If you find yourself at the receiving end of a criminal charge, the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Not only can a criminal lawyer assist you in formulating a defense to present in court, he or she can also represent you at your arraignment, acting as your voice. North Carolina’s criminal process can be very complicated, which could lead you to making wrong decisions during your hearing.
For instance, entering a guilty plea can be the only way to lighten your sentence, although you wouldn’t know this for certain until your attorney has explored all possible options. Pleading not guilty extends the court proceedings, costing you more time and money, and would land you a harsher sentence if the court finds out that you are guilty after all. Those who have committed serious felonies would benefit greatly from hiring a competent criminal attorney, as such a professional will help them enter a plea bargain. On the other hand, a no contest plea can be considered as an alternative, although it is best used in cases that have civil actions (i.e. compensation for damages) pending.
A criminal attorney can also help you file for an appeal once your sentence has been passed. Under North Carolina’s criminal law, you have 14 days at most to file an appeal after your trial. Since you might be in the dark as to how the appeals process works, your attorney can file it for you.