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Waynesville Criminal Defense Lawyer

Waynesville Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal charge in North Carolina, be it a misdemeanor or felony offense, can come with severe penalties and other far-reaching repercussions. Other than the punishment, which usually includes hefty fines and jail time, you also have to worry about the effects of the criminal record on both your professional and personal life.

A criminal conviction in the state of NC can severely limit your chances of landing a new job, result in the loss of some civil rights such as the right to vote or own firearms, and deny you access to certain government benefits like public housing, food stamps, and student loans. Additionally, your reputation in the community becomes tarnished. Following a criminal conviction, life is rarely the same.

With such consequences on the line, you do not want to take any chances. It is important that you fight to protect your rights and hiring a reputable Waynesville criminal defense attorney is the best way to go about it. The highly skilled attorneys at Doug Edwards Law have a vast understanding of the NC criminal justice system and know what it takes to build a strong defense case.

If you have been charged with a crime or you’re facing an investigation for the same, reach out to us as soon as possible. Our Waynesville law firm will focus to ensure an acquittal, reduced punishment, or complete dismissal of your case. Call our offices at (828) 702-8743 to arrange a free consultation!

What Are the Rights of a Criminal Defendant in North Carolina?

The United States Constitution guarantees several rights for every criminal defendant. However, since most individuals are unaware of these rights, the authorities and prosecutors tend to take advantage of their ignorance to make sure they end up in jail. A lawyer from Doug Edward Law will help you better comprehend your rights and ensure they are not violated.

Key rights when it comes to criminal charges include:

The 4th Amendment

This amendment protects people from unwarranted searches and seizures. It stipulates that the police should have probable cause to conduct a search or seizure. In addition, it prohibits the use of evidence against a defendant that was not obtained legally.

The 5th Amendment

The fifth amendment guarantees the defendant the right to remain silent. It protects the individual against self-incrimination and also prohibits double jeopardy, i.e. you cannot be charged twice for the same crime.

The 6th Amendment

There are several rights in the sixth amendment for criminal defendants including:

  • The right to an attorney (legal representation)
  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to know the nature of your charges
  • The right to confront witnesses
  • The right to a public jury trial

The 8th Amendment

This amendment gives the defendant the right to a fair bail and fines as well as the right to be protected against punishment considered unusual or cruel. It is put in place to prevent judges from giving punishments based on prejudice or personal feelings towards the defendant.

What Is a Misdemeanor vs Felony in NC?

Crimes in North Carolina are classified as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the offense. A misdemeanor is a less serious charge and carries lighter consequences in comparison to a felony. Penalties for misdemeanors include community service, fines, loss of driving license, mandatory counseling, jail time, and restitution.

Misdemeanors in NC can be categorized into the following:

  • Class 3: A fine of up to $200 and up to 20 days in jail
  • Class 2: a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 60 days in jail
  • Class 1: Up to 120 days in jail
  • Class A1: Up to 150 days in jail

In North Carolina, felonies are categorized into 10 classes with B split into B1 and B2. The charges and penalties differ with Class A having the highest jail time (life without parole or death) and Class I with the least (up to 2 years).

Should You Consult an Attorney Before Speaking to the Police?

Once you are arrested, the fifth amendment stipulates that you have the right to remain silent. The sixth amendment also comes into play as it states you have the right to legal representation. Keep in mind that any statement you give will be used against you in court and so, it is best to have a Waynesville criminal defense attorney tell you what to say and what not to say.

What Is the Habitual Offender Law in North Carolina?

The habitual offender law means that you’ll be facing harsher sentencing if you have committed multiple felonies.

According to N.C.G.S. § 14-7.1, a habitual felon is anybody who’s been convicted or pled guilty to three felonies as an adult in any state court or federal court. Felonies committed before the defendant was 18 years old count as a single felony when determining habitual felon status.

Habitual felon status is determined by the number of court proceedings, instead of the number of convictions. So someone is not considered a habitual felony if he/she was convicted of 3 felonies in a single case.

How Can a Waynesville Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?

We cannot overstate the importance of having the right legal representation. As mentioned above, even the smallest criminal charge can have major effects on your personal and professional life. Here’s how a criminal defense attorney can help your case:

Case Preparation

The initial step, in any case, is to carefully assess the details, provide relevant legal advice and then conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation. This helps establish the facts of your case and garner as much evidence as possible to create a strong defense.

