Rebecca Pirius


Rebecca Pirius is a Legal Editor at Nolo specializing in criminal law. She has worked in the area of criminal law since 2003, most recently as a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). For 12 years, Rebecca was a legislative analyst and an attorney in the Minnesota House of Representatives, providing nonpartisan legal research and drafting services to the 134 members. Right out of law school, she clerked for a judge in Hennepin County (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Rebecca earned her J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota, where she graduated magna cum laude and served as a law review member. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar.

Nolo. In 2017, Rebecca began freelancing with Nolo and writing articles on criminal law, traffic laws, and impaired driving. She started full time at Nolo in 2019 as a Legal Editor covering criminal law. She writes primarily for and

Prior career. Working at the Minnesota Legislature and NCSL, Rebecca conducted extensive research and analysis of laws and legislation on criminal law, public safety, corrections, and courts. Her roles required her to break down complex legal concepts for a broad audience, including policymakers and constituents, and allowed her to work with both sides of the political aisle. At NCSL, her policy work took her around the country to work with local and state policymakers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, former offenders, young adult offenders, crime victims, and criminal justice experts. 

Legal writing and publications. At the Minnesota Legislature, Rebecca authored and co-authored several publications outlining and explaining Minnesota laws on traffic citations, public defenders, jury service, domestic abuse, and more. She continued her criminal law writing at NCSL, where she authored blogs and publications on criminal records, young adults in the justice system, and bail. Her publications included Put Up or Stay Put (State Legislatures Magazine), a legislative primer on Young Adults in the Justice System, and a policy brief on Barriers to Work for those with criminal records.

Articles By Rebecca Pirius

Conditions of Parole
Parole is an early release from prison that's conditioned on abiding by parole conditions. Not following the rules can land a parolee back behind bars.
Timely Arrest: How Long the Police Have to Arrest Someone
Police officers are generally free to determine when to arrest someone; they need freedom to investigate the crime and collect evidence.
Emergency Powers and Citizen Rights
Emergency powers exist so state and local governments can act quickly to protect their citizens. Restrictions on personal liberties must be reasonable and necessary and made in good faith for the preservation of public health, safety, or order.
Warrant Execution and Unreasonable Police Behavior
When the police knock on your door, you typically don’t have to let them in unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge.
What Happens at a First Appearance in Florida?
In Florida, if the authorities arrest and hold a suspect in custody, they must bring them to court within 24 hours of the arrest for a first appearance.
Section 1983 Lawsuit: Suing Police for Civil Rights Violations
Section 1983 refers to a federal statute that allows people to sue for certain kinds of civil rights violations, including excessive police force.
Miranda Rights: What Happens If the Police Don't Read You Your Rights
Many people believe that if they are arrested and not "read their rights," they can escape punishment. Not true. But if the police fail to read a suspect their rights, the prosecutor can't use anything the suspect says as evidence against the suspect at trial.
Can You Go to Jail for an Abortion or a Miscarriage?
Learn what criminal charges prosecutors have brought against women for acts resulting in the termination of their pregnancies. Will criminal charges be more common now that Roe v. Wade has fallen?
Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act Becomes Federal Law
Along with public recognition of America’s past and present lynching crimes, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act gives federal prosecutors and judges another tool to fight hate crimes.
Underage Drinking and Minor-in-Possession Laws
Underage-drinking laws and other criminal statutes punish minors who are illegally in possession of alcohol.