Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing any legal trouble is a harrowing experience. From getting accused of a crime to appearing in front of a judge, there is no simple way of facing any criminal charges. Based on the complexity of the crime, as well as the escalation of the charges, securing legal counsel is imperative to address your case accurately. Fortunately, United States law grants all accused of a crime the right to an attorney, ensuring that they are properly represented in a court of law. The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett can help those in the Charlotte, NC area that have been accused of a crime and are in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal defense lawyers offer advice to a wide range of people who are facing criminal charges and provide the counsel needed to fight against a wide range of criminal allegations. Criminal defense attorneys support and defend any person accused of any crime, from misdemeanors to felonies, helping them plead their case in court. For the majority of lawyers, these matters might range from straightforward misdemeanor cases to more significant crimes like murder, demanding a thorough understanding of all state criminal law statutes. Criminal defense lawyers can analyze your case from all possible perspectives because they have the knowledge and expertise gained from working in the criminal justice system. They are aware of how criminal charges are developed, handled, and justified from both the state’s and the defense’s points of view.

Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer

Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend the Guilty?

The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is imperative to any criminal proceeding. The purpose of a defense lawyer is to help defend the accused, regardless of whether or not they committed the crime. The purpose of going to court after receiving criminal charges is to accurately present the events that took place that led to the incident resulting in the aforementioned criminal charges. For example, in a murder case, the defendant charged with murder will be questioned by the prosecution, alongside any possible witnesses and those who can either support or disprove the defendant’s alibi. Media depictions of criminal court proceedings typically focus on apprehending a murderer or sentencing someone to prison. However, as often as the court apprehends those who are guilty, presenting all of the facts of a case in front of a judge and jury can sometimes lead to a non-guilty verdict. All in all, criminal defense lawyers defend those accused of crimes, and the process of going to court determines whether they are guilty or not.

What Are The 3 Systems of Defense Lawyers?

Although legal representation is guaranteed to all facing criminal charges, the types of representation you may secure can come from various sources. The three main systems for finding legal representation include:

  • Individually Appointed Lawyers: In situations where you choose your specific legal counsel, it is referred to as individual appointments. These situations typically come from lawyers with a specific niche area of the law, for example, expertise in DWI cases, using their extensive knowledge in that field of legal work to secure clients. For those with a personal attorney, you can use a retainer fee to ensure that the attorney will be available to take on a specific case. With this kind of arrangement, the customer would be charged extra for the completed legal task.
  • Public Defenders: A public defender is an attorney chosen to represent those who ordinarily would not be able to afford to pay one to represent them in court. These clients, legally referred to as “indigent,” meaning unable to pay their court fees, are given members of an assigned counsel to ensure that their right to legal representation is upheld during their case. Because public defenders are employed by the state, each public defender is assigned to a case, and the experience in a particular field of negotiations that helps make individual counsel appealing is lost.
  • Contracted Attorney Services: An attorney who works on a contract basis for a law firm or other business is sometimes known as a “freelance attorney” or “contract attorney.” Instead of working alongside a firm, contract lawyers serve businesses, people, and governments on a contract-by-contract basis. Contract lawyers can be employed for the duration of a particular project or case with no further obligations beyond the proceedings at hand. These attorneys tackle a wide array of legal fields, including criminal defense.

Depending on your ability to afford your legal fees, as well as the crime you are being charged with, the power and reliability of your legal representation may vary. The best way to ensure a positive outcome in your case is to find legal representation that can properly and adequately handle your situation.

How Does a Charlotte, North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney Prepare for A Case?

Some of the most important parts of a defense attorney’s prep work can include the following:

  • Building A Relationship with Your Client: Ascertaining the client’s mental capacity/state of mind, a timeline of the crime, and a relationship with the victim require an open and cooperative dialogue with the client to gather comprehensive information about their personal and criminal history. Anything discussed with one’s defense attorney is confidential because of attorney-client privilege, so providing the most information during these sessions is crucial for properly constructing your case.
  • Utilizing All Information from Discovery: By giving the defense access to all of the evidence that the prosecution has, including the charging document, police reports, lab results, and witness testimony, the “discovery” process encourages impartiality in courtroom proceedings. Your defense counsel carefully reviews these records to evaluate the state’s case and searches for any gaps that might support the defense or indicate malfeasance by law enforcement when gathering evidence (e.g., illegal search and seizure, etc.).
  • Conducting An Independent Investigation: Independent research is essential to compile relevant evidence and confirm the case’s specific details, especially for the defense. Instead of accepting the prosecutor’s version of events at face value, a good defense lawyer will conduct their independent investigation, which may include, but is not limited to, questioning witnesses about their reliability, visiting the crime scene for evidence, and looking into any discrepancies in state-provided findings, especially when collected from the defendant.

