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

Open and Concealed Gun Carry Laws in Tennessee
Tennessee expanded its open and concealed carry laws to include permitless carry in certain limited circumstances. These laws create limited exceptions only and don't change who or where one is restricted from carrying guns.
South Dakota Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences
In South Dakota, a misdemeanor can mean up to a year in jail. Judges can also order sentencing alternatives, such as suspended sentences, probation, and community service.
South Dakota Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
Learn how felony sentencing, probation, and parole work in South Dakota.
Indiana Sexting Laws for Teens and Minors
Sexting images of or to minors constitutes a felony in Indiana. Indiana law provides a defense for consensual sexting between minors or a young adult and minor but only under certain circumstances.
Criminal Consequences of Spanking Your Children
Currently, parents in all states have a limited right to spank their children. Whether by statute or by legal opinion, states permit parents to use physical discipline against their children as long as it is done in moderation and does not cause injury.
Unlawful Activities and Trespass at the U.S. Capitol
Trespassing in restricted areas, impeding the duties of the Capitol Police, and obstructing Congressional business all carry federal consequences.
What Does It Mean to Be Acquitted?
An acquittal means the prosecutor didn't convince the jury or judge of the defendant's guilt. Prosecutors don't usually get a do-over.
Felony Theft and Larceny Laws
Learn how states define and penalize felony theft and felony larceny.
Types of Robbery Charges: Varying Felony Classes
Robbery is stealing something of value from another person using force or violence or the threat of force or violence. The typical scenarios that come to mind are bank robberies or carjackings, but even a purse snatching can result in serious robbery charges.
Cyberbullying and Online Harassment in Massachusetts
Cyberbullying and online harassment are not only harmful but can also cross the line to criminal conduct.