Criminal Defense Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
Theft crimes in North Carolina are broken down in a variety of ways. Sometimes the value of the goods allegedly stolen is the key factor. The demarcation point between felony larceny and misdemeanor larceny is $1,000.
Other times, the important distinction is the identity of the victim. Stealing from your employer is a felony, for instance. The charge may hinge on the circumstances surrounding the theft, such as larceny after breaking and entering.
Regardless of the specific theft charge you are facing, it needs to be taken seriously. A theft charge on a criminal background check can be a significant roadblock to those looking for employment opportunities, school admission or housing. And it may get worse — some theft charges carry significant prison terms. For instance, embezzlement is generally a Class H felony, but if the theft is proven to exceed $100,000, it becomes a Class C felony. In this instance, a first-time offender will likely receive a prison sentence of five or more years rather than receiving probation.
Protect Your Rights in Domestic Violence and Assault Cases
Domestic Violence Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
North Carolina law is all over the place when it comes to assault crimes. Essentially, the seriousness of the charge will be determined by (a) who was assaulted, (b) your relationship to that person, (c) whether a deadly weapon was used and (d) the seriousness of any injuries caused by the assault.
The range of charges is wide. A simple assault is a Class 2 misdemeanor and a conviction is likely just to take some money out of your pocket or put you on probation for a stint. Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, on the other hand, is a class C felony and a conviction will put you in prison for years.
Assault on a female generally carries harsher punishments than assaulting a male. Assaulting a child under 12 is more serious than assaulting a teen. Assaulting a law enforcement officer, a judge, or a prosecutor is more serious than assaulting your own lawyer. (Don’t get any ideas)
Assault Crimes & Domestic Violence
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of domestic violence clients in North Carolina
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence laws kick in when the defendant is in a personal relationship with the victim, or if the victim is a minor child living with a person the defendant had a personal relationship with. What is a personal relationship, you might ask? Good question. It means a relationship wherein the parties involved:
- Are current or former spouses
- Are related as parents and children, including legal guardians, or as grandparents and grandchildren
- Have a child in common
- Are current or former household members
- Are persons who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship
**Please note that we have taken some liberties with the statutory language here to better reflect how the courts are actually treating domestic violence crimes. Contrary to popular belief, or even a crude reading of the statute, same-sex couples are included in the domestic violence definition
What Does it Mean When a Case is Considered Domestic Violence?
Perhaps the biggest difference between domestic violence cases and non-domestic violence cases is what life is like before you go to court. First, upon arrest, the state can hold you for up to 48 hours with no bond until a domestic violence prosecutor can review the case and make a bond recommendation. So while you may only be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor for slapping your husband on a Friday night, you will likely sit in jail until Monday while people charged with rape, child abuse, embezzlement and the like are all able to post an immediate bond if they can afford to do so.
Second, there is almost always a “no contact” condition associated with the bond when you finally get one. So, again, you slapped your husband and were arrested on Friday night — you sat in jail and finally get a bond on Monday. Now you can’t go home if your husband lives there. If you are accompanied by a police officer, you can make arrangements to collect some clothes, toiletries, tools, etc – but that’s about it. You can’t call to apologize, can’t text, can’t email. Bond conditions can be modified in certain circumstances to allow you to be able to go home and make contact with your spouse, but that decision is made by the judge.
Another difference is the courtroom that you will be assigned to. In most counties in North Carolina, including Wake and Buncombe, a domestic violence court is specifically assigned to hear only domestic violence criminal cases giving them an additional level of attention.
The last major difference between domestic violence cases and non-domestic violence cases is the likely punishment. Jail time is always on the table, especially for repeat offenders, but the preference in domestic violence court seems to be treatment. Courses like Developing Opportunities for a Safe Environment (DOSE) are commonly required as a condition of probation or in a deferral agreement.
For non-U.S. citizens, a domestic violence charge is a major problem for immigration status. If you are a non-citizen and you have domestic violence charge pending, do not do anything without consulting an immigration attorney. Even signing a deferral agreement where the charges will ultimately be dismissed can cause major immigration problems.
The Law Firm You Can Rely on in North Carolina Drug Cases
Drug Crime Defense Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
A wide range of drug offenses are on the books in North Carolina and the consequences associated with convictions can vary wildly. Generally speaking, we look at drug charges in three broad categories: misdemeanors, felonies and trafficking charges.
Act Promptly If You Face Drug Charges Or You Suspect You Are Under Investigation
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of clients on drug-related charges in North Carolina
MISDEMEANORS — Simple possession of many drugs, marijuana for instance, is a misdemeanor. Possession of drug paraphernalia (the pipe, papers, needles, even the container used to store the drugs) is also a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors can carry active jail time, but usually do not. Still, it is important, especially for younger defendants, to keep drug charges off their criminal record. Drug convictions can stop you from getting a job, renting an apartment, getting into school, or even volunteering at your child’s school.
