Get Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Auto Injury Claims, Workers Compensation Claims, and Divorce & Custody Cases.

Questions about an injury claim, workers compensation claim or a divorce or custody issue?  We want you to call us and ask your questions at (910) 341-7570.  There is almost always a lawyer available to speak with you.  The call is free and there is no obligation.  If you prefer, you can gather more information on this site before you call. We answer many of the most frequently asked questions here.  The site is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  It is designed to give you the information you need to get started and to be knowledgable about the process as you search for the best injury lawyer, the best workers compensation lawyer, or the best divorce lawyer for you.

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  • I was convicted of a federal crime in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I have cooperated by providing substantial assistance to law enforcement in my case. My lawyer said I may get a 5K. What is a 5K in a federal criminal case in New Bern, North Carolina?

    5k, Rule 35, 3553(e)         

                5k, Rule 35, and 3553(e) are numbers that refer to U.S. Sentencing Guideline provisions or federal criminal statutes.  Although there are subtle differences among these legal provisions, they share a common concept in practice.  The concept involves you providing information or “substantial assistance” to the government.  In exchange for the information or assistance, the government may file a “Motion for Downward Departure” pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5k1.1 or Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.  These motions may contain references to 18 U.S.C. 3553(e).

                These provisions come up in almost every federal criminal prosecution.  Almost every federal criminal defendant will have to consider whether he or she wants to cooperate with law enforcement.  Cooperation typically involves telling law enforcement officers everything that you know about other criminal activity. It could involve wearing a wire or giving historical information.  There are risks and benefits for this type of cooperation.

                Each case is unique.  The key to cooperation is commitment.  Cooperation requires a defendant to provide accurate, complete and helpful information.  Whether you will cooperate or not will depend on the information you have, the government’s desire for that information and whether you are willing to accept the risks associated with cooperation.  Your lawyer should take steps to insure that your statements are protected in a plea agreement or proffer agreement.  There may be limitations on that protection.

                You should also consider your sentencing judge and what benefit you are likely to receive as a result of your cooperation. You should thoroughly discuss cooperation with your lawyer in determining what is best for you.  In some cases where the government has a particularly strong case, cooperation may be the best way for you to get home to your family as soon as possible.

    In any event, the decision to cooperate or not is exclusively your decision.  No one can or should make the decision for you.  Your lawyer is not bad or weak because brings it up to you.  It is his job to talk with you about any opportunity you may have to get home more quickly.

  • I was convicted of a federal crime in Greensboro, North Carolina. I have received a copy of my Pre-Sentence Report. Some of the information contained in it is wrong. How can I correct it?

    Pre-Sentence Objections

    Before the judge ever sees the Pre-Sentence Report, the probation office will give you and your attorney a draft copy.  You and your lawyer will review it for legal and factual accuracy.  You should compare it to the pre-arraignment estimate prepared by your lawyer.  If it is different, find out why it is different.  Even the best guideline estimates are sometimes different from the final report.  This is because you and your lawyer lack complete information when the estimate is generated.

    If there are legal or factual errors, your lawyer should prepare written Pre-Sentence Report Objections and send these objections to the probation officer assigned to your case.  Your lawyer will try to resolve these objections by agreement with the probation officer before you get to court.  If these objections can be resolved, they should be.  If not, your lawyer may need to present evidence or argument on these issues to the judge during the sentencing hearing.  The government may do the same.  Your lawyer will prepare you for all of these scenarios.  You may elect to waive objections particularly where the government has filed a motion for downward departure pursuant to “5k” or “Rule 35”.

  • The government or the DOT is developing land near my property, but they haven’t filed an Eminent Domain lawsuit against me or my property yet. Do I still need an attorney?

    The Government does not necessarily have to file a lawsuit against a person in order to “take” their land for a public use or benefit.  In some cases, the “taking” is a secondary result of some unrelated action by the Government.  A common example of this occurs when a city or county's zoning ordinances are amended to allow or restrict new uses of land. 

    Think about what would happen if the local Government changed its zoning laws to allow a brewery to open next-door to your home.  The noise, smell, and increased traffic would likely make it difficult for you to enjoy your property.  Moreover, the close proximity of the brewery could make it difficult for you to sell your property at full value in the future.  In this situation, the Government’s actions may have impaired the practical use or reasonable value of your property.  Accordingly, you may be entitled to compensation for your land, even though it wasn’t expressly taken through Eminent Domain. 

    To recover for the lost use and value in the property as described above, the landowner would have to file a lawsuit against the Government.  This kind of lawsuit is called an Inverse Condemnation claim.  In an inverse condemnation claim, the landowner alleges that the government's actions amounted to a constructive taking of his property.  To recover, the landowner must prove to the court that he lost all reasonable value or use of his property without just compensation. 

