Wheeling Criminal Law Blog

Alleged terroristic threats result in arrest of W. Va. student

Both law enforcement and school authorities in West Virginia take terroristic threats very seriously. It does not matter whether or not the person making the threat was in earnest or had any intent to carry it out. In the interest of keeping all students safe, school administrators will work with law enforcement to ensure that a thorough investigation of all potential threats takes place and that authorities respond swiftly and appropriately. 

An alleged terroristic threat resulted in the arrest of a male student of Berkeley Springs High School in Morgan County. Few specifics are available because the student is still a minor and it is necessary to protect his identity. However, the alleged Level 4 behavior reportedly amounts to a felony according to the Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools policy of the West Virginia Department of Education. Authorities found probable cause for an arrest as a result of an investigation. The student is under suspension as of the most recent report. 

Multi-agency investigation results in drug charges

Residents in the state of West Virginia and in neighboring states like Ohio may often hear or read news reports about criminal investigations that spanned multiple states. There can be times when a variety of law enforcement entities choose to collaborate and focus on what they allege to be criminal behavior that may occur in more than one state. Recently, there was a relatively large investigation like that that has now resulted in many individuals being arrested.

As reported by WVNews.com, the investigation was conducted across parts of the state of Ohio and in West Virginia, mostly focusing on the southwest portion of that state. The counties of Cabell, Putnam and Kanawha were apparently heavily involved in the case. Authorities believed that a series of people were distributing heroin and methamphetamine.

Understanding the concept of "corruption of blood"

If you have a felony conviction on your public record, then you do not need to be told about the consequences you may face even after you have satisfied the demands of justice in Wheeling. An expungement can help get over the stigma associated with a criminal conviction, but often, even those clients that we here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office have helped to secure this benefit must still deal with certain social consequences. The question then becomes how far do those consequences go.

A felony conviction will often disqualify you from owning a gun or voting in local and national elections (although those benefits can be reclaimed in certain situations), yet what about the right of ownership? Some might try to tell you that if you are convicted of a felony, any property or assets that you own solely are automatically forfeited to the state. This line of thinking comes from the antiquated notion of “corruption of blood.”

Do police need a warrant to use drug-sniffing dogs?

Law enforcement officials in Wheeling are often given a great deal of leeway when it comes to the discovery of potential crimes. At the same time, however, they must respect your rights (as well as those of others) during the course of an investigation. This includes the application of technology to your case. One type of "technology" that authorities have employed for years in the investigative process (particularly when looking into potential drug crimes) is the use of drug-sniffing dogs. You might think that scent (which is what police drugs primarily rely on when searching a property) is well within the public domain, which then begs the question of whether or not a warrant is needed to deploy drug-sniffing dogs on your property?

The Supreme Court of the United States says that one is. In a landmark 2013 ruling, the Court upheld an earlier state court ruling that defined the use of a drug-sniffing dog as a search. The Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal searches and seizures of your property, thus making it necessary for law enforcement officers to establish probable cause to search your property and to reinforce that cause by seeking a search warrant. 

Adult drug court may work for you

People make mistakes, and sometimes, those mistakes have serious consequences. Unfortunately, those closest to the person may feel the effects of those consequences, as well.

Particularly in the case of parents facing drug charges  or other serious offenses, the effects of traditional penalties can have negative effects on the children. Thankfully, there are alternative court options available that can help limit this impact.

Drug charges await 3 Putnam County residents

When news of someone being arrested in Ohio County breaks, many may often be surprised at how many criminal charges the accused is facing given the circumstances of their arrest. Often, something that may seem as simple as an alleged minor infraction can often result in a person facing a veritable mountain of interwoven charges. It is typically the unique circumstances of an arrest that dictate how many criminal complaints a person may be faced with. In some cases, they may all be justified. In others, however, people might start to question when the prosecution of one becomes too much. 

Tale the case of a trio of now-criminal defendants in Putnam County. All three were arrested over the same incident. It began with local law enforcement authorities approaching a vehicle whose appearance they said was suspicious. As they got closer, the adult occupants of the vehicle fled, leaving two infant children remaining inside. Officials searched the vehicle and supposedly found drugs inside. They later arrested the people who fled and charged them with (among other things) drug possession and child endangerment. Additionally, also found the address where the pair had purchased the drugs and arrested the woman who supposedly set up the pair with the drugs. 

Jefferson County officials arrest man for making threats

The common assumption held by most in Ohio County may be that in order to be charged with a crime, one’s words must be supported by actions. One can talk about engaging in allegedly criminal activity, but unless they actually progress into doing it, they have done nothing. In some cases, that is not necessarily true. The details on what words and scenarios the state defines as meeting the standard of making terroristic threats have been detailed on this blog in the past. As has been mentioned, intent plays a key role in charging someone with this offense. 

Jefferson County authorities likely believe such intent did indeed exist in the case of a local resident. The man was taken into custody for making terroristic threats on social media. According to reports, he posted that he was a “ticking time bomb” that was capable of hurting other people. After having been alerted to these threats, local officials searched the man’s home and allegedly found evidence that suggested to them that the man was indeed capable of causing harm. His supposed threats, however, where reportedly not made against anyone in particular, but were rather stated in general. 

Do DUIs include drug usage?

In West Virginia, there are laws in place that determine how DUI-related cases will be handled. However, there are actually some differences in how these cases may be handled depending on whether a driver is accused of consuming alcohol, or using drugs.

FindLaw takes a moment to remind readers that DUI laws apply to any sort of substance abuse while driving. Though alcohol is often what comes to mind first, DUI laws also cover illicit or controlled substances, too. Despite how common alcohol-related DUIs can seem, drug-related DUIs actually tend to carry heftier penalties. For example, in West Virginia, there is a law that prohibits known drug addicts or habitual users from operating motor vehicles at all. Five other states have similar laws.

Can you be convicted of attempted felony-murder?

West Virginia is one of many states that has the “felony-murder rule.” You may already know that intentionally killing another can rise to the level of first-degree murder. What is lesser known is that the felony-murder rule allows a first-degree murder conviction when the perpetrator did not intend to kill anyone. The statute outlines how this works. Basically, if someone is killed while one of the delineated felonies is being carried out, the person committing the felonies can be charged with first-degree murder even though he or she did not intend for the death to occur. The question then arises of whether someone can be convicted of attempted felony-murder under the rule when nobody died.  

This was recently addressed in State v. Sanders. Maurice Stephen Sanders was charged with numerous felonies including robbery, which falls within the felony-murder rule. During the robbery, Sanders pistol-whipped one victim. Another victim was wounded by a bullet. Neither victim died. Sanders was charged with attempted first-degree felony-murder. The trial court jury convicted him.

What is disorderly conduct in West Virginia?

Each state has its own laws that prohibit behavior that causes public disturbance or breaches the peace. A West Virginia statute specifically outlaws disorderly conduct. This law exists to promote public safety.

If you are not aware of what constitutes disorderly conduct, you may face criminal charges by partaking in disruptive behaviors. Here is an outline of what constitutes disorderly conduct in West Virginia and the penalties you can face if you receive a conviction. 

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