Being the target of a state or federal investigation is always a stressful experience, as are the variety of other criminal or civil suits for which one would seek a defense attorney.
If you’re doing some exploratory searches for yourself or someone you love, here are some frequently asked questions we hear from those much like yourself.
Can A Defense Attorney Contact Witnesses and Alleged Victims?
Yes. Your defense counsel can make contact with the alleged victims of crimes, usually those who sought charges against you or have participated in the prosecution’s building a case against you. This remains true even if there is a “no contact” order put in place by the judge. That order only applies to you, meaning you cannot legally contact that person.
But your attorney can, so long as the contact is directly related to your defense and organizing facts and information. Your attorney can also contact witnesses outside the Winston Salem area if they are connected or relevant to your case.
Can A Winston Salem Defense Attorney Prosecute?
It’s not uncommon for a lawyer who was once a prosecutor to become a defense attorney. However, a lawyer cannot be both on the same case, and generally only one working for a state or federal prosecutor’s office can prosecute criminal cases.
A private attorney can, however, file causes of action on behalf of a client for civil suits (non-criminal) which some clients often see as a form of prosecution even though technically it is not.
What’s The Difference Between A Defense Attorney and a Public Defender?
A public defender is a defense attorney, but they work for the Public Defender’s office in whatever city they represent clients within — such as Winston Salem. The primary difference between a public defender and a private defense attorney is that the public defender is a civil servant and is paid by the state government to represent those in need of counsel.
The typical “defense attorney” outside that setting generally either owns their own law practice in the Winston Salem area or works for one, and is not paid by the state.
What’s The Difference Between Probation and Parole?
Parole is the shortening of a prison sentence — usually because of good behavior. One’s original sentence might have been for 10 years, for example, but they could potentially be eligible for parole in 6 years if they meet certain criteria. If granted parole, they are allowed to serve the rest of their sentence outside of jail, following the mandates of a parole officer. If they violate those terms, they may end up back in prison for the remainder of their sentence.
Probation, on the other hand, is an alternative to jail time. A judge may stipulate, for instance, that one attends rehab or other remedial measures in addition to community service and other criteria. As long as the defendant follows these requirements, they will have repaid their debt to society without actually going to jail.
What’s The Difference Between A Dismissal and Expungement?
Dismissal is when the prosecutor’s office decides not to pursue the case against you any further. A judge can also decide to dismiss a case for the same reasons. Sometimes this can happen because they do not see sufficient evidence to pursue charges, or that the case is not worth prosecution.
A simple example of that might be if you kill someone in self defense. There may be an investigation against you to determine if it was murder, but if the investigation determines it was justifiable self defense, any criminal charges that were pending would then be dropped.
Expungement, on the other hand, is where certain circumstances are met that allow an existing criminal record to be erased. Read more about expungement here.
Where Can I Find A Defense Attorney in the Winston Salem Area?
Our offices are located at 380 Knollwood Street, Suite 305, right in Winston Salem. We’re across the street from Harris Teeter and Chick Fil-A.
On a map, you’ll notice we’re situated between where Knollwood Street intersects with Salem Parkway (just north of us) and where Knollwood intersects with Stratford Road.
If you’re looking for experience you can count on to mount the best defense for criminal and civil charges, we’re waiting for your call.
Let’s talk about how we can help in a free consultation.