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Common Criminal Defense Questions, Answered

If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s important to learn what you’re up against and to understand your rights and legal options. On this page, we’ve answered some of the most common criminal defense questions we receive from prospective clients. But because there is no substitute for case-specific advice, we invite you to contact Farris & Thomas Law to get answers to your own questions during an initial consultation.

What happens if I refuse to participate in field sobriety tests and refuse a breathalyzer?

You can refuse to take field sobriety tests without penalty. You can also refuse the portable breath test, which is the one administered in the field (wherever you got pulled over).

If the officer arrests you on suspicion of DUI/DWI and takes you to the police station, you will be asked to submit to a breath or blood test using equipment that is more accurate than portable devices. You can refuse this test, but not without consequences. Under North Carolina’s implied consent law, your driver’s license will be revoked for a year for refusing the post-arrest test.

Which aspects of a DUI/DWI case can be challenged?

There are many possible points of contention, as mentioned on our drunk driving defense page. You can challenge whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place, or whether they had probable cause to arrest you. We can also help you determine if the officer made a mistake or deviated from protocol when administering field sobriety tests or breath tests. We can sometimes even challenge the accuracy of the testing equipment.

The bottom line is simple: Don’t decide you are out of options before consulting an experienced attorney.

Why was I charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver (PWISD) even though the drugs were for personal use?

In drug cases, prosecutors often try to charge as heavily as possible, usually in an attempt to scare defendants into taking a plea deal. Therefore, what should have been a charge of possession of a controlled substance can easily get upgraded to a PWISD charge.

The sentence associated with the latter charge is more severe, but it also means that the state has a more difficult case to prove. Whether you are completely innocent or believe you’ve been overcharged, it is wise to seek the help of a knowledgeable defense attorney who will look for holes or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Do I have any defense options if the police discovered drugs after searching me, my home or my vehicle?

It is quite possible that you do have defense options. As just one example, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects each of us against unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement. That typically means police must obtain a search warrant or otherwise have probable cause to conduct a search – particularly a search of your home. If they don’t have a warrant or probable cause, we can petition the court to suppress any evidence obtained during the illegal search, meaning it cannot be used to convict you.

Is it worth hiring a defense attorney, even if I plan to plead guilty?

Your freedom and your rights are at stake, which is reason enough to hire an attorney. In terms of impacting the outcome of your case, an experienced defense attorney can make a significant difference. After speaking with an attorney, you may discover that you have other reasonable options besides pleading guilty.

Even if you do eventually decide to take a plea deal, a skilled attorney like those at our firm can often negotiate a far more favorable deal than the one prosecutors will initially offer. Hiring a lawyer isn’t always about acquittal or conviction. It is often about finding a way to resolve your charges in a manner that minimizes the consequences.

Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Case With An Attorney

From our office in Wilson, Farris & Thomas Law serves clients throughout the surrounding areas of North Carolina. To discuss your charges and learn how we can help, contact us online or call 252-787-4463 to schedule an initial consultation.