Author: jyoke14

I am 31 years old and happily married to my wife, Melinda. I am currently studying to be a Paralegal at Everest Career Institute.

Potential Careers With A Legal Studies Degree

With a bachelor’s in legal studies you can have the opportunity of many career options. While most of them are in the law field there are some outside of law. I should note most people do tend to attend law school or become paralegals/legal assistants. Some of the other career options can be:

1. Banking
2. Children’s Rights
3. Civil liberties organizations
4. Collective bargaining/labor relations
5. Corporate sales divisions
6. Credit related agencies
7. Judicial Administration
8. Legal Research
9. Human Resources
10. Planning Commissions
11. Privacy Protection
12. Public government and legislation
13.Public Welfare
14. Real estate agencies
15. Tax consultation firms
16. Workers Compensation Bureaus

Miranda Rights 411

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I’m sure almost everybody has heard of your Miranda Rights. These are the rights you see on Law & Order, that “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, and that you have a right to an attorney. While the TV shows are right that you have these, they are wrong about when you have them. You are only entitled to these rights when they are interviewing(interrogating) you for evidence to be used against you. These rights do not kick in until after formal charges have been filed against you. When they question you after you are arrested, they have tell you these rights. Once you ask for a lawyer, all questions MUST stop! The only way they can talk to you is if you knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive your rights. This means you must know what you are doing, be of sane mind, and doing it of your own free will.

There is one thing of caution. If you initiate a conversation with the police, you have given up your Miranda rights. So, if on the way to jail you confess without the police asking you any questions, the lawyers cannot help you. 

What You Need to Know to Be a Paralegal

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As of May 2010 most states do not have educational requirements to be a paralegal. Paralegals work under attorney’s and should have some sort of college experience. It also recommended that paralegals have 3-5 years work experience in the field. Below are some general skills and education a paralegal should have.

PRIMARY SKILLS  

Paralegals need to have outstanding communication and organizational skills and  be able to efficiently juggle numerous ever-changing tasks in a fast-paced  environment. Excellent writing and phone skills are key, as are the ability to  process and maintain detailed paper  records and the focus to of schedule meetings, depositions, hearing and trials  that involve a number of different parties.

DUTIES

  • Paralegals, also called legal assistants, are individuals who, through  training or education, perform legal work that an attorney might do himself.  They draft legal pleadings, perform legal research and assist lawyers in all  manner of courthouse transactions from hearings to arbitration to  mediation.

EDUCATION

While no formal education is required, it can help people get a foot in the  door. Various paralegal programs are offered across the country to include two-  and four-year degree programs and certification training.

CERTIFICATION

Some firms (mainly very large ones) require a B.S. or B.A. degree along with  paralegal certification in order to practice as a legal assistant with their  attorneys. Paralegal certification programs vary widely in cost, length and  stature. The ABA investigates interested paralegal programs for inclusion on its  approved list.

SALARY

Salaries for paralegals vary depending on location, type of practice and the  education and experience of the legal assistant, but according to the Bureau of  Labor Statistics, paralegal salaries in 2009 ranged from $29,000 to $73,000.   The average annual wage across the country was $46,000.

ASSOCATIONS

Many paralegals join local and national associations to network, lobby and keep  abreast of ongoing changes in the field of practice. The two largest national  paralegal organizations are NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants) and  NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations). Most state bar  organizations also have a paralegal division.

Arrest Warrant Requirements

To be arrested, Police generally need to have an arrest warrant to do that. One of the biggest requirements to obtain an arrest warrant is, they must have probable cause. To show probable cause they must prove 2 things:

  • 1. A crime has occurred. is being committed, or about to be committed.
  • And
  • 2. The person arrested is/was/did commit the crime.

The exact technical procedures I am going to talk about are in Pennsylvania. Depending on where you live they could be a little different.

Requirements for the Arrest Warrant:

  1. It must be signed by a neutral Judge
  2. An affidavit(sworn statement) must be signed by the police. This will include specific facts.
  3. The name of the person to be arrested. Police must have the person’s name on a warrant.

If you are to be arrested in your home, the police need a warrant.

Exceptions to having an arrest warrant:

Exigent Circumstances- Where an officers need to take immediate action to arrest.

Potential Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Sometime’s people wonder “what can I do with my degree”? Today I am going to give some career options if you obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.

The most obvious choice would be a law enforcement officer. But it is not that simple. While some jobs in law enforcement require a bachelor’s some don’t. Some of the careers in law enforcement include:

  • Police Officers
  • Detectives and Investigators
  • Police Dispatchers

Another field of criminal justice is the court system. Some options could be:

  • Baliff
  • Prosecutor
  • Defense Attorney
  • Victim’s Advocate
  • Paralegal
  • legal secretary
  • Jury Consultant
  • Clerk

Some careers in Corrections can include:

  • Correctional Officer
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Forensic Psychologist

While a bachelor’s degree is not a guarantee, it is a great start into these fields.

