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Top North Carolina Criminal Lawyers

Choose a Professional North Carolina Criminal Lawyer - Right Now

Getting charged with a state criminal offense like fraud or DUI can be concerning and you are probably trying to figure out what to do. You may be wondering who will listen to your side of the story, what your rights are, what affect this may have on your personal life, and where you can turn for help.

As soon as you can, you should speak with a lawyer. Having a North Carolina criminal lawyer on your side can help eliminate costly mistakes and lessen the chances of harsh consequences. Remember, it is totally within your rights to speak with a criminal lawyer before you speak with authorities. The sooner you can meet with a North Carolina criminal attorney, the better off you will be. Keep in mind that not everyone who is charged with a state offense will be found guilty. Having a qualified and professional criminal lawyer can protect you and your family by explaining the options you have, including your rights. Many attorneys will even offer free advice at the start so you can more easily plan your next steps.

Do you Need a Professional Criminal Lawyer for State Charges?

Our professional, veteran criminal lawyers have experience in a wide variety of cases ranging from drugs to fraud to domestic violence. We have highly-qualified lawyers on our team that focus in areas criminal defense such as aggravated assault, theft, kidnapping, probation violations, manslaughter and many more.

There is really no time to waste. It doesn’t matter if you have already been charged or even if you have done something that you are expecting charges for, the longer you put off getting an attorney on your side the fewer options you will have. Our North Carolina attorneys understand the way state laws work and can give you excellent advice during your consultation.

We Can Help You with DUI Charges

One of the most common charges that are placed against someone is a DUI charge. The consequences of such a charge can really run the gamut and can include anything from a night in jail and a forced alcohol education class to a heavy fine and loss of your driver’s license. Our attorneys have the knowledge of state laws that is needed to fight for you in a DUI case. We can help you do things like figure out whether or not you qualify as a first offender, explain any fines and other penalties you may face, discuss how this charge could affect other parts of your life like your job or insurance standing, and explain how you can plan a great defense along with expert assistance from our attorneys.

We Focus on Particular Areas of the Law

One thing that we can offer to our clients is our intense concentration in certain areas of the law. Our North Carolinacriminal defense lawyers focus on specific areas which allow them to build a very strong knowledge base and extensive experience in particular case types. Our attorneys have the knowhow that is needed when it comes to North Carolina laws regarding your personal criminal case, and they will determine a good strategy for your defense based on this knowledge. We will be able to partner you with the top criminal defense lawyer to meet your needs.

Wondering What to Expect from Your Lawyer?

You will be able to get a free initial consultation with your criminal lawyer during which you will meet with him or her to talk about your case. Your lawyer will share their knowledge with you about the charges at hand and talk about your defense options. It is important that during this consultation and at all subsequent meetings with your lawyer that you are honest. Your lawyer will keep all information given to them confidential and their duty is to represent your best interests. You should take the advice of your lawyer and understand that you may need to be patient during this process in order to optimize your defense.

We Have the Reputation You Need

In cases like this, reputation will definitely count. Our criminal lawyers are members of various professional associations like the National Associate of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Their professional histories are easy to track and you will be able to view their successes just by doing a small amount of research. Our lawyers have been painstakingly vetted in order to provide high quality service for our clients.

We are Lawyers That You Can Trust

When choosing a lawyer you should find one who will competently and earnestly fight for your best interests. He or she will build trust with you, only engage in ethical practices and always show confidence in your case. Our North Carolina attorneys will present you with several methods to handle your case.

Avoid more problems by finding a North Carolina attorney as soon as you can. Their expert assistance will not only protect your rights but give you increased peace of mind as well. Call us today.

Are You Being Charged With Committing a Crime in North Carolina?

When it comes to building a strong criminal defense, the most important element is the hiring of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina. A defendant who has a proper understanding of the charges and NC criminal laws benefits because the process itself becomes easier to work through and the likelihood of improving the potential outcome is enhanced. Additionally, a defendant who understands the severity of his or her criminal charges gains a clearer perspective, which may spur that defendant to take faster action in furtherance of his or her defense.

Crimes in North Carolina are broadly divided into two categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Every crime, whether it be a property crime, violent crime, or statutory crime, is first identified as either a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanors are the less serious crimes and defendants convicted of even the most severe misdemeanor will not be punished with a jail sentence longer than 12 months. On the other hand, as the more serious offenses, felonies are punishable by sentences that range from a minimum of three months to a maximum life in prison without parole. Because North Carolina is one state that maintains capital punishment, a defendant who is convicted of certain specific, particularly awful crimes may be subject to the death penalty.

