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What Constitutes an Illegal Search?

There is almost nothing Americans value more than their right to privacy. And that right is almost ironclad, thanks to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But there are certain circumstances in which the government, mainly via law enforcement, has a right to invade your privacy, take your property and possibly use it against you. In some cases, these searches can be illegal. It's best to identify the difference between a legal and illegal search so you can better protect your rights. Searches of your home First off, you should know that the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure of your own property such as your home, vehicle and cell phone. That means federal or state officials, such as ...

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Birmingham Criminal Defense Watch: Campus Arrests on the Rise

The nation's campuses are reporting an increase in student arrests, a troubling trend that will impact futures and career potential for far too many young people as we head into spring break and the end-of-year graduation season. While Birmingham may be the state's largest city, it is the influx of college students that truly swells the population each winter and spring. Area institutions of higher learning include the University of Alabama at Birmingham (including the medical school and dental school), Samford University and Cumberland School of Law, Miles College and Law School, Birmingham School of Business, Birmingham Southern College and Virginia College, as well as several community colleges in Shelby and Jefferson counties. College Student Legal Defense in Birmingham The ongoing risk of school ...

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Birmingham Arrestees Often Self-Incriminate By Talking to Police

State and federal law protects those suspected of crimes from being forced to make self-incriminating statements to authorities. This can include police officers, prosecutors, investigators and other law enforcement agents working on behalf of the state to secure a conviction. This is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the confusing circumstances of many arrests and investigations lead suspects to inadvertently waive this right and make statements or utterances that are eventually used against them in court.  A Birmingham criminal defense attorney can advise you on your right to remain silent. Always ask to exercise your right to speak to a lawyer before submitting to any line of questioning by law enforcement.  What Suspects Need to Know About Incriminating Statements Most Americans are familiar with the ...

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Birmingham DUI Arrests and Anti-Drunk Driving Advertising

Motorists facing drunk driving charges after the holidays are often surprised by the serious consequences that can await them under Alabama law. "It's just a misdemeanor, right?" is a question drunk-driving defense attorneys hear often. But the consequences for DUI in Birmingham can be quite severe, even for a first offense. Motorists face a mandatory 90-day license suspension and attendance at DUI school, as well as fines and court costs of more than $2,000 and up to 1 year in the county jail.  Those who test over .15 BAC face double the mandatory punishment for being over double the legal limit of .08, under Alabama law Section 32-5A-191. Video games next battleground for DUI messaging The holidays are also a favored time for ...

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What To Do After a Birmingham Arrest

  An arrest can be an overwhelming event. It can be difficult to know what to do in a confusing situation, outnumbered by police and facing a system that's seemingly stacked against you. If you, a family member, or loved one has been arrested, it is important to contact a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier your attorney gets involved, the greater your chances of avoiding common pitfalls such as self-incrimination. Invoke Your Right to Silence Defendants have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. This means once you are placed under arrest, you do not have to answer questions about the alleged offense. It's important to still be as polite and respectful as possible to all law enforcement officers and ...

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Preventing Thanksgiving DUIs in Birmingham

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a serious crime which can occur more frequently during the festive holiday season. DUI charges carry costly, long-lasting consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, ensure you are protected throughout the criminal case process by consulting with an experienced Birmingham DUI attorney. Start by following these tips for preventing DUI in and around the roads of Birmingham. The Consequences of DUI The Code of Alabama §32-5A- 191(e) provides that a first time DUI defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in the country or municipal jail, a fine between $600 and $2100, or both jail and a fine. The defendant’s driver’s license will also ...

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What Birmingham Drivers Should Do at a DUI Checkpoint

Alabama law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to DUI checkpoints as a way to curb impaired driving on the roads of Birmingham. While these stops can be helpful in ensuring the safety of everyone on the road, they also present the potential for violation of a person’s constitutional rights. DUI suspects have important rights – under both the Constitution and Alabama state law – which must be protected. It is important to know exactly what to do and say when an attorney cannot be present to protect your legal rights. What You Should Do As with any police interaction, it is important to be polite and non-confrontational when speaking with an officer. Police can ask for identification. Drivers should present identification without delay. ...

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First Time Drug Offenses Carry Serious Consequences for Alabama Defendants

Drug offenders face some of the harshest penalties in the American criminal justice system. There are many costly consequences to any drug charge – even if it is the first offense. It is important that defendants have a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in drug offenses. Barclay Law has years of experience in protecting legal rights and ensuring a fair outcome in the criminal justice system for criminal defendants in and around the Birmingham area.  Alabama Sentencing for Drug Possession The Code of Alabama statutes sets specific guidelines for the classification of drug offenses: Possession of a controlled substance listed on Schedules I through V is a Class D felony (see Code of Alabama §13A-12-212). Selling, furnishing, giving away, delivering, or distributing ...

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The Consequences of a First Time DUI in Alabama

It is an unpleasant surprise to many first-time DUI defendants to learn that the consequences of a first offense in Alabama are costly, painful, and time-consuming. These consequences become progressively worse with repeat offenses, but even the first offense can affect a defendant’s life for years to come. Mandatory Sentencing for a DUI Conviction The Code of Alabama §32-5A-191(e) sets the guidelines for sentencing of a first time DUI defendant: The defendant may be sentenced to up to one year in the country or municipal jail, a fine between $600 and $2100, or both jail and a fine. The defendant’s driver’s license is suspended for ninety days unless he or she has an approved ignition interlock device installed in his or her vehicle ...

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Alabama Lawyer Supports Marijuana Decriminalization Effort

A Birmingham attorney says that while legalization of marijuana in Alabama could take years, decriminalization would be a good start. “Marijuana is gradually becoming more accepted across the country,” said attorney John Michael Barclay of Barclay Law LLC. “But drug offenses in Alabama involving marijuana can result in thousands of dollars in fines and significant jail time. Even possession of a small amount for personal use can result in legal problems.” Currently in Alabama, possession of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $6,000 fine and a year in prison. Earlier this year, Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, introduced a bill in the Alabama Legislature that would decriminalize marijuana. The bill would punish possession of an ounce ...

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