North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the most stressful ways that you might encounter the North Carolina legal system is to be charged with a crime. You find yourself in handcuffs over a mistake or a momentary lapse in judgment — or over something you didn’t do at all.

You may be scared that you’ll go to jail or lose your job and don’t know how you’re going to fight the power that the government wields in a prosecution. It’s important to know that you don’t have to be in this alone. A good North Carolina criminal lawyer who knows the local courts in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett counties can fight to protect your rights and your freedom and make sure your side of the story is heard.

Consequences of Criminal Conviction Jonathan Breeden is an attorney with more than 20 years of experience defending people accused of crimes throughout North Carolina, including Clayton, Garner, Angier, Raleigh, and Smithfield. He is passionate about providing aggressive representation for good people who fall into bad circumstances, such as being charged with DWI, traffic offenses, drug possession, theft, or other crimes.

Jonathan understands that the path to a criminal charge often involves circumstances beyond your control — and that sometimes investigators draw the wrong conclusion from evidence and charge people who are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused. He is committed to defending your constitutional rights and fighting to get the best possible result for your North Carolina criminal charge.

To find out how hiring a criminal defense lawyer can help, call (919) 661-4970 for a consultation.

Fighting Your Criminal Charge

When you’re charged with a crime, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime in order to convict you. Prosecutions are based on evidence and witness testimony, but any piece of evidence or story told by a witness can be subject to multiple interpretations.

Jonathan Breeden is a tenacious criminal defense attorney who will dig into the evidence and testimony in your case and challenge the interpretations made by police and prosecutors. When there is more than one way to look at a piece of evidence, or if a witness’s account has holes or inconsistencies, then Jonathan will use that to convince prosecutors, a judge, or the jury that reasonable doubt exists.

Additionally, Jonathan knows that police sometimes make mistakes during investigations that can violate your constitutional rights. It may be that evidence was found during an unlawful search, or that police failed to advise you of your rights when you were arrested. Jonathan will scrutinize the investigation process to look for ways your rights may have been violated and argue that evidence obtained through unlawful means should not be used against you in court. When key evidence becomes inadmissible, your charge may be dismissed or reduced.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Charged with a Crime?

Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

Whether it’s a simple misdemeanor or a more serious felony offense, a criminal conviction can have serious long-term consequences. Some of the effects of a conviction can include:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Expensive fines and court fees
  • Probation
  • A requirement to complete alcohol or substance abuse treatment
  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • A permanent criminal record that affects your ability to get a job or rent a place to live
  • Loss or denial of a professional license, such as you would need to work as a lawyer, doctor, nurse, teacher, pharmacist, or other type of licensed professional
  • Effects on your immigration status, including loss of your visa or green card, denial of your citizenship application, or even deportation

However, with the help of a skilled North Carolina criminal lawyer such as Jonathan Breeden, there may be hope that your charge can be dismissed or reduced so that you don’t have to suffer the lifelong effects of a conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid jail time or other negative consequences.

North Carolina Criminal Court Process

The criminal process is not as simple or clear-cut as it appears on TV. From being released on bail to negotiating a plea bargain, the criminal court process in North Carolina can be complicated and confusing.

With experience working in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett counties, North Carolina criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Breeden can guide you through every step and pursue the best possible outcome.

Being Arrested and Making Bail

When making an arrest, officers are required to adhere to several regulations. First, in order justify an arrest, they must suspect that a crime is being committed. This is known as probable cause. For example, if a driver is pulled over under suspicion of a DUI, the officer might decide to make an arrest when the driver fails certain roadside tests.

Once the arrest is underway, police must also make sure that you understand your Miranda rights. The two most notable are the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

In North Carolina, those who have been accused of a crime are typically released after their arrest while they await their day in court. However, the accused must sign a consent form that ensures they will show up for a later court date.

The only exception to this rule is when a serious felony, such as murder, has allegedly been committed. If for whatever reason, a person is not released on bail, a bail amount will be set within 48 hours. In most cases, bail is determined by a judge or a court magistrate.

Arraignment and Negotiating a Plea Bargain

After being released from police custody or before if you have not made bail or bail is being set by a Judge, the accused is required to attend an informal hearing known as a first appearance. This court appearance starts with the criminal complaint being read aloud.

If the crime in question is a misdemeanor, and you are out on bail then there is no first appearance. Their first appearance is to make sure the accused understands the charges against them and to inquire as to whether they would like a court-appointed attorney.

Countless courtroom dramas portray the criminal court process as an endless and dramatic battle; a flurry of speeches, accusations, and emotional outbursts from each side.

In reality, however, very few cases make it to trial. Most are settled when both parties get together to negotiate a plea bargain. This agreement involves the accused agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges or a reduced sentence. Many plea bargains involve a probationary period as a substitute for incarceration.

Trial and Sentencing

In some cases, an agreeable plea agreement cannot be arranged. When this happens, both sides are required to make their case in trial. Most trials begin with opening arguments from each side. The prosecution will outline the evidence they are going to present and go on to say that the jury should find the defendant guilty.

The defense, however, uses this time to point out holes in the prosecution’s case. They may also provide reasons as to why their client could not possibly be guilty. From there, both sides take turns presenting evidence and questioning witnesses. This includes cross-examination.

Can I Appeal a Criminal Conviction?

