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 Federal Charges Against Trump for Election Interference
Learn what charges the former president faces in the election interference case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith relating to the January 6th investigation.
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.
Criminal Courtroom Layout
Just about everything that happens in a courtroom can seem confusing to someone who hasn’t experienced the justice system firsthand. Even the courtroom itself can be confounding.
Resentencing Under California's Proposition 47
Prop 47 downgraded many theft and drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. With some exceptions, people with prior convictions for these crimes, no matter how old, are entitled to ask for resentencing as a misdemeanant.
Can Polygraph Test Results Be Used in Criminal Cases?
Learn how polygraph (lie detector) tests work and whether their results are accurate.
Why Judges and Prosecutors Engage in Plea Bargaining
Moving cases along and locking up the truly bad actors are just two reasons why plea bargaining remains an important part of the criminal justice system.
Understanding the Georgia RICO Case Against Trump
Breaking down the Georgia indictment and criminal case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants.
Sentencing Alternatives: Probation, Fines, and Community Service
Convictions don't always lead to jail time. What sentencing alternatives are out there? And who's eligible for them?
Understanding the Federal Charges Against Trump for Mishandling Classified Documents
Learn what federal charges the former president faces in the United States of America v. Donald J. Trump.
First-Offender Programs
A "first offender" program is a way for some defendants to avoid the full effects of criminal prosecution. It's a type of diversion, often for those who have no previous criminal record.