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Online genetics testing may become evidence against you

This holiday, you may receive a unique gift if someone gives you a genetic testing kit from one of the companies offering this service. This kit may contain a small vial into which you put your saliva and send it off for analysis. After a while, you receive your results that may tell you everything from what percentage Native American blood you have to your risk of breast cancer. You can go one step further and upload your results to GEDmatch to find other people who share your DNA.

The problem is that while GEDmatch offers this free service, it also encourages law enforcement to send DNA samples they find at crime scenes so GEDmatch can connect the samples with people who share similar DNA. You may be among the many who fear this violates your civil rights.

Could prosecutors use your curiosity against you?

Surely, you have seen the commercials indicating that you could send in a DNA sample and find out about your family's lineage. Your curiosity may get the best of you. After all, most people want to know where they came from, especially since most Americans have a mixture of different ancestry.

What began as an exploration into your heritage could become a ticking time bomb if you face criminal charges. Prosecutors have begun using this information to link people to crime scenes. The state of California already credits the capture of rape and murder suspects to using this genealogy information.

What are the elements of robbery under California law?

When facing a criminal charge, it is in your best interests to understand the crime of which authorities have accused you. Even if you have a vague idea of what an allegation means, your case could hinge on a small detail of your arrest or the law. Therefore, taking the time to learn more about your predicament could make a difference in the outcome of your case.

When it comes to robbery charges, you may need to understand what actions constitute robbery, what punishment you could face if a conviction occurs and what elements could possibly lead to aggravated charges. Additionally, each state has differing laws on robbery, and you need to know how California laws may impact you.

Are you facing an investigation for payroll fraud?

Most people find themselves in need of extra money now and then. You may have taken the time to research ways in which you could help yourself and your family with your current financial situation. Of course, you only considered legitimate ways to achieve your goal of gaining additional income.

Unfortunately, someone may have learned of your additional income and accused you of committing a crime. You may not know how this situation came about, but still, you have found yourself under investigation for payroll fraud. You may not even fully understand this type of white collar crime, and even if formal charges have not yet been brought against you, it may work in your best interests to learn more about your situation.

Does the Constitution really give you the right to a lawyer?

When watching movies or television crime shows, you usually hear the police officer tell a suspect in handcuffs that he or she has certain rights. One of those rights is to an attorney. The government doesn't make this offer out of a generous spirit.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to have an attorney when it comes to criminal proceedings. Of course, nothing is quite that simple when it comes to the law.

Different types of white collar crimes

When facing criminal charges, one of the most important first steps you can take is to understand the allegations brought against you. You may have found yourself accused of a crime that falls into a larger category, but understanding the specific charge could make a difference in how you approach your defense.

For instance, authorities may have accused you of a white collar crime. However, this umbrella term can encompass several types of criminal activity. Therefore, it would likely be in your best interests to understand the different types of charges.

What is the Miranda warning?

While watching your favorite crime drama, you may have heard police officers read alleged criminals their Miranda rights. These are, in short, that they have the right to remain silent, that one can use anything they say against them in court, and that they have the right to legal counsel of their choosing. The point of this is to help people from incriminating themselves.

In California and elsewhere, it is not a requirement that police officers read alleged criminals their Miranda rights in every situation. In fact, there are many times that a person of interest in a criminal case has to invoke the Miranda warning on his or her own.

Prescription drug dangers include possible legal problems

Living in California today is undoubtedly much different than it might have been for the average person in the late 1800s. Times have changed. Such change has often included advancements in medical science, technology and other areas, which have brought increased levels of convenience, communication and life expectancy to the masses. For instance, you would likely have died from various infections or diseases long ago, which you have a good chance of surviving nowadays because of available treatments.

Many medical treatments include prescription drugs. Just as there are negative consequences to other types of man-made progress, such as air pollution related to motor vehicles, there are potential downsides to using prescription drugs as well. Because such drugs are often strong-acting and made with powerful chemicals, they may pose addiction problems for those prone to such conditions. Many California residents have also faced serious legal issues associated with prescription drugs. If you encounter problems, you'll want to know where to turn for support.

What happens if I am falsely accused of domestic violence?

Few accusations can devastate a life like a charge of domestic violence. Perhaps this is why some people make such claims when they want to inflict as much suffering as possible on a spouse or domestic partner. Domestic violence laws in each state are different, but generally, the charges involve using intentional force against someone with whom you have or had an intimate relationship, such as a spouse, live-in partner or the parent of your child.

When tempers flare and emotions are raw, your partner may feel that leveling the serious allegation of domestic violence against you will help him or her gain the advantage. A conviction for domestic violence can have far-reaching effects, and obtaining a legal advocate at the earliest moment following an accusation is a wise move.

Issues that may lead to identity theft charges in California

If you're facing identity theft charges in a California court, chances are, a series of events led to your arrest. The law typically categorizes this type of offense as a white-collar crime. If you learn that you are the subject of an official investigation, it doesn't necessarily mean you will face charges, or if you do, that the court will hand down a conviction.  

In any event, it's always in your best interest to understand exactly what prosecutors are accusing you of if you wind up facing arrest on suspicion of stolen identity. Do you know your rights? Do you know how to access support to help you try to avoid conviction? The answers to these questions may greatly impact the ultimate outcome of your situation.  

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