Hire A Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer & Protect Your Rights
Being arrested and charged with a crime is scary. What can be even more terrifying is the knowledge that being convicted of a crime can forever change your life. In fact, criminal charges can result in fines that cause you to go into debt, prison time that prevents you from being near your family or enjoying your life at home, and other long-lasting implications, such as the inability to get custody of your child, get hired for a job, or participate in certain activities and opportunities.
When you are charged with a crime and have questions about what happens next, the best thing that you can do to protect your rights and improve your chances of a brighter future is to call a skilled Charlotte, North Carolina criminal lawyer.
At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, our criminal lawyers have experience helping those who have been charged with violent assault, drug crimes, driving with a revoked license, and more. We are passionate about making sure that the rights of every person who is charged with a crime are protected during the judicial process.
Speak To A Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with assault or battery is a serious offense in North Carolina. In North Carolina, there are dozens of different kinds of assault charges with which you may be charged, including malicious castration, malicious maiming, felonious assault with a deadly weapon, domestic abuse, assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and more. The different types of assault can be found in Article 8 of North Carolina General Statutes, and are classified as either felony or misdemeanor assaults.
Just as there are multiple different types of assault under the state’s criminal code, an experienced violent assault lawyer knows there are different penalties for each crime. If you have been accused of a type of violent assault, such as assault inflicting serious bodily injury, and you are convicted on this charge, you will be guilty of a class F felony. In order to be convicted, the person who was assaulted must have suffered serious bodily injury, which the law defines as permanent disfigurement, coma, a permanent condition that results in extreme pain, the loss of use of a bodily organ, or another condition that creates a risk of death. Our violent assault lawyers will explain that a class F felony charge can carry a prison sentence of up to 41 months.
However, not all assaults are felony charges; misdemeanor assaults, batteries, and affrays, simple and aggravated, are also types of violent assault, but assault charges that carry less severe penalties. Our violent assault lawyers recognize these charges are much more common in North Carolina, and typically carry a penalty of a prison sentence of up to one year, although a community service sentence may be issued instead. If you do not have a previous criminal record, and your assault did not result in bodily injury to the victim, then this sentence may be reduced.
Because of the complexity of assault laws in the state of North Carolina, it is very important to have a violent assault lawyer on your side who can help you understand the specific type of assault that you have been charged with, prove your innocence if you did not commit assault, or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution to have your sentence reduced. In the event that you caused physical harm to another person (not just the fear of harm) or/and have a criminal record, having a violent assault lawyer on your side is even more important.
Types of Crimes in Charlotte, North Carolina That Are Punishable By Law
Each state establishes, regulates, and also executes its own criminal code, provided it is permissible under United States federal law. A criminal defense lawyer can help you with your case.
In North Carolina, crimes are typically categorized into misdemeanors and felonies:
- A misdemeanor is punishable by a year or less times spent in prison, or even no prison time
- A felony is a more serious crime that may be punishable by more than a year in prison.
There are some crimes that may be considered both misdemeanors and felonies depending on how severe the crime is and whether or not you have been found guilty of the same crime previously.
Examples of misdemeanors include:
- Reckless driving
- Petty theft
- Possession of small amounts of drugs
- Public intoxication
Examples of felonies include:
- Aggravated assault and battery
In Charlotte, North Carolina, there are four classes of misdemeanors with penalties that range from a single day to up to 5 months’ imprisonment. Furthermore, conspiracy to commit a crime is punishable in this state.
Capital Punishment in North Carolina
In this state, first degree murder is penalized with the death penalty. But, it is worth noting that an execution has not been carried out since 2006. Overall, executions are being indefinitely put on hold as issues of racial bias and lethal injections continue to be investigated and debated.
Can You Get Your Criminal Record Expunged?
If you have a conviction on your record, an attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, may be able to have certain convictions erased, or expunged, from your record. Typically, misdemeanors and a few particular felonies can be expunged under certain qualifying conditions, for example, if the convictions were made when the criminal was younger than 21 years of age. Those crimes that are considered to be violent as well as convictions where a criminal either pleaded or was guilty do not qualify for expunction. If you want to find out if your record can be expunged, criminal defense lawyers will be able to advise.
The Criminal Law Process in Charlotte
There are a number of stages involved in the criminal law process in this state. The stages can vary depending on the severity of the crime, but the typical process is outlined below.
- State or local law enforcement officials carry out an investigation of the crime.
- A judge might issue a search warrant allowing investigators to search for evidence in a particular location.
- Law enforcement officials will then interrogate witnesses and possible suspects.
