What to Do After You are Charged With a Crime in North Carolina
Being charged with a crime is a stressful and overwhelming experience. Many people believe that after they are charged, all they can do is wait until their trial. However, the period of time between charges being made and your trial is the most impactful. This is the time when you have the most power to affect a positive outcome in your case. The following are some actions to take after you are charged with a crime in North Carolina. While this information is intended to be general, you are encouraged to contact Coastal South Law to schedule a consultation if you would like personalized feedback on your specific case.
Actions to Take After Charges Have Been Made
Talk to a Lawyer. The best thing you can do when you are facing criminal charges is to hire an attorney. Although you are guaranteed a public defender, these lawyers often do not have the time or resources to devote proper care and attention to your case. It is important to make sure that your case is being thoroughly handled. A well-connected and experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to reach a plea bargain with the prosecution to have your charges reduced, dismissed, or deferred. It is vital that your lawyer is actively working to procure the best possible outcome in your case. This means reviewing all evidence, including the chain of custody and all statements given, to find bases for dismissal and all possible affirmative defenses to the charges. If you are being charged with a felony, a lawyer may be able to have it reduced to a misdemeanor, which will have a far less detrimental impact on your life.
Understand the charges against you. A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you. However, you are also welcome to research them on your own. It is important to understand each element of the crime with which you are being charged. The state must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted. When you are looking at each element, consider evidence, defenses, and more that could create doubt or act as obstacles to allowing the state to prove it. It is also important to understand the potential penalties for the charges against you and whether there are any aggravating or mitigating factors present in your case.
Start making positive changes. If you have been charged with a crime, you do not have to wait until sentencing to start doing community service and making positive changes. In fact, the sooner you begin making positive life changes, the better it will bode for you at sentencing, assuming the case even goes to trial. If you have been charged with a DWI, enrolling in AA and getting a sponsor can demonstrate to the court that you are committed to making permanent and lasting changes. It can really work in your favor if you have a 90 day chip and the support of your sponsor by the time the case is reviewed by the court. Giving back to your community by doing community service, and beginning counseling to address underlying psychological issues that contributed to the crime also demonstrate a positive willingness to grow and change.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are facing criminal charges in North Carolina, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Coastal South Law and schedule a consultation today.