Pre-Arrest Investigations

Confusions People Make: Don’t talk to Police

An actual exchange I recently had with an otherwise smart non-lawyer who is confused about whether he should talk to police. Reproduced with his permission. SMART GUY: What if they say they’re interviewing you as a witness? Do they never take mere witnesses into the interrogation room? Genuinely curious, not challenging your expertise. DAMON CHETSON:…

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Invocation of Your Right to Remain Silence

Anyone involved in the criminal justice system – be they prosecutors, police officers, defense counsel or judges – understands the importance of remaining silent prior to going to trial, even in cases where the eventual accused may be entirely innocent of the charge. Years of living and working within the system teach participants that only…

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Shock and Awe: North Carolina Criminal Law Up Close

When I meet people who are accused of or under investigation for serious felonies – sex offenses, drug trafficking, pornography crimes, frauds or theft crimes, and homicides – they typically have a very naive view of the Raleigh criminal justice system. This naive view is especially true of people who have never been in trouble…

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Surrendering at the Wake County Detention Center

A few months ago – before the Wake County Sheriff’s Office re-opened the Wake County Detention Center at 3301 Hammond Rd. – I made a video on the basic idea behind surrendering. This is not legal advice, but rather intended to be informative. If you are facing criminal charges or facing an investigation, you should…

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Hiring a Criminal Lawyer before an Arrest

The old adage “penny-wise, pound foolish” applies in considering whether to hire a Raleigh criminal lawyer early in a case. That’s because many cases may be dramatically affected by hiring a lawyer early in the process – before an arrest – when the police are still gathering information, and themselves trying to figure out what…

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Child Molestation in North Carolina Law

Being confronted with allegations that you have committed a sexual act on a young child is one of the scariest moments in anyone’s life. When small children claim they have been molested, the whole apparatus of Wake County’s government moves into gear. Perhaps the allegation is made to a teacher. Or maybe a relative says…

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When a Confession is Not Enough

A man walks into a police department and announces, tearfully, that he killed a young boy 33 years ago. Case solved, right? Not so fast. News that New York Police have solved the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Etan Patz in 1979 now gives way to the cold hard legal fact that the confession alone,…

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The Right to Counsel of Your Choosing

The United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees a Defendant’s right to counsel. That right to counsel attaches at the first hearing – Rothgary v. Gillespie – where the Defendant’s liberty interest is at stake: …a criminal defendant’s initial appearance before a judicial officer, where he learns the charge against him and his liberty is subject…

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What is an Arraignment?

An arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint, almost always in the presence of the defendant. In North Carolina, arraignments vary by crime type. In the case of misdemeanors, a person is usually arraigned just once – immediately prior to either taking a plea or immediately prior to trial. In the case of…

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