What is an Attorney?
Wikipedia has a simple attorney at law definition, which is taken from Black’s Law
Dictionary, the standard used by almost every attorney in America:
An attorney or lawyer is a person who practices law, as an advocate, barrister, attorney, counselor, solicitor, not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary.
The practice of law in the USA is REGULATED by licensing to assure that anyone permitted to advise another person on critical law issues has achieved a basic skill level. Legal training is normally achieved through years of education at a school of law, after which the advanced degree of Juris Doctorate or "JD" is awarded. Lawyers are not referred to as doctors.
Acting as an attorney for others, without being licensed, is a crime in every state. Upon graduating law school, attorneys must normally take and earn a passing grade on a Bar examination within a particular state.
As is the case with many legal issues, there may be important exceptions to the general rule. For example, some states allow law students to take the Bar before graduation. Other states may allow graduates of an in-state law school to practice law without taking a bar exam. There are also other important requirements regarding a lawyer’s character and fitness to practice law.
Lawyers in North Carolina are required to attend law school and pass a Bar examination or meet other requirements to practice law by way of comity.
The education and state Bar testing is a process somewhat like medical training and admission to practice for doctors. Physicians attend medical school, complete their internships, meet a residency requirement, and take State boards - before being allowed to “practice” in a state.
Each separate jurisdiction regulates licenses being issued to doctors. With both professions, the added criteria for obtaining clients or patients is experience, reputation, and professional credentials.What is Criminal Law in North Carolina?
If you or a loved one are facing charges for NC criminal offenses, you may have Googled the search phrase “criminal attorney near me.” Studies show that many people hire an attorney at law within 30 miles of their court location, so the Internet has become an important tool for starting the criminal lawyer search process.
The criminal defense lawyers at our Charlotte NC law office help people throughout North Carolina with serious criminal charges like murder and manslaughter. It just depends on the client, the type of criminal allegations, and what type of legal representation is needed. We're here to help.
Criminal law in North Carolina refers to legal matters associated with the criminal justice system, which generally includes at least the potential for incarceration (jail or prison), as part of the case resolution.
While most Carolina attorneys do not practice criminal law, those who do are generally known as criminal defense attorneys.
Charlotte NC criminal attorney Bill Powers is a Criminal Law Specialist who is Board-Certified National Board of Trial Advocacy/National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.
The terms Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense Lawyer mean different things to different people. Frankly, it’s not uncommon for some people to confuse the role of a lawyer in defending a person accused of a crime in North Carolina. The information on our website is intended to help explain in basic terms what a criminal defense attorney does, and how criminal lawyers approach providing legal advice and services to those in need.
The legal system in North Carolina can be complicated and therefore confusing at times. That's why it makes sense to talk to a criminal defense lawyer, in person, if you have specific questions about your criminal charges in NC. It's important to remember that each case and each client is different.
It may help to first define what the term criminal defense actually means. The more you know about legal matters, prior to calling our law office, the smoother and faster the process will be to begin your defense. Hopefully this information will enable you to make better choices about a Charlotte criminal lawyer, before you rely too much on a generic search for a “criminal defense attorney near me.”How is Criminal Defense Different from Civil Law Matters?
Criminal defense is a term that covers a broad practice area for lawyers. The two major divides in the legal profession are CIVIL and CRIMINAL. Criminal law normally means situations where a person is charged with something as simple as a traffic offense (which is normally a misdemeanor or infraction in North Carolina) or any other misdemeanor or felony crime. This pending charge can be anything from assault to murder. Most other legal matters are non-criminal and are therefore lumped into the category “civil law.”
The law offices of Powers Landreth PLLC can first begin to help by providing you with criminal lawyer information. Our firm DEFENDS people in criminal cases.
We do not prosecute criminal charges in NC.
The Prosecutor is the government’s lawyer. They decide whether it is appropriate to prosecute or to try to obtain a conviction against you. Prosecutors generally work for either the State of North Carolina or on behalf of the Federal Government. Prosecutors for "the State" seek convictions for North Carolina criminal charges and are handled through the Office of the District Attorney.
Prosecutors for federal criminal charges seek convictions on behalf of the United States of America and are handled through the United States Attorneys Office as a part of the US Department of Justice in federal court.
Our criminal law attorneys have extensive experience helping people facing criminal charges. It doesn't matter whether it's a felony vs. misdemeanor. Our law office here to help with your criminal charges in North Carolina and South Carolina.**
Our law firm’s Charlotte attorneys recognize this might be your first time you’re facing legal problems. After all, no one plans to be arrested and charged with a crime.What Do Criminal Lawyers Do?
