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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for January, 2011

School Make-up Days

Friday, January 21st, 2011

School AttendanceWe understand why there has been outcry about the decision some schools made in having a make-up day on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, which is a federally designated holiday to honor a great American. North Carolina General Statutes § 115C-84.2 requires that a minimum of 180 days and 1,000 hours of instruction covering at least nine calendar months be scheduled and held by each North Carolina county.

We applaud Brunswick County’s decision in taking a very prudent step in designating the first makeup day on Tuesday, January 25, which was originally a teacher workday. However, unbelievably, New Hanover County which includes schools in Wilmington NC, has still not made a decision, and is not using the upcoming teacher’s work day on Monday, January 24, 2011 as a make-up Day! New Hanover County School officials have discussed using a Saturday as a make-up day, which if necessary, we understand. What we cannot understand is why New Hanover County is not acting quickly to take the common sense step to cancel the upcoming teacher’s work day on Monday and use it as a make-up day, especially because the last day schools were closed for students because of snow on January 12, 2011 was designated as teacher’s work day.

Snow Causes Courts and Schools to Close in Coastal Carolina

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Wilmington in the Snow, picture taken by Zach DotseyThe recent snow storm in the east coast caused school closings and court closings in Southeastern North Carolina including New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Duplin, and Onslow Counties. The criminal and traffic charges which were set for the days court was closed are continued to the next court day for the charging officer. Most people with court dates which were set for the days court was closed will be notified by the clerk’s office about their next court date. Defendant’s with lawyers should consult with their attorney about their next court date.

All defendants without attorneys should at least consult with a qualified lawyer about their case. In many cases, the cost of having an attorney represent someone with a criminal or traffic charge is much less than the consequences and costs associated with being convicted. In traffic cases, convictions can cause thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, compared with a few hundred dollars for attorney fees. Also, in most traffic violation cases, defendants do not even have to appear in court. For criminal charges, a conviction can affect the defendant for the rest of their lives, and may cost them many opportunities such as jobs and housing options.

If you have a pending criminal or traffic charge, call the professionals at Collins Law Firm for a consultation at: 910-793-9000. We have been representing people with criminal and traffic charges in Southeastern North Carolina since 1997.


Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Expungements, Expunctions Anyone can be charged with a crime, and many people are wrongfully accused. Just because someone has been charged does not mean they are guilty. Criminal charges, even wrongful criminal charges, result in criminal records which can affect people for their entire life. Therefore, it is very important that people who are charged take the matter seriously and take appropriate steps to avoid or mitigate the negative consequences of criminal charges. In some cases, it is possible to have criminal records expunged which means the official public records are removed and destroyed by a process called expungement or expunction.

In North Carolina, if a person is convicted of a crime which occurred after they were 18 years of age or older, the conviction cannot be expunged. However, in some cases, it may be possible to reopen a case through a motion for appropriate relief, and thereafter have the charge dismissed. If successful, it may then be expunged. Convictions for misdemeanors which occurred before the defendant was 18 years old may be expunged when certain conditions are met.

Criminal charges for which the defendant was not convicted, i.e. the charges were dismissed or the defendant was found not guilty, may be expunged. However, a defendant may only receive an expungement for a set of charges which all occurred within a 12 month period or which were all disposed in the same term of court. A defendant may only receive one expungement in North Carolina, with a few exceptions.

Criminal charges based on another person using their identity (i.e. identity theft), which are dismissed may be expunged, and there appears to be no limit on the number of charges which can be expunged under this provision. In addition, charges for which one has received a pardon of innocence may be expunged, and there appears to be no limit on the number of charges which can be expunged under this provision. There are also statutes which provide for expungement of some drug charges which are dismissed pursuant to statutory deferred prosecution provisions.

If you have been charged with a crime and want to discuss the possibility of an expungement or expunction, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000.