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

Arizona Felony and Misdemeanor Theft
In Arizona, theft and shoplifting can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction, including imprisonment, steep fines, and restitution. Shoplifters might also have to pay damages and civil penalties to a store owner.
Can You Transport "Legal" Marijuana Across State Lines?
Learn how traveling with marijuana from one legal state to the next is not as simple as it sounds and can violate federal and state laws.
Felony Assault & Battery: Laws and Penalties
Assault and battery become felony-level offenses when the risk of harm, the attempted harm, or the actual harm increases or when other aggravating circumstances exist.
Juvenile Theft and Burglary Laws
All states criminalize theft and burglary, and a juvenile who commits these offenses can face charges similar to those an adult would face. The more serious the offense is, the more serious the penalties can be for the minor.
Fraud: Laws and Penalties
Fraud involves using a lie, deception, falsehood, or dishonesty in an attempt to gain a benefit. The states and the federal governments have identified many types of fraud as criminal.
Can You Trespass on Your Own Property?
The crime of trespassing is committed by going onto property, usually property that belongs to someone else, without permission. But can people ever be charged and convicted of a crime for going onto their own property without permission?
Can I Grow Marijuana for My Own Personal Use in Washington?
Washington state permits certain recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and older. However, growing cannabis for personal use is not allowed except for qualifying medical marijuana patients.
Criminal Threats: Laws and Penalties
Making criminal threats comes with serious consequences, even if you didn't plan to carry out the threat.
Assault or Battery Against a Police Officer
Many states impose harsh felony penalties for assault or battery against a police officer. Learn what prosecutors must prove to get a conviction and possible defenses.
Statutory Rape Laws and Charges
Statutory rape offenses are strict liability offenses that can result in a felony conviction and prison time, even if a defendant genuinely didn't know the partner was younger than the age of consent. Learn how statutory rape laws work.