At the outset of a criminal case, our lawyers’ role as defense attorneys is to explain to people accused of crimes what North Carolina laws prohibit (as far as crimes in the Tar Heel state).
The initial consultation (which is free) is designed to provide people charged with criminal cases helpful information, legal insights, and answers. We want to help reduce your fear, anxiety, and trepidation. It's entirely normal, if not expected, for someone facing serious criminal charges to be anxious about what will happen next.
When hired to defend a person, we carefully consider every available defense strategy and technique learned from years of experience in defending criminal cases in North Carolina courts. In short, our lawyers for criminal defense will do everything possible to help our clients understand a sometimes complex and confusing legal system.
Our mission is to treat you with the same courtesy and respect as if we were representing a close friend or family member.
Combining Compassion and Experience to Ease Clients’ Concerns
Our law partners and associates do not judge you. We help people. It doesn't matter if you have made legal errors, made bad choices, or have had prior experience with the criminal justice system. Charlotte criminal lawyer Bill Powers adds, “When you come to our law office, don’t worry about dealing with a stuffy lawyer or about convincing us you're a good person.
We operate on a first-name basis at our law office. Criminal defense is all about relationships and helping people work through their problems. It's not about pre-judging clients with criminal charges."
Powers Landreth is in the business of providing sound legal advice and making our experienced litigation team available to you during difficult times. Our law firm offers experience, a dedication to legal adeptness, and almost more important than anything else — compassion,” says Charlotte criminal defense attorney Bill Powers.
“We see people through their darkest legal problems. We offer legal advice and help…that’s why our telephone number is 704-342-HELP.” [704-342-4357]
“We know that when a client or family member calls us, it’s usually one of the worst days of their lives. We provide calm, effective support to help people just like you get through this painful time and feel more empowered and hopeful about the future.”
"We listen a lot. We ask a lot of questions. We do our best to get to the bottom of things. Good decisions are made after obtaining and reviewing all the information possible,” says Founding Partner Bill Powers. “Only then will we offer a legal opinion or suggest a course of action in the criminal court.”No two Clients’ Cases in Criminal Court are Identical
The only constant in Criminal Defense Law is change. Every day is different. Every criminal case is unique. Every client facing criminal charges expresses their individual needs, comes from a unique background, and has their own personality.
Being able to adapt to a client’s needs is what challenges and motivates us as criminal lawyers. Helping people is what our NC criminal defense attorneys do. That’s why we’re here.
Sometimes criminal defense lawyers handle relatively minor matters, helping people understand the system, explore their options, and to limit the long-term consequences of a poor decision or a momentary lapse of judgment.
In other cases, where a conviction would be career-ending or where police have made a bad arrest or violated the U S Constitution or a statute that protects a client’s legal rights, we must fight the case and litigate the matter.
The process, and the client’s stated goals of legal representation in more minor allegations, may involve a collaborative approach with the Office of the District Attorney or a federal prosecutor. That sometimes includes negotiating things like alcohol or drug treatment, community service, and restitution for a reduction in charges or dismissal.
Please note: NO criminal attorney defending you can make a promise or guarantee of total dismissal or a reduction of criminal offenses to a lesser charge. All clients’ cases and every fact scenario are different.
Yet, it is fair to say that Criminal Defense Lawyers seek to eliminate, limit, and ameliorate the consequences of poor decisions. That is an important part of the balancing process of Justice.
In fact, some lawyers “specialize” in criminal defense. Bill Powers, criminal attorney Charlotte NC is one such lawyer, having met the training and certification requirements to be a Board-Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification / National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Check out Bill’s Awards, Certifications, Recognitions, and Credentials HERE.Prosecutorial Attitude Differs for Felony vs Misdemeanor
To some extent, working with the State on more minor infractions and misdemeanor criminal charges is less adversarial. Sometimes the State is more concerned with changing behavior for first-time misdemeanants and helping people learn through their mistakes, rather than causing long-term criminal records and the associated long-term personal consequences.
When an allegation of a felony offense is involved, this attitude can be substantially different, due to the gravity of felony charges.
In other matters, especially cases involving Serious Felonies such as Murder, Manslaughter, Drug Trafficking, Felony Death and Assault's, and Sex Offenses including Rape – what criminal defense means, and what criminal defense lawyers do, is something much more.
These are cases where hiring an experienced criminal attorney is very important if not critical.
With those types of serious felony charges, the Criminal Defense Attorneys at our law firm work with clients who are often facing potentially life-changing allegations and charges. That's because of the potential prison time and related punishment aspects of felony criminal cases in North Carolina.
