, and can spend six to twelve months in jail. But if you have more than 28 grams of cocaine, you’ll be charged with drug trafficking instead, which can also lead to federal charges, steeper fines and much longer jail sentences.

Schedule of Drugs

North Carolina divides drugs up into schedules, set out by the Controlled Substances Act. At the top of the schedule is Schedule 1 for the most serious of drugs that have no medical use and a high risk of abuse and addiction (opiates, ecstasy, and others) and are charged as a Class 1 Felony. On the bottom, Schedule VI drugs are a Class 3 Misdemeanor, and are for low-level substances such as marijuana and hashish, with a lower potential for addiction and abuse.

However, even small amounts of marijuana are grounds for arrest, and a misdemeanor conviction can lead to jail time, as little as 30 days or as long as six months. Felony drug charges can mean years of prison time, as well as high fines.

Consequences Of Drug Charges

An arrest and conviction for drug charges can lead to serious consequences, including:

  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of professional licensure (i.e., doctor, nurse, lawyer, pilot, etc.)
  • Difficulty finding employment
  • Difficulty finding housing (i.e., renting an apartment)
  • Inability to obtain federal benefits such as student financial aid for tuition and housing assistance
  • Child custody issues, including loss of visitation

Anywhere you are asked, you will be required to state that you have an arrest record, even for a misdemeanor.

Prior drug arrests can also increase fines and jail sentences. Convictions will permanently disrupt your life, and prevent you from seeking and accepting opportunities that you might have had otherwise.

Having a Raleigh drug charge defense attorney to represent you will ensure that you receive a fair trial. If you’re innocent, it’s vital that you are represented in court by an experienced lawyer who can mount an aggressive defense and ensure that your rights are protected.

Dewey P. Brinkley For Drug Related Charges in Raleigh

North Carolina drug laws are complex, and no two cases are alike. Handling drug charges yourself, without legal representation, increases your chance of losing your case and potentially receiving considerable jail time. No matter what kind of drug charges you’re facing, it’s important to have strong legal representation when you’re facing a judge and possible jail time.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. He has considerable experience defending those charged with drug offenses and works for the best possible outcome. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation.

What’s Involved In A Domestic Violence Case In North Carolina?

In the US, between one and three million people experience an incidence of domestic violence every year. Although the victims are primarily women, a significant number of men experience domestic violence as well, and it cuts across class, race, and other groups of people. North Carolina saw more than 16,000 individuals sent to an emergency shelter. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that twenty people are assaulted every minute by someone with whom they have an intimate and/or familial relationship. These numbers are just the cases that are reported, because there are many more cases that are not.

What Is Domestic Violence?

A Domestic Violence Case In North Carolina?North Carolina defines it as committing an act against another person with whom the offender has or had a personal relationship, or the child of that person:

  • Attempting to or intentionally causing bodily injury
  • Giving a victim the fear of imminent danger or bodily injury and/or continual harassment to the point of causing great emotional distress
  • Sex crimes such as:
    • Rape, 1st or 2nd degree
    • Sexual battery
    • Sex crimes against children, including statutory rape

North Carolina has expanded the law to include dating relationships as well.

Many of these crimes are already covered by other statutes, and are prosecuted that way. However, when they are suitable for domestic violence cases, judges have additional options for conditions of probation including medical or psychiatric treatments, drug or alcohol treatments and house arrest with limitations.

Civil And Criminal

Although domestic violence is part of civil law, criminal charges can also be levied. In a domestic violence case where an assault was committed, the perpetrator will be prosecuted for assault. A case that involved rape or a similar charge would be prosecuted as a sex crimes case.

Victims also have civil remedies available to them, such as concealing their addresses from the defendant. Additionally, a victim can file a civil suit against the defendant similar to a personal injury lawsuit to recover medical expenses, damages, lost wages and pain and suffering. Child custody and alimony orders may also be modified after charges and/or a conviction.

Protective Orders

A person who is in fear of an incident of domestic violence against themselves and/or their children can request an emergency protective order (sometimes called a “restraining order”) that issues a range of conditions against the defendant. These conditions can include orders of no contact, prohibit him or her from being in or near the home, award temporary child custody, visitation, and child support payments, as well as prohibit further harassment or abuse of the individual, any children, as well as any pets.

Protective orders can be valid for a year, but the party who filed for the order can also request an extension of up to two years.

Violations of these orders can range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges, depending on what a defendant does in the process. If he or she commits a felony while violating a protective order, they will be charged one level higher. Police will not need to obtain an arrest warrant under the circumstances.

