Misdemeanor Defense Attorney in Raleigh, NC
Have You Been Charged With A Misdemeanor in Wake County?
If you have been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor in Raleigh, NC or any part of Wake County, you may want to consider contacting a criminal defense lawyer. Misdemeanor charges, such as larceny, assault on female, marijuana possession, or a number of other crimes, should always be taken seriously. Convictions for misdemeanors in Wake County can range from community service & probation to incarceration (jail time). The sooner you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you, the better your chances of having a favorable outcome for your case.
John McWilliam Has The Experience You Want To Defend You
John McWilliam has been defending the accused in Raleigh, NC and the rest of Wake County since 1993. Having an affordable, reliable and experienced lawyer on your side during a misdemeanor case. Being convicted of a misdemeanor can have long lasting effects on many things in your life, or the life of a child who has been arrested for something as seemingly simple as underage drinking. Having these charges on your record can impact your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, and college admissions departments generally look unfavorably on criminal charges.
John McWilliam knows how to help you navigate the court system in Wake County, he understands the different programs and negotiation tactics that can help you get the most favorable outcome for your case. If you are looking for a lawyer, fill out a contact form or call us at 919-772-4000 and set up a free consultation. We’ll learn more about your case and figure out the best way to defend you.
John McWilliam Misdemeanor Defense Background
Misdemeanors comprise more than 80 percent of all crimes charged in North Carolina. Although they are the lower of the two levels of crime, misdemeanors are still crimes; they still go on a record; they still expose people to jail-time. Certain speeding offenses are misdemeanors and so is Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer: One carries a punishment of 150 days in jail; the other doesn’t.
Misdemeanors in North Carolina used to be defined as a crime that was punishable by no more than two years active time, but under the then-existing “Fair Sentencing” law , all active sentences were automatically cut in half and the defendant could reduce his active sentence further by behaving himself and doing certain things while incarcerated. In 1994, the legislature enacted the Structured Sentencing Law that reclassified misdemeanors into four separate categories – with the highest class, Class A1 misdemeanors, carrying a maximum active sentence of 150 days – day-for day. No cutting in half; no gain time; no good time. Under Fair Sentencing, DWLR (Driving While License Revoked) carried a maximum sentence of two years active and a mandatory fine of $200; under Structured Sentencing, it carried a maximum sentence of 120 days active; recent changes to the DWLR laws have declared some DWLR’s to be non-moving violations.
On the other end of the scale, DWI’s are now punishable by up to 3 years in prison – and are still misdemeanors. Interestingly, habitual DWi – a felony – now carries less time than the top sentencing level for misdemeanor DWI.
John McWilliam goes to court every morning and afternoon five days a week and handles anywhere from seven or eight to 20 – 25 misdemeanors per day. From DWI to Simple Assault, from Assault on a Female to Possession of Marijuana, from Larceny to Driving While License Revoked, McWilliam approaches every case in the same way: “how can I get my client out of this charge?” And only if he determines that the state actually can prove its case, does he negotiate.
And there are times he tries cases even when the State can prove its case in an effort to distract, deflect or confuse the State’s witness or the DA to secure a verdict of not guilty (a DWI defendant who is found to be asleep and drunk in a running car, parked in a parking lot, but is never identified as sitting in the driver’s seat (which she was) will be found not guilty … all because the DA didn’t elicit that important little piece of information. You can’t win a case if you don’t try a case).
DA’s know that McWilliam has an every-case-is-for-trial attitude and he backs it up. As a result, when he’s forced to negotiate, he secures favorable plea offers. Similarly, since misdemeanors that the Defendant loses can be appealed to Superior Court for a trial before a jury and McWilliam’s experience and enjoyment in trying cases in front of a jury, DA’s (and judges) know that if he loses, he’s probably going to appeal and make the State go through the whole ordeal again in Superior Court.