Make no mistake: When it comes to dealing with complex North Carolina Criminal Defense issues, this is not our first time. . .not by a long shot.
Sometimes a Criminal Defense Lawyer is one of the few people standing between the accused and a long prison term. That is not to say that there aren't protections built into the criminal justice system. But having an experienced Criminal Defense lawyer by your side in criminal court is often crucial when trying to navigate the legal system and courts.Finding Police Error and Asserting all of Your Legal Rights
Terms such as the Presumption of Innocence, Burden of Proof, and Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt are more than mere words or platitudes. Criminal Defense Lawyers often have a burning desire to guard the protections afforded by the Constitution.
They believe in the Rule of Law, which necessarily includes fighting for individual liberties and the rights of the accused.
Clients charged with criminal offenses need to understand the importance of the Constitutions of individual states such as North Carolina and South Carolina, and the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.
Bill Powers adds, “That’s why we spend so much time explaining the criminal justice process, the laws in North Carolina, and how the Constitution or state statutes can help our criminal lawyers find solutions for clients in the most serious cases.”
“We are not anarchists. We don’t like to see the law broken, especially in instances where the laws at issue are the ones protecting all of us from the government in their exercise of power.”
“When practicing law, I am not a liberal or a conservative. I am a patriot. I respect the Rule of Law. Accountability goes both ways. The State, in seeking to enforce the law, must also obey the law. That’s how the Founders wanted it and it’s my job to do my best to protect the laws for both my client and the rest of us as citizens of this great country." – Bill Powers
Our Powers Landreth attorneys have experience helping clients charged with a full spectrum of issues, from minor traffic tickets, infractions, and motor vehicle citations, to extremely serious felonies in both North Carolina and South Carolina.**
Our lawyers’ approach to every case is the same: We look for cracks in the armor of the State’s case against our client, and capitalize on those oversights or failures within law enforcement.
**Attorneys Bill Powers and John Landreth are licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina. Attorney John Landreth is additionally licensed in the State of South Carolina and therefore is solely responsible for all legal matters in South Carolina. Bill Powers does not practice law in South Carolina.
Legal representation involves more than legal advice about obtaining treatment or accepting responsibility. Given the facts and circumstances, it can be a long, arduous process involving the review of discovery materials, interviewing witnesses, filing and arguing Motions in Court, and ultimately presenting a Defense to a Jury of Peers.
We approach every client’s case with extensive experience and courtroom skills gained through litigating matters in Court and arguing cases to Juries. “Providing sound legal advice is more than just knowing the law or facts of any particular case,” says Bill Powers.
“After more than 25 years in the trenches… Well, I think I just get how things work in Court. My opinions and legal advice are based upon years and years on studying the condition of being human.”
“Researching a case, going to the scene, reviewing discovery, keeping up with and knowing the relevant laws, those are something we just assume are givens. Understanding human nature and the humanity of dealing with very serious criminal charges is more nuanced.”
“Looking into the eyes of jurors, watching their expressions (and reactions), and making an effective argument requires an intangible skill set. I frankly believe courtroom lawyers, and criminal defense lawyers, are just different. The best ones I’ve ever seen, and there are many, many really good lawyers out there, seem born for the task. Talking to people and juries just comes naturally to them.” – Bill Powers
That’s what we do. We help people through both the minor hiccups in life and extremely difficult times when they face serious criminal charges. We want clients to understand the charges and their options. As criminal defense lawyers we work to balance and explain the best-case and worst-case scenarios to our clients.
At Powers Landreth PLLC we often encounter people going through hard times and in tough circumstances. Clients (and their family members) are worried. Often, citizens facing prosecution are confused and intimidated. Many people accused of crimes don’t know which way to turn.
As experienced defense lawyers, we always want to express an appropriate level of compassion and concern. We provide realistic legal advice and opinions. There are times we are required to share hard truths. The key to helping people, especially people facing criminal charges, is to do so with care, with concern, and without judging or thinking less of our clients.
We’re proud to be Criminal Defense Lawyers. Our lawyers in Charlotte NC take our jobs and our responsibilities very seriously. It is an honor to help people and to serve as their trusted Legal Counsel.
Please call us now. 704-342-4357 is our 24-HOUR number. Ask about our attorney fees payment plans.
The members of the Powers Landreth law firm would be honored to help get you through your time of legal need. Whether you need a DWI lawyer, a drug possession lawyer or a murder lawyer, our Charlotte attorneys have “been there and done that” before.