False Charges Of Domestic Violence

Despite the statistics, there are cases where domestic violence charges are false, particularly against spouses in the middle of divorce proceedings.

If this is the case, your divorce attorney may offer to handle it for you. However, it’s better to have a criminal defense attorney handle it instead, since a divorce attorney concentrates on family matters. Gather up any evidence for your case, especially written and electronic communications, witness statements and other proof of your innocence to give to your criminal defense attorney to build your case.

Domestic Violence Is A Serious Charge

If you’ve been charged with any form of domestic violence, you must have a strong defense when going to trial. Without it, you could be facing jail time.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who can defend you against charges of domestic violence. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your criminal defense case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

What’s The Difference Between Specific Intent Crimes And General Intent Crimes In Raleigh, NC?

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Raleigh, prosecutors may make a distinction: specific intent or general intent. Although committing a crime such as theft is a crime no matter what, the two categories of theft are important to delineate the severity of the crime that’s been committed. The main difference is what you were planning to do, which can directly influence the outcome of your case.

General Intent

What's The Difference Between Specific Intent And General Intent Crimes In Raleigh, NC?

This is a crime that is committed for no other purpose than doing it. There is no intent for a specific outcome.

The term “general intent” only refers to the person’s state of mind when committing the crime requiring only the willingness to break the law. It also includes someone who commits a crime and is unaware that it is illegal.

Battery is one example of a “general intent” crime. Defined as “the intentional and harmful physical contact of another person,” the very essence of committing battery is simply to do it without any other intent. If one individual punches another, the intent is established, and the prosecution will only need to show that the assailant intended to commit battery. There is no need to prove that the assailant injured the victim, since the law assumes that the victim was injured.

Specific Intent

As the name implies, the crime is committed with a specific purpose. There is not only a desire to commit the crime, but also the desire for a specific outcome. This requires the prosecution to prove that a defendant acted with a motive in mind when committing this action.

Using our battery example, an assailant who commits battery on another for the sole and intended purpose of causing an injury (such as a broken nose or a black eye to the victim) has committed a specific intent crime. The prosecution must then go the extra step of proving that a defendant had a motive for committing the crime.

Crimes that are considered “specific intent” include:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgery
  • Child molestation
  • “Inchoate” offenses or crimes, such as conspiracy, attempt and solicitation (taking steps to and preparing to commit a crime)
  • Murder

Another example is auto theft. If an individual takes someone else’s car for the purpose of borrowing it or just to play a prank on the owner, it can be argued that there was no crime committed if there was never an intent to keep the car. However, if a vehicle is stolen by one individual to deprive the owner of their vehicle permanently, the crime is now considered “specific.”

A Defendant’s Mental State

There are two parts to most crimes: the “actus reus,” or the act of the crime, and the “mens rea,” the mental element or motive of the crime.

In the process of a trial, a prosecutor may be required to demonstrate the defendant’s mens rea, or the motive for committing the crime. The difference between a general and specific intent is whether the defendant committeed the actus reus and intended to achieve a specific outcome. Proving that a crime is general intent won’t require the prosecutor to show that the defendant had any specific outcome in mind, whereas a specific crime will.

Defense For Specific And General Intent Charges

There is a wide gap between general and specific intent charges, that makes a big difference when it comes to your defense. If you unintentionally committed a crime without a specific intent in mind, you could be found not guilty. But you’ll need a strong defense in order to achieve it.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC. Before working as a defense attorney, he was a Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He understands the criminal justice system, and can represent you for a wide range of criminal charges.

Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your criminal defense case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

 

How Are The New Marijuana Drug Laws Affecting Those With Past Drug Convictions?

Have you been charged with or convicted of possession small amounts of marijuana in the past? If so, you may be interested to learn about the latest in marijuana drug law changes.

The legalization of marijuana in some states creates a quandary: if marijuana is now legal, what does it mean for people with past convictions, especially for small amounts? New Yorkers are currently asking this same question.

NC State House Bill 766

Even with the legalization of both medical and recreational use in several states, North Carolina still considers marijuana possession a crime for which you can be arrested. Possession of a half-ounce or less is decriminalized but incurs a fine of $200.

Hemp is decriminalized only for medicinal use by patients with intractable epilepsy, the type that does not respond to medication and treatment.

