Alexis Kelly writes on the topic of criminal law for Nolo. She received her B.A. from New York University and her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Law Practice. Alexis began her legal career as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County, California. After moving to Los Angeles with her family, she worked on a research and policy project for the American Bar Association’s National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction. She later worked as a staff attorney for the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, a nonprofit providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence.
Writing for Nolo. Alexis began writing for Nolo in 2013 and enjoys explaining legal topics for the everyday reader. She took a pause in her writing for several years due to full-time work and an international move to Amsterdam. She happily rejoined the Nolo freelance writing team in 2019.
Articles By Alexis Kelly
Grand juries decide whether enough evidence exists to indict or charge someone with a crime.
An indictment is a formal accusation of a crime decided upon and issued by a grand jury. It signals the beginning of a criminal case.
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution grants defendants the right to have a lawyer when facing criminal charges that could result in imprisonment.
When the police detain someone, they must give “Miranda warnings” before questioning begins to inform the person of the right to remain silent and right to have an attorney present.
Infractions are petty offenses that carry the possibility of a fine but no jail time.
Misdemeanor crimes include simple assault, petty theft, disorderly conduct, and first-time impaired driving. A conviction can result in jail time, payment of fines and restitution, or probation.
Felony crimes carry the possibility of a prison sentence ranging from a year to life in prison and up to the death penalty.
Bail is money, property, or a bond paid to the court in exchange for a person’s pretrial release from jail.
Expungement laws offer people a way to seal, erase, or limit public access to certain criminal records—from arrest and charging records to conviction and pardon records.