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Attorney Carilyn Ibsen's Blog

about Criminal Defense in North Carolina and South Carolina

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Motion for Appropriate Relief

Unrepresented by counsel- a common phrase heard in courtrooms every day. This occurs when a person waives their constitutional right to an attorney and elect to represent themselves in a criminal proceeding.

I saw it this week in Mecklenburg County District Court. The judge called a young man up and asked what he wanted to do with his case. The young man said he wanted to plead not guilty and represented himself at trial. An hour later this young man was found guilty and now has a misdemeanor assault conviction on his record.

Attorneys that regularly take cases to jury trial are also well aware of the saying "You can't unring the bell". It is often heard in trial courtrooms outside the presence of the jury. It is an analogy that refers to the difficulty of forgetting information once it has been heard. When a jury hears inadmissible evidence in a trial, sometimes the damage is so prejudicial, a mistrial must be declared.

Contrary to the saying, there are times a North Carolina criminal attorney can unring a bell.

Depending on the facts of the case, an attorney can file a Motion for Appropriate Relief (MAR). It is a request to reopen the case based upon the fact that the defendant did not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently enter a guilty plea or waive the right to be unrepresented by counsel.

It often occurs in traffic cases. A person will come to court and unknowingly admit to a speeding violation that results in a license suspension. A letter from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will arrive approximately one month later stating their license is being suspended.  The person calls my office in a panic.

Time to unring the bell by filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief.

Depending on the facts of the case and the individual's driving history, this can be a successful tool to setting aside the conviction and the suspension.

MAR's are also filed in cases where a person pays a citation online, unaware of the consequences. A father did this with his son's alcohol possession case which you can read about here. We successfully file a MAR in that case and the case was ultimately dismissed.

If you have admitted to a traffic violation, a criminal misdemeanor such as larceny, shoplifting or unlawful concealment, contact an attorney to see if they can help you with a Motion for Appropriate Relief.

Most importantly, if you are facing a traffic violation or a criminal charge, talk to an attorney before you go to court. Don't find yourself sitting at counsel table in a courtroom by yourself.

Criminal Law Updates Provided By The Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen PLLC (888) 543-2427




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