Often, there are ways to keep these charges off your criminal record. Contact us to go over the particulars of your case and explore your options.
FELONIES — Simple possession of certain drugs, like cocaine or heroin, is felonious in North Carolina. Even the drugs that are usually misdemeanors to possess can be charged as felonies if there is enough quantity alleged. Possession with intent to sell or distribute any controlled substance is a felony and, of course, sale of any controlled substance is also a felony. Some felony drug charges can be pled down to misdemeanors or even deferred altogether (meaning the defendant does something like community service and drug classes in exchange for a dismissal).
TRAFFICKING — Trafficking charges are as serious as it gets in the drug unit. If convicted of trafficking, a defendant is faced with a mandatory active jail sentence — the length of which depends on the level of trafficking and the substance alleged. These jail sentences are measured in years, not days, and the only discretion afforded to judges who are handing down the sentence is in the realm of substantial assistance, which means working for the state to help them catch other drug dealers.
We Help Protect – or Restore – Your Right to Drive
Drivers License Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
North Carolina is a difficult state to live in without a driver’s license. Our public transportation system doesn’t have the infrastructure to make it feasible for most people to be able to consistently get to work. If you appear in criminal court, you will see that a good percentage of cases being prosecuted in district court are for driving while license revoked (DWLR).
DWLR falls into two significantly different flavors, with the key difference being whether the underlying reason for the revocation involved a DWI. If your license is revoked for a DWI and you are caught driving, you face a Class 1 misdemeanor and potential jail time. If your license is revoked for a failure to appear in court or a failure to pay a fine, driving is a Class 3 misdemeanor. You will more likely get court costs and a fine, but don’t be fooled by the slap on the wrist. You hurt your chances of getting your license restored every time you plea or are found guilty of a moving violation while your license is revoked regardless of why.
Revocations Stemming From Unpaid Fines
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of clients on auto-related charges in North Carolina
Many license revocations result from an inability to pay traffic fines. When you are found guilty of a driving offense, you typically have to pay court costs and a fine. Failure to pay after 20 days will result in a revocation of your license. Your license will remain revoked at least until it is paid.
If an individual’s license is revoked, he or she still needs to live. Often, a person drives anyway and risks the repercussions if caught. In North Carolina, the chances are good that such an individual will be caught. Many police cars are equipped with sensors that read license plates of surrounding cars. Police software runs those license plates and reports back to the officer if the registered owner of that car does not have a valid driver’s license. So even if you are driving at or under the speed limit obeying all traffic laws, you are likely to be pulled over.
The good news is that most records are fixable. If you would like one of our attorneys to review your driving record, get a copy of your full driving record and send it to us. If you don’t have time to do that, we will get your record for you. You need to be able to drive legally in this state and the lawyers at Fay & Grafton can help.
It Often Makes Sense to Hire a Lawyer For Traffic Offenses
Traffic Violation Attorneys in Raleigh & Asheville North Carolina
If you have auto insurance in North Carolina, your insurance carrier is a member of the North Carolina Rate Bureau. This bureau has developed a contract called the Safe Driver Insurance Plan, which governs the point system under which insurance rates are set. The Safe Driver Insurance Plan allocates point values to different moving violations based on the schedule described below. For each point, your insurance carrier will increase your insurance rates by approximately 25 percent. These increases will apply for three policy years.
Why Choose Fay & Grafton To Defend You?
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of clients on traffic charges in North Carolina
How Can I Avoid Insurance Points Being Assessed as a Result of my Speeding Ticket?
Whether a conviction for a moving violation will result in insurance points depends on the severity of the conviction and on the defendant’s driving history. Individuals who have clean driving histories for the three years preceding their court date may be eligible for a safe driver’s waiver. A Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) may also be utilized in certain situations to avoid insurance points.
Can't I Just Ask for a Prayer for Judgment Continued?
A Prayer for Judgment Continued is one of the least understood phenomena in traffic law. While in some cases a PJC is exactly what is needed to avoid insurance points, in others, using a PJC can be disastrous to insurance premiums. The crash course on PJCs is as follows: one PJC per household every three years. The dangerous part is that if you go into court and request a PJC, you very well may get it. If you or someone else on your insurance policy has already used one, then the PJCs cancel each other out and not only do you get the insurance points for the ticket you just pled to, you also get the insurance points from the earlier ticket where a PJC was used!
How Many Insurance Points is my Ticket Going to Cost me?
