North Carolina Misdemeanor and Felony Defense
In the years since attorney Patrick Roberts founded the Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC, we have successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with a serious misdemeanor and felony crimes in North Carolina. Our firm has extensive experience in state and federal courts throughout North Carolina.
Attorney Patrick Roberts is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National College for DUI Defense, Inc., and the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. He has been consistently recognized by his peers in the legal community for his efforts. Learn more about Mr. Roberts and his team by clicking on the profile links below:
Contact The Roberts Marcilliat & Mills PLLC and schedule a free initial consultation to speak with a lawyer. Make an appointment at our Raleigh office by calling toll-free at 919-838-6643.
In-depth Q&A with Patrick Roberts
Why did you become a lawyer?
I have a degree in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In my junior year, a working engineer came in and gave a presentation about how to use your engineering degree, and mentioned patent law. So I went to law school (Duke Law). After graduation, my first job was doing civil litigation defense work for a large firm in California. It was OK. Then I did plaintiffs’ work for a few years. Finally, I took a job as a prosecutor, because by that time my interest in criminal law had grown. Criminal law is much more interesting and challenging. I wanted to be in court more than I would ever have an opportunity to do in civil practice – I wanted to be in court every day. Criminal law gave that to me, and now I am always in court as a criminal defense attorney, always trying a case, in court at least three days a week minimum. It has gotten to where trying cases comes naturally. I’ve been in court thousands of times, tried hundreds of cases, jury and bench trials – I’d say I am pretty confident about my craft at this point. Why did I become a lawyer? Because I like the challenge and the problem solving of law practice, where I am constantly working on unique, different, always-changing challenges. Even if we’re dealing with the same law or the same statute, it’s never the same facts. The variables are constantly changing. So it’s exciting to have these moving parts always in play. Plus, at the end of the day, what I do has meaning. It directly affects peoples’ lives. Success in this job means changing lives by what I do every day. And I am doing the work I am best suited for – problem-solving.
What would you tell your younger self that you know now as an experienced lawyer?
This is the biggest thing: treat people with respect. That’s all people, not just the client or the judge or the prosecutor. That’s everybody. You just never know who might have an impact on the case. Plus, it’s simply the right thing to do. Many young attorneys, fresh out of law school, perhaps a few years of practice behind them, think they’ve ascended to the throne. They think that everybody should treat them differently-bow, curtsy, kowtow, whatever you want to say but, as a result, that leads to arrogance. A young lawyer really doesn’t know too much, but if he or she is overly confident and cocky, it can come to the client’s detriment, as well as to the young lawyer’s reputation. Here’s what I would be sure to tell my younger self: there’s nothing special about you just because you’ve gone to law school and passed the bar exam. Your job is to help and serve people. Period. It goes back to treating people with respect. It also goes back to developing your craft and skills, being detail-oriented and fully preparing for the case. Don’t make assumptions. Instead, make preparation the key, the core, of your practice. Be as infinitely prepared as you can, don’t assume anything, don’t take any fact or detail for granted. Because it could be that one fact or detail that ultimately wins the case for your client. Arrogance can cause young lawyers to take things at face value, rather than probe a bit more and find some nugget, something that can be used on behalf of the client that may be the game-changer. Don’t be so wrapped up in the title of “counsel” or “esquire” that you miss the point of preparation. Two things-treating all people with respect and diligent preparation-these are what earn the respect of judges and colleagues. These are what tend to get you better results.
How do you stay at the top of your game?
There’s getting there in the first place. Staying there is a matter of putting in the effort day in and day out. But getting there takes the same kind of effort. For me, that was graduating from both the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and the National Criminal Defense College – that was on top of law school.
What is the Trial Lawyers College?
This is a selective school. Something like only 55 spots per year are granted to lawyers across the country – mostly personal injury and criminal defense lawyers – and the program has graduated roughly 1,000 or so lawyers total since the famous lawyer Gerry Spence started the place around 20 years ago. Like I said, it’s a select club, and I’m very fortunate to have gone through it.
What do you learn there?
The Trial Lawyers College is only for lawyers who represent individual people, like criminal defense lawyers. The people there, the teachers and graduates, are some of the best trial lawyers in the world. You work 10-hour days on trial practice and trial skills with the goal of becoming a better trial lawyer, storyteller, and communicator on behalf of your clients.
What is that like?
This is in a remote part of Wyoming. You have to step away from your law practice for nearly a month – it’s a three-week program – so you have to have a commitment to bettering yourself as a lawyer. There’s no cell phone service. There’s no TV, no Internet. It’s in the middle of nowhere. You get up early and for three weeks it’s intense, nonstop work, working on learning how to be a better trial lawyer. The Trial Lawyers College is, I believe, only for those lawyers who are most committed to mastering their craft and becoming the best trial lawyers they can be. That’s why I did it.
What is Gerry Spence like?
He’s there for the entire three-week course. He participates. You learn from him. He does the morning training sessions, the breakout sessions is very involved. The man is awe-inspiring – Gerry Spence is every bit as good a lawyer as any fictional character you’ve seen on TV or read about in books except he’s real and they’re not. Some folks walk away idolizing Spence and the techniques you learn at the Ranch, but all I can say about that is the techniques are unique and found nowhere else. The goal is to help you better understand the emotions of trial, because most of the decisions are driven by emotion, whether you want to admit that or not.
What is the National Criminal Defense College?
It’s like a finishing school for the best criminal defense lawyers in the country. Just like the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, your classmates are many of the best lawyers, the famous lawyers you’ve heard of (at least in legal circles). These lawyers are doing incredible things in courtrooms across the country. They’re all graduates of this program. Many are past or current presidents of national and state criminal defense lawyers organizations.
Why did you go?
I went because I wanted to be among the best and learn from the best. So I could get to the point where people recognize me as having risen to the same level – the “best” in the world – or to be among the best in my home state of North Carolina. At the end of the day, really, my goal is to master my craft. There really aren’t many better ways to learn how to be as good as you can possibly be. The National Criminal Defense College is one of them.
What do you learn at the National Criminal Defense College?
The lawyers here are at the top of their field, come from around the country, do both state and federal work, and they teach an intense two-week session with all-out 8-hour days. The goal is mastery of criminal defense practice. It covers the whole gamut of topics – all aspects of trial, specifically how to prepare for trial: Jury selection. Opening arguments, cross-examination of witnesses, witness preparation. We study all these things and work to master them. Like the Trial Lawyers College, there are a very small number of graduates (roughly 5,000 total) in the entire country.
What does it say about you that you’ve done both the Trial Lawyers College and the National Criminal Defense College?
If you take the total number of graduates from both schools, it’s a very small number when you compare that to the total number of lawyers who do criminal defense in the country. This puts me in rare company. I’ll let that speak for itself.
Disclaimer: The listed cases are illustrative of the types of cases handled and do not represent the entire record of cases handled by the firm. The outcome of a particular case is based upon a variety of factors and cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or law firm’s past results. The penalties listed for each case are the maximum amount of time the client was facing, based upon the structured sentencing guidelines and taking into consideration each client’s criminal record at that time. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.