Farrelly Kalafat PC Blog & Case Results

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When Can the Police Search My Car?

The short answer is, it depends.  If the police have stopped your vehicle due to a traffic infraction they may be able to search your vehicle in certain circumstances.  If the police have probable cause to believe there may be illegal drugs or weapons in your vehicle then they will be legally justified in searching your vehicle.  However, probable cause cannot be established purely through a "hunch" of the police officer.  They must have an objectively reasonable basis to believe there are illegal drugs or weapons in the vehicle.  This basis is usually established if the officer see or smell drugs or see weapons within the vehicle.  In addition, if you or one of your passengers were to tell the police officer that there were drugs or weapons in the vehicle they would also most likely have probable cause.  

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Can I Expunge My Washington, DC Criminal Record?

Whether or not someone can have their Washington, DC criminal records expunged (or sealed) depends on a few circumstances.  First, whether or not someone is convicted or simply arrested makes a big difference when determining whether their record can be expunged.  If an individual is arrested for a crime but is not ultimately convicted (either the case was dismissed or the person was acquitted after trial) then they can generally have the record expunged.  There are two methods for expunging a non-conviction.  The first is to wait a statutorily prescribed amount of time and file an appropriate motion to seal with the court.  The waiting period is usually two or five years from the date the case is dismissed or an individual is acquitted.  The court will consider whether it is in the interests of justice to seal an individual's record.  If the court determines that it is in the interests of justice, the record will be sealed.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Farrelly PC Client Found Not Guilty of Marijuana Distribution Charges

On July 22, 2013, a Farrelly PC client was found not guilty of possession with intent to distribute (PWID) marijuana.  The government's evidence showed that my client was in possession of 19 zips (or little baggies) of marijuana, totaling 12 grams of marijuana.  The government had virtually zero additional evidence to prove that my client was possessing the marijuana with the intent to distribute it.  A government expert witness, Detective Thomas of the Metropolitan Police Department, testified that based purely on the packaging of the marijuana, it was his expert opinion that the client intended to distribute the marijuana. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Federal Hate Crime Charges Unlikely for George Zimmerman

In case you have been living under a rock, George Zimmerman was acquitted of Second Degree Murder and Manslaughter charges stemming from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Every layperson, legal pundit and media correspondent from DC to LA has weighed in on some aspect of the verdict.  My Twitter feed exploded on Saturday night and blog posts and news articles continue to trickle in by the dozens.  

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Supreme Court Says OK to Government DNA Collection

On June 3, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v. King that when police officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold a suspect for a serious offense and bring him to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Farrelly PC Client Found Not Guilty of Drug Possession Charges

On June 6, 2013, DC Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberry granted a defense motion for judgment of acquittal in case number 2013 CMD 3790.  The defendant in that matter was charged with possession of a controlled substance and faced a maximum sentence of up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.  By granting the defense motion for judgment of acquittal, Judge Cushenberry made a legal finding that even if viewed in the light most favorably to the government, the government's evidence was not sufficient to convince ANY reasonable juror that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Proposal Could Toughen DC DUI Laws

The National Highway Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all 50 states and the District of Columbia adopt a stricter threshold for DUI laws.  The board recommended lowering the legal limit from .08 to .05 in order to allegedly reduce the number of DUI related fatalities.  This recommendation is a part of a larger initiative that is aimed at eventually eliminating drunk driving altogether.  The Safety Board estimates that between 500-800 DUI related fatalities would be eliminated if the lower threshold were applied nationwide.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Brother of NFL TE Found Competent in Murder Case

I want to start off this blog by pointing out my clear cut bias.  Not only do I generally side with the accused as a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney, I am also a University of Maryland alumni and therefore a HUGE Vernon Davis fan (not to mention that I am a former Miami Dolphins fan and I always liked Vontae Davis quite a bit).

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Farrelly PC Obtains Acquittal for Client Accused of Simple Assault

I recently represented an individual in DC Superior Court accused of simple assault in a domestic violence context.  Withouth delving into too much detail, the government alleged that my client had been engaged in a verbal altercation with the mother of his child.  The government then alleged that the verbal altercation became physical when my client struck the alleged victim in the face with a closed fist.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Supreme Court Denies Review in Second Amendment Case

As reported on SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court of the United States has denied certiorari in the Second Amendment case Kachalsky v. Cacace.  The case is yet another refusal by the nation's highest court to consider the full reach of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in the context of the Court's 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.  The Court in Heller, ruled that the District's handgun ban violated the Second Amendment.  However, the Court confined its ruling to the universe of handgun ownership within the home and refused to consider the issue in a broader context.  The Court did however state that the Second Amendment did not provide an unlimited right to keep and bear arms in all circumstances and specifically identified some situation where an individual may not have the right to possess a gun.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

DC Court of Appeals Ruling Could Affect DC DUIs

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Robert C. Young for a violation of Mr. Young's 6th Amendment rights.  The full opinion can be seen here.  

The sixth amendment issue involved the testimony of an FBI examiner who testified that Mr. Young's DNA matched DNA evidence found at the scene of a rape in NE Washington, DC.  Mr. Young argued to the Court that it was reversible error to admit the FBI examiner's testimony without calling the lab technicians "who derived and identified the two DNA profiles and performed the calculations on which the testifying examiner based her conclusions."  To permit the FBI examiner's testimony was a clear violation of the Confrontation Clause.

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