Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer In NC?

Here are some frequently asked questions you should answer before hiring an attorney to represent you in a criminal defense case.

  1. What fees are associated with hiring a criminal defense attorney?
  2. Should I be entirely honest with my defense attorney?
  3. How do I decide what criminal attorney to hire?
  4. Should I speak to an attorney even if I’m not sure I want to hire one?
  5. Do I need a criminal lawyer even if I’m innocent in NC?
  6. What is the difference between a state and federal crime?
  7. Can any lawyer represent a federal criminal case in NC?
  8. In a North Carolina DWI case should I just plead guilty?

 

  1. What fees are associated with hiring a criminal defense attorney?
    • Most NC attorneys will charge a flat fee and an up-front cost called a retainer. These costs could cover pretrial motions, post conviction hours, court costs/fines, superior court representation, and/or any other billable hours, among other things. It is important for you, the client, to ask an attorney upfront about which services are covered by the flat fee. At Manning Law Firm, we offer certain financing options for those who qualify. Click here to learn more.
  2. Should I be entirely honest with my defense attorney?
    • Yes. Attorneys are bound by attorney-client privilege, which bars them from revealing any information about your case to anyone – that includes other law enforcement personnel. Furthermore, it is critical that your attorney know every detail of your situation so he/she can properly prepare. Let your attorney decide which bits and pieces of your story are important. If the prosecution blindsides you at trial with a piece of information you didn’t reveal to your attorney, that could spell your fate. So always, always be entirely honest with your lawyer.
  3. How do I decide what criminal attorney to hire?
    • There are so many criminal defense attorneys out there. Before you select one, it’s helpful to sit down with 2 or 3 so you have options. In the initial consultation, judge the following:
      • Professionalism – Look for an attorney who carries themselves in a sharp, professional manner with etiquette and skill. If you don’t know what this looks like, suffice it to say that you will be able to recognize what it does not look like.
      • Relevant Experience – Read your attorney’s bio on his/her website to see how their years of experience practicing law. Moreover, make sure their experience is relevant to your case. If you are charged with DUI, you may not need an attorney with 15 years practicing tax law. If you cannot find an attorney’s website, you can search for them on www.avvo.com.
      • Sincerity – Facing criminal charges is a frightening, life-changing experience. A good attorney sympathizes with the client and shows compassion for your situation. Look for a lawyer who is sincere and shows care and understanding for your future; these are the attorneys you want fighting for you.
      • Dedication – In your initial meeting, ask the attorney how many staff members will be working on your case. The more resources an attorney dedicates to your case, the better chance you have of succeeding. This also reflects an attorney’s care for your future and his/her desire to succeed for you.
    • At the Manning Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate, all-hands-on-deck legal services with a personal touch. We understand the severity of your situation, and we bring every bit of our skill and experience to bear for your future.
  4. Should I speak to an attorney even if I’m not sure I want to hire one?
    • You may not need an attorney, but you won’t know for sure until you meet with one. Most attorneys in Raleigh, NC offer free initial consultations, so it costs you nothing at all to sit down and let him/her analyze your case. Most importantly, an attorney can help chart the outcome of your case and paint a better picture of what you are up against. At the very least, you will walk away with some direction and confidence. Simply put, if you’re in criminal trouble, call an attorney. The Manning Law Firm offers free consultations to all potential clients. Simply contact us today to schedule a time to come in and chat with us about your situation. We are always happy to help!
  5. Do I need a criminal lawyer even if I’m innocent in NC?
    • Yes. You were arrested because law enforcement believes you are guilty of something. If the Wake County District Attorney’s office believes you are guilty of something, it will bring all resources to bear in order to see justice done. Just because you are innocent does not mean that will automatically be apparent at trial. Remember: innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit every single day. So if you’ve been arrested in Wake County, call a criminal defense attorney.
  6. What is the difference between a state and federal crime?
    • State crimes are those which violate the laws that have been set by the North Carolina state legislature. Wake county is responsible for pressing charges and prosecuting individuals for violations of North Carolina state law. These cases are tried in North Carolina state courts.  Federal crimes are those which violate the laws set forth by the US government and US Congress. These crimes are investigated or charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and are prosecuted by the US Attorney on behalf of the United States government. Know that federal crimes are usually much more serious than state crimes because the penalties in the federal system are significantly higher than those at the state level.
  7. Can any lawyer represent a federal criminal case in NC?
    • Technically yes, but because fed crimes are much more serious and complicated, it’s advantageous to obtain a local NC attorney with specific experience litigating in federal courts. Be sure to check a lawyer’s bio and do your research online. Ask them about their relevant experience with federal law and make an assessment from there. Do not simply hire any attorney for a federal issue.The attorney’s at Manning Law Firm have had over 40 years of experience litigating cases in federal court. We have represented over 500 clients across a broad range of federal matters, each case adding to our wealth knowledge and experience with federal crimes. It is this kind of know-how you should look for in a federal crimes attorney.
  8. In a North Carolina DWI case should I just plead guilty?
    • No. NC has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country; either you’re convicted or exonerated, and usually no in between. That means it’s very unlikely the State will cut a deal or lessen your charge. In states like NC it is usually advised to bring your case to trial for a final decision.