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Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law and Justice from the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers of Kurtz & Blum

 

What should I expect from a criminal defense attorney?

Answer:

First, you should expect to be completely informed about your criminal charge, the possible defenses and the different methods of resolving your case in criminal court. No attorney can give a guarantee how your case will be concluded. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we work to make sure our clients understand exactly what is happening and all the potential legal ramifications of their charges.

Second, you should expect that your attorney understands the law and the idiosyncrasies of the individual judicial district in which you have been charged. North Carolina criminal law is uniform across the state, but every district attorney’s office is a little different. Because our attorneys limit their practice to a few counties, we know those courthouses inside and out. Plus, with five criminal law attorneys, you have the experience and professionalism of the entire Kurtz & Blum, PLLC team working for you.

Can I go to jail or prison?

Answer:

It depends on the type of crime and your criminal history. North Carolina law has specific rules about who can receive jail time and who can only receive lesser punishments such as probation or fines.

What if this is just a misdemeanor charge? Can’t I plead guilty?

Answer:

Of course you can. But there may be other ways to resolve the case that would be much better for you. Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor will damage your criminal record forever. A well-informed attorney can sometimes eliminate that damage, reduce it, or even prevent you from paying high fines or going to jail for it. Remember that in North Carolina, almost every criminal conviction lasts forever. If you are convicted of even a simple misdemeanor crime of trespass, it will stay on your record and follow you for the rest of your life.

Plus, even misdemeanor crimes can have serious consequences. You will have to admit to being convicted of a crime on every future job application. Conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense can prevent you from ever legally owning a gun of any kind for any reason. Conviction of a misdemeanor drug offense can prevent you from receiving federal grants to attend college.

What if I’m not sure I want to hire an attorney?

Answer:

That’s fine. The only way to be sure is to talk with an attorney. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we offer free consultations. You can call and make an appointment to speak with one of our five experienced criminal law attorneys. At that appointment, the attorney will discuss the case with you, explain the law and give you an idea of the various possible resolutions.

Why should my old criminal record matter? My old charges were a long time ago – they won’t count against me, will they?

Answer:

At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we work hard to mitigate (lessen the negative effects) any previous criminal record. We understand that family difficulties, drug addiction, youth and inexperience and even mental illness can play a part in a person’s past. We believe that it is important to show the judge who you are NOW – not who you were then.

Can’t I just go into the courtroom and talk directly to the prosecutor?

Answer:

Sure you can. The prosecutor or assistant district attorney will be happy to talk with you about your criminal charge. His life is easier if he doesn’t have to deal with criminal defense attorneys who are going to demand that your Constitutional rights are respected. It is his job to speak against you, not for you. He is not your ally. You might tell him information that you have the right not to say, and he will not warn you. You may tell him evidence that he can use against you, and he will. If you are not well-informed about your rights and North Carolina law, you should have someone there to protect you and guide you. Only a defense attorney will have your best interests at heart. That is our job.

Why do your services cost more than some other attorneys I’ve talked to?

Answer:

It’s true that we’re not the cheapest attorneys in town. You are paying for experience, knowledge, and stability. Kurtz & Blum, PLLC has three office locations and five criminal law attorneys. Combined, our attorneys have more than thirty years experience between them. They know the law - not only North Carolina law - but the vast differences of how cases are handled in each of the counties. With multiple attorneys working together, there will always be an attorney available to work on your case if an emergency occurs - one who can answer your questions and handle your concerns. If your attorney works alone, what will happen to your case when he is out sick or on vacation? What will happen if he has an emergency?

Kurtz & Blum, PLLC is a solid presence in North Carolina. We have the benefit of a larger firm with multiple attorneys, a helpful, knowledgeable staff and a solid reputation in the courts but we still maintain the personal attention and care for our clients that are often lost in giant firms. Some things are simply worth the extra money…especially when you consider what is at stake.


Has the attorney handled a case like mine before?

Answer:

At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, our criminal law attorneys have handled charges from misdemeanor possession of marijuana to first degree murder and most everything in-between. We have litigation experience in multiple counties and in federal court. Chances are good that we’ve handled a charge like yours before, even though the details of each particular case differ greatly from client to client. Best of all, when you retain our services, you are getting the benefit of the experience of the entire team. We routinely discuss strategies and debate the nuances of the law in order to narrow in on a particular issue and prepare for trial or negotiation with the ADA.

The police officer said she would tell the judge I was cooperative – will that help?

Answer:

Maybe. However, in some counties and in some courtrooms, the arresting officer won’t even be present unless your case is called for trial. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we’ll do the necessary investigation on the case to make sure that any favorable witnesses are called.

Can you give me a price quote over the phone?

Answer:

For simple traffic matters, like speeding, seatbelt violations and accident tickets, we can probably quote you a price for legal services right over the phone. However, for criminal charges that are more serious, we prefer to meet with you in person. This is because there are many variations involved with each case, and we base our fee depending on how your individual case should be handled and how much work will be involved. We prefer not to get into the personal details about your case over the phone if at all possible to try to protect your privacy and confidentiality.

Our initial consultation is free and you are under no obligation when you come to any of our three offices. Just remember to bring any paperwork with you, for example a copy of the charge or warrant and any conditions of release paperwork from the jail. Call our officer to arrange an appointment that fits your schedule.

What's the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?

Answer:

A dismissal is when the prosecutor decides to drop the case. Sometimes a dismissal comes after the assistant district attorney reviews the evidence and decides that the case is not strong enough or not worthy or prosecution. Other times, a dismissal is a reward for performing community service or attending abuser treatment classes or drug treatment. If you have a case dismissed, someone may still be able to find out about that case. If an employer does a criminal background check, your record will show that you were charged but that the case was dismissed. Remember: If a case is dismissed against you there is NO criminal conviction.

An expungement is when all traces of the charge are erased. The court records are supposed to be destroyed as are any records that the police have. North Carolina law typically allows one expungement per lifetime. If other cases are later dismissed, evidence of those dismissals will show up on your record.

Our criminal defense attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina.  We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Knightdale, Rolesville, New Hope, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Garner, Cary, Morrisville, Wendell and Zebulon.