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Nicholas Dwight Thornton
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Nicholas Thornton’s Answers

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  • What are my legal options? Many different circumstances involved in case.

    I'm currently charged with criminal mischief (class b felony). My ex girlfriend and I were arguing and out of anger I put her clothes in the shower turned on the water and left. The police report said the water ran for numerous hours flooding 3 o...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    First, as others have commented, it is really not a good idea to post any facts like this publicly, because it can be used against you as an admission of the facts constituting the criminal offense. Second, there are all kinds of reasons why there was a 3-month delay. The statute of limitations is 3 years on most felonies in North Dakota, so that really is not an issue whatsoever. Third, you are facing a serious charge. You need to find a good lawyer, and you need to do so very quickly.

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  • How can I get my record expunged? Why do I have to pay Walmart $250?

    I was arrested last August 2015 for attempting to steal a box of hair dye from Walmart. I payed $300 bail, then $250 at my court appearance and then an additional $100 for the class. Now I got a letter in the mail saying I must pay $250 within 30 ...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Unfortunately, "expungement" of a conviction is not really an option in North Dakota. There are ways to restrict or limit public access to a record, but they are not the same thing as an expungement. I wrote a blog posting on this issue a while ago. It is still available at http://www.fremstadlaw.com/restricting-access-criminal-history-information/

    As for the $250.00, I assume that is a law firm contacting you on Wal-Mart's request to collect the civil penalty imposed in North Dakota's Retail Theft Act. The civil penalties provision is as follows:

    N.D.C.C. 51-21-05. Civil remedy against adult shoplifters or the parent of a minor shoplifter.

    1. An adult who commits the offense of theft from a merchant is civilly liable to the
    merchant for the retail value of the merchandise, plus exemplary damages of not more
    than two hundred fifty dollars, costs of the civil action, and reasonable attorney's fees.
    . . . .
    3. A conviction or plea of guilty for the theft is not a prerequisite to the bringing of a civil
    action under this section. However, if a criminal theft charge is filed against the
    individual, the merchant may not pursue civil damages until completion of the criminal
    action.
    . . . .

    In other words, Wal-Mart is telling you to pay them "exemplary damages." If you do not pay, they can sue you for the $250, the costs of the civil action ($80.00), and "reasonable attorney's fees," which may be another $1,000.00-$2,000.00.

    Good luck.

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  • How long is the possible amount of jail time and will a speedy trial affect any thing

    My name is Madison my mother was put in ward county jail January 4th 2016 for multiple drug charges and dus charges I am needing advice for her to spend the littlest amount possible in the jail thank you

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Hire a good lawyer and let them do what they do.

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  • If i miss my court date am i still able to obtain a lawyer?

    Im a 1st offender i need Answers now

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Yes. You have three options: (1) represent yourself; (2) hire a lawyer; or (3) if you financially qualify and the offense is one for which jail may be imposed, you can apply for a public defender. In North Dakota, the application form is available at http://www.nd.gov/indigents/docs/applicationCriminal.pdf . Good luck.

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  • How long would I be sentanced to jail for my termination/probation revaction, if i were to request termination?

    Im currently in Drug court, but prior to being approved to be in drug court, the State atternoy for North Dakota, Cass county, wanted me to Do 2 years straight time, and $1,000 fine, My charges are A-class Felony possestion of meth with intent to ...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    North Dakota does not give a person the option to simply "execute" their sentence like some other states do. Here, your probation must be "revoked" for the sentence to change. A revocation sentence in Cass County depends on the nature and severity of your charges, the amount of credit for time spent in custody you have accumulated, the reasons your probation is being revoked, your prior criminal history, and what your probation officer and the prosecutor in court recommend, along with the recommendations and arguments of your lawyer. If they were at 2 years straight originally, I suspect that was to get you through a treatment program like Tompkins. That may or may not be an option now for the DOCR if you were revoked, depending on how long your sentence was. I would expect them to recommend anywhere from six months at the local county jail on the low end to 3-4 years straight on the high end. That doesn't mean you'd actually sit that long before being paroled but you'd likely serve some real time. Good luck.

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  • I violated my probation with new charges, what's going to happen to me?