    Our Country was founded on the belief that few things are as fundamental as a person’s right to privately use and enjoy property.  If you think that you might have a claim for inverse condemnation, it's important to consult a qualified attorney right away.  In most cases, you risk losing your Constitutional right to compensation by not filing suit within two years of the Government action. 

    To schedule a consultation and review of your case, contact one of the qualified Inverse Condemnation attorneys at Speaks Law Firm today!

  • I just want a simple divorce. Do I need a lawyer?

    What simple divorce generally means is that the only claim being filed is for the divorce itself. If there are no other issues that need to be determined, such as property division or child custody, then all you will need is a simple divorce.

    If you need a simple divorce, you can do it yourself.  Many people file their own simple divorce to save on costs.  Sometimes when people go into court to represent themselves, everything turns out alright.  Sometimes it does not.

    For example, the legal requirements for divorce are very specific, and if the Complaint is not completed, filed and served correctly, it could be rejected by the court.  As a result, you could have to to perform the entire process all over again. This could add considerable time and expense.

    No matter what the circumstances, it is best to call or come in for a consultation.  We can answer your questions.  We can help evaluate your situation and recommend the best plan of action based on your particular wants and needs.

    You can speak to an experienced, knowledgeable and caring lawyer about your separation and divorce in Wilmington, NC, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Hampstead, Landfall, New Hanover County, Pender County, or Brunswick County by calling (910) 341-7570 now.

  • What should I do if my child is charged wtih a crime in Wilmington, NC?

    A criminal charge always presents a challenge.  Some challenges are bigger than others.  However, it is sometimes our response to a challenge and not the challenge that defines us. A challenge can be an opportunity. This criminal charge may be your opportunity to improve your child’s position and to get him back on track so that he can and reach his potential in life.

    This challenge can also be very dangerous.  Criminal allegations can produce life-altering consequences.  The magnitude of the consequences will depend upon the response.

    If you have changed diapers, called out spelling words, and spent Saturdays on soccer fields, you have invested too much to give up now.  You can help them by getting them the best possible lawyer immediately.  It is vital that this is done before communicating with law enforcement.  Call now to find out why.

    Our Criminal Defense lawyers can provide help now in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Hampstead, Shallotte, Burgaw, Top Sail Island, New Hanover County, Pender County, Brunswick County and Onslow County.

    Call (910) 341-7570 or toll free at (877) 593-4233 now and we will develop a plan to meet this challenge head-on without sacrificing the goals you have for your child's future.

     

  • The government has notified me that they intend to take through eminent domain and condemnation my business or commercial property for a highway and utility project. What should I do?

    When the government targets your property for eminent domain they can force you to relocate your business. With few exceptions your only compensation will be for the value of the property regardless of relocation costs and lost profits. The property and location of your business is often central to your business’ success. For these reasons having your business property targeted for condemnation can put your livelihood in jeopardy. Commercial real estate is especially vulnerable to eminent domain because it is frequently in the path of highway widening and utility projects.

    A 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London authorized the government to exercise eminent domain for solely economic purposes, such as raising tax revenues. The government can exercise the power of eminent domain on behalf of private developers under the guise of “the public good.”

    “Just Compensation” is generally limited to the value of the property itself. Typically business owners are not compensated for the costs of relocation, lost profits and other related expenses.  It is possible to recover damages if the condemnation has rendered the remaining land unfit for its adapted use. As with every other form of condemnation the government will attempt to pay you the lowest amount possible for your property.

    Location is central to your success of your business and can be critical to your livelihood. Because of the limitations on the definition of “just compensation”, enforcing your rights with an experienced attorney is absolutely critical. We can work to maximize the value of your business’ property. Where your remaining property has been devalued or made redundant we will fight for the money needed to recoup your losses.  Call (910) 341-7570 for more information.

     

  • What should I do if I am charged with DWI in Wilmington, North Carolina?

     

    DWI Lawyers in Wilmington NC

    Anyone can be charged with a crime.  Now that YOU have been charged, your reputation, your career, and your freedom may be in DANGER.  WE CAN HELP!  Our Experience, Effort and Relationships are a phone call away.

    In North Carolina, DWI is punishable by up to two years in prison (even more under certain circumstances).  If convicted, you can receive a sentence of imprisonment even if you have no previous criminal convictions.  In addition, the DMV is required to revoke your driver’s license after a conviction for DWI.  NCGS § 2-17(a)(2).

    However, just because you have been charged with DWI does not mean you are guilty of anything.  You have rights!  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you (1) drove (2) a vehicle (3) on a highway, street or public vehicular area (4) while impaired.  NCGS § 138.1(a).  You may be able to argue that they have failed to prove an element or you may be able to challenge the stop, the arrest or the intoxillizer results.

    If you are convicted, there will be a sentencing hearing where the judge will weigh aggravating and mitigating factors that may apply to your case.  NCGS § 138.1(d).  The results of this hearing will determine your punishment.  This is also the time when you would file a Petition with the Court formally requesting a Limited Driving Privilege.

