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

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 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.
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.
Understanding the Georgia RICO Case Against Trump
Breaking down the Georgia indictment and criminal case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants.
Virtual Criminal Court Appearances During and After COVID-19
Reality and justice changed quickly in 2020. Will virtual justice remain the new normal?
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.
Understanding the New York Criminal Case Against Former President Trump
Learn how the hush money case against Trump in New York will go through the criminal process from indictment to trial.
Laws Banning Gun Possession After a Criminal Conviction
Can you possess a gun after a criminal conviction? Learn about federal and state laws that ban firearm possession after a conviction.
The Right to Carry a Gun in Public
The Supreme Court says the Second Amendment allows the average citizen to carry a handgun in public for self-protection. Though states can limit concealed-carry permits to people who meet certain criteria, they can’t limit permits to people who have a special reason for carrying a handgun in public.
Access to Police Disciplinary Records for Criminal Defendants
State laws vary on whether police misconduct or disciplinary records are confidential, restricted, or public. Even when public, finding complaints against officers can be a difficult task.