- If the law enforcement officials find that they have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, they will arrest the suspect.
- Officials will then decide whether or not to file criminal charges against the person that is suspected of committing a crime.
- Charges will then be read out to the suspect in court during an arraignment where the suspect is asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
- The suspect, or defendant, may be released from custody or kept in jail while waiting for his or her trial.
- Prior to the trial, the defendant’s criminal defense attorney may try to negotiate a plea bargain for the defendant to plead guilty to lesser criminal charges in an attempt to lessen the degree of punishment.
- If no plea agreement is reached, the case must be resolved in a trial, where evidence will be presented and a judge or a jury will decide whether or not the defendant is guilty.
- Once all the presented evidence has been considered by the judge or jury, a verdict will be reached.
- If the defendant is found guilty, he or she can appeal the decision and request that a higher court in the state overturn the verdict due to mistakes made during the criminal justice process.
If you are found guilty of committing a crime in Charlotte, N.C., the punishment can vary depending on the severity of that crime, your intentions at the time of committing the crime, and any past criminal record you may already have. A criminal defense attorney will help you navigate this process.
Federal Criminal Defense in Charlotte, N.C.
When it comes to federal criminal law, prosecutors are usually able to choose the cases they wish to prosecute. Prosecutors do not want to try a case that they have a good chance of losing, which is why federal prosecutors often pick the cases they believe have the strongest evidence against the defendant.
Federal criminal charges include:
- Federal drug offenses, such as conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute drugs
- White collar crimes such as bank fraud, tax crimes, and money laundering
- Federal firearm charges, such as possession of a firearm during a drug crime
What Is Conditional Discharge and Deferred Prosecution?
In a criminal defense case in this state, a conditional discharge can occur when the defendant is found guilty or even pleads guilty to a crime, but is placed on probation without the court having set judgment in the case, and pending review when the probation period ends. Once the defendant has met the requirements of the conditional discharge, the charges are dismissed.
There are several categories of conditional discharge in the state:
- Conditional discharge statute 90-96: drug offenses
The defendant must meet the below criteria for a conditional discharge:
- He or she must not have been convicted of any felonies under state or federal laws;
- He or she must not have been convicted of any offense under the state’s Article 90-96;
- He or she must not have prior drug offenses or convictions.
The charges that are eligible for this kind of discharge include:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Misdemeanor offense of a controlled substance
- Felony simple possession of controlled substance
- Conditional discharge general statute 15A-1341
To be eligible a person must:
- Have committed eligible Class H or I felonies
- Have committed eligible misdemeanor offenses
- Be a joint motion of the prosecutor and defendant
The eligibility requirements under this statute include:
- The defendant must not have previously been placed on probation and states this under oath
- Each known victim of the crime has need informed of the motion for probation and has been afforded the opportunity to be heard
- The defendant is unlikely to commit another crime other than a Class 3 misdemeanor which is the least serious criminal offense
- The defendant has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. That is, acts against honesty, good morals, or community standards.
Deferred prosecution is a formal agreement by the state to dismiss charges against a defendant provided the defendant complete certain conditions. Unlike conditional discharge, though, the defendant is not convicted prior to the completion of probation, paying restitution, or community service.
Under deferred prosecution, the defendant’s rights to a trial are waived and it is considered an admission of guilt. If the defendant cannot meet the terms of the deferred prosecution, he or she can be convicted of the original crime.
To be eligible for deferred prosecution:
- The defendant must not have any prior convictions
- Only certain low-level misdemeanors and felonies are eligible
- There should be no likelihood of the defendant committing another crime
- All victims must be notified of the decision and given fair change to object
10 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Criminal Defense and Criminal Justice
Criminal defense law in N.C. can be complex, and misconceptions don’t make it any easier to determine the truth. Below, we uncover some of the most common myths.
- A criminal defense case can be dismissed if the involved law enforcement officials did not read you your rights.
This is false. Your rights, known as Miranda rights, are designed to inform you of rights that you have while in police custody, such as the right to a criminal defense attorney and, of course, the right to remain silent. Your case might only be dismissed if you were not informed of your rights and the Miranda rights applied, but only if, as a result of a wrongdoing, evidence is blocked and as a result of that, the state has insufficient evidence to continue prosecuting you.
- If a police official does not show for court, your case can be dismissed.
While this is generally false, it does depend on a few factors. In misdemeanor cases, for instance, the decision whether or not to continue the case rests solely with the judge. Often, the case will be continued a number of times to afford the officer more opportunities to make it to court. If he or she is not able to do so and informs the court with a reasonable excuse, the judge will usually continue the case. If the officer is unreachable and has not reported to anyone, the odds of the judge denying that the case continue are greater.