Parts of a Crime

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Every crime must have 4 elements met to be considered an illegal act. These would be:

1. An Act

2. Criminal Intent or a guilty mind

3. The act and criminal intent has to come together

4. It must cause harm.

Definition of a crime is “An act or omission to act that violates the peace, or goes against the health, safety, welfare, and/or morals of fellow citizens, without justification or excuse, and is punishable by law”.

THE ACT

All crimes require a physical, voluntary act. Peoples thoughts are not crimes. You cannot be prosecuted because you are thinking about committing a crime. However, people’s words can be a crime(verbal threats). A crime must be done of your own free will, involuntary acts cannot be prosecuted.

 

CRIMINAL INTENT/GUILTY MIND

Crime is not done by accident. A crime has to intentional and reckless. There are 4 mental states of a crime:

1. Intentionally- You are doing it on purpose

2. Knowingly- You do something that a certain result will happen

3. Recklessly- A conscious disregard for a justifiable risk

4. Negligently- Should be aware, and fail to perceive that risk

 

When you have Criminal Intent and The act together you have the 3rd element of a crime. It is called concurrence, or bring it all together. Combined with these three you now have a harmful result.

Why Goalsetting is IMPORTANT

I think having both short term and long term goals while your in school can both benefit your academic and personal life. There are a few reasons why I think that. One, when your in school at times you can get frustrated and maybe loose focus on what is important in the long run. Setting long term goals, can hopefully reset your focus, and look forward to the future. Two, I am one to believe it is never too early to plan for the future whether that is in 5 days or 5 years. Three, sometimes people change their minds, so it is good to have goals where you want to be.

With short term goals you can stay focused. Having goals when you need your work done is a good idea. Also I believe in having “fun time” goals. Especially in school you need to pace yourself. If you don’t you’ll just wear yourself out and probably will not accomplish what your trying to do. What do you think about setting GOALS?

Career’s with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

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What Kinds of Criminal Justice Career Paths Are There?

Admit it, you’re a CSI fan, and watching that show has sparked your interest in a career in criminal justice. It’s okay – a lot of people see the intrigue of the criminal justice field in entertainment and want to know more about the real career opportunities that are out there. In fact, since the show started, there has been a huge increase in the number of applicants to Criminal Justice programs. It’s called the “CSI effect.”

The reality of the criminal justice field can be quite different than what you see on TV. That’s why it’s very important to get all the information you can before making a decision for your education – and your career. In fact, today, most career paths in Criminal Justice require at least an Associate degree. With the information and resources on this site, you can choose a path in criminal justice that matches your interests and abilities.

Careers in Criminal Justice:

Detectives and Private Investigators

In these roles, you can analyze and find facts about information pertaining to personal, financial, and legal matters. They can offer many services that range from protecting celebrities, verifying people’s backgrounds, investigating computer crimes, and tracing missing persons. Both private detectives and investigators have a minimal of college experience. However, many jobs that private detectives and investigators qualify for do not have actual educational requirements, and most of them learn on the job regardless. Previous work experience in investigative work is very helpful, and private detectives and investigators need a license to practice in most states. Depending on the case, private detectives and investigators can work in a variety of environments. Some can spend their time performing surveillance or conducting interviews, while others spend their time in offices making phone calls and conducting computer searches.

Police Officers

Police officers can also become criminal investigators and detectives, who sometimes are called special agents or agents, and they collect evidence and gather facts of possible crimes. Depending on the type of organization and size, law enforcement officers’ duties vary. The education requirements in order to become a police officer range from a typical high school diploma to a college degree. Additionally, before getting on-the-job training police officers must graduate from their agency’s training academy. Candidates must be at least 21 years old, be U.S. citizens, and meet a variety of personal and physical qualifications. Police officers work in an environment that can be dangerous, physically demanding, and stressful. Police officers have one the highest fatalities and on-the-job injuries.

Paralegals

Paralegals help attorneys in every part of the legal profession- from summarizing legal precedent to drafting motions. Paralegals, like lawyers, can enter a number of types of law, such as family, criminal, immigration, and corporate. Their legal involvement in cases depends on their employer. Some have restricted and narrow roles and others have a high degree of autonomy and responsibility. The best paralegals work behind the scenes and are team players.

There are no stringent educational requirements for becoming a paralegal. Some have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, while others have a bachelor’s degree and obtain a certification in paralegal studies after they graduate. Certification programs provide an intense introduction to the paralegal field, and they typically only last for a few months. Before enrolling in any type of paralegal program, a candidate should know the placement rate of people who have recently graduated. Additionally, completing an internship program can lead to hiring and more on-the-job training.

Probation Officers

A probation officer’s main job is to work with offenders that have been sentenced on probation and will not go to prison for their crimes. Probation officers write reports on various criminals to help the judge or courts decide sentencing and what level of probation the criminal is going to receive. In order to become a probation officer, candidates must receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, corrections, social work or psychology is preferred. In order to receive federal and higher positions, candidates might be required to have a master’s degree in counseling, criminal justice, social work or a related field.

