Winston Salem Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal conviction could mean prison time, paying hefty fines, and places you at risk for several severe consequences, including loss of employment, expulsion from school, loss of housing, etc. All this can make being charged with a crime a very terrifying experience.

At McIver Law Firm, we understand that we all make mistakes occasionally. However, in some cases, a simple mistake could lead to felony or misdemeanor criminal charges.

You could also face criminal charges for being with the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, the best thing you can do is speak to an experienced Winston Salem criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

We will review your criminal case thoroughly for free. Our team has extensive experience dealing with cases similar to yours, and our firm is recognized for defending some of the most notorious and high-profile criminal cases in Winston Salem, Lewisville, and the surrounding areas. Call 336-727-9886 today. Your future depends on it.

Table of Contents

What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in North Carolina?

Criminal defendants have several fundamental rights that are granted under United States federal laws. Some of these rights include the following:

Miranda rights

The arresting officer must inform the defendant that they have a right to remain silent, any statement they make can and will be used against them in court, the right to an attorney, and that if they can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided.

  • 4th Amendment rights: the right to probable cause for seizures or searches.
  • 5th Amendment rights: the right against double jeopardy and the right to remain silent.
  • 6th Amendment rights: The right to representation, right to a public jury trial, right to a speedy trial, and a right to confront witnesses.
  • 8th Amendment rights: the right to reasonable bail, and a right to be free from unusual or cruel punishment.

Other rights include the right to be informed of what you’re being charged with, the right to appeal to a higher court if convicted, and to face a grand jury in federal felony cases.

What is a Misdemeanor vs a Felony in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, there are two main types of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are not considered as serious as felonies, however, it doesn’t mean they are insignificant criminal offenses. While misdemeanors are more “minor”, they could still carry fines and jail time, but these are not as serious as felonies.

Felonies are crimes that tend to involve serious physical violence or behavior that could cause extreme harm psychologically, such as murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Other felonies include perjury, grand theft, domestic violence, gun charges, probation or parole violations, copyright infringement, and tax evasion.

Felony convictions in North Carolina carry more serious sentencing consequences, which typically include time in prison.

Image is of a man being handcuffed by a police officer, concept of Winston Salem criminal defense attorney

Should I Speak to a Lawyer Before Talking to the Police?

If the police are investigating a crime and are looking to interrogate you about it, you should be compliant, but make it explicit that you don’t intend to speak with them without the presence of your Winston Salem criminal defense attorney. For this reason, as soon as you get the chance, you should give us a call here at McIver Law Firm.

In criminal cases, the police do not have your best interest at heart. They will even lie to get the information they need from you. This is why you should always use your right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning.

What is the Habitual Offender Law in North Carolina?

Habitual offender laws also referred to as 3-strike laws, are designed to impose extra penalties on people who are convicted of multiple crimes. An individual with a previous criminal conviction who is then charged with another crime in North Carolina could face harsher penalties just from their criminal history.

In North Carolina, you are considered a habitual offender if you have been convicted of three felony crimes. The specific penalties you face will depend on the nature of the crime and the increase with every conviction. Still, you can expect a harsher penalty if you are termed as a habitual felon.

How Can a Winston Salem Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?

If you have been charged with a crime, you should consult with a competent criminal defense attorney as promptly as possible. Whether you’re accused of a minor offense or a serious felony, a conviction could have serious consequences.

You can count on our team of Winston Salem criminal defense attorneys to:

  • Listen to your side of the story and understand where you’re coming from.
  • Identify any strengths and weaknesses of the available evidence.
  • Thoroughly investigate whether there were any procedural mistakes made that could affect your case.
  • Aggressively negotiate at every opportunity to get your charges dropped or reduced before trial.
  • Provide guidance and advice on the best way to proceed in court.
  • Advocate for you skillfully before the jury and judge if the case goes to trial.
  • Use every available resource to negotiate a favorable deal if a trial is not in your best interests.

What Does a Winston Salem Criminal Defense Attorney Charge?

Since every case is different, there’s no “typical” cost for criminal defense. When you come to us, we will provide you with a free initial consultation, where we will give you an honest estimate of how much we’ll charge to defend against the criminal charges you’re facing.

How Does Having a Private Attorney Compare to a Court-Appointed Attorney?

When a criminal defendant cannot afford a private Winston Salem criminal defense attorney, the court appoints a public defender to represent them. The main benefit to this is that the lawyer comes free of charge. And while most of these public defenders are experienced, hard-working lawyers, there are major disadvantages to working with a public defender:

  • Huge caseloads: Public defenders are often assigned a huge number of cases, meaning they generally have less time to devote to each client’s cases.
  • Highly overworked: Public defenders are also highly overworked, and will often be handling a lot of cases at once. This makes them prone to mistakes and haste to get the case resolved.

On the other hand, many advantages come with retaining a skilled and experienced Winston Salem criminal defense attorney. The following are a few benefits:

  • Options: you have the right to choose the lawyer you feel is most suitable for your case.
  • Dedication: A private lawyer will generally have a much lower caseload compared to a public defender, hence more time and attention to devote to your case.
  • More resources: A private criminal defense attorney will have supporting staff, expert networks, and other resources available when working on your case.
  • Better outcome: You will likely achieve a more favorable outcome when working with a personal lawyer as they will be working harder to deliver the best results.

Can You Represent Yourself?

Yes. It’s your constitutional right to represent yourself. And while there are certain exceptions to this right, judges will often let you serve as your legal representative as a pro se defendant. However, just because you have a right to defend yourself doesn’t mean it’s the smart thing to do.

Lawyers go to school for a reason. Understanding how things work in court, the nuances of the law, and the specifics of trials and sentencing are greatly helped by a law license and years of experience handling such matters in court.

Don’t forget that prosecutors are also attorneys. They also went to law school, and work to become consummate professionals. If you go to court by yourself, no matter how permissible, you might very well find yourself at a complete disadvantage. It is best to consult with an experienced Winston Salem criminal defense attorney.

Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?

In some cases, there’s overwhelming evidence, just as with crimes that are captured by security cameras. In some other cases, the risk of going to trial is intolerable for the defendant. In such instances, the best course of action would be a plea bargain.

However, the decision of whether to accept a plea bargain should only be made after seeking the advice of an experienced Winston Salem criminal defense attorney. Keep in mind that accepting a plea means waiving your rights to a trial, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and other rights.

Image is of a Winston Salem criminal defense attorney representing a client in the courtroom

How Do You Appeal a Conviction in North Carolina?

If you’re convicted of a crime, it’s easy to think the case is over. However, you have the right to appeal the conviction. The law lets you appeal the decision of the court only under certain circumstances.

It’s in your best interest to discuss your case with a lawyer to see if appealing is the right course of action. If you win an appeal, you might be able to get a different sentence or a new trial.

Talk to a Trusted Winston Salem Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether you or a family member is facing a serious criminal charge, you need to ensure your rights are fully protected. At McIver Law Firm, we will put our extensive experience in criminal defense with the North Carolina court system to work for you and make sure you obtain the best possible outcome.

Call our office at 336-727-9886 for a free, confidential, and obligation-free case review with an experienced Winston Salem criminal defense attorney. We serve clients in Winston Salem, Lewisville, and the surrounding areas.

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