    I was charged with possession and ingesting marijuana last year and placed on one year deferred sentencing on 03/2015, as of 11/01/2015 I violated those terms and got charged with possession of MJ and drug paraphernalia. what are my consequences?...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    With respect to your previous case, the State may seek to revoke your deferred imposition. The Court can re-sentence you on that case up to the maximum sentence that could have been imposed before (simple possession of pot is a B misdemeanor with up to a 30 day sentence, and ingestion is a class A misdemeanor--the maximum penalty is 1 year in jail), although usually that doesn't happen. Usually, the Court will revoke the deferred so it becomes a permanent conviction on your record and will run any revocation punishment concurrent with whatever happens on the new case. On the new case, the recommendation is likely to be a suspended sentence (permanent conviction), minimal jail, if any, another year of unsupervised probation, and some court costs/fees totaling around $300.00.

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  • Arrested at walmart for trustpassing. They did it because her family has stolen. can she sue walmart.

    walmart claimed the person signed a no trustpass paper but her name was forged and it looked like the walmart employee forged her name. she was thown in jail and had to pay 500 bail to get out. She went to court and was found innocent. her 2...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Generally, a business or a person can exclude others from coming onto their property at any time for almost any reason. Here, regardless of the court outcome, she can be trespassed from the premises. There isn't a way to sue them for that.

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  • Can I and how do I go about, expungement or reduction of a charge for a felony conviction in North Dakota?

    Charged with 2 counts of burglary in Cass county, Fargo, ND 6/1998. Sentence was 18 months of probation and restitution. A motion to terminate probation and order happened on 5/1999 (so spent 11 months on probation). I have completely turned my li...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Unfortunately, there is no expungement statute in North Dakota. There are generally three ways to avoid a permanent felony conviction in North Dakota: (1) convince the prosecutor to amend the charge to a misdemeanor; (2) obtain an order deferring imposition of sentence or, since 2009, a deferred prosecution agreement; or (3) obtain a misdemeanor by disposition outcome. In your situation, there wasn't an amendment to a misdemeanor. If you would have received a deferred imposition, it would have come off of your publicly available permanent record 61 days after the probation ended, so that isn't likely. Finally, you may have received a misdemeanor by disposition, which means for most but not all purposes, the conviction is "deemed a misdemeanor" under North Dakota law. For that to work the pronounced sentence must be a year or less. "Pronounced sentence" does not mean the length of time you were on probation. Check your judgment. In Cass County, the judgments usually follow the same format: (a) a pronounced sentence; (b) the portion of the pronounced sentence a person must serve, and (c) the probationary term of a sentence. By way of example, the judgment might read: 1 year in the custody of the Department of Corrections, first to serve 5 days at the Cass County Jail, the balance suspended for a period of 18 months; 18 months probation supervised by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, pursuant to the conditions set forth in the Appendix A." If that first number is 1 year or less, the sentence becomes a misdemeanor at the end of the jail plus probation under N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-02(9).

    I hope that helps explain the situation, even though it doesn't provide you with the answer you were looking for. Best of luck in the job search.

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  • Does a conviction in the state of Arizona in 1995 for domestic disturbance disqualify me from buying a gun in north Dakota now?

    My wife and I were arguing in Yuma az in 1995 we were both arrested, spent one night in jail, plead guilty and released time served. No fine. can't find it on any background check I've done on myself.

    Nicholas’s Answer

    A misdemeanor crime of domestic violence conviction prohibits you from ever possessing or owning a firearm under federal law.

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  • In 1997 I plead guilty to a violation of a protective order. I was awarded 25 hours of community service which I completed.

    My question is can I now own a firearm?

    Nicholas’s Answer

    It depends. Under North Dakota law, a person loses his or her firearms rights for 10 years following completion of any sentence or probation on a violent felony and 5 years following completion of any sentence or probation on a non-violent felony. A person also loses their right to possess firearms for 5 years following completion of a sentence or probation for a violent or threatening misdemeanor offense. Under federal law, however, a person may lose their right to possess a firearm forever if they were convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. So, the question becomes not whether you are prohibited as a result of the protection order conviction, but rather whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. You should talk about this with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you make any decisions about owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition. Good luck.

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