Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Defense

What should I do if I am accused of a crime?

If you have been accused of a crime or think you might have a warrant out for your arrest, don’t panic, but do get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. While there probably is nothing you can do to make the new charge go away, there are some things you can do to make the situation easier. First, do not make any statements to the police or to anyone else about what happened. Remember that anything you say can be used against you in court later, so it is better to say nothing. Second, talk to a lawyer before you do anything else. They can help determine if you are really in trouble and how serious it might be. They can help advise you on how to deal with the police. They can help you get served and make sure that you don’t have to stay in jail afterwards. They can also start to create a defense strategy and help you identify what witnesses or other information would be helpful to your case later when it goes to court so you can start preparing your defense while the evidence is still fresh.

Will you go to jail for first time DWI in North Carolina?

Generally a first offense DWI does not carry a jail sentence. More typically a first-offender can expect to be given a suspended sentence with the requirement that they pay several hundred dollars in fines and court costs and perform community service. In rare cases a person may be looking at jail time if their first DWI involved some particularly bad circumstances such as a wreck that caused personal injuries or having minor children in the car when they were arrested for the DWI.

What is the legal limit for alcohol in North Carolina?

The legal limit in North Carolina is “.08”, which technically means .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. Note that it is possible to be charged with or convicted of a DWI even if you are below the legal limit, or if you don’t take a breath/blood test. It is also possible to get a DWI when you are impaired by other substances besides alcohol, even legal prescription medications.

Will you go to jail for a first offense misdemeanor?

Probably not. For most misdemeanors a person cannot be given a jail sentence for a first offense because the law does not allow it. For more serious offenses such as aggravated assaults and larcenies the law provides for the possibility of an active jail sentence, but it is fairly rare for a court to lock someone up for a misdemeanor conviction where they have no prior record. This does not mean that we don’t take misdemeanors seriously, as any type of criminal conviction can be harmful on your record even if you don’t go to jail.

When are you supposed to be read your Miranda Rights?

It is a common misconception that the police have to “read you your rights” when they arrest you. In fact they very often don’t read those rights when you get arrested, and in many cases a person is never informed of their Miranda rights. The police only have to “Mirandize” you if they plan on asking you questions after you have already been placed in custody. So if they want to question you before they arrest you, they don’t have to read your rights first. And if you are already under arrest and they don’t plan on asking you any more questions they also wouldn’t bother.

Family Law

How is legal separation different from divorce?

Legal separation allows you to stay married to your spouse but live completely separately. In North Carolina, separation is the first step to divorce; by law, you must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year in order to have grounds for divorce (with some exceptions). If you and your spouse are separated but legally still married, you may receive certain tax benefits, remain on one another’s health insurance, and more. In contrast, divorce involves the complete dissolution of the marriage and cessation of all marriage benefits.

How long will it take to finalize my divorce?

There is no cut-and-dry divorce timeline. Instead, the unique circumstances surrounding your divorce—such as how long it takes to reach agreements on the division of property, child custody and support agreements, spousal support arrangements, and other issues—will all play a role in the length of time it takes to finalize your divorce. Additionally, you should note that North Carolina law requires divorcing spouse to live separately and apart for a period of at least one year before beginning divorce proceedings.

Will I get custody of my child?

Child custody is determined on a certain set of factors in North Carolina, including each parent’s ability to care for the child, the established relationships between the child and each parent, the income of each parent, and more. Despite common misconception, custody is not automatically granted to the mother, nor is the mother automatically favored in child custody proceedings. It is in your best interests to speak to an experienced child custody lawyer, like the one at The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm, if you wish to learn more about how your family may be affected.

Will I have to pay child support? What about spousal support?

In the vast majority of cases, the noncustodial parent will be required to pay child support to the other parent in order to care for the child. Remember, this payment is considered the child’s, not the custodial parent’s, and the purpose of child support payments is solely to care for the child. Child support payments are determined on a set schedule; contact our child support lawyer for more information.

Spousal support tends to be a somewhat more complex issue. The family court will determine whether or not to award spousal support based on a set of factors, including the length of the marriage, the ability of each spouse to pay, the ability of each spouse to obtain gainful employment, the quality of life enjoyed during the marriage, and more.

How will my property be divided in a divorce?

In North Carolina, all income, assets, and property accumulated during the marriage—regardless of which party accumulated it—is considered “marital property.” This property is subject to equitable distribution between the two spouses. This does not necessarily mean that property will be split evenly, but rather that it will be divided in a way that the court deems “fair.”

Civil Litigation

What is civil litigation?

Civil litigation covers legal actions that are not criminal in nature. Examples of civil litigation include personal injury claims, class actions and mass torts, employment lawsuits, labor law violations, business law cases, landlord/tenant disputes, real estate transactions, and more.

Do I need a lawyer?

If you are navigating a civil litigation issue, it is in your best interests to work with a lawyer. Most legal matters are complex; you need to have an understanding of the applicable laws, precedents, and procedures in order to obtain a successful outcome. A civil litigation lawyer at our firm can help you ensure that you are aware of all of your legal options and work to protect your rights. We can also help you prepare your case, avoid costly mistakes, and negotiate or litigate on your behalf.

Why should I choose The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm?

When it comes to civil litigation issues, experience matters. The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm has been serving clients in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas of North Carolina since 2011. We are well-versed in the laws surrounding your case and can help you develop a personalized legal strategy aimed at securing the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn more during a confidential consultation.

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