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Dysart Willis

Raleigh Criminal Law Blog

Massive FBI crackdown on alleged Bloods results in 76 arrests

The gang stretches from North Carolina to California and back again. Though the loose organization has no national leader, the United Blood Nation has a membership estimated to be from 20,000 to 25,000 members, including here in Raleigh. The gang is known for a wide range of activities that include drug trafficking, robbery and burglary.

The city of Charlotte recently teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a crackdown on alleged Bloods gang members. Officials said that 83 United Blood Nation members were indicted recently in the North Carolina Western District. Seventy-six of them have been arrested by federal law enforcement agents or were already in custody, according to a statement from the FBI.

How your social media activity can be used as evidence

Many North Carolina college students need to think twice before posting photos and stats about their reckless behavior on social media. As exciting as it is to get likes and everyone’s attention, not everything you do ought to be shared online. Do not fall prey to the false sense of security that social media and its privacy settings provide. 

Here is a brief overview of how your social media activity can be used against you in court. 

Teen faces child porn charges in alleged "catfishing" scheme

Teens in Raleigh today have the world at their fingertips through their phones, tablets and computers. They can digitally explore places, ideas, cultures and more far from North Carolina. Unfortunately, that freedom can sometimes lead to serious legal trouble, as one teen far from us found out.

The high school senior was recently arrested on child pornography charges after officials said he posed online as a teen girl to get explicit photographs from teenage boys. The 18-year-old received "thousands and thousands" of photos and videos from more than 130 people, a prosecutor said.

Peace in Columbia means cocaine boom here

When the war started, Lyndon Johnson was U.S. president, the Beatles had just launched the British invasion and "The Sound of Music" was thrilling audiences in Raleigh movie theaters. You might think that the reference is to the Viet Nam War, but we are actually referring to the recently concluded war between Columbia's government and FARC rebels.

What does it have to do with us? A lot. The peace deal reached more than 2,000 miles south of us has resulted in a cocaine boom that is driving down prices here. The bottom-line results can be read in newspapers and viewed in TV reports: arrests for cocaine trafficking and cocaine possession are on the rise.

The importance of a strong criminal defense attorney

History is replete with stories about people wrongfully convicted of heinous crimes, spending decades in jail only to be released when someone recants their story or new evidence is found. Many times it is a key witness who finally comes forward with truthful testimony or new technology that was not previously available (such as DNA evidence) disproves the prosecution’s case.

The story of a man who was recently released after spending 22 years in prison exemplifies the struggles that many people accused of crimes go through. According to a media report, law enforcement officers allegedly concealed evidence that would have exonerated the man. They also destroyed and altered evidence that would have been helpful to his defense, and the prosecutor on the case pressured a key witness to testify in a way that doomed the man’s case. 

Drug charges filed after sweep by North Carolina cops

If you drive almost due west of Raleigh for three hours, you will arrive in Morganton. The city of 16,000-plus was recently the epicenter of a two-day law enforcement operation that resulted in 49 warrants on 30 different people in counties around the area.

Many of those arrested in the sweep face drug charges, including possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute. The oldest among those arrested is a Hickory man, 56, who is accused of methamphetamine possession.

North Carolina man faces revenge porn charge

It is about a two-hour drive southeast of Raleigh to get to Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Marine Corps Air Station New River. A 39-year-old Marine stationed there is facing legal problems on several fronts, according to news reports.

He was recently arrested by Jacksonville police officers and charged with disclosure of private images. He is accused of posting so-called revenge porn on Facebook. He allegedly posted without consent an image of a nude, 24-year-old civilian woman, as well as several additional photos of her in nothing but underwear.

Talking to your teenagers about DWI

Talking to your teenagers about drinking and driving can save their lives and their licenses. In North Carolina, drivers over the age of 21 are not legally intoxicated to drive until their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving. If your teenager is caught with alcohol in his or her system, the consequences could be harsh. 

Under North Carolina law, a person must take a blood or a breath test when arrested for a DWI. This falls under the “implied consent” law. By driving a vehicle in the state of North Carolina, the person agrees to submit to chemical tests to determine if alcohol was present while driving. A person can refuse to submit to chemical testing, but the consequences are a one-year license suspension, whether or not the person is intoxicated. 

North Carolina police officer demoted after lying incident

Most of our Raleigh readers have made the two-hour drive to Wilmington to enjoy that city's famed Riverwalk, beaches and many other amenities. The coastal gem has recently been in the news for false claims made by some of its police officers.

A Wilmington officer told a driver that it's illegal to use a phone to record police doing their jobs. There is no such North Carolina law, of course. The widely publicized incident gives readers a glimpse into how easily some law enforcement officials lie and improperly conduct searches.

Punitive Enforcement - NC Industrial Commission Adopts Policy Change Against Noninsured Employers

North Carolina businesses with three or more employees are required to have workers compensation insurance coverage under NCGS 97-93. Failure to secure the required policy can result in civil fines and criminal penalties against noninsured employers under the companion statute, NCGS 97-94. The policy behind the law is understandable - in the event of a workplace injury, insurance should be in place in order to cover any medical bills, lost wages, and permanent disability suffered by a worker injured on the job.