How a Raleigh Criminal Lawyer Can Help with Misdemeanor and Felony Charge
Experienced Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Lawyers in Raleigh, North Carolina
The Criminal Defense Attorneys at Kurtz & Blum Discuss Misdemeanor and Felony Defense
You've been arrested? Welcome to the harsh reality of the criminal justice system.
Criminal convictions can:
- Ruin your reputation
- Cost you tons of time and money
- Scar you with a permanent criminal record
- Sentence you to probation
- Send you to jail
We will help you understand your charges, explore your options and present the best defense. The initial consultation with a Raleigh criminal attorney is free and flexible payment terms are available.
We have experience representing clients charged with various offenses including, but not limited to:
- property crimes such as burglary, breaking and entering, larceny or arson;
- crimes against the person such as robbery, assault, domestic violence, murder, gun or weapons violations or child abuse;
- fraud or white collar crimes such as embezzlement or obtaining property by false pretenses;
- sex crimes such as rape, taking indecent liberties with children or statutory sex offenses; and
- drug crimes such as possession, manufacture or trafficking of a controlled substance (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, heroine, ecstasy, etc.)
"Innocent until proven guilty" is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system.
But far too often, the mere accusation that you have committed a crime is considered proof of guilt. In court you will face a professional prosecutor. An experienced and capable criminal lawyer in Raleigh, NC can help immensely with your defense.
Once the prosecution targets you for conviction, they will attack your case in the most damaging way possible.
They will use the facts of your case and the rules of evidence to try to cripple your defense. They have the unlimited resources of the State at their disposal - the Police, the Sheriff's Department, the Highway Patrol, and the State Bureau of Investigation. It may seem like they hold all the cards. They don't.
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION IN NORTH CAROLINA STATE COURTS:
Barring a few exceptions, most criminal cases in North Carolina begin in District Court. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you have several options in District Court. You can plead guilty to the charge in front of a judge who will then decide your punishment. You can also negotiate with the prosecutor (the assistant district attorney, or ADA) to dismiss or reduce the charge. Finally, you can plead not guilty to the charge and have a trial. Trials in the North Carolina District Court Division are heard by the presiding judge – he or she hears the evidence and decides guilty or not guilty.
If you are charged with a felony, the choices are somewhat different. In most district attorney’s offices, felonies are screened to an assistant district attorney based on location and/or crime. For example, it is not unusual for one ADA to handle all family violence felonies or for another ADA to be in charge of all felonies coming out of a particular burrow or town. If you are charged with a felony, you must wait until the case is screened to the appropriate ADA who will then review the file and decide how to proceed. This can take up to several months. The ADA can decide to reduce your charge to a misdemeanor, dismiss it outright or indict your case to Superior Court. If your case is indicted to Superior Court, you still have the opportunity to negotiate with the assistant prosecutor, plead guilty or plead not guilty. Trials in the North Carolina Superior Court Division are heard in front of a jury.
At Kurtz & Blum, our attorneys handle everything from low-level misdemeanors such as possession of marijuana to very serious cases such as rape and armed robbery. Our attorneys listen to our clients’ cases individually, point out the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, and advise them whether a trial or a plea would be in their best interests. In trial, we fight fiercely for our clients and exploit the holes in the prosecution’s cases. Sometimes, a trial would not be in our clients’ best interests. In those cases, we negotiate with the ADA’s to get the best deals for our clients. Cases that don’t go to trial can still result in a dismissal.
PUNISHMENTS FOR MISDEMEANOR CRIMES:
Typical misdemeanor sentences range from a simple fine and costs of court to five months in the local jail. Other possibilities include a period of probation during which you may be required to submit to searches or drug screens. There are two types of probation – supervised and unsupervised. Unsupervised probation requires only that you pay the costs of court and fines and that you abide by the law. Supervised probation requires that you meet regularly with a probation officer, usually once per month. During a period of supervised probation, you may also have to submit to searches and/or drug screens. A judge can also order that you complete drug treatment, perform community service, attend abuser treatment classes and undergo a mental health evaluation with a licensed practitioner. A judge has a great deal of discretion in deciding what punishment will best fit your crime. At Kurtz & Blum, if our clients decide to plead guilty we are always ready with mitigating (helpful) evidence to lessen the sentence’s severity.
PUNISHMENTS FOR FELONY CRIMES:
There are no typical sentences for felony crimes in North Carolina. Each situation depends on the seriousness of the charge and the criminal record of the accused. Sentences vary from fines and unsupervised probation to years of prison time. At Kurtz & Blum, we always discuss possible consequences when we first meet with potential clients. It is important to understand what punishment you could be facing in your particular criminal case.
We can help you even the odds.
The American Constitution guarantees each of us the absolute right to an attorney to protect us from the power of the government. But beware, you need a criminal lawyer with experience, knowledge, confidence and courage. Choosing a Raleigh criminal lawyer may well be the most important decision you make. The wrong choice can cost you money, your job, Choose wisely, choose Kurtz & Blum.
Here is the transcript for the felony defense video:
Howard A. Kurtz, Partner
Though there is a wide range of possible felony charges, as a general rule felonies are the most serious types of crimes in North Carolina. The old definition that used to determine whether a crime was a misdemeanor or felony was whether somebody could receive more than one year in jail for that charge. These days whether a particular crime is a misdemeanor or felony is determined by statute
The most significant difference between misdemeanor and felony charges is that the trial for misdemeanors takes place in front of a judge in District Court and it is a relatively short hearing whereas a trial for a felony has to be in front of a jury in Superior Court.
Seth A. Blum, Partner
When handling serious felony charges, you want to be represented by an attorney who has a substantial amount of trial experience. My partner and I have almost 40 years of combined criminal trial experience. I personally have handled felony cases since 1992. We have tried everything from drug cases to burglaries, to sex offenses and murders.
Even though you may not believe that you need a trial lawyer because you think that your case will result in a plea bargain, keep in mind that a good outcome in a negotiation likely only comes when a prosecutor understands that your attorney is prepared for trial.
At Kurtz & Blum it is our business to be prepared for trial. If you are suspected of or have been charged with a felony offense, don't discuss it with anyone but your attorney. Call us immediately at 919-832-7700 so that we can schedule a consultation. There is no charge to sit down and talk. At Kurtz & Blum we’re in your corner.
A Raleigh criminal attorney with our firm helps people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Raleigh, Zebulon, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Apex, Holly Springs, New Hope, Rolesville, Garner, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Knightdale and Wendell.