Criminal Charges We Handle

Jonathan Breeden can handle a variety of North Carolina criminal offenses, including:

  • DWI – Driving under the influence is charged in North Carolina as “DWI.” A DWI charge can have serious consequences for your driver’s license and your career. Learn more about DWI charges in North Carolina, possible consequences of a conviction, and how Jonathan Breeden can help.
  • Weapons Attorney – Illegally possessing a handgun or other weapon, carrying a firearm in a prohibited area, and failing to obtain the proper permit are all examples of weapons crimes that attorney Jonathan Breeden can help you understand and fight. Call Breeden Law Office today for more information.
  • Speeding Tickets & Other Traffic Offenses – Even a minor traffic offense such as speeding can have unexpected effects on your life, and some traffic violations can actually be crimes. There are many reasons why it’s beneficial to hire a traffic defense attorney if you’ve been cited for speeding, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, or other moving violations.
  • Drug Charges – Drug charges are among the most commonly prosecuted crimes in North Carolina. There are many reasons someone might end up charged with a drug offense, including addiction or falling in with the wrong crowd. Learn more about North Carolina drug charges, possible penalties, and what Jonathan Breeden will do to get you the result and the help that you need.
  • Sex Offenses – A sex offense conviction will follow you for the rest of your life. Many are felonies and require that you register as a sex offender, which means that information about your conviction is available to the public. Learn more about the harsh punishments for sex offenses in North Carolina and why you need a skilled North Carolina criminal attorney to fight your charge.
  • Juvenile Offenses – Teenagers can be volatile and get into trouble for any number of reasons, putting their futures at risk and creating stress for their entire families. Juvenile offenses are treated somewhat differently than adult offenses, and outcomes are designed to help set wayward juveniles back on a path toward a positive future. Learn more about how the juvenile justice system works in North Carolina.
  • Theft Attorney – The term theft includes a wide range of possible criminal actions that may lead to charges, from simple shoplifting to embezzling millions. Learn more about how theft charges are prosecuted in North Carolina and your legal options for fighting your charge.
  • Assault & Battery – The various forms of assault are serious offenses in North Carolina. Learn more about North Carolina assault charges, possible penalties, and how Jonathan Breeden can help protect your freedom.
  • Confidential Informants – There are several legalities surrounding confidential informants and their place in the criminal justice process. Call a North Carolina criminal lawyer today if you think this may be an option for you.
  • Student Crimes – When a college student is charged with a crime such as underage drinking or using a fake ID, the student may face discipline at school in addition to possible criminal penalties. It’s crucial to a student’s future to have the help of a qualified North Carolina criminal attorney to fight the charge and avoid or minimize the consequences of a conviction.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being charged with a crime can certainly be frightening and disorienting. Beyond the fear and stress associated with being arrested, you may be worried about the penalties you could face upon conviction.

While all crimes carry different consequences, most can result in huge fines, probation, and even time spent in jail or prison. North Carolina criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Breeden has spent years fighting for the good people of Johnston, Wake, and Harnett counties. With several areas of focus and considerable experience, he can give you the best chance of avoiding these consequences.

Why Hire a Lawyer to Represent you?

When it comes to capable criminal defense attorneys, only a select few have what it takes to achieve the best possible result in your case. When trying to find the right lawyer, there are several criteria that they should meet. A lawyer with the appropriate experience, skills, and legal knowledge should be able to do the following:

  • Work to reduce your charge to a lesser offense. For example, if you are being charged with a DUI, a skilled attorney may be able to get your charges reduced to reckless driving.
  • Help you avoid the harshest penalties if a conviction is unavoidable. In sex crime cases, a competent lawyer may be able to eliminate the consequence of sex offender registration.
  • Construct an effective defense by anticipating the prosecution’s strategy. If you are being accused of assault, it may be possible to prove that you were falsely identified.
  • Completely eliminate the possibility of jail time. While time behind bars is a standard penalty for many crimes, presenting the case in a positive light can result in a lenient sentence.

The lawyer you choose to represent you in court should also be very familiar with the crime you are being accused of. Legal defenses vary based on crime, and it is impossible to select the right strategy without past experience. When hiring legal representation, it is important to consider the communities that they commonly serve. For example, if your trial is being held in Johnston County, you need a lawyer who understands the procedures and nuances, specific to that area.

Questions to Ask Your Lawyer

If you are being charged with a crime, you must act quickly. Failing to obtain capable legal representation in a timely manner can result in being assigned a public defender for your trial.

These attorneys are often swamped with cases; they may only have a matter of minutes to review your case before it is taken to court. While you should use your time efficiently, it is important to screen the lawyers you meet so that you can be sure of their qualifications.

When conferring with defense attorneys, you should ask questions that include, but are not limited to:

  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • Where did you receive your education?
  • If I were to hire you, how often would I be able to meet with you?
  • How frequently do you negotiate plea agreements?
  • Have you had successful outcomes with cases like mine in the past?
  • How would describe your relationship with the prosecutors in my area?

How Breeden Law Office Can Help

If you have been accused of a crime, you may feel as if you are being treated unfairly. Perhaps you have been falsely accused, and those you have interacted do not believe your side of the story.

You might also be worried about what could happen if you are sent to jail. You might lose your job, and the relationships with your loved ones may be negatively affected.

North Carolina criminal defense attorney Jonathan Breeden has years of experience in helping good people avoid the consequences of criminal convictions. With intimate knowledge of how Johnston, Wake, and Harnett County handle criminal cases, he will create a strategy that aligns with securing the best possible result.


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