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Nicholas Dwight Thornton
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Nicholas Thornton’s Answers

296 total


  • Do I show up to court with my lawyer?

    I was caught shoplifting for the first time a few days ago and I have nothing on my record. I hired a lawyer. He said I don't need to show up to court unless it goes to trial and that's unlikely. He just goes in my place. Is this normal?

    Nicholas’s Answer

    For misdemeanor crimes and certain felony appearances, a lawyer can go to court in a defendant's place so long as the defendant waives his right to be present in writing. The applicable rule is North Dakota Rule of Criminal Procedure 43. This is totally normal. You can attend court if you want but it isn't required if you signed the waiver.

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  • How long does a minor in possession stay on my record if I'm 20 years old when I got it in North Dakota?

    Security guard at a concert saw me take a drink out of a friend's water bottle that had alcohol in it. So I had to see law enforcement at the concert. I received a minor in possession. Want to know how long it will stay on my record.

    Nicholas’s Answer

    If you don't receive a deferred imposition of sentence, forever. If you get a deferred, it will be on your publicly available permanent record forever.

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  • Is it possible to get my license automatically suspended after being arrested for a DUI?

    I was pulled over and arrested for a DUI. The police officer informed me of the court date and was never informed that my license would automatically be suspended. Probably weeks after, I was pulled over for since my tabs were expired and I just ...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Yes. When you were arrested for DUI (assuming they gave you a breath test as opposed to a blood test--for blood tests, you get notice when they get the blood test results back), you would have been given a form titled "Report and Notice." That form is the official notice from the DOT that they intended to suspend your license. If you do not request an administrative hearing within 10 days, your license is automatically suspended or revoked. Now with an alcohol-related DUS, there is a 4-day minimum mandatory jail penalty. You should hire an experienced defense lawyer to talk over your options. Good luck.

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  • Can my father regain his gun rights after 10 years of his conviction for a felony in ND?

    My father committed a violent crime almost 20 years ago, has served his time, paid his fines, and done everything by the book required of a felon in the state of North Dakota. I read in my Concealed Carry Permit book that in ND, a felon can regai...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    It depends on your father's criminal history, but as a general matter, yes, it's true. The statute is North Dakota Century Code sections 62.1-02-01 and 62.1-02-01.1. I wrote a blog article on this a while ago: http://www.fremstadlaw.com/amendment-possess-firearms-ammunition/ Please understand that these sections are likely to be amended in the 2017 Legislative session due to some perceived "holes" in the law that allow violent felons to regain their rights automatically 10 years after release from probation or parole. Your father should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss his specific situation as soon as possible.

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  • The gun was my fault,I didnt know it couldn't be in the home. But thats not his fault. How do I get charges off him.

    My daughter had paraphernalia at school. I went an spoke with the detective. I let them search everything,vehicles an both homes, we where in the middle of moving. Without me knowing they pucjed my bf up from work an took him while they searched h...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    First, it isn't a good idea to post facts of a case out there on the Internet. Second, he needs a good criminal defense lawyer quickly. Firearms possession charges can be brought in State or Federal court, and are felony level offenses. This is a big deal; people can and do go to jail for this. The lawyer he hires can suggest appropriate ways to defend the case. Try the "find a lawyer" feature on AVVO. Good luck.

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  • Will North Dakota pay to have him extradited back from Roanoke? What can we do to prevent that from happening?

    My boyfriend was picked up in Roanoke, VA on a felony, arrest w/o warrant for a parole violation/escape from North Dakota. He is in jail in Roanoke now. He was 3 days short of being placed on probation when he left, and was charged with 2 counts o...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Most likely yes. They will extradite him. There really isn't anything that can be done to stop it if he's they guy they're looking for and the states prepare the paperwork correctly. He will need to come back to North Dakota and face the music, and he won't be getting the misdemeanor-by-disposition outcome you referenced.

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  • Is it plausible to expunge/seal my misdemeanor in domestic violence?

    Will I be able to expunge my misdemeanor in domestic violence? I was convicted in Williston North Dakota in 2011.

    Nicholas’s Answer

    Unfortunately, expungement is not possible under current North Dakota law. Sealing the conviction depends on what type of outcome you received. If you received an order deferring imposition of sentence and successfully completed any jail or probation imposed as a result, the file is sealed from public disclosure 61 days after the completion of probation. If you were acquitted or the charge was dismissed; you can move the court to restrict electronic public access to the file. I wrote a blog post explaining the options in North Dakota a while ago. It's available at http://www.fremstadlaw.com/restricting-access-criminal-history-information/

    Good luck. NDT

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  • I failed to pay a my fines off and my probation got revoked. Have had a warrant for 5 years and just paid my fine. What next???

    So I was on felony probation with a chance of it being a misdemeanor after I completed my 2 years of probation. I got charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana. I completed everything except for paying my fines which my probation of...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    I think you might have a misunderstanding about your sentencing outcome. For most felony level offenses, the conviction can be "deemed a misdemeanor" after the completion of probation if the pronounced sentence is one year or less. We call this a "misdemeanor-by-disposition" outcome under N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-02(9). It sounds like you thought that is what you had going on. Unfortunately, there are three exceptions to that misdemeanor-by-disposition statute. If a person is convicted of possession with intent, delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, it will ALWAYS be a felony conviction. Even if the misdemeanor-by-disposition statute applied (and it doesn't sound like it does from what you put here), the probation revocation would result in the offense remaining a felony on your record forever.

    If you still have an outstanding warrant, you should find a good criminal defense lawyer and then turn yourself in. Otherwise, the warrant will always be hanging over your head. They always seem to find a person in the least convenient time. By turning yourself in, you control when it happens. Good luck.

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  • How do we get his outstanding warrant dropped, and as quickly as possible?

    A loved one of mine is currently incarcerated on a federal, 10 year sentence. He has a previous outstanding DUI warrant in another state that is effecting his points (placing him in a Medium 2 facility instead of a Low or a Camp) and needs to get ...

    Nicholas’s Answer

    The public defender may or may not be licensed in the other state in which your loved one picked up the warrant. If the attorney is not licensed there, it would be unethical and possibly illegal for him to make the call. Next, even if the attorney was licensed there, many public defense contracts specifically limit the attorney to representing the defendant within the scope of the matter assigned to the attorney. That means while the public defender may be your loved one's "lawyer," he or she may not be your loved one's "lawyer" on all matters. For example, if I represent a person on a federal drug case, that does not obligate me to draft the defendant's will or help him with his divorce, right?

    As for the ability to appeal, the time to appeal expires very quickly. You have 30 days to file the notice of appeal. If it is beyond 30 days from the date of sentencing, there is zero chance for successfully filing an appeal. The defendant may be able to move the Court to withdraw his guilty plea, although the standard for doing so at this stage would be that the plea withdrawal would need to be "necessary to correct a manifest injustice," which is an extremely difficult burden to meet. Alternatively, your loved one may seek post-conviction relief, although those types of proceedings are just as difficult to be successful on.

    Long story short, there is a minimal chance of success to undo a plea agreement after it has been entered and accepted by a judge. Nevertheless, if your loved one feels strongly about it and has the financial wherewithal to hire an attorney, he has some potential, although extremely unlikely, avenues for relief.

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