If you’re facing a criminal offense, whether felony or misdemeanor charges, it’s understandable you might be anxious. The consequences of a conviction can be long-lasting and severe, making it hard to find and keep a good job. That’s especially true for larceny, crimes of “theft or dishonesty” and drug charges.
As such, it makes sense to try to avoid a conviction if at all possible. Charlotte criminal defense lawyers do more than review discovery, take cases to trial, or argue motions. Indeed, a substantial part of our job is to consider options to avoid litigation and a criminal conviction by negotiating with the State (the District Attorney assigned to the matter).
There are several different types of programs that may provide the opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction and therefore a criminal record in North Carolina. They include things like Conditional Discharge, Drug Treatment Court, and Deferred Prosecution. In Charlotte, there may be additional options available, depending on the type of criminal charges and your prior criminal history.
Your defense attorney may also be able to provide helpful information about other deferral programs potentially available to minors under 18 years old, veterans with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, and even offenders with a history mental illness. They may include a type of probation or probationary period where the charges are dismissed after pleading guilty.
Can I have my charges expunged?
Due to relatively recent changes to the criminal laws in North Carolina, expunctions and getting charges expunged has become considerably easier. While not guaranteed in every instance, there may be options available depending on the type of criminal charges and criminal record, if any. To be clear, there are some criminal charges in North Carolina that can NOT be expunged.
Of course, obtaining an expunction and expungement of criminal records assumes a dismissal, which may not be possible due to the factual basis of the arrest or even subject to some sort of diversionary program or deferred prosecution. Defense attorneys often negotiate the terms and conditions of a diversionary program. The State (through the Assistant District Attorney or “DA”) are given a wide amount of discretion in the specifics of any agreement or guilty plea.
What is Deferred Prosecution NC?
Normally your defense lawyer negotiates a deferred prosecution agreement with the ADA, which may include conditions such as community service, a substance abuse assessment, drug treatment, and maybe even drug court in Charlotte. Assuming the conditions are met, the State will dismiss the charges. Assuming the court agrees to the deferred prosecution agreement, there may be a period of probation of up to 2 years. During that probationary period, the person on “deferred prosecution” is subject to something called community supervision.
Certain misdemeanor charges and even a Class H and Class I felony may be eligible for deferred prosecution. There may be a written agreement for deferred prosecution, which is signed-off by the District Attorney and your defense attorney. It may include conditions such as:
- Alleged victims of a crime are notified of probation and agreements regarding a deferral or deferred prosecution
- You cannot have a prior conviction for a misdemeanor or felony charge involving a crime of dishonesty or moral turpitude
- No prior probation or probationary sentence
- The Judge makes a determination that the person facing criminal charges is not likely to commit another criminal offense
- You have not previously been put on probation
Deferred prosecution and the terms to obtain a dismissal of charges may vary between people. The key is that once placed on deferred, you must stay out of trouble and not get charged with new criminal offenses during the period of probation. Probation for deferred prosecution may include supervised probation in North Carolina, which mandates supervision by a probation officer (through the North Carolina Department of Public Safety: Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice).
Conditions of probation may include drug testing (random drug testing), substance abuse assessment and treatment, counseling, psychiatric care, community service, maintain employment, attend school and obtain a GED, report to a probation officer, be of good behavior, etc.
Call Bill Powers – Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Charlotte NC or one of the surrounding judicial districts of Monroe NC in Union County, Statesville in Iredell County, or in Gaston County, call us. We’re here to help.
We offer a FREE CONSULTATION for criminal charges and DUI in North Carolina. Call NOW: 704-342-4357