Felonies are more specifically classified based on the minimum and maximum punishments prescribed for each particular crime. One of the more complicated aspects of the criminal laws of North Carolina is the schedule of allowable punishments for a given felony. It is complex first and foremost because felonies fall into 10 separate classes – A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I – with Class A felonies being the most egregious crimes.

Second, a specified range of months constitutes the term of incarceration that will be imposed upon a defendant who is convicted of a crime within each felony class. The length of punishment to be imposed on a specific defendant will fall within the prescribed range, and the specific sentence will be determined by the presence or absence of aggravating or mitigating factors to the crime in question and whether the individual has a record of prior convictions.

For instance, a first-time offender convicted of a Class C felony faces a minimum incarceration of 44 months; however, this less substantial penalty will apply only in cases where mitigating factors warrant leniency. In cases where there are aggravating circumstances and/or prior convictions, the defendant may face up to a maximum 182 months in prison

Facing criminal charges in North Carolina? Find the best criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina here.

Five Common Crimes Charged in North Carolina

Several aspects of North Carolina criminal law make it confusing or unique to the state. While Criminal Lawyer provides information on common crimes charged in North Carolina, circumstances that could affect your case simply cannot be known without speaking to North Carolina criminal defense lawyers.

DUI

Driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance is taken very seriously in North Carolina. The state has statutes similar to those found in other states, with one notable exception. Individuals who have prior convictions for DUI are subject to a lower threshold when it comes to their legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

The legal BAC limit for a first offense is 0.08% or higher, except for individuals under the age of 21 whose legal limit is 0.02%, and for commercial drivers who must not operate a vehicle with a BAC at or above 0.04%. The legal limit for individuals over 21 whose record includes a prior DUI conviction is 0.04%. This heightened standard is justified by the need to minimize or prevent repeat DUI offenses.

North Carolina divides its criminal penalties for DUI into several levels which are differentiated by BAC, the effects of prescription medication, driving record, and other mitigating or aggravating factors. The six levels of DUI offense in North Carolina range from the least serious – a Level 5, to the most serious – Aggravated Level 1. Here are the sentences pertaining to each level:

  • Level 5: Minimum of 24 hours up to a maximum of 60 days in jail. Part of this time could be served as 24 hours of community service. Administrative penalties such as mandatory license suspension are also included.
  • Level 4: Minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of 120 days in jail – part of which could be served as 48 hours of community service – plus administrative penalties such as mandatory license suspension
  • Level 3: Minimum of 72 hours up to a maximum of 6 months in jail, which could be partially served as 72 hours of community service, along with administrative penalties such as mandatory license suspension
  • Level 2: A minimum of 7 days to a maximum of one year in jail, combined with such administrative penalties as mandatory license suspension
  • Level 1: Minimum of 30 days and a maximum of two years in jail, in addition to administrative penalties such as mandatory license suspension
  • Aggravated Level 1: Minimum of one year and a maximum of three years in jail, along with administrative penalties such as mandatory license suspension

Charges of Aggravated Level 1 DUI is a felony DUI in North Carolina and, as such, conviction results in the criminal punishment and fines of a very serious crime. Individuals facing felony DUI charges are best served to hire a lawyer who is familiar with this crime.

Find the best  North Carolina DUI lawyers.

Burglary

Although it is commonly believed that burglary and robbery are interchangeable terms, the two are actually separate – and very different – crimes. While robbery is defined as stealing from the person of the victim, burglary may have nothing to do with stealing at all. Burglary is the crime of entering another person’s dwelling with the intent to commit a crime. That crime might be robbery, but it could also be sexual assault, or even murder.

Despite the substantial difference between these crimes, an NC burglary defense attorney will often handle – and may even focus his or her practice on – defense against property crimes such as robbery, theft, and auto theft.

Burglary in North Carolina is charged in either the first or second degree. The difference between these two degrees is determined by whether or not the dwelling was occupied at the time of the burglary. If the individual burgles a dwelling house or sleeping apartment while the occupant or another individual is present, then the charge is first-degree burglary. If the individual burgles the dwelling house, sleeping apartment, or other building while it is vacant, the crime is a second-degree burglary.

Burglary in the first degree is a Class D felony, which has a minimum prison sentence of 38 months and a maximum sentence of 180 months. Burglary in the second degree is a Class G felony, which has a minimum sentence of eight months and maximum sentence of months.

As with other crimes in North Carolina, a defendant faces a potential sentence that depends upon whether that burglary was an aggravated crime, whether there were any mitigating circumstances, and if the defendant had any prior convictions for the same crime.

Find the top NC burglary lawyers.