After compiling this information, your defense attorney will examine the case’s facts and will then formulate a “theory of defense” that summarizes the client’s version of events and addresses any objections or concerns the prosecution is expected to raise during the trial. In some situations, when using a team of defense attorneys, even smaller details in the evidence that may be missed can be compiled in your theory of defense, creating an even stronger case.

What Is the Difference Between a Prosecutor and A Defense Attorney?

In any criminal proceeding, there is always a prosecution and defense. The prosecution is represented by a prosecutor, for example, a district attorney, and the defense is represented by a defense attorney. A prosecutor is a lawyer who represents the public, legally referred to as “The People,” or an individual who files charges against another person, business, or entity at the municipal, state, or federal level. The prosecution’s objective is to accuse the defendant of a specific crime or list of crimes and then to offer proof that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

On the other hand, a criminal defense attorney is a legal representative that fights criminal charges on behalf of a person or organization. A defense attorney may run a private practice or, if employed by the government, represent those without the means to hire an attorney as a public defender. A client facing fines is represented by a civil defense lawyer, whereas a client facing jail time is represented by a criminal defense lawyer. A defense attorney’s main objective is to protect their client against criminal accusations. Until a case is finished, the client is presumed innocent.

What Crimes Do Charlotte, NC Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend?

Since criminal defense deals with criminal law, attorneys who practice in this area are qualified to represent clients who have been charged with particular crimes. A defense lawyer can take on cases involving breaking the law and consequent criminal accusations, whether they are felonies or misdemeanors. The following are some of the most typical crimes that defense lawyers defend:

  • Traffic Crimes: Traffic infractions are some of the most common charges faced by Americans daily. From fighting an unfair traffic ticket to facing DWI charges, traffic incidents have a wide range of possible infractions and charges, so regardless of accusation, these traffic crimes should never be taken lightly. For example, the penalty for a DWI is increased by Laura’s law, which became effective in 2011, increasing jail time, fines, and limitations on drivers with prior DWI convictions if convicted of subsequent DWIs.
  • Drug Crimes: Drug offenses can include the intent to sell or manufacture drugs, possession of drug-related paraphernalia, and possession of narcotics. According to the substance’s classification, quantity, and whether you intended to sell it or not, the punishments for drug offenses in North Carolina vary, resulting in a wide range of legal outcomes. For instance, an ounce of heroin can result in felony charges and a lengthy prison sentence, whereas an ounce of marijuana will result in only 120 days in jail.
  • Assault: In North Carolina, different types of assault fall under different legal categories. Starting with simple assault, which is defined as a physical conflict or disagreement in which one person touches or threatens to touch another person without their consent with the purpose of causing bodily injury and the capability to do so. Assault that results in a significant injury, domestic violence, assault with a lethal weapon, and sexual battery are all more serious types of assault that carry harsher penalties if proven guilty and are typically pursued at the felony level.
  • Theft or Larceny: Larceny is the unlawful taking of another person’s property. The majority of theft offenses in North Carolina are classified as larceny, and penalties range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Misdemeanor larceny is the unlawful taking of another person’s personal property, valued at $1,000 or less, without that person’s consent and permanently depriving them of it. Similar to misdemeanor larceny, felony larceny requires that the stolen goods be worth more than $1,000 or that other conditions be met, such as robbery, burglary, or the theft of an explosive or firearm.

Depending on your charge, you may be facing felony or misdemeanor charges. North Carolina divides each crime into a specific class based on severity, and if considered a felony, these charges are then compared to a corresponding points system based on class level. During sentencing for these convictions, the points on a defendant’s record are totaled with the points from the sentencing in question to see at what level the crime must be punished, factoring in the disposition range that judges the crime in question on moral grounds to determine a lessened or harshened sentence, when applicable. For instance, if a person is currently facing a Class C felony indictment and their previous convictions place them at Level III in the aggravated category, their projected sentence is 8 to 10 years in prison.

Seek Legal Help for Charlotte Criminal Defense Charges

Criminal proceedings can be exceedingly stressful for all parties involved, and facing them without legal representation will more than likely land you in prison. After your arrest, you should immediately contact a defense attorney, and you should take the time to discuss your case with them, regardless of how simple or challenging it may seem at first. To effectively present your case and defend you in court, our skilled Charlotte criminal defense lawyers can offer the advice and legal support you deserve.

At The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, we can take on your case and compile your defense, accurately presenting your story in front of the court. For more information on our legal services, including a full list of our practice areas, visit our website and contact us today.

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