However, House Bill 766 that was introduced in 2019 aims to change that just a little. If passed, it would decriminalize four ounces or less for personal use, and anything under 16 ounces would become a misdemeanor. (Currently, possession of 1½ ounces to 16 ounces is a Class 1 felony offense.) The bill would also allow for expunctions (removal) of criminal records related to “certain convictions for possession” of marijuana.

Under another bill, Senate Bill 58, if you have a prior conviction for less than 3 ounces, and no additional aggravating circumstances, a criminal defense attorney can file a petition for expungement with the court that issued the conviction. If the DA and your probation officer agree (or do not contest,) the judge will likely sign and approve it.

The idea behind these bills is to clear out a number of criminal records and relieve a large number of people from criminal records for small amounts of marijuana purchased for personal use.

One other bill regarding the revamping of North Carolina’s marijuana laws was introduced recently, House Bill 401, the “Enact Medical Cannabis Act.” Unfortunately, all three of revisionist bills are currently stuck in committee.

Cook County, IL—Reparations For Past Convictions

The state of Illinois has a new law that takes effect on January 1, 2020 that allows residents over the age of 21 to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis (just over one ounce.) Individuals with convictions of 30 to 500 grams (just over 17½) ounces of cannabis can petition the court to have their conviction expunged.

Cook County’s partnership with Code For America, a nonprofit organization, to expedite the expungement process by sifting through thousands of records to find the individuals convicted of less than 30 grams. Using their Clear My Record service (at no charge to the county), they will sort through records and complete the paperwork necessary for prosecutors to submit to judges for expungement. Code For America is dedicated to helping state and local governments better serve their constituents through the use of updated technology.

This means that for thousands of individuals in Cook County, old convictions for small amounts will be removed from their records as well as law enforcement databases. This will allow these individuals the opportunities that they were previously prevented from accessing, such as education, housing, and certain types of employment.

The Disparity Of The Green Economy

The irony of the new “green economy” is that while people around the US are able to take advantage of some of marijuana and hemp’s medicinal benefits, others are sitting in jail for possession of them for much the same substance. Individuals with these convictions are disproportionately Latino and African-American, and many states have laws that prohibit anyone with a felony drug conviction from entering the legal cannabis industry.

Additionally, legal marijuana companies have another question to answer: whether they should hire an individual with a prior conviction for marijuana. Another ironic twist is that this escalating industry can benefit from the experience of the individuals who previously handled it.

Changes in state laws throughout the nation could bring more experience and expertise into the green economy for the benefit of everyone, as well as open up more job opportunities.

Defense For Marijuana Charges

Even a small amount of marijuana can have lifelong implications, whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony drug charge. That’s why it’s vital to have the best defense available. A criminal defense attorney experienced in marijuana cases can defend you in court.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation.

 

Exoneration Statistics To Consider

Being accused of a crime is difficult, but being convicted and jailed is an entirely different scenario. A false conviction can see an innocent person spend much of their life behind bars for a crime they did not commit.

Improvements in investigative tools such as forensic science and DNA testing have helped wrongly convicted people defend themselves in court and seek exoneration. For those wrongly jailed, many have been able to clear their names after a prison sentence. Many go so far as to plead guilty to a lesser sentence, knowing they were totally innocent.

Some of these individuals have been in jail for many years, without the means to prove that they were tried and convicted improperly. With the help of these improved tools and techniques, and nonprofit organizations like The Innocence Project, people wrongly convicted are now able to seek exoneration.

What Is Exoneration?

To be exonerated is to be cleared of an accusation, either through the presentation of evidence of innocence, a defect in a conviction, or other actions that completely clear an individual of the charges that have been levied.

For instance, if someone is charged in a robbery because of a garment they were wearing, submitting evidence of the person’s whereabouts without the incriminating garment shows that another individual wearing it committed the crime. The evidence of the accuse whereabouts will exonerate him or her of the charges, and will be dismissed.

How Does This Happen?

There are a number of reasons why someone could be wrongfully charged and convicted. The most common are:Exoneration Statistics To Consider

  • Witness identification of perpetrator
  • Zealous police and prosecutors
  • Police misconduct
  • False confessions
  • Perjury
  • Faulty forensic evidence and inadequate testing
  • Racial bias

These cases are being reviewed and reworked by some prosecutor’s offices with Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs), and others are assisted by nonprofit innocence organizations like The Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations, whose work is to free wrongly convicted individuals.

Statistics on DNA Exoneration

Since the introduction of DNA testing for criminal cases in 1989, The National Registry of Exoneration estimates that more than 2,500 individuals have been freed, and more than 22,000 years of life were lost behind bars due to wrongful convictions.

