Being charged with a criminal offense in Charlotte can be a frightening experience. You could face harsh punishments even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, such as DWI or reckless driving.
It increases the likelihood of a better outcome if you immediately retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you. It also helps to understand the factors that may impact what happens in your criminal case.
Five Factors That Could Influence What Happens in a Criminal Case in Mecklenburg County
There is no way to predict exactly what will occur in your criminal case because each case is unique. Even if you face the same charges as someone else, you cannot expect to achieve the same result as they did.
However, understanding the factors that can influence the outcome can help you know what to expect in your criminal case. Here are five factors that may determine what happens in your case:
#1: Facts in Your Case
The facts surrounding your arrest and the evidence collected by the police will play a significant role in the outcome of your case. There may be strong evidence against you, such as compelling witness statements, photos, video, DNA testing results, blood alcohol or breathalyzer test results, or fingerprints. In addition, you may have made incriminating statements that can be used against you.
If the prosecutor has strong evidence in your case, they will feel more confident that they can convict you of the crime you are accused of committing. They will also be less likely to enter a favorable plea agreement where the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious crime with less severe penalties.
#2: Your Defenses
You may have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you are guilty. A strong defense would play a huge role in determining the outcome of your criminal case.
You may have defenses that prove your innocence or raise enough doubt that the prosecutor cannot prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, the police may have made errors in their criminal investigation that you can use in your defense. Common mistakes they may have made include the following:
- Not securing the crime scene
- Making mistakes in the collection of evidence
- Not maintaining the chain of custody for evidence being used against you
- Interrogating you or taking your confession without giving you your Miranda warnings
Depending on the law enforcement officer's error, you may be able to file a motion to suppress the evidence. If the motion is granted, the prosecutor might not have enough evidence against you and may be forced to dismiss your case or enter into a favorable plea bargain.
#3: Your Criminal History
Your prior criminal history will also be a factor in determining the outcome of your case. If you have a clean criminal record, the prosecutor may be more willing to reduce the charges or dismiss them after you complete the requirements of your probation.
However, if this is your second or subsequent conviction for the same crime or you have a criminal record, the prosecutor would be less likely to work out a favorable plea agreement. In addition, you could be sentenced more harshly by the judge.
#4: The Prosecutor and Judge
The prosecutor and judge assigned to your case could also affect what happens in your criminal case. Some prosecutors want to resolve their cases quicker and often work out favorable plea agreements. Others prosecute their cases more aggressively and are more likely to take your case to trial unless you plead guilty to the charges against you.
Similarly, different judges in Mecklenburg County take different approaches to handling their criminal cases. Some judges quickly move their cases to trial or are more reluctant to approve plea agreements. Others may have a track record of imposing harsher sentences.
#5: Your Attorney
One factor that profoundly influences the outcome of your criminal case that you can control is who you hire to defend you. Retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will increase the likelihood that you will achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal case, given your situation. They will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the prosecutor’s evidence against you and aggressively defend you. A lawyer shouldn’t be afraid to take your case to a jury trial if it is in your best interests.