What is the Role of the Grand Jury?

In North Carolina, there are more than 400 criminal laws codified in statues.  Criminal cases are heard in both District and Superior Courts.  The most serious criminal cases are felonies and those are the cases that most often times result in a possible prison sentence of at least 12 months (one year) or more.  These more serious crimes are usually almost always heard in Superior Court.  Felony offenses include, among others, breaking and entering, assaults, sale or deliver of controlled substances, forgery, rape, murder, embezzlement, obtaining property by false pretenses, kidnapping, child molestation, involuntary manslaughter and arson.

If a felony case is unable to be resolved in District Court or is not transferred to Superior Court via a bill of information, then jurisdiction in the case will be transferred to Superior Court through the prosecutor submitting the case to the grand jury to return a true bill of indictment.  The function of the grand jury is primarily to act upon bills of indictment the District Attorney submits.   A bill of indictment is simply a written accusation charging a person with the commission of one or more criminal offenses.   Continue reading What is the Role of the Grand Jury?

What You Need to Know if Stopped by the Police

Should you ever be in a situation where you are stopped, confronted or approached by the police, there are a few basic things that you should know and exercise. It doesn’t matter if you are arrested or not, if and when a police officer approaches you, it is important that you do not make any statements at all. Pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, you have the right to remain silent. This is equally as fundamental and important a right as your right to bear arms, rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, right to vote no matter your race or sex and your right to freedom of speech. You wouldn’t freely give up any of these rights would you, so why should you easily give up your right against potential self-incrimination?

Anything you may say (either verbal or written) at any time and to anyone- the police, your family and friends, media and inmates can be used against you. Your lawyer is the only person who you can safely talk to regarding your situation. You have a right to a lawyer and you do not have to sign anything, including a waiver, and are not required to make any statements without having a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney present to assist you.

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DWI & DUI: Courtroom Experience Counts

There is no difference between the term Driving While Impaired (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in North Carolina. These terms are often used interchangeably. However, in North Carolina, it is usually referred to as DWI. This offense is codified under General State 20-138.1. Due to the complexities of the legal issues associated with a DWI charge, it is important that you hire a Raleigh DWI Lawyer with courtroom experience to represent you.

Before becoming a Raleigh criminal defense attorney, I was an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County for nearly 5 years. As a prosecutor, I was specially assigned to impaired driving cases for several years and I was provided a unique opportunity to get an in depth view into how DWI offenses are handled in Wake County. Having tried hundreds of DWI cases to a Judge in District Court and dozens to juries in Superior Court, I have the courtroom experience your case deserves. In addition, I have tried almost twice that many pretrial motions related to the suppression of evidence or dismissal of a DWI case.

I have experience handling all types of DWI cases involving blood, breath, refusals to take intoxilyzer tests, wrecks, appreciable impairment cases without a breath or blood result, drivers who were asleep at the wheel or issues involving operation, checkpoints, leaving the scene of accidents, etc. and my experiences have allowed me to better understand what It is a judge and jury considers when deciding whether or not the State has met its burden of proving their DWI case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.  Continue reading DWI & DUI: Courtroom Experience Counts

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5As a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney with over 4 years of prosecutorial experience, I have been deeply involved with our criminal court system in Wake County and have thoroughly enjoyed my time serving the citizens of Wake County and North Carolina.  As a prosecutor, my duties were not only to follow and enforce the law, but to ensure that the State did not engage in overly zealous prosecution.

I took that duty very seriously to assist in ensuring that someone who may have been wrongfully accused of committed a criminal offense does not get dragged through the criminal court process, in addition to ensuring that someone had been found guilty or pled guilty to a criminal offense that they did not receive an unfair or unjust punishment.  This same belief in justice and fairness is what drove me to practice criminal law.
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