What Happens When You’re Charged with a Crime in NC?

Posted by Kenneth J. SteinbergMay 26, 20200 Comments

Criminal hands locked in handcuffs. Close-up view

If you are accused of a crime, it's in your best interest to have an aggressive, determined criminal lawyer in Raleigh, NC, in your corner. It's also a good idea to be familiar with the process of being charged with a crime so that you can be fully prepared.

Contrary to popular belief, when a person is arrested, they are not automatically charged with a crime. There are actually several steps that take place between the time of the arrest and the filing of any charges. Following an arrest, the prosecutor will read the police report and make a decision on whether or not to charge the arrested person with a crime. The prosecutor also has the option of pursuing an indictment, in which they ask a grand jury to decide what criminal charges should be filed.

During the final step, a judge will hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed. It's actually possible that the crime that was initially charged could change significantly over time since prosecutors must file criminal charges quickly (typically within two to three days). Once a person is officially charged with a crime, they should hire a criminal lawyer that will work to protect their rights and preserve their freedom.