Jacksonville Criminal & Family Law Attorneys
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Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Defense

What should I do if I am accused of a crime?

If you have been accused of a crime or think you might have a warrant out for your arrest, don’t panic, but do get in touch with a criminal attorney as soon as possible. While there probably is nothing you can do to make the new charge go away, there are some things you can do to make the situation easier. First, do not make any statements to the police or to anyone else about what happened. Remember that anything you say can be used against you in court later, so it is better to say nothing. Second, talk to a lawyer before you do anything else. They can help determine if you are really in trouble and how serious it might be. They can help advise you on how to deal with the police. They can help you get served and make sure that you don’t have to stay in jail afterwards. They can also start to create a defense strategy and help you identify what witnesses or other information would be helpful to your case later when it goes to court so you can start preparing your defense while the evidence is still fresh.

Will you go to jail for first time DWI in North Carolina?

Generally a first offense DWI does not carry a jail sentence. More typically a first-offender can expect to be given a suspended sentence with the requirement that they pay several hundred dollars in fines and court costs and perform community service. In rare cases a person may be looking at jail time if their first DWI involved some particularly bad circumstances such as a wreck that caused personal injuries or having minor children in the car when they were arrested for the DWI.

What is the legal limit for alcohol in North Carolina?

The legal limit in North Carolina is “.08”, which technically means .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. Note that it is possible to be charged with or convicted of a DWI even if you are below the legal limit, or if you don’t take a breath/blood test. It is also possible to get a DWI when you are impaired by other substances besides alcohol, even legal prescription medications.

Will you go to jail for a first offense misdemeanor?

Probably not. For most misdemeanors a person cannot be given a jail sentence for a first offense because the law does not allow it. For more serious offenses such as aggravated assaults and larcenies the law provides for the possibility of an active jail sentence, but it is fairly rare for a court to lock someone up for a misdemeanor conviction where they have no prior record. This does not mean that we don’t take misdemeanors seriously, as any type of criminal conviction can be harmful on your record even if you don’t go to jail.

When are you supposed to be read your Miranda Rights?

It is a common misconception that the police have to “read you your rights” when they arrest you. In fact they very often don’t read those rights when you get arrested, and in many cases a person is never informed of their Miranda rights. The police only have to “Mirandize” you if they plan on asking you questions after you have already been placed in custody. So if they want to question you before they arrest you, they don’t have to read your rights first. And if you are already under arrest and they don’t plan on asking you any more questions they also wouldn’t bother.

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