    The DWI process is complex in North Carolina.  The defense of this criminal charge involves the analysis of many legal issues and requires extensive knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Rules of Evidence, and Criminal Procedure.  The proper application of these laws to the facts of your case will determine whether you will be convicted and (if convicted) the nature and extent of your punishment.

    The next call you make could determine the outcome of your case.  The outcome of your case may have a tremendous impact on your life.  Take control by calling (910) 341-7570 NOW!  The call is free. 

    DWI Criminal Defense Lawyers in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Shallotte, Burgaw, Hampstead, Bolivia, New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.

  • What should I do if I am charged by police with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina?

    Anyone can be charged with a crime.  Now that YOU have been charged, your reputation, your career, and your freedom may be in DANGER.  WE CAN HELP!  Our Experience, Effort and Relationships are a phone call away.

    In North Carolina, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 120 days in jail.  It is often charged along with some other type of drug offense.  In addition to jail, punishment can include a fine and probation.  In general, a misdemeanor conviction is permanent.  It may prevent you from getting a job or getting into a school.  It is a serious charge that can have lifelong consequences.

    HOWEVER, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty of anything.  You have rights!  Before you can be convicted of a crime, the state must be able to prove each element of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  In addition, you may be able to suppress illegally obtained evidence or negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office based on your character and accomplishments.  It is vitally important that you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

    Criminal Defense requires extensive knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Rules of Evidence, and Criminal Procedure.  It also requires familiarity with the other parties involved including the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers.  How you deal with these laws and these people will likely determine whether you will be convicted and (if convicted) the nature and extent of your punishment.

    The next call you make could determine the outcome of your case.  The outcome of your case may have a tremendous impact on your life.  Take control by calling (910) 341-7570 NOW!  The call is free.

    Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Criminal Defense Lawyers in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Shallotte, Burgaw, Hampstead, Bolivia, New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.

  • What should I do if I am charged with Assault on a Female in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina?

               Anyone can be charged with a crime.  Now that YOU have been charged, your reputation, your career, and your freedom may be in DANGER.  WE CAN HELP!  Our Experience, Effort and Relationships are a phone call away.

                Assault on a Female is a Class A1 Misdemeanor.  It is punishable by a statutory maximum of 150 days in jail.  If convicted, you can receive a sentence of imprisonment even if you have never been convicted of anything.  In addition, those convicted of assault on a female can also be fined, required to take classes and undergo psychological evaluations.

                However, just because you have been charged does not mean you are guilty of anything.  You have rights!  In order to convict, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that are (1) at least 18 years old, (2) a male, and that you (3) committed an assault (4) on a female.  In addition, you may be able to suppress illegally obtained evidence or negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office based on your good character and prior achievements.  It is vitally important that you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

                Criminal Defense requires extensive knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Rules of Evidence, and Criminal Procedure.  It also requires familiarity with the other parties involved including the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers.  How you deal with these laws and these people will likely determine whether you will be convicted and (if convicted) the nature and extent of your punishment.

               The next call you make could determine the outcome of your case.  The outcome of your case may have a tremendous impact on your life.  Take control by calling (910) 341-7570 NOW!  The call is free.

    Assault on a Female Criminal Defense Lawyers in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Shallotte, Burgaw, Hampstead, Bolivia, New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.

  • What should I do if I have been charged with shoplifting or larceny in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina?

               Anyone can be charged with a crime.  Now that YOU have been charged, your reputation, your career, and your freedom may be in DANGER.  WE CAN HELP!  Our Experience, Effort and Relationships are a phone call away.

                In North Carolina, shoplifting and larceny are Class 1 Misdemeanors punishable by up to 120 days in jail.  In addition to jail, punishment can include a fine and probation.  In general, a misdemeanor conviction is permanent.  It may prevent you from getting a job or getting into a school.  It is a serious charge that can have lifelong consequences.

                HOWEVER, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty of anything.  You have rights!  Before you can be convicted of a crime, the state must be able to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  In addition, you may be able to suppress illegally obtained evidence or negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office based on your good character and prior achievements.  It is vitally important that you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

                Criminal Defense requires extensive knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Rules of Evidence, and Criminal Procedure.  It also requires familiarity with the other parties involved including the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers.  How you deal with these laws and these people will likely determine whether you will be convicted and (if convicted) the nature and extent of your punishment.

    The next call you make could determine the outcome of your case.  The outcome of your case may have a lasting impact on your life.  We help young people and professionals in situations just like yours.  Call us at (910) 341-7570 now to find out what we can do to help you today.  The consultation is free.
     

    Shoplifting Larceny Criminal Defense Lawyers in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Shallotte, Burgaw, Hampstead, Bolivia, New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.