Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys Handling State And Federal Charges In North Carolina
When you are facing criminal charges for a serious felony in North Carolina, the consequences can be life-changing. Even a misdemeanor charge can limit your freedom and diminish your community reputation in significant ways. The defense attorney you choose can determine whether your outcome is the best possible, or not.
The Roberts Law Group, PLLC, has offered its clients aggressive and intelligent legal representation for charges of crimes committed in Raleigh, Wake County and elsewhere across the state. Our firm has a strong record of success in Raleigh, and we also defend a limited number of cases in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, as well as those facing charges lodged by the federal government.
Our results speak volumes: Read about some of the cases we’ve successfully defended in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Handling Charges In Raleigh State And Federal Courts
Our firm was founded by Patrick Roberts, who worked as a prosecutor in the Wake County District Attorney’s Office before leaving in 2007 to form his own criminal defense law practice. He has added partners and associates who mirror his solution-focused approach to criminal defense and share his belief that clients should receive prompt, full communication as their case progresses through state or federal courts.
Our attorneys have been admitted to practice at all levels of state, federal and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Where To Turn When You Need A Criminal Defense Attorney In Raleigh
When you are looking for a Raleigh criminal defense lawyer, you most likely will have several options, but not all of them are equal in terms of experience and skill. Some criminal defense law firms might treat you as a cog in their profit machine. They may suggest a quick plea agreement even though your case has a strong chance of an acquittal in a jury trial. You may receive intermittent or sparse communication with your counsel, as they have moved on to the next case – and the next fee.
Even if you qualify for a public defender, with so much on the line, it’s wise to consider enlisting the financial support necessary to hire a private attorney. Public defenders are notoriously overworked. They have chaotic caseloads and may not afford you the same level of attention and communication as a private attorney. Nor will they have the time or resources to give you the same level of attention as would a private attorney. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality.
What To Expect When You Choose Our Law Firm
At Roberts Law Group, we take a collaborative approach to forming a Raleigh state and federal court defense with you. It is common for several of our attorneys to work together on a case, examining the state’s evidence, doing legal research and engaging with expert witnesses. Our ample paralegal support staff means you will not wait weeks for a reply when circumstances in your case could change in a heartbeat. You will have access to private counsel whenever necessary.
We have excellent working relationships with local, state and federal judges and prosecutors, due to our record of obtaining positive results for our clients. This helps us press for the best solution for you when the other side’s case has significant flaws.
Cases Our Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyers Have Successfully Defended
Our firm’s Raleigh criminal lawyers never shy away from a criminal case, even when the stakes are high and the consequences of a conviction catastrophic. We regularly handle the following criminal offenses, among others:
- Sex offenses
- Federal crimes
- Domestic violence
- Driving while Impaired or DWI
- White collar crimes
- Drug crimes
- Cases that may involve the insanity defense
- Other serious felonies such as arson, burglary or armed robbery
Our lawyers can also handle misdemeanor charges such as traffic offenses, marijuana possession, violating a restraining order and carrying a concealed weapon.
How Do I Defend Myself Against State Charges?
North Carolina has a maze of obscure laws and ordinances that people may violate without even realizing it. And the judicial process for someone charged with a state-level crime can be complicated.
In felony cases, after your arrest, you may expect the following events to occur:
- First appearance: This will be your first court hearing in front of a magistrate judge or district court judge. You will be advised of the charges against you and your rights.
- Pretrial negotiations and hearings: After a discovery hearing to present evidence, your criminal defense attorney will meet with the prosecutor to discuss the case and discuss viable alternatives to a trial, including probation.
- Probable cause hearing: If there are grounds to do so, your criminal defense attorney may challenge the state’s evidence during a probable cause hearing.
- Grand jury indictment: If a judge allows your case to move forward after a probable cause hearing, it will be assessed by a grand jury. The grand jury, which in North Carolina is composed of 18 citizens, decides whether to issue an indictment that will move your case toward trial.
- Arraignment: If your felony case proceeds to trial, you will be required to be present at an arraignment, during which you will be advised of the charges against you. This is also the point at which you will enter a plea.