The registry’s report on 2018 reveals the following:

  • CIUs were responsible for 58 exoneration
  • “Professional exonerator,” nongovernmental organizations such as the Innocence Project, were responsible for 86 exoneration
  • CIUs and organizations working together were able to exonerate 45 people in 2018
  • A total of 31 individuals were exonerated in Chicago on drug and weapons charges as a result of an investigation into corrupt police officers led by Sergeant Watts.
  • Illinois had the highest number of exoneration, at 46, due to the Sgt. Watts affair. Texas and New York are tied in second place at 16, Michigan in third place with 9 and California with 6.
  • The DNA exoneration in 2018 totaled 23, about 15% of the overall total, with 60% for murder cases, 7% for sex crimes, one case for attempted robbery, and one case for kidnapping and sexual assault
  • Seventy cases in 2018 were individuals who were wrongly incarcerated and no crime actually occurred. This included one murder case for which the defendant spent 25 years on death row for the murder and assault of a 21-month old girl. The injuries that indicated his guilt were actually unsuccessful medical procedures by emergency room physicians.
  • Texas had 363 exoneration in 2018, the highest rate in the US
  • The bulk of US exoneration in 2018 came from just four counties: Harris County (Texas), Cook County (Illinois) Kings (Brooklyn) and Dallas counties.
  • Nationwide, the city with the second most exoneration per capita from wrongful convictions is New Orleans, Louisiana.The state incarcerates at nearly twice the national average, with many incarcerated who haven’t even been convicted of a crime.

The Most Popular: Drug Charges

Exonerated prisoners are frequently the target of drug charges, particularly for African-American defendants, who are five times as likely to be imprisoned for drug possession as white defendants. Innocent African-Americans are 12 times as likely to be convicted of drug crimes as innocent whites, even though the rate of illegal drug use is about the same for both groups.

In Harris County, Texas, which includes the City of Houston, the crime labs take an extra step of testing drugs that are seized during arrest, even if the accused pleads guilty. In many cases, the substances are found not to be illegal drugs. As a result, 48 of Texas’ 58 exoneration in 2016 were in Harris County.

The CU for the DA’s office began calling for the backlog of drug cases to be cleared in 2014, which prompted crime lab testing of substances taken during the arrests. As a result of the testing, the first 48 defendants were exonerated, and 10 were exonerated in 2017.

Harris County’s African-American community makes up 20% of the population and account for 62% of the exoneration.

Defense or Exoneration? Contact Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who can defend you or your loved one against wrongful criminal charges and work for exoneration. Call Mr. Brinkley today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

How Embezzlement and Theft are Different?

You might be thinking that embezzlement and theft are one and the same, but they aren’t. While theft is stealing something that doesn’t belong to you, embezzlement is also more of a planned type of theft, and has the added element of violated trust.

What Is Embezzlement?

In an employment or other position of financial responsibility, you may be entrusted with money or property, and have permission to handle them in the course of your job or other position. Misusing your position of trust to steal or misappropriate money or property and convert it to your own elevates theft and embezzlement.

The crime occurs in a number of familiar settings, with the most common scenario a worker stealing money, inventory, or office supplies from their employer. While you may not be arrested for the odd ballpoint you forgot that put in your pocket and take home, embezzlement can also take the form of:

How Does Embezzlement Differ From Theft?

  • Altering employee time records
  • Adding extra to a company expense account
  • Depositing customer or vendor checks into a personal account, or moving money into one
  • Altering company books to conceal stolen, misappropriated, or loss amounts
  • “Borrowing” money from a company cash register
  • Over-charging for a product and keeping the difference
  • Adding a phony employee to the company payroll
  • Accepting kickbacks and bribes

Additionally, money or property that is entrusted to you and is mishandled is considered embezzlement, including:

  • Improperly using someone else’s Social Security money, i.e., relative or child
  • Creating a credit card or check “kiting” scheme (writing bad checks and “floating” them)
  • Using a Ponzi scheme to steal funds
  • Using a client’s settlement amount to pay for operating expenses
  • “Borrowing” funds from a civic organization, nonprofit or other organization
  • Selling a property and keeping the proceeds without notifying heirs

Although embezzlement is usually handled at the state level, should a government employee is involved, or government funds, the federal government will be involved.

Overtime As Embezzlement

Many people are dedicated to their job, and work longer hours. For some, it may be a requirement. But for others, working overtime may constitute embezzlement under certain circumstances.

