We are aggressive criminal trial lawyers focused on protecting and defending the liberty of our clients who are accused of criminal offenses in the state courts of North Carolina. We know that the pursuit of happiness is impossible without liberty, and that the right to a jury trial can be the key to preserving and protecting your liberty. Having rights does not help you much if you do not understand them or exercise them. We can help you to do both. If you click on the "Experience" selection above, you will see summaries of some cases where our clients' rights to a jury trial were effectively exercised and asserted to avoid or greatly reduce the loss of their liberty that the state sought to impose.
Our law offices are located at 534 North 35th Street, in Morehead City, North Carolina.Most of our work for clients involves cases pending in eastern North Carolina, and particularly in the counties of Carteret, Craven and Pamlico , but we may, under certain circumstances, accept cases in other areas within the state.
We represent clients accused of the full range of criminal offenses, including simple "traffic tickets" (motor vehicle offenses) and all Misdemeanor Criminal Offenses, including Driving While Impaired, Probation Violations, and all Felony crimes (and status offenses) including: Habitual Felon, and other Habitual status charges, Possession, Manufacture and Sale of Controlled Substances, Drug Trafficking, B&E, Larceny, Burglary, Arson, Embezzlement, Fraud, Forgery, Perjury, Incest, Weapons offenses, False imprisonment, Kidnapping, Abuse, Maiming Rape, Sex Offenses, Armed Robbery, Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury --AWDWIKISI, and every other type and level of felony Assault including Homicides, from Involuntary Manslaughter to First Degree Murder. Our team has experience in fighting these serious cases at trial before judges and juries, and in negotiating plea agreements with prosecutors, and we will gladly speak with you about your case.
By saying we are “aggressive" we are not describing a particular demeanor in the courtroom , but rather the approach we have developed in handling serious criminal cases over the years.We begin seeking out , obtaining and understanding the evidence andworking on the best strategies that we can devise to move our clients' cases toward a good outcome, as soon as we become involved in a case. We believe in spending significant time with our clients, whether they are in or out of jail, and we have often uncovered important case details only after having met with our client on several occasions. We ask a lot of questions. And we often ask them again and again. We find that determining what is at the heart of a criminal case generally requires some digging. So we dig.
We are comfortable in our chosen role as defenders of accused persons, both in and outside the courtroom, knowing that we are always working in an adversarial posture, against and opposed to those agents of the government who have brought their powers to bear against our clients, and any others who may be out to harm our client's position. This does not imply personal animosity or disrespect for those on the opposing side for doing their duty as they may see it, but rather a respect for the power of the law , and the extent that the state may be able to use the law to deprive our client of liberty. Our duty is to our client. We practice criminal defense by choice, and are highly motivated to fulfill all the duties of that role.
The best interests of our clients always require that we explore the possibilities of a plea agreement with the prosecutor handling the case, even if we expect the case to go to trial. Understanding whether the prosecutor has formed strong opinions about you or your case, and on what these opinions are based, can reveal issues pertaining to the case that we will need to address. Sometimes we are able to supply facts or information that has not otherwise been provided to the prosecutor, that will favorably alter their view of some aspect of the case.
In seeking an indictment by a grand jury, the state must show only "probable cause" when charging a person with a felony. Practically, this means that it is very easy for the state to charge a person with a serious offense, and have them arrested and placed in jail, often under a high bond, and later indict -- to bring them before the superior court for trial or plea. To get a conviction at trial, the state is legally required to prove to the jury "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" on each element of each offense charged. This is quite a bit more complex. Whether the state would likely be able do this at trial, as to each particular charge against our client, is the question we begin working on from the start.
We closely study the various investigation reports, recorded statements, and any other records and evidence available from the state, and immediately pursue similar and additional information ourselves, often through private investigators, and sometimes by use of experts in various fields. In some past cases where our initial assessments indicated good potential for trial, continued scrutiny of the evidence and additional information revealed that negotiating a plea agreement was clearly called for. In other cases where the state's evidence at first seemed overwhelmingly to dictate a guilty plea, our continued investigations have uncovered good reasons why a trial would be very likely to produce better results than the plea being offered. We do not simply assume that the state's offer of a plea to something less than what the client is charged with is a good offer, but we work hard to get an accurate understanding of the evidence, so that we can provide our client with all the information available to make intelligent choices and to achieve the best possible results.
Sometimes the nature of a case may call for the assistance of an expert, such as a medical specialist, a firearms expert, or a private investigator. We have experience working with these and other experts, and have found that insights gained from them can lead to significant benefits and advantages for the defense.
Early investigative work often uncovers facts that lead us to look further for additional knowledge or evidence that may not have been obtained and provided by the state, or may later become unavailable for some reason, like the death of a witness or the destruction of various electronic records. We cannot guarantee that we will be 100 percent successful in obtaining all this potentially helpful information, but we have the experience that tells us that it could be there, and we focus our efforts early and throughout the case to obtain and preserve it.
Our approach, by definition, does not mean that we ever expect to be able to deliver instant solutions in serious cases. A very serious case that is going to trial may take many months to a few years to get on the trial calendar. But we know that if the defense investigation and preparation that are necessary for trial are delayed, and mastery of the facts by the defense team is left till late in the process, some factual details that might have been helpful, could be missed, and the confidence that we can effectively present the best possible defense case to the jury may be diminished. The more serious the case, the more time it will likely take to gather and digest all the available information, and thereby better understand the greatest challenges and most likely outcomes of the case at trial. We never assume that we have everything that might help with a case, so we regularly review and analyze what we have, to see if it points to other information or evidence that might exist. And we keep looking. We continue to prepare as for trial until we go to trial; or the case is dismissed; or our client enters a plea.