Plea Bargain

Depending on the circumstances and details of your case, negotiating a plea might be the best route for you. This is especially the case if there is significant evidence that puts you at fault for the crime. The lawyers at Doug Edwards Law will tap into their vast experience and unparalleled negotiation skills to reach an ideal plea deal on your behalf.

Knowledge of the Law and Court Rules

When it comes to dealing with a criminal charge in North Carolina, you need to seek the help of a professional with a comprehensive understanding of the state’s criminal law and who knows the local court procedures and rules. Such a lawyer will also be familiar with the prosecutor and judge as well as how they operate, which gives you an advantage in the case.

The Ability to Gauge Results

Thanks to their vast knowledge and experience in criminal law, a criminal defense lawyer will be able to predict the most likely outcome and provide advice accordingly. This includes whether you should take a plea deal or not.

Trial Experience

If you do not get a plea deal, the next stage is trial in a court of law. Not to fret though, as our lawyers have vast experience in handling and winning cases, helping numerous clients secure their freedom. We will help prepare for the trial and represent you accordingly to ensure the best possible results.

What Is the Cost of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Every criminal case is different, and so the cost of legal representation differs. When seeking legal counsel, your financial status plays a huge role. Other factors that affect the cost include the type of case, the severity of the crime, and the lawyer’s experience. Keep in mind that the lawyer may charge a flat fee or a retainer. Our lawyers at Doug Edwards offer a FREE consultation.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, however, the court is mandated to provide one.

Is a Private Lawyer Better Than a Court-Appointed Attorney?

There are many benefits that come with using a private attorney compared to a public defendant. The latter is employed by the government and handles a myriad of cases at once. This means they will likely have limited time and resources to invest in your case and given they might be less motivated, you may end up with a weak case and thus, an undesirable outcome.

A private lawyer, however, will only deal with a few cases at once. This provides them adequate time to do an effective job. In addition, they always provide personalized service and more support as they are better acquainted with the client.

Not only that, but they have access to more resources, which are vital in building a strong defense case. The Doug Edwards Law team is able to possibly hire private investigators and expert witnesses, something that a public defender cannot feasibly do. Additional staff, paralegals, and associates are a plus when it comes to criminal defense cases.

Can You Represent Yourself?

In North Carolina, you are allowed to represent yourself. However, this is often a bad idea, as most defendants who take this route end up losing and have to deal with heftier penalties.

The prosecutors do not have your interests at heart and will take every opportunity to ensure you are convicted. Since you may not have proper knowledge and experience in criminal law, it is always a smart move to seek legal representation.

Should I Accept a Plea Deal?

When it comes to accepting or rejecting a plea bargain, it all boils down to the circumstances of your criminal case. Before you agree to a plea bargain, consult with your criminal defense lawyer first. The team at Doug Edwards Law will review and determine whether it is the best decision for your situation.

Appealing a Conviction in North Carolina

If you are found guilty and sentenced, you have the right to appeal. You are allowed to do this several days after the ruling. However, it is important to note that no new evidence or witnesses are accepted during the appeals process. Also, it does not have a jury.

The appeals court usually consists of three judges who assess the written transcripts and records of your trial and sometimes, oral arguments from lawyers of both parties before making the final decision.

The Court of Appeals deals with most criminal appeals in North Carolina. When it comes to appeals in murder cases where the death penalty was imposed, the process is handled by the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Waynesville Criminal Defense Law Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in Waynesville, NC, you need an experienced, competent, and respected criminal defense attorney. At Doug Edwards Law, we provide top-notch representation to people accused of all types of crimes. We also help licensed professionals protect their licenses and livelihoods from allegations of misconduct.

Our lead attorney, Doug Edwards is a Board-Certified Specialist in North Carolina Criminal Law. Doug worked as a prosecutor for over 10 years and has a deep knowledge of the local court system. Doug now uses his experience as a former Buncombe County prosecutor to fight for defendants in Western North Carolina.

Call our Waynesville criminal defense firm today for a free case review and consultation. We are available 24/7!

Hire the Best Waynesville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

A criminal conviction can have a huge impact on your life, both personally and professionally. As such, you do not want to take chances in regard to your defense. As such, it is imperative that you hire a reliable criminal defense lawyer who will protect both your rights and interests.

A Waynesville criminal defense attorney from Doug Edwards Law can help you through the legal technicalities, represent you, and provide sound legal advice. Build a strong defense case today by calling us at (828) 702-8743!

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