Of course, if you’re working the overtime to bring in extra money, and not setting off any alarms, there isn’t much cause for concern. However, other indicators in addition to overtime may raise suspicions of possible embezzlement. This would include issues with company financial accounts, including accounts that are missing or disorganized records that make account audits difficult if not impossible.

For an individual who spends a lot of time at the office, including weekends and holidays, and uses company resources may be doing so for their own benefit (i.e., running a business or other money-making plan.) If the individual charges the company for “overtime,” the individual is defrauding the company out of money and work he or she allegedly completed.

Another method is when an individual claims to work overtime, but doesn’t appear anywhere on security footage at the time he or she claims to have worked.

This is not to say that everyone working overtime is suspect. If a company suspects fraud through overtime, it will look for other signs of possible misconduct that indicate embezzlement.

Penalties For Embezzlement in North Carolina

These depend on who committed the embezzlement and how much the individual embezzled.

  • Officers or agents, clerks, or employees at a corporation who embezzle over $100,000 are charged with a Class C felony, with a possible jail sentence of 58-73 months in prison. Anything under $100,000 is considered a Class H felony with a possible jail sentence of 5 to 6 months in prison and “community punishment.”
  • Treasurers of any charitable organizations who embezzle over $100,000 are charged with a Class C felony, with a possible sentence of 58-73 months in prison. Anything under $100,000 is considered a Class H felony with a possible jail sentence of 5 to 6 months in prison and “community punishment.”
  • Railroad officers embezzling over $100,000 are charged with a Class C felony, with a possible sentence of 58-73 months in prison. Anything under $100,000 is considered a Class F felony with a possible jail sentence of 13 to 16 months in prison.
  • Public officials and public employees, including state and government workers embezzling over $100,000 are charged with a Class C felony, with a possible sentence of 58-73 months in prison. Anything under $100,000 is considered a Class F felony with a possible jail sentence of 13 to 16 months in prison.

In addition to criminal court charges, the company or individual from whom the money or property was embezzled can also sue you in civil court. The individual or company can treat you like a debtor once they get a judgment. They can garnish your wages, put a lien on your house (or force you to sell it) and levy your bank accounts.

Dewey P. Brinkley Is Ready To Defend You

Embezzlement is a serious crime with far-reaching consequences. If you’ve been accused of or charged with embezzlement, you need someone to defend you against the charges and in court—quickly.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who understands the criminal justice system, and how to defend you against embezzlement charges.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

 

Reasons Why A Juvenile May Be Prosecuted As An Adult In North Carolina

Minors who get into trouble for misdemeanors and “petty” crimes are usually dealt with through the juvenile justice system. This separate system is designed to offer rehabilitation and other services to those 16 and under who have broken the law. North Carolina considers anyone between the ages of 6 and 17 to be a “juvenile.”

Reasons Why Juvenile May Be Prosecuted As An Adult In North Carolina

Rather than incarceration, the juvenile justice system focuses on the child and the family, and includes education, community programs, and treatment. A stint in a juvenile detention facility may also be included. Juvenile records are usually sealed, meaning that the minor has a “fresh start” as an adult.

We previously discussed how juvenile crimes are treated differently in North Carolina. The adult court system focuses on punishment rather than rehabilitation, and has tougher punitive consequences such as fines and prison time. Even a conviction in adult court without jail time will mean a criminal record with long-term repercussions.

Currently, 16- and 17-year olds are automatically tried in adult court for even minor offenses, while younger individuals stay in the juvenile court system.

When A Minor Child Commits Adult Crimes

Juveniles of nearly any age can be charged as an adult if they have committed more serious crimes. Frequently, the judge is allowed to use his or her discretion in allowing a juvenile to be tried as an adult. A minor can be charged as an adult if:

  • The crime is more serious, requiring the child to be tried as an adult
  • The juvenile has been in trouble before and was previously tried as an adult (this is the “once an adult, always adult” mandate)
  • He or she understood the serious nature of the criminal act and the repercussions
  • The juvenile has a history of similar criminal acts

Charging and trying a minor child as an adult occurs for crimes such as murder, sexual assault, drug crimes and crimes involving a weapon.

Raising The Age

Until next month, juveniles over 16 charged are still automatically charged as adults. North Carolina is the last state in the US to “raise the age” for those in juvenile court from 16 to 18.

Effective December 1, 2019, anyone under the age of 18 facing a misdemeanor charge, or the state’s two lowest-level nonviolent felonies (break-ins and larceny) will be tried in Juvenile Court rather than as an adult.

