Criminal Conduct

Today, we can’t function without our smart phones. They hold nearly all our personal and business information, to include the most private aspects of our lives. While smart phones make our lives easier, carrying all of this information in the palm of our hands jeopardizes our privacy. While we all worry about criminals getting a hold of our personal information, we fail to recognize that our government, specifically law enforcement, has been using certain technology in order to covertly obtain the private information on our phone for over a decade.   Originally meant for military use, the technology at issue is called the Stingray. Law enforcement has been using the Stingray for over a decade (and affirmatively hid its use to the courts). It wasn’t until 2014 that that law enforcement's use of the Stingray came to light, via the ACLU.  To understand how the Stingray works, we need to know how our smart phones work. Whenever you use your phone (e.g. making a phone call, texting, emails, internet search, etc.), your phone will connect to the nearest cell-site tower. The cell-site tower will then connect your phone to the network.  The Stingray is a cell-site simulator. The Stingray tricks the phone into believing that the Stingray is the cell-site tower. Instead of your phone connecting to your network cell-site tower, it connects to a law enforcement Stingray device. The Stingray then collects and copies all of your phone’s data (but you have no idea because your smart phone continues to work normally). When a Stingray is activated, it does not simply target one phone; all phones in the Stingray’s range will be intercepted. Potentially thousands of phones are being “hacked” when the Stingray is used. The Stingray captures your call history, text messages, etc. and can even track your physical location.  The 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires law enforcement to get a search warrant if they want to search or seize something in your possession. The Stingray clearly violates the 4th Amendment and tramples on our Constitutional rights because it unknowingly captures our personal information. The drafters of the Constitution would roll over in their graves if they knew about the technology being used by law enforcement agencies to steal our privacy. The Stingray is the modern version of the late 1700s, where British soldiers went door-to-door, searching our homes without any cause (but at least we knew our privacy was being violated and could fight back).  With better technology, our lives get easier. Unfortunately, the potential for abuse also increases. The Stingray is one of many advancements that can be used to limit our freedom. We need to recognize the danger technology causes, value our privacy, and seek solutions so that technology does not continue to surpass the Fourth Amendment. NEED LEGAL ADVICE? If you have any questions regarding search warrants, cell-site towers, or Stingray devices, the seasoned team at Arora & LaScala have the experience and skills to advise you on this and all other serious legal matters. Contact us so we...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text] Becoming “Bar Fit” [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]In 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court refused to allow two law school graduates to take the bar examination, based on failing to disclose their past criminal histories on their law school applications. [1] One of these candidates, Roy W. Yunker Jr., finally joined the State Bar of Georgia in May 2015, seven years after his graduation from law school.[2][push h="20"] Mr. Yunker’s past criminal history included three misdemeanors from convictions or no-contest pleas to drunk driving, disorderly conduct, damage to property, and domestic battery.[3] On his law school application, Mr. Yunker’s answered “no” to all inquiries into previous charges and convictions, not including minor traffic offenses. [4][push h="20"] During the three years of law school, all law students are daunted by the fear of being ineligible to practice law or not passing the bar exam. Every state has requirements to qualify as fit to practice law before a candidate can sit for his or her state’s bar. Each also has a policy on prior criminal conduct, especially those pertaining to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges and convictions.[push h="20"] Specifically in Georgia, a candidate must file two different applications to sit for the bar exam. The first application, the Application for Certification of Fitness to Practice Law, must be completed and submitted separately from the bar exam application.[5] Upon being deemed fit to practice law in Georgia, the candidate must then submit a bar examination application to take the exam. [6][push h="20"] In respect to DUI arrests and convictions, Georgia has a very specific policy, requiring “[a]ny applicant who received a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction or the equivalent in any jurisdiction [to be] ineligible for Certification of Fitness to Practice Law for a period of twelve months from the date of conviction, as if the applicant had been sentenced under the mandatory twelve-month sentence required by the Georgia DUI statute (Ga. Code Ann. Section § 40-6-391), whether or not the sentence was probated. The Board will adhere to the court’s original sentence in calculating the eligibility date for Certification of Fitness to Practice Law, regardless of any earlier termination or completion of probation.”[7][push h="20"] However, for those individuals charged with a DUI, but their charge is eventually reduced, regardless of the probation, they are “ineligible for fitness certification for the period extending from the date of conviction to the completion of the sentence, including any probation, or for a period of twelve months from the conviction, whichever is longer.”[8][push h="20"] On average, the Georgia Bar Association reviews 1,800 to 2,000 fitness applications per year. Of these applicants, 10% reveal fitness issues or are subsequently discovered through investigation.[9] However, since the establishment of the Georgia Bar Board, over 46,000 applications have come before the Board, and 97% of those have led to certification of fitness to practice law in Georgia.[10][push h="20"] Ultimately, anyone with a past criminal history has a duty to disclose that information to the...

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="60px"][vc_column_text] Halloween – Do Not Drink & Drive [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="801" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space height="60px"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Frightening costumes and terrifying haunted houses are not the only things that are scary when it comes to Halloween; drunk driving can also lead to a horrific evening.  Nationally, Halloween is a deadly night due to the high number of drunk drivers.  This is especially concerning when children prepare for a fun night of walking across streets trick-or-treating in usually dark clothing with masks that obstruct their vision.  Add drunk driving to the already established statistic that twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than any other day of the year, and that creates a horrifying night.[1] While Halloween may be intended for kids to delight in their sugary treats, adults also take part in the Halloween fun in the form of alcohol.  On Halloween night in 2016, 47 people died and nearly a third were due to drunk drivers – three times the fatalities of an average day.[2]  According to the United States Department of Transportation, these scary statistics occurred nationally on Halloween: From 2013-2017 (between 6 p.m. October 31, to 5:59 a.m. November 1), there were 158 people killed in drunk-driving crashes; and 42% of those accidents involved at least one drunk driver.[3] Georgia State Patrol and local police routinely set up sobriety checkpoints during times of the year when an increase in drunk driving is expected – Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.  A DUI will impact your life, even if you do not injure a child or pedestrian. This Halloween do not drink and drive; plan a safe way home before you begin drinking.  In Georgia, a driver can still be charged with DUI even if he is not above the legal limit of .08.  If you have children that will be trick-or-treating, add reflective tape or bright colors to their costume as a safety feature.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_column_text] NEED LEGAL ADVICE? If you believe that you are eligible for first offender treatment, or if you have any questions regarding first offender, the seasoned team at Arora & LaScala have the experience and skills to advise you on this and all other serious legal matters. Contact us so we can help.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_column_text] Citation [1] https://www.safekids.org/be-safe-be-seen-halloween.  [2] https://www.transportation.gov/transportation-tuesday/teaming-help-trick-or-treaters. [3] https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drunk-driving/buzzed-driving-drunk-driving/halloween. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="30px"][vc_column_text] Our Recent Blogs [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height="30px"][blog_slider info_position="info_in_bottom_always" blogs_shown="3" show_categories="no" show_date="no" show_comments="no" enable_navigation="enable_navigation"][/vc_column][/vc_row]...