The majority of departments require candidates to not have a felony on record, be at least 21 years of age, and to have strong interview and writing skills. Having computer skills have also become necessary since there have been major technological advances to the field. Some states can also require probation officers to have at least two years of experience in correctional treatment or corrections parole.

Correctional Officers

The job of a correctional officer is to oversee individuals who have been arrested for a crime and are currently awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in a reformatory, prison, or jail. To become a correctional officer, candidates must go through a training academy and then they have to go through on-the-job training via a facility. While qualifications vary from agency to agency, all of them at least require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some can require additional work experience or college education. The work environment for a correctional officer can be hazardous and stressful. While working with inmates, correctional officers can be injured and they have one of the highest rates of overall injuries.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for criminal justice graduates is increasing every year. Various available positions come from a broad spectrum and employees are required to have a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. From paralegals and lawyers who are working in a law office to police officers who are protecting people and property, the available roles in the criminal justice field are unlimited. Criminal justice careers are also very resilient during a suffering economy and many jobs benefit from tough economic conditions.

To technology and travel, healthcare to hospitality, within the both private and public sectors of almost every industry, criminal justice professionals are in very high demand. As technology continues to advance and continue to change many aspects of everyday life, there is going to be an increase for criminals to find opportunities to steal from unsuspecting victims, thus creating more opportunities for the criminal justice field. The field is not limited to the stereotypical private detective sitting in his car or the stereotypical police officer. Currently the jobs available in the criminal justice sector range from forensic scientist, insurance investigator, detective, legal consultant, criminal pathologist, and many careers surrounding the identity protection sector such as fraud investigator.

Various criminal justice careers offer their employees health insurance and vacation time, but the amount is dependent on the employer. Additionally, most criminal justice careers require a variety of hours and graduates can be expected to make at least $45,000 salary wise.

Career Trends

The biggest trend that is happening in the criminal justice sector is the rise in technology. There is currently a significant need for various criminal justice professionals to understand, incorporate and embrace technology. Technology is not going to disappear from society any time soon, and it is going to play a significant role in society. In terms of the criminal justice system, technology will influence those who are entering the system on how they are caught, processed, and identified.

In addition, technology will have a huge impact on cybercrime and cyber security. To combat increasing cybercrime, there is going to be a major increase in people getting cyber security degrees. Cyber security degrees offer specific courses on computer network security and it prepares students for careers as computer analysts, forensic network analysts, and many other network security jobs. While cyber security degrees are a fairly recent development, they do provide a specific skill set related to the maintenance of security protocols on various computer networks and investigation of intrusions. Job growth is expected to exceed the national mean, and salaries are going to be higher than average.

While the benefits of technology are certainly obvious; however, technological changes have created new ways for criminal behavior and there is going to be a continued need to address various computer-based crimes.

Exception’s to the 4th Amendment: Part 2

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This is part 2 of a 2 part series in Exceptions to the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution.

If you did not check out my part1  post, please feel free to do so. This second part will contain information on abandoned property and private party, like farms and patio’s. An exception to constitution say’s if you intentionally abandon your property, it is fair game for anyone, including the POLICE. Now if you were to lay something down for a few minutes with the intention of coming back to it, that would not apply here. A popular example is when you put your trash out for the garbage collectors. Usually, the garbage is technically just off your property and you have abandoned, by placing it there, never expecting to see it again. Most, people would believe you have lost your expectation to privacy by doing that. So, now anyone can look through your trash.

Another exception is something called the Open Fields Doctrine. This rule talks about farms, patios, and garages that may or may not be attached to a home. Because anyone could walk onto these premises people loose their expectation of privacy here. So if you have marijuana on your porch, in plain view the police do not need a warrant.

Scope of a Traffic Stop

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When you are pulled over by the police many things thoughts might occur thru one’s head. One might be “what to do at a traffic stop”? While I can’t exactly answer that, I can tell you what police officers are allowed to do and for about how long they are allowed do it. In Pennsylvania, the police are allowed by law to order the driver and any passengers out of the for just “police officer safety”. The Supreme court allows this because the police need to be protected to effectively do their job. What separates the driver and any passengers is the type of police interactions. If you recall my first blog on searches and seizures I talked about the 3 different types of interactions. In a traffic stop the driver is under a “investigatory detention”. While the passengers are considered under a ” mere encounter”. This is that way because with the driver the police have “reasonable and articulate facts to believe criminal activity is afoot”. Even though it is just a motor vehicle violation, it is still technically a crime. While the passenger has committed no crime and technically could walk away after being frisked for weapons. The driver can only be detained ” for as long as reasonably necessary for the police to complete their investigation; usually 20 minutes”. This is just a normal scenario, if passenger behaviors change, then this scenario would.

So that is a brief explanation on the scope of traffic stops.