- Eyewitness testimony is not considered evidence.
This is false, too. Eyewitness testimony is considered evidence. In fact, it is considered one of the most prolific forms of evidence. If a person has witnessed a crime with their senses (such as seen or heard a crime being committed), they can report on what they experienced in a court of law. While there are times when witness testimony can be unintentionally incorrect, it remains a popular and viable form of evidence.
- The law is the law and it is the same from county to county and from one courtroom to the next.
While it is certainly true that all counties are governed by the same state and federal law, rules tend to change from one county to the next and even from one courtroom to the next. What’s more, each county and city can have its own municipal codes, rules, and ordinances. Each may even have their own collated rules that direct how their courts function within the judicial district.
Other than differences in the written letter of the law from one city and county to the next in North Carolina, the way in which different judges apply the law in criminal defense cases can also differ greatly from courtroom to courtroom. There are some judges who interpret the law differently to others and some laws even lend themselves to varying interpretations.
There are those judges who may not be willing to agree to plea bargains for certain kinds of criminal defense cases and others may be okay with plea bargains. This is just one of the reason why, if you are charged with a crime in Charlotte, an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney is your biggest asset.
- I cannot be convicted on the word of just one person.
Another false point. People can, and indeed do, get convicted on the word of a single person, and it happens often.
- If I confess to a crime, the police are not likely to charge me.
This is not true. There is little you can do to ensure you get charged with a crime. If you do confess, you’re likely handing the prosecution exactly what they need to prosecute you. While an officer could promise you that you are going to be better off if you do confess, he or she is not a prosecutor and does not possess the ability to negotiate on behalf of the state. If they offer ambiguous promises, there is little to backup what an officer told you for a confession. Of course, this is not to say that there are never instances when you should confess to a crime you have committed, but, there are no circumstances whatsoever when you should confess without the backing of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
- Forensic science is really science
This is almost false. According to the National Academy of Sciences, other than mitochondrial DNA testing, no other types of forensic science has yet been subjected to peer review or proven via accepted scientific methods.
- If I stayed in the car when my friends were committing a crime, I am completely innocent.
If you drive someone else to a location knowing that they are going to commit a crime, you are most likely going to be considered to be an accessory or acting in conjunction with them. Either way, the punishment will be the same. You might be found guilty of a crime just as if you also got out of the car and this falls under the theory of accomplice liability.
- If drugs were not found on you, you cannot be convicted of a crime
False. Possession of drugs can be constructive or active. Possession of drugs is considered active if drugs are found on you, and you are aware of the drugs, and you are either alone or with other people and have the power as well as the intent to either control the drug’s disposition or use. On the other hand, constructive possession is when you do not have possession of the drugs but you do still have the capability and intent to maintain control over it. You will only be found not guilty if the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had constructive or actual possession.
Some situations can result in finding constructive possession include:
- Your proximity with regards the drugs
- The police watched you drop something, that they found to be controlled substances
- The opportunity you may have had, or not, to dispose of or move the drugs
- Whether or not your occupied or owned the location where the drugs were found
- If you had any control of the item in which the substance was found
- Whether or not you were impaired or engaged in any illegal activity
- Whether you engaged in suspicious behavior or fled
- Whether or not your personal belongings were at the same location as the drugs
Overall, if the law enforcement officials are able to tie you to the drugs, you can be convicted of a crime.
- You are obligated to answer any questions that a police officer asks.
Again, this is untrue. You have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to an attorney. When you have an encounter with an officer, ask him or her if you are free to leave. If he or she replies that you are, you can politely decline their request for information and not answer any questions. If you are told that you are not free to walk away, politely ask for a criminal defense lawyer and remain silent. As soon as you can, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte, N.C.
Our Charlotte Family Law Attorneys at Remington & Dixon can help you with your legal issues. We serve North Carolina criminal defense cases. Contact us to help you with your case today.
Driving with a Revoked License
The law governing driving with a revoked license was recently amended in North Carolina. While the previous law classified the operation of a motor vehicle when the driver’s license has been revoked by the state as a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor, the new law reads that, “any person whose driver’s license has been revoked who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of the State while the license is revoked is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor,” per North Carolina General Statutes section 20-28. The law further reads that if the original revocation was as a result of the person’s impaired driving, then the crime of driving with a revoked license is upped to a class 1 misdemeanor. Most of the time, misdemeanor offenses do not result in prison time of the accused person; rather, a community service sentence is often given. However, if your license was revoked and you have a criminal record, then a conviction may include a sentence of prison time. The punishment limits for each class of misdemeanor can be found in section 15A-1340.23 of North Carolina General Statutes. Your vehicle may also be seized.