This gives the 16- and 17-year olds the opportunity to access services available under the juvenile justice system. They have the choice and the chance to turn their lives around and avoid an adult criminal record before 18. Research shows that individuals who go through the juvenile justice system are less likely to commit crimes as an adult, which also lowers the adult crime rate.

Juveniles who are under 18 and are charged and arrested on more serious felonies will still be sent to Juvenile Court first. However, district attorneys will then have the option to move the cases to adult court either through a judge or a grand jury indictment. Those who were arrested and charged before the law takes effect will still be tried as adults under the previous system.

Raleigh’s Juvenile Court Attorney, Dewey P. Brinkley

If your child has been charged with a crime, your first goal should be to keep the case in juvenile court. You should also find a juvenile court attorney who can investigate the case and determine your chances at trial.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any criminal charges, major or minor. He will work to ensure a fair trial and that your child’s rights are protected.  Call today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

 

How A DWI Conviction Can Affect Your Current And Future Employment In Raleigh, NC

As we’ve mentioned before, DWI is a very expensive arrest, even if you’re innocent, or failed your field sobriety tests. From the moment you are arrested even for suspicion of DWI in Raleigh (or anywhere in North Carolina), you must defend yourself, your driver’s license, and your reputation. Each of these things will cost money.

But employment is one part of the DWI that most people don’t think about. Will you be fired? How will you get to work? What about your car? All these things come into play after you’re arrested and charged with DWI in North Carolina.

The Aftermath: Your Current Job

How A DWI Conviction Can Affect Your Current And Future Employment In Raleigh, NCDepending on where you’re employed and what you do now, you may or may not be terminated. North Carolina is an “at-will” employment state, where you can be terminated with or without a cause, and there may be a policy that a DWI or other criminal arrest is cause for immediate termination.

Depending on the company’s handbook and policies, you may be required to notify your company immediately (and you may still be terminated.) If they don’t find out from you, and find out from another employee or some other source, it could make a difference.

After your arrest, your driver’s license is immediately suspended for 12 months. You may be able to have limited driving privileges after 10 days for driving to and from work (if you are still employed.) In either case, you’ll have to find another way to get back and forth to work for a while.

If driving is an essential part of your job and requires you to have a commercial driver’s license, there is a good chance you will lose your CDL—and your job.

Any kind of professional licensure—medical, legal, professional pilot, or other license—requires that you report any arrests and/or convictions to the issuing agency. As a rule, you will lose your license, as well as your job.

Absenteeism may also be a factor. Court appearances and possible jail time will force you to miss work. Excessive absenteeism may be cause for termination.

Background Checks And Disclosures

If you’ve lost your job and are looking for another one, a DWI will most certainly show up on a background check. Arrest records are also public records, available to anyone who wants to find it.  Nearly everyone is checked, and if you don’t disclose something that shows up, you’ll lose any chance you may have had of being hired.

Take a proactive stance: get a background check on yourself and see what show up. You may discover other mistakes that will keep you from finding a job as well.

Jobs To Avoid After DWI

You will be ineligible for a number of different types of jobs after a DWI. They include:

  • Government jobs, including joining the military
  • Teaching jobs, daycare jobs and other jobs working with children
  • Jobs that involve handling highly confidential information
  • Driving jobs: bus and truck drivers, delivery drivers, outside sales jobs that involve driving and visiting customers

Interviewing And Getting A Job With A DWI In Your Record

A DWI doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be able to work again. Despite the difficulties of a DWI, it is possible to interview and find another job post-conviction. But it does mean handling things differently.

Some companies may only ask about convictions, not arrests. In that case, you may not be required to disclose the arrest; ask your DWI attorney for clarification.

It’s best to mention it only if and when you are asked. While an experienced interviewer will likely not be surprised, make your explanation short and succinct, and include the steps you’ve taken afterwards, such as rehab or other corrective actions. Describe what led to the DUI and what you’ve learned from the experience, as well as other things you’ve done to restore your life. Mention that you’ve not driven after drinking since, and that you would never do anything to harm the company’s reputation.

If your case is dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial, you can also request an expunction, or removal from your record, meaning it would be as if your arrest and/or conviction had never happened. You can start the process immediately.

Expunction isn’t available for a DWI conviction.

DWI Defense

A DWI charge is always serious, and can lead to serious employment implications now and in the future.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh DWI defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against DWI charges and protect your rights in the courtroom. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DWI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.