Sexual Assault

In North Carolina, charges for crimes of sexual assault address all forms of unlawful sexual contact from non-consensual groping to rape. All sexual assaults in the state are subject to substantial penalties; however, applicable laws contemplate a wide range of severity. This means the potential punishment for sexual assault varies greatly, based on the egregiousness of the unlawful behavior and the identity of the victim.

The most serious sexual assault crime is rape in the first degree. North Carolina law still defines rape as unlawful and non-consensual penetration of the vagina. Therefore, other crimes – such as sodomy or penetration of the anus – are charged under the less severe crime referred to as a sexual offense. First-degree rape is defined as unlawful, non-consensual vaginal intercourse:

  • By use of a deadly weapon
  • By inflicting serious bodily injury
  • Of a child 13 years old or younger
  • Of a minor at least four years younger than the perpetrator
  • When aided or abetted by another person

The punishment for first-degree rape ranges from at least 144 months to life in prison.

Second-degree rape is still an incredibly severe and egregious crime that requires defense built by knowledgeable rape attorneys from North Carolina. It is a class B1 felony, and an individual convicted of second-degree rape faces between 44 and 182 months in prison, plus substantial fines.

Rape in the second degree is defined as non-consensual vaginal intercourse committed by force or where the victim was unable to consent due to a mental disability, mental incapacity, or physical inability. Additionally, the second required element of this particular offense is that the actor must have had reason to know the other person was unable to consent to intercourse.

Find experienced  sexual assault lawyers in  North Carolina.

Murder

While often used interchangeably in movies and tv shows, homicide and murder actually have distinctly separate meanings. Homicide refers to any situation in which one person kills another person, while murder requires the killing to have been  intentional. In North Carolina, the crime of murder is further differentiated based on whether or not the murder was premeditated.

First-degree murder is the most serious offense under North Carolina law. Specifically, a charge of first degree murder requires the presence of three circumstances, it is an intentional killing:

  • By a weapon of mass destruction
  • By poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, torture, or other deliberate, premeditated means
  • During the commission of or flight from specific felonies, including arson, rape or sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or any felony during which a deadly weapon is used

Because North Carolina still holds the option to impose capital punishment, an individual convicted of first degree murder could face the death penalty; otherwise, he or she will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Second-degree murder charges cover all other intentional killings, meaning those committed without premeditation. Second-degree murder is a class B1 felony which carries a punishment ranging from 144 months to life in prison.

Understanding the difference between premeditation and intention can be confusing, but are really quite clear. Premeditation means the actor took deliberate actions in advance to prepare for the crime, such as buying materials and/or weapons. Intention is defined as what the actor meant to do in the moment he or she killed. Intention can be determined in an instant.

Find the top murder lawyers in North Carolina.

Larceny

According to North Carolina’s written statutes, all criminal larceny and thefts are felonies. Only certain specific circumstances would warrant the reduction of larceny charges to the level of a misdemeanor. Generally, however, as applied in North Carolina, a charge of larceny is substantially similar to those in other states. The severity of the charge in a specific case is determined by the fair market value of the goods stolen and how the theft was carried out.

Larceny is a class H felony and this is the default offense leveled against anyone who is found to have unlawfully taken property or services rightfully belonging to another person. Any exceptions to the entry of this default charge must be specified by a separate statute. For example, shoplifting or concealment of merchandise in a store is specifically designated as a Class 2 or 3 misdemeanor, and is not a felony.

Likewise, according to a specific provision in the North Carolina Code, theft of property or services valued at less than $1,000 is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, and the potential punishment ranges between one and 45 days in jail. If the value of stolen property is more than $1,000, the charges return to the default position – a Class H felony. Punishment of a Class H felony is between four and eight months in jail.

An individual can also face civil penalties for larceny, and a specific North Carolina criminal attorney may or may not be able to assist defendants with their defense against these civil charges, depending on the practice of that attorney.

Find a top theft lawyer in North Carolina.

Other Crimes

The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are prepared to defend individuals against a wide variety of crimes in North Carolina. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state; rather, it extends to defense of federal crimes as well as pursuit of appeals to higher courts. Whether you are seeking a criminal defense attorney in NC to defend you against charges of murder or public indecency, we can help.

Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Conviction of a criminal offense in North Carolina – even a misdemeanor – can have a profound effect on your life reaching far into the future. It can be very difficult to overcome the stigma of being a convicted criminal and impossible to reclaim the time an individual spent incarcerated. For these and other reasons, defendants should remain focused on building a defense that exonerates them of all charges or one which, at the very least, mitigates the effects of criminal charges. North Carolina criminal defense lawyers can help in reaching both of these goals.

If you don’t know where to find a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina or where turn for defense against criminal charges in North Carolina, turn to us.

Learn more about the best North Carolina criminal lawyers

[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]

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