If you were driving with a revoked or a suspended license, it is important that you understand the full extent of consequences that you may face. It is also essential that you understand your right to legal representation. While you may face conviction of the crime of driving with a revoked license regardless, a criminal defense lawyer may be the difference between prison time and community service, community service or just a fine. The work of a criminal lawyer may also result in the charges against you being dropped entirely depending upon the specifics of your situation. For example, if a police officer stopped your vehicle without cause (i.e. there was no reason that the officer should have stopped your vehicle), then any evidence against you may be inadmissible to a court. A criminal lawyer can help you explore this and other defenses to driving with a revoked license charge.
When a person commits an act of theft, he or she may face charges for larceny in North Carolina. Being convicted of larceny can have serious consequences, and can impair an individual’s future. When charged with larceny in North Carolina, it is essential that you have a criminal defense lawyer on your side who can help you to understand the charges pending against you, and protect your interest during the criminal proceedings.
What Constitutes Larceny in North Carolina?
There is no specific definition for the crime of larceny in North Carolina criminal code. However, larceny is general referred to as the taking of another’s property without the permission of the property owner. Specific larceny offenses, per North Carolina Criminal Code Chapter 14, Section 16 include:
- Receiving stolen goods;
- Possessing stolen goods;
- Concealment of merchandise;
- Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle;
- Removal of a shopping cart from a store’s premise;
- Unauthorized taking or sale of labeled dairy milk;
- Larceny of motor fuel; and
- Larceny of motor vehicle parts.
The above list is not inclusive – larceny charges may be dealt for theft involving other items besides the ones mentioned above.
How Larceny Is Penalized
The way that larceny is penalized in North Carolina is dependent upon the specific act of larceny committed. For example, larceny of motor vehicle parts is classified as a class I felony if the cost of repairing the motor vehicle totals $1,000 or more. On the other hand, larceny of motor fuel is classified as a class I misdemeanor if the motor fuel is valued at less than $1,000. According to section 14-70 of North Carolina criminal code, receiving stolen goods, including “chattel, property, money, valuable security, or other thing whatsoever,” is classified as a class H felony when the goods are valued at more than $1,000. When the amount of goods is less than $1,000, the crime is a misdemeanor.
Felony Penalties in North Carolina
A class H felony is punishable in North Carolina by up to 25 months in jail, depending upon whether or not the person who is charged with the crime has been charged with any prior convictions. Of course, a fine may also be assessed as well.
In addition to criminal penalties, it is important to note that an individual who commits larceny may also face civil penalties as well. Civil penalties for larceny may include the recovery of the total value of loss property, reimbursement for attorney’s fees, and punitive damages. A person can be convicted in civil court even when he or she is not convicted in criminal court, and visa versa.
The Importance of a Criminal Lawyer When Charged with Felony Larceny
Felony larceny is much more serious than other petty crimes. A felony charge can greatly change your life, result in jail time, large fines, and reduce opportunities that you have in the future. If you have been charged with larceny in North Carolina, it is within your best interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
A criminal lawyer does more than just inform you of your rights during the criminal procedure; rather, a criminal lawyer can ensure that any evidence obtained unlawfully is not used against you, that your right to a trial by jury is upheld, and that unfair tactics—like police intimidation—are not used to withdraw a confession. Further, a criminal defense lawyer can also work to have charges against you reduced or dropped, or negotiate a plea deal on your behalf with the prosecution. Of course, your criminal lawyer can also prepare you for trial, guide you through what to say, and practice testimony and questioning.
Call a Charlotte, North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Being charged with a crime can change your life. However, remember that you have the right to a criminal defense lawyer, and that a criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. When you hire a criminal lawyer who is committed to working on your behalf, your rights during the criminal process are protected, and your sentence may be less severe than it would be otherwise.
The experienced Charlotte criminal defense lawyers at Remington & Dixon, PLLC have the skill set and determination that your case needs. We have experience helping charged persons in many areas of criminal law, including violent assault, drug charges, driving with a revoked license, and more. We understand that if you have been charged with a crime, you are likely scared about what to do next. We will guide you through everything that you need to know, and advocate on your behalf every step of the way. For a free consultation where you can learn more about the criminal process in North Carolina and how we can help you, call us today at 704-247-7110, or contact us online.