Frequently Asked Questions About Your Legal Case

Please follow this link on the North Carolina Courts website to determine your court date: www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars/CriminalQuery.html

If your case is in disposition court (Courtroom 101), then you do not have to appear. If your case is set in District Court or Superior Court, you should plan on being present, unless Chris has specifically told you that you do not need to attend court. He always can represent his clients without their being present on minor traffic matters, but we need to make sure you are present for criminal matters, unless you have signed a Waiver of Appearance and we have a good excuse for your absence.

Making a good first impression on the judge can help your case. Chris advises his male clients to wear a collared shirt tucked into pants. He advises his female clients to avoid short shorts, shorts skirts, and tank tops. He also suggests that all his clients not wear sandals. The defendant’s dress is especially important if Chris is trying your case, but generally will not make a difference for quick administrative matters.

All criminal and traffic cases in Wake County take place at the Wake County Justice Center. It is located at 300 S. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.

The best place to park is the Wake County Parking Deck located at 216 W. Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. You can enter this deck either from W. Cabarrus Street or from W. Davie Street. While the area around the Wake County Justice Center also has many parking meters on the street, it is easier to park in a nearby parking deck, so you do not have to leave to put more money in the meter.

If your case is set in disposition court (Courtroom 101), you can appear anytime between 7:45 and 3:30, but generally, Chris will appear on your behalf for cases set in disposition court.

If your case is set in District Court (Courtrooms 201 through 204 and 301 through 304), then you should be present in the courtroom at either 9:00 or 2:00 depending on whether your case is set in the morning or afternoon.

If your case is set in Superior Court, then the rules for when to appear vary. Given the importance of cases in Superior Court, please contact Chris or his assistant (919-909-0630) to ensure that you arrive in the correct location at the correct time.

You should go to the courtroom where your case is set. You can obtain this information on the court’s website approximately one week before your court date by clicking the following link: http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars/CriminalQuery.html.

You also can determine the correct courtroom by checking the scrolling screens outside of Room 1000 of the Wake County Justice Center and looking for the Defendant’s last name.

You also should call (919-526-7545) or text (919-423-2752) to let Chris know that you have arrived.

Chris almost always has cases scheduled in multiple courtrooms each session of court, so it is impossible for him to be in every courtroom for calendar call.

You should say “Detwiler” when they call your name. Although Chris’s name often is already on the file and on the docket, saying his last name informs the Assistant District Attorney that he represents you, and it ensures that no one will talk to you about anything significant until he arrives.

Since he almost always has cases set in multiple courtrooms each session, he will have to move from one courtroom to the next as he handles his client’s cases. Some courtrooms take priority over other courtrooms, and he is therefore supposed to go to the higher priority courtrooms first. There are also many other factors that affect which courtroom’s cases he will handle first, such as who checked in with him first, who is in court for the first time, which cases involve outside witnesses, which clients are in custody, and which courtroom is the busiest. He often will have judges and Assistant District Attorneys calling him to specific courtrooms to handle certain cases as well.

Overall, Chris tries to move his clients out of court as quickly as he can without undermining the results in their cases. He also understands that attending court often means missing work or school, so he tries to handle everything as efficiently as possible. If for any reason, you must leave by a certain time, please let Chris know so that he can take that information into account when determining which cases, he should resolve first.

Chris’s clients are often nervous about having to talk in court, but generally, Chris does all the talking, which is why you hired him. There are times, however, when his clients may have to answer some simple questions, such as, “Who is your attorney?” or “Do you understand the terms of your deferral?” There also are times when his clients offering a sincere apology or explaining the situation to the judge may make a significant difference in the outcome of the case. Although you never will be required to say anything, Chris will let you know if he thinks it will help, and he will always be there to chime in at the appropriate time if needed.

Morning and afternoon sessions typically last anywhere from two to four hours. Chris often resolves some cases within a matter of minutes, but it all depends on how busy he is that day and on the circumstances of your case.

My assistant will send you invoices regularly indicating how much you have paid, how much you owe, and when the next payment is due. You also will receive an electronic receipt each time you make a payment. The total fee is outlined in the Engagement Letter that you signed as well. With all this information, you should be able to check your records to determine the balance, but please feel free to call Chris or his assistant (919-909-0630) for additional details.

Normally, you will receive an invoice explaining the details of what you owe and when. That invoice will have a link on how to pay via credit or debit card. You can also pay directly via credit or debit card by clicking the following link: https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/detwilerlaw/operating Please put the client’s name in the reference field. You may mail Chris a check or money order. Additionally, you can bring cash payments to the office or to court where you will receive a receipt.

You can use the following this link to pay the court costs, fines, and fees in your case: www3.nccourts.org/onlinepayments/menu.sp. The court’s website accepts credit and debit cards. The only information that you need is the file number for your case, which you can obtain by calling our office, checking the case details we sent you, or calling the Clerk of Superior Court at 919-792-4000.

Chris probably spends over eighty percent of the workday either in court or on the phone with clients. As a result, it can be difficult to reach him directly. He regrets that he cannot take every call immediately, but the reality is that doing so would be impossible. With that said, please either call or email him if you have important questions or issues to discuss. When you call, if he is not available, make sure you leave a detailed message with the receptionist.

During the day of court, you can get in touch with Chris by texting his personal cell phone (919-423-2752). It makes sense to communicate via text in the courthouse because emails do not always come through immediately. When it is not your court date, however, please try to contact him either by phone or email. He receives a high volume of texts from clients, which makes it too easy for him to miss text messages. For important issues, call or email instead, especially since his assistants will see all the missed calls and emails, but they will not see missed texts.

To complete community service for court purposes, you should volunteer at a nonprofit organization, such as a thrift store, animal shelter, or soup kitchen. You also must obtain a letter from the nonprofit and on the nonprofit’s letterhead that indicates you completed the required number of hours. Once you have this letter, either bring it to court on your court date, or email it to Chris (chris@detwilerlaw.com).