- Motions and settlement conferences: Between arraignment and trial, your defense attorney might file various pretrial motions to protect your rights and ensure that the state doesn’t gain unfair footing – for example, a motion requesting that evidence obtained unlawfully by law enforcement be suppressed. These motions might require court hearings. Additionally, pretrial settlement conferences with the prosecution may also take place during this time frame.
- Trial: At trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offenses with which you are charged. A skilled defense attorney will be able to raise questions and cast doubt on the state’s case against you as well as present evidence to undermine the prosecution. Plea agreements may still be an option throughout the trial.
- Sentencing: If you are found guilty by a jury at trial (or accept a guilty plea), the next step is sentencing, which involves a hearing before the judge. Your attorney will continue to work to provide the best possible outcome for you. In some cases, a conviction does not necessarily lead to jail time. It all depends on the charges and the circumstances.
- Appeals: A guilty verdict (or plea) isn’t the end of the road. You might have grounds to challenge the conviction on appeal. Common grounds for appeal include errors in the judge’s application of the law, improper admission of evidence, prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.
How Are Federal Courts Different Than Other Jurisdictions?
If you are charged with a federal crime, your case will be held in one of North Carolina’s three federal district courts, not a state or county court. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure apply to such cases.
One very important thing to know about a federal criminal charge is that the likelihood of prison is much greater and other consequences of a conviction can include:
- Heavy fines, some in the six-figure range for serious felonies
- Loss of voting rights and the right to own firearms
- A permanent criminal record
Beyond that, many times you may be aware that you are under suspicion for a federal offense before you are arrested because you may be contacted by an agency like the IRS or the FBI related to an investigation they are conducting. The time to call a criminal defense lawyer is the moment you realize you are being investigated, not after your arrest. Our firm handles numerous federal cases, and we understand the significant differences between state and federal criminal matters.
How Are Sentences Determined At The Federal Level?
If you plead guilty or are convicted at trial for a federal offense, the judge must consider guidelines created by the U.S. Sentencing Commission when determining your sentence. However, before the sentence is handed down, you have an important opportunity to present mitigating factors that could warrant a reduced sentence. There are various factors that might warrant a downward adjustment of your sentence below the presumptive sentence that would apply under the guidelines. Among these factors influencing federal sentencing are the following:
- Accepting responsibility for your offense
- Assisting authorities in their investigation in a substantial way
- Your physical or mental health and current medical conditions
- Demonstrating a strong history of contribution to your family or community
Another option in sentencing is for the judge to apply a variance to the sentencing guidelines. One best-case scenario would be for such a variance to lead to probation instead of years in prison as prescribed by the sentencing guidelines.
Our Law Experience Leads To Excellent Outcomes
Our firm has handled more than 4,000 cases in the past decade. Here are just a few examples of the real-world victories we have achieved for our clients.
- A defendant charged with having a concealed weapon without a permit on federal property had his case dismissed with no prison time.
- A client working as a criminal corrections officer faced potential job loss after his wife filed domestic violence charges. Our firm found major discrepancies in the wife’s testimony, and we negotiated dismissal of all charges.
- A client accused of first-degree murder in a drive-by shooting had a not guilty verdict returned by the jury.
- A client charged with DWI had all charges dismissed after we successfully argued that the arrest was based on an unconstitutional driver’s license checkpoint set up by law enforcement officers.
Our attorneys work with clients in our Raleigh criminal law office and in five other locations. Regardless of your charge or where you are in the state, we bring the same level of powerful representation to your case.
Hire The Go-To Criminal Defense Lawyers In Durham And Beyond
At our law firm, our attorneys work together toward one goal for our clients: figuring out the best solution for their case and working hard to get it. They have been honored with designations such as being listed in Super Lawyers, Avvo “Superb” ratings and the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. They are some of the most dedicated and respected lawyers in North Carolina.
State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case..
In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.
State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed..
Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to an alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.
State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed..
After conducting an investigation and communicating with prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.
State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death..
Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.
State v. J.G.: .
Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.