Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about a Guilford County legal issue? We have answers! Below are a few frequently asked questions, but we hope you will contact us to discuss your legal matter. We put our extensive experience, as an Attorney and former Judge, to work for you in handling your legal problems.
When you first appear in court, you will be asked whether you want to represent yourself, hire your own attorney, or (if you cannot afford an attorney) have the court appoint the public defender’s office to represent you. (However, some low level offenses do not qualify for a court-appointed attorney.) With any criminal charge, there are many factors that can affect the outcome of your case. You should seriously consider having legal representation; whether you hire your own attorney or have the court appoint one to represent you. The consequences of not having sound legal advice about the issues and options in your case can have an unwanted negative impact on your future.
Yes, an attorney in the Public Defender’s office is just as good as a private attorney. We have an excellent Public Defender’s office in Guilford County. They are some of the hardest working attorneys around, especially in light of their massive case load. They operate under the same ethical duty as every other attorney, which is to zealously represent the legal interest of their clients. If there are any differences in having a private attorney represent you, it may be the luxury of spending more time with each client discussing the facts of the case and options available. We try to provide that extra one-on-one contact to help guide you through the process.
It is possible to handle your divorce without an attorney; however, there are several things to consider before doing so.
- Filing the proper paperwork. There are procedures for filing a divorce case, including having the right information provided in the paperwork. Not having the correct information and forms can result in delays or a dismissal of the divorce case.
- Serving the other party. Before the divorce can go forward, the lawsuit has to be properly served on the spouse. This can often be difficult because there are specific rules to follow and sometimes the spouse’s whereabouts are unknown.
- Waiving your other rights. When filing for a divorce, there are certain rights that may be waived if not included in the divorce pleading. You will not be able to have the divorce court address your property rights, including house, money, or personal items.
These are just a few areas where people often make mistakes and why you should have an attorney involved. You may end up spending more money and time trying to handle the matter yourself, than if you had hired an attorney to handle it for you. At a bare minimum, you should have a consultation with an attorney to fully understand your rights.
North Carolina provides a website where you can find your court date for criminal and traffic cases, which can be accessed here. However, there are times when your case may not show for different reasons. Sometimes, the case hasn’t been put in the system, yet, or an officer has not turned in the citation, or the court date has already passed. The website is a helpful tool, but it may not provide all the information you need. Contacting an attorney will give you peace of mind in knowing why a case does not appear; particularly, if you missed a court date and may have an Order pending for your Arrest.
Failing to appear in court can have serious consequences, including a possible Order for Arrest, a $200.00 fee added on top of any court costs, and a suspension of driving privileges. An attorney can work with you to resolve the matter; many times avoiding the negative consequences from missing court. It is important to address the issue as quickly as possible, as timing is critical in obtaining the best outcome.
A Prayer for Judgment (PJC) is more formally called “Prayer for Judgment Continued.” Depending on several factors, when a defendant pleads guilty, or is found guilty, the judge may decide not to enter a final judgment. Sounds great, right?
Well, it’s not that simple. The court is not allowed to grant a PJC for certain offenses and PJCs may be treated like convictions in other matters. You may, also, be limited on how many you can have before experiencing other negative effects. Before seeking a PJC, contact us to see if this is the right choice in your case or if there may even better options available.
In North Carolina a juvenile is someone under the age of 18 who is not married, emancipated, or in the military; but, for juvenile court, not all cases fit neatly into that definition.
In the civil context of juvenile court, matters involving child welfare are heard, including abuse, neglect, dependency and adoption. The court hearing these cases has jurisdiction over a juvenile until their 18th birthday.
In the “criminal” context (though not considered criminal cases), it gets a little more complicated. In this court, cases are heard involving delinquent juveniles (cases where the act would be considered a crime if carried out by an adult) and undisciplined juveniles (like runaways). Before December 1, 2019, when North Carolina’s “Raise The Age” law went into effect, anyone 16 years or older charged with a criminal offense was treated as an adult and their case was handled in adult court. Under the new law, juvenile court has jurisdiction over someone alleged to have committed a criminal act from age 6 up until their 18th birthday. There are some exceptions, though. For instance, 16 and 17 year olds charged with traffic offenses and violent felonies will still go directly to adult court. Other felonies, although they may begin in juvenile court, may get transferred to adult court. Once under the jurisdiction of juvenile court in this context, the court may retain jurisdiction at times until 20 years of age, while supervising the juvenile under probation or support services.
Yes, there are several ways to dispose of a Speeding Ticket in Guilford County, North Carolina (including Greensboro, NC and High Point, NC). Depending on the speed charged on the traffic ticket, and depending on the driving record, an attorney can negotiate with the district attorney’s office to obtain a dismissal, reduction of the speed, or a possibly a non-moving violation that would not cause any points to go against the license or insurance. We would be happy to speak with you about your case to see what options may be available, given your particular set of facts. Please call today: (336) 389-1211.