Every individual charged with a crime should be presumed innocent unless they are otherwise proven to be guilty beyond any doubt. Unfortunately, those accused of more severe crimes, such as domestic violence or sexual assault, are treated like criminals from the moment they are accused. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, no matter what the circumstances of your case are, you deserve a fair trial and compassionate, judgment-free legal counsel.
Criminal charges have the potential to severely impact the future job opportunities and educational pursuits of those convicted, in addition to the social stigma that can have a negative effect on an individual’s reputation and relationships. If you are facing criminal charges, it is highly recommended that you speak to a Cramerton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
When it comes to choosing a qualified criminal defense lawyer, it is highly recommended you look for an attorney with criminal defense experience relevant to your case. Brent D. Ratchford and his team at The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford have been defending clients in the Cramerton area accused of a wide range of criminal offenses for more than 25 years. He knows the local and state legal system and community extremely well and has built a strong reputation with the Gaston County judges for being a leader in providing effective defense.
Brent D. Ratchford never neglects to remember what is at stake with each and every case. He knows the stigmatization you face and the potential penalties for a conviction. This is why he works directly with each and every client he takes on and does not shy away from even the most difficult and complex cases. The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford can work diligently to dismiss or reduce any and all charges whenever possible and can fight for the most favorable outcome in your case.
In North Carolina, any offense that is in violation of a local or state law constitutes a crime and is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Some crimes are automatically categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony, but other violations will vary depending on the severity of the offense and the nature of the crime.
For example, threatening physical harm against another individual constitutes a misdemeanor assault charge. Inflicting serious bodily injury on another person, however, constitutes a felony assault charge. Penalties for a misdemeanor are significantly less than those for a felony. Where a felony carries a minimum of 12 months in a state or federal prison and can be charged with up to a life sentence, a misdemeanor comes with a maximum of 150 days in a county jail. Depending on the details of your case, a skilled attorney can, in many instances, argue to have felony charges reduced to misdemeanor charges.
North Carolina state criminal law encompasses many different criminal acts. Some of the most common crimes include:
Some crimes are considered violent crimes by law and carry more serious penalties as a result, such as harsher prison time, fines, and rehabilitation. These include, but are not limited to, assault, domestic violence, drug trafficking, murder, sexual assault, and other sex crimes.
Additionally, North Carolina has a “three strikes” rule that identifies individuals with repeat convictions as “habitual felons.” According to the rule, once an individual has been convicted of three or more felonies within the state, they will face increased prison time and heavier fines.
While every individual can, if they choose, represent themselves in defending their case, this is highly inadvisable, as it increases the risks of conviction due to inexperience in the complex legal system. Rather, every person in the United States maintains the right to a defense attorney. It is the job of a defense attorney to provide a thorough defense of those accused of a crime by:
While everyone has the right to legal representation, not everyone can afford an attorney. In those cases, the court will appoint an attorney for you. The justice system in the United States has three different types of defense attorneys. Depending on the method by which they are hired, they are differentiated as follows:
Public defenders and court-appointed attorneys are both licensed and highly capable attorneys. However, for the most comprehensive and individualized representation, hiring a private criminal defense attorney, like those at The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford, is the most advisable way to go.
A defense lawyer fights for the rights of the defendant, who is the one accused of committing a crime. Everyone deserves a right to a fair trial, no matter what the charges against them are. Unfortunately, many of those accused of severe criminal actions are often assumed to be guilty. A defense lawyer will examine evidence, review case details, interview witnesses, and develop a defense strategy most appropriate to the specifics of each case to fairly defend each client.
In North Carolina, charges can be dropped if the evidence used to bring the charges against you is found to be insufficient or illegally obtained. Often, a skilled criminal defense lawyer is able to successfully motion to have a case dismissed due to illegal procedures on the part of the police. In most cases, if there is not enough evidence to sustain the charges, the case will be dismissed and the charges dropped.
Self-defense is the most commonly used defense to assault charges in North Carolina. State law allows an individual to protect themselves and others from assault or battery from another individual or group. However, the application of self-defense is limited to the force necessary to prevent harm or injury and must fall within a reasonable amount of force to qualify. Excessive use of force, even in self-defense, will be liable to separate assault charges being brought against you.
Yes, any felony has the potential to be reduced to a misdemeanor if the facts of the case determine that lower charges are more appropriate. Often, experienced criminal defense lawyers will work hard to have their client’s charges reduced wherever possible if it is not possible to have them dismissed altogether. Because misdemeanors carry far less severe penalties, this is a much more favorable outcome than receiving a felony conviction. Facts will determine whether charges can be reduced.
However minor or severe the criminal charges against you are, it is important that you speak with a qualified and skilled defense attorney right away. From the start, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can walk with you through every procedure, providing counsel and dedicated, personal attention to your case. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford offer a judgment-free approach to your case. To learn more and to begin mounting an effective defense for your case, contact our office today.