Keep in mind that insurance points are based on convictions, not charges. In this country, we each enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty whether we are charged with arson or exceeding the posted speed. In most cases, the district attorney will be willing to negotiate your charge in order to elicit a plea. Consider how many people in your town get tickets every day. Imagine if each of those people decided to plea “not guilty” and take their case to trial. The state simply does not have the time to try each case. Because of this, the district attorney will often be willing to reduce your charges. Your insurance points will be based on the charge that you plea to, not the charge that you were initially accused of.
Will My License Be Revoked?
Certain offenses can enable the Department of Motor Vehicles to revoke or suspend your North Carolina driver’s license. Your driver’s license can be revoked for a number of reasons. A DWI conviction will revoke your license for a period of one year on a first offense. Convictions for speeding more than 15 mph over the limit will also result in a revoked license. Being convicted for too many tickets in a certain time period will also lead to revocation. This type of revocation is based on driver’s license points (not to be confused with insurance points).
If your license is revoked, you should not drive until your license is restored. Convictions for diving while your license is revoked or any moving violation while your license is in a state of revocation significantly lengthen the period of revocation and can in some cases result in jail time. This does not mean that you should sit and wait until your revocation period has ended. In many cases, a lawyer can shorten or eliminate a period of revocation even after the revocation period has begun.
How Can my License be Revoked if I Never Had a North Carolina Driver's License?
You do not need to have had a driver’s license in North Carolina in order to be in revoked status. North Carolina considers it a revocation of your “driving privilege” and the penalties are just as severe as if you once had a North Carolina license. Many states will honor suspensions levied by other states, so that revocation in North Carolina may mean that you lose your out-of-state license as well.
How Does a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) Help my Revoked License?
A PJC granted on a moving violation while your license is revoked will help you avoid lengthening your period of revocation, and may help avoid increased insurance premiums. But there is a limit on the number of PJCs you can receive. Each driver is allowed two PJCs every five years. Keep in mind that using multiple PJCs can be disastrous to your insurance premiums.
Can I get Limited Driving Privileges to Drive to Work?
Possibly. If a license is revoked for a speeding ticket where the rate of speed was high enough to warrant revocation, the individual may be eligible for a privilege. As backward as it may seem, someone who is revoked for a DWI may also be eligible for a limited driving privilege. However, if you are revoked for a failure to appear, for acquiring a moving violation while your license was already in a state of revocation, or if you have previously been convicted of driving while license revoked (DWLR), you will not be immediately eligible for a driving privilege until certain requirements are met.
How Can I Get My License Back?
Every case is different. In some cases, even the best attorney will not be able to undo all of the damage on a driving record and restore you to active status. In most cases, however, there are steps that can be taken to restore your license or at least to put you into a favorable status for a DMV restoration hearing.
Call or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.
You Can Fight A DWI
We Work To Minimize the Impact That a Drunk Driving Charge Has on Your Life
Raleigh & Asheville DWI Defense Attorneys
An arrest for drunk driving can curtail your mobility, put a blemish on your record, and – depending on the severity of your charge – potentially put you behind bars.
When you need a skilled defense lawyer — when only the help of accomplished legal professionals will give you the hope you need to go on — you should speak with the law offices of Fay & Grafton.
We know how to negotiate behind the scenes and litigate in court to effectively protect your rights when a drunk driving charge jeopardizes your freedoms, finances and future. We know the challenges you face — especially pertaining to your North Carolina driving privileges, which you need to get to your job, so you can continue to provide for your family.
We look at every layer of a DWI case: the reason for the stop, the scope of the stop, probable cause to arrest, breath or blood testing, chain of custody, post arrest violations – a DWI case can turn on the smallest of issues.
Why Choose Fay & Grafton To Defend You?
Fay & Grafton has represented hundreds of clients on DWI charges in North Carolina
William Fay has focused his training and research on this area of law, including:
- Certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Standardized Field Sobriety Test administration.
- Course teacher for Law Review CLE to other practicing attorneys on how to properly defend a DWI.
- Presenter on understanding and attacking horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), which is the primary field test used by officers in gauging impairment.
- Featured in a round table discussion on DWI Defense in Raleigh for the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers.
- Conducted controlled drinking exercises to teach practicing attorneys the proper ways to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.
At Fay & Grafton, we use the facts of your case to bargain persuasively with prosecutors and litigate against them if necessary. We know how important your North Carolina driver’s license is to you.
Start to finish, we offer frequent updates on the status of your case and maximum availability during every phase so that your sudden concerns or questions can be fully and promptly addressed.
To learn more, contact us today by booking an appointment or calling our offices during normal business hours.