North Carolina motorists are often pulled over by police because they run red lights, speed or forget to activate their turn signals. Some of these can also be signs that a motorist is intoxicated from drugs or alcohol. It's possible for someone in Statesville to be stopped for having a broken headlight, expired tags or a potentially hazardous mechanical defect. Not all stops are lawful, however.
You've heard them stated on TV and in movies hundreds of times: "You have the right to remain silent . . ." But the first time you hear the Miranda rights directed at you by a police officer, your mind can be so jumbled by nerves that you might unintentionally waive your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Any interaction with law enforcement can be frightening and stressful. However, for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, dealing with officers can be especially difficult. It's been estimated that as many as 9 percent of people may be hearing impaired to some degree. As our population ages, that number will likely rise.
The Raleigh Police Department has posted a video online showing a simulated traffic stop in order to provide guidance to motorists about what to do if they're pulled over by an officer. In the video, motorists are told that they should answer any question the officer asks.
There's actual research to back up something that many people have long suspected about our nation's police force: There are a lot of angry people in uniform.
Many Americans spend their first years out of the house in a college dormitory or off-campus housing. North Carolina's fine higher education options attract many students to apartments owned by other people or institutions, and they should know the expectations of their tenancy in these homes.
A Harnett County sheriff's deputy is on administrative leave and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has gotten involved after an incident caught on cellphone video earlier this month. The video shows two deputies tackling a teenager who was recording an arrest and then the girl's sister who was recording the officers wrestling her sibling to the ground.
The debate around whether Confederate statues belong in public spaces in the 21st century is an emotionally charged one here in North Carolina and other southern states — with strong feelings on both sides.
As the end of the year approaches, you're likely to see some DUI or "sobriety checkpoints" on the roads here in North Carolina and wherever your holiday travels take you. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations (not to mention the football games that accompany them) are occasions for serious drinking for many people. Law enforcement agencies set up these checkpoints as a deterrent to potential drunk drivers and to catch people who are behind the wheel when they shouldn't be.
Interactions with law enforcement officers can be frightening and stressful. People often aren't thinking clearly when they're stopped by police. It's essential to remember that you have rights as well as responsibilities. This is true whether you're a U.S. citizen or not. If you understand those rights and responsibilities, you can keep your interaction from escalating to something more serious and adding to your potential legal problems.