Rebecca Pirius


Rebecca Pirius is a Legal Editor at Nolo with a focus on 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 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. 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. 

Articles By Rebecca Pirius

Understanding the Criminal Case Against Former President Donald Trump
Learn how Trump's case will go through the criminal process from indictment to trial.
Can the Defense Interview a Prosecution Witness?
If done properly, trying to interview prosecution witnesses can be an effective investigation technique for the defense.
How Do Prosecutors Decide Which Cases to Charge?
Police officers arrest suspects, but prosecutors decide whether to file formal charges against suspects. Learn how charges are filed and what factors prosecutors may consider in deciding on particular charges.
Testifying Before a Grand Jury
Refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena can land you in jail. Learn what rights and privileges grand jury witnesses have, including 5th Amendment rights.
Can I Vote If I Have a Felony Conviction?
Don’t assume that having a felony conviction means you’ve lost your right to vote forever. Learn more about the various state laws and find resources on restoring your right to vote.
State vs. Federal Jurisdiction in Criminal Cases
Learn what determines whether a state or the federal government prosecutes a criminal case.
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.
Is Incest a Crime?
Most countries, including the United States, make incest a crime. Learn how the laws define incest and the penalties for a conviction.
Sealing Juvenile Court Records
Former juvenile offenders may be able to get a fresh start of sorts by filing a petition in court seeking expungement or sealing of their juvenile records.
Is Violating an Executive Order a Crime?
Executive orders are the law of the land, just like statutes. Violating them can result in civil or criminal penalties.