In North Carolina, felonies and most misdemeanors are subject to structured sentencing laws. Since 1994, sentences in criminal matters have been determined by a formula which takes into account the severity of the offense and the prior criminal record of the individual. Depending on the crime charged, and a person’s prior record, the law may mandate a particular punishment, such as an active prison sentence or a probationary sentence. In other situations, the law gives a judge the discretion to set the appropriate sentence. Thus it is important to know exactly what you are facing prior to going into a court and engaging in the criminal process.
First, you should fully understand the charge lodged against you. An experienced attorney can explain the parts, or elements, of the charge and determine whether the facts are sufficient to support that particular charge, a lesser charge, or no charge at all. Second, you should understand the potential legal consequences of your case. Your attorney can explain where your case fits within North Carolina’s structured sentencing laws and give you some idea of possible sanctions. Finally, you should understand the strength of the evidence in order to make an informed decision of how to proceed. After reviewing the evidence and the law, your attorney can advise you of the relative strength of the State’s case and give you the information necessary to decide whether to enter a plea, take the case to trial, or seek some alternative relief.
Contact Walker & Bullard, P.A. for more information or to schedule a consultation. In addition to our Gibsonville office, you may also schedule a consultation at our Burlington office conveniently located in downtown Burlington at 804 South Church Street.