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Wake County shoplifting defense lawyerUnder North Carolina law, any theft charge, no matter the value, is considered “larceny.” Charges of larceny, which fall under the criminal offense umbrella of property crimes, can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Convictions can result in stiff penalties such as community service, jail time, and hefty fines. One of the most troubling consequences of a conviction, however, is the subsequent criminal record, which can tarnish reputations and make securing employment difficult. 

Fortunately, there could be mitigating circumstances in your larceny case that reduce your chances of conviction. A criminal defense attorney can explain charges and possible penalties and help build an effective defense.

Two Types of Misdemeanor Larceny

Under the law of North Carolina, shoplifting or stealing merchandise from a retail store is divided into the following two categories. 

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What Is a Presentence Report?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Raleigh criminal defense lawyerIn some cases, a criminal cases, conviction is unavoidable no matter how good your attorney is. Pleading guilty is sometimes the best move, and trials are always a risk because juries can be wildly unpredictable. After you are convicted or plead guilty, your case moves into what is called the sentencing phase. During this time period, the court will consider a large amount of information to determine what the appropriate sentence might be.  

In some felony or high-level misdemeanor cases, the judge may order a probation officer to conduct what is called a presentence investigation. A lawyer can help you during this period by emphasizing the good facts and circumstances that might lead to a lighter sentence and contextualizing or explaining any issues that could lead to a harsher sentence. Preparing for this phase requires strong criminal defense skills. 

What Information Does a Presentence Investigation Cover?

The goal of a presentence investigation is to put your offense into context so that the court has all the information it needs to determine an appropriate sentence. When these investigations are ordered, they can be extremely important. A good presentence report can mean the difference between prison and probation for some people. Information about you that may be gathered during a presentence investigation includes your: 

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Raleigh criminal defense attorneyWhile everyone would like their criminal charges to be dismissed completely, or to be found not guilty, this is not always a realistic outcome. In some cases, there is overwhelming evidence, like when a crime is clearly captured by security cameras. In other cases, the risk of going to trial and being found guilty is intolerable to the defendant. In cases like these, the best course of action may be to accept a plea bargain. A plea bargain is essentially a deal worked out between a defendant, his lawyer, and the prosecutor. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor may offer reduced charges or reduced sentencing. Always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the situation before agreeing to a plea bargain. 

How Does the Plea-Bargaining Process Work?

Typically, the prosecutor makes the first offer to your attorney. This begins the negotiating process. If you have a victim, their opinion may be taken into consideration. You and your attorney will discuss each offer the prosecution makes. This is where having an experienced criminal defense lawyer really helps - they will have a better understanding of how fair or reasonable a given offer is. Eventually, your lawyer and the prosecutor will arrive at a “final offer.” Your options then are to take the final offer or go to trial. 

What Are Some Benefits of a Plea Bargain?

The advantage of trial is that there is always a chance - however slim - that you could be found not guilty, in which case you are free to go with no consequences and no record. The risk is that you could be found guilty even if you are not, in which case you could face harsh sentencing. 

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Wake County domestic violence charges attorneyThere is often much more than meets the eye in domestic violence cases. The classic narrative of an abusive man hitting his wife or girlfriend and going to jail for it simply does not reflect the reality in most contemporary domestic violence cases. Domestic violence most frequently occurs in the home, away from the prying eyes of potential neutral witnesses. Police often arrive to find a chaotic scene and very upset individuals. In the absence of obvious injuries, it can be quite difficult to figure out exactly what happened and who is primarily responsible for any violence that may or may not have occurred. If you are facing domestic violence charges, there are a few facts and considerations surrounding this charge that you should be aware of. 

What Should I Consider if I Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence?

Whether you are guilty or not, being charged with domestic violence has the potential to be a life-altering offense. Due to the not-always-accurate assumptions surrounding these cases, your career or educational opportunities could be affected. If you are up against this charge, you should be aware of these concerns: 

  • Self-defense - It is strikingly common for the victim of intimate partner abuse to be arrested while attempting to defend themselves. Abusers can be shockingly convincing when the police arrive. 
  • Family matters - The definition of domestic violence in North Carolina is not limited to violence between those who are currently in a romantic relationship. Violence between other close family or household members as well as former romantic partners can lead to domestic violence, rather than simple assault, being charged. 
  • False allegations - Allegations of domestic violence are often made during a contentious divorce or even a serious argument. These allegations are sometimes false, and made for the purpose of gaining the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings. 
  • Protection orders - After a domestic violence arrest, you may be served with a protection order, at or even in advance of your arraignment. This order will likely instruct you not to return to the premises where the alleged assault occurred or to contact the victim. In most cases, this means you cannot go home. It is very important that you obey this order - you do not want to be arrested a second time for violating it. Return to the premises only accompanied by the police to gather your personal items as the order instructs. 
  • Difficulty of dismissal - Even if the alleged victim wants to drop the charges, they may not have that choice. Prosecutors are very reluctant to dismiss domestic violence cases and may continue to prosecute these cases even over the victim’s objections. 

True domestic abuse is a very real problem in our society, across every socioeconomic level. However, domestic violation allegations do not always reflect the reality of your situation. If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important to secure strong legal representation. 

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shutterstock_608376650.jpgIt is reasonable to assume that you do not need to hire an attorney if you are not guilty of a crime. However, if you are suspected of engaging in criminal activity or you have been charged with a crime, it is important that you hire an attorney regardless of your innocence.  If you are required to appear in court, it is possible to represent yourself, should you wish to do so. Even though you have every right to self-represent, it is not advised that people facing criminal charges do so.  There are many reasons to hire a lawyer, even if you are not guilty of the charges you are facing. 

Charges Do Not Indicate Guilt 

Being charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty of the crime. It simply means you are suspected of the crime. 

The presumption of innocence is an integral part of the U.S. legal system. Even though innocent people often face criminal charges, they still need to defend themselves against the charges they are facing. 

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