Brunswick County Criminal Lawyer
Brunswick County has a dedicated Commonwealth’s Attorney and district court judges, with arrests happening every day within the county. While many of these are for nonviolent offenses, some carry severe punishment upon conviction. Regardless of the charge, it is generally unwise to take on a prosecution without an experienced criminal attorney.
If you are facing criminal charges in Brunswick County, your choice of a lawyer could significantly impact your case. With a skilled Brunswick County criminal lawyer by your side, you could navigate the legal process confidently and fight for a positive outcome.
Categories of Criminal Charges
Like in most jurisdictions, criminal charges in Brunswick County fall into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors carry less severe penalties between the two as each charge has a maximum jail sentence of one year. Felony charges are far more severe, potentially resulting in life imprisonment or even the death penalty. A Brunswick County criminal attorney could guide you on the severity of these charges.
There are four categories of misdemeanors under state law. A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most severe, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Common misdemeanors include driving under the influence, driving without a license, and unintentional damage to property or monuments.
There are six categories of felony charges with the same naming structure that misdemeanors share. Class 1 felonies are the most severe and carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Class 6 felonies have a maximum penalty of five years in prison, with a minimum sentence of a single year. Felonies can range from larceny to burglary and even murder.
Brunswick County Criminal Courts
Brunswick County operates under a two-tiered court system. Under this system, criminal trials are heard in the General District Court and the Circuit Court.
General District Courts are used to hear misdemeanors and traffic charges. General district courts are not authorized to hear felony cases and cannot enter a plea bargain on these charges. These courts are far less formal than circuit courts. All trials are heard by a judge instead of a jury. Additionally, these are not “courts of record,” meaning a stenographer is not recording everything said by the witnesses. A record is unnecessary because all appeals are sent to the corresponding circuit court instead of a court of appeals.
Circuit courts primarily hear felony cases. While these judges are empowered to take up misdemeanors and traffic cases, those are typically left to the lower courts to prevent clogging circuit court dockets. These courts are courts of record, meaning trials result in a transcript. While most cases result in a jury trial, the defendant has the right to have their case heard by a judge instead. This is an important decision that should only be strategically made with the help of a criminal lawyer in Brunswick County.
Contact a Brunswick County Criminal Attorney
No matter the type of charge you face, your choice of criminal defense attorney is important. Experienced legal counsel could help you potentially have your charges reduced or dismissed. If the Commonwealth’s Attorney refuses to drop the charges, your Brunswick County criminal lawyer could fight for your rights at trial. Call right away to get your defense started.