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Top 3 Crime-Related Legal Questions From FindLaw Answers: Feb. 2015

You've got questions... we've got answers. If you have not yet asked or answered a question in FindLaw's Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of legal consumers and attorneys helping each other out. Simple as that.

We see a lot of great questions in our Answers community every day. Here's a look at the Top 3 recent questions from our criminal law boards:

1. Should I take or refuse a sobriety test if I'm pulled over for a suspected DUI?

DUI-related questions are among the most frequently asked on our message boards. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this particular question. So much depends on the specific circumstances of your situation -- whether you've actually been drinking, how close you think you might be to the legal limit, etc.

Recreational pot is now legal in Washington, D.C., to a certain extent. Initiative 71 took effect at midnight, after some 70 percent of District residents voted to approve the measure last fall.

While some possession and private consumption of marijuana is now permitted in the capital, D.C.'s pot scene won't immediately resemble that of Colorado or Washington state.

Here's a look at where the District's statute stands now, and the possible hang-ups moving forward:

Eddie Ray Routh has been found guilty of murdering former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield. The jury sentenced Routh, a former U.S. Marine, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, concluding what had been dubbed the "American Sniper" trial after Kyle's autobiography and subsequent blockbuster movie of the same name.

Coinciding with the release of the Clint Eastwood-directed movie depicting Kyle's life and service as a sniper in Iraq, Routh's murder trial gained widespread media coverage. Other veterans, some biopic subjects themselves, have been vocal in their support for Kyle and in their outrage at his killer.

Although the verdict was read Tuesday night, the story isn't quite over yet. Here are five things to know about what the jury decided and where the case goes from here:

Last November, voters in Alaska took to the polls to legalize recreational pot. Ballot Measure 2 went into effect today, allowing some state residents and visitors to legally own certain amounts and types of marijuana.

Alaska's marijuana laws are still catching up to front runners like Colorado and Washington state, so how is recreational weed regulated in The Last Frontier? Let's take a look at a few of the particulars.

There are legal phrases we hear all the time, and "the right to a speedy trial" is one of those. But what does the right entail, and just how speedy is speedy enough?

Because each criminal case is unique, there is no one answer to this question. But here are some considerations when thinking about speedy trial issues:

The "Occupy" movement has spread to the streets and to the schools. And if you're planning on "occupying" somewhere, you should be aware of the possible legal consequences.

While it's unlikely that you'll be pepper-sprayed or shot with a projectile, here are a few potential outcomes protesters could face when occupying public (or private) spaces:

If you're one of the many, many drivers recently charged with a marijuana DUI, you may be wondering if there is any way to challenge it.

Maybe you thought cops were just looking for drunken drivers, and you could sneak by undetected by just smoking a little weed. Or maybe you were like Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell and didn't even know you could even get a "DUI for being high."

Either way, with the relaxing of state marijuana laws, coupled with more police awareness regarding the symptoms of stoned driving, drugged driving arrests are on the rise. So here are three challenges unique to the marijuana DUI scenario that may apply to your case:

Police have charged a New Jersey mom, a first-grade teacher, with endangering the welfare of a child after a 15-year-old attending a drinking party at her home had to be hospitalized.

Tracey Harding, 50, of South Brunswick, was allegedly aware of the boy's condition, but told the teen's mother he was sleeping when the mother called looking for her son, The Associated Press reports.

In some cases, it's parents acknowledging that their kids will drink anyway and trying to provide a safe environment and keep an eye on them. In other cases, it's parents trying to be cool and impress their kids. Even with the best intentions, moms and dads can get into legal hot water for allowing their kids to imbibe on their watch.

The video that follows, depicting a clear-cut head-butt in a Texas Walmart, has been making the social media rounds lately. So we decided to give it the legal blow-by-vicious-blow breakdown it so richly deserves. Please come along...

After the shooting deaths of three Muslim students in North Carolina, some are calling for hate crime charges. How are hate crimes defined in that state?

Craig Stephen Hicks is accused of shooting Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, each in the head, in a Chapel Hill condominium complex February 10. While relatives and some Muslim groups contend the killings were religiously motivated, prosecutors say it's too early to know whether religion played a role, The Wall Street Journal reports.

So what does North Carolina's hate crime statute actually say? And would the state's hate crime laws apply to Hicks's prosecution?