An arrest can be a harrowing experience. Your life is disrupted, and suddenly you’re facing charges that could destroy your future. At the Law Office of Anthony R. Morrow in Rutherfordton, we understand the gravity of your situation and we treat your case with the urgency it deserves. Moreover, we have the knowledge and skill, developed through intensive advanced training and experience, to help you obtain a favorable outcome. When you retain our services, you get highly responsive counsel and determined advocacy at a rate you can afford. Although no attorney can promise specific results, you can be confident in our ability, our focus, and our sincere desire to secure the best possible outcome.
Anthony Morrow’s commitment to providing highly professional criminal defense can be seen in his training and education. He holds an advanced legal degree — an LL.M. in trial advocacy, specializing in federal criminal defense — and served an internship with a prominent private Criminal Justice Act (CJA) attorney defending clients against serious federal charges. What followed was the CJA Trial Skills Academy, an intensive trial practice course taught by some of the best defense attorneys in the country. Additional experience includes the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Air Force, which earned him the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. Today, with Mr. Morrow’s added experience in private practice, the firm is fully prepared to manage your case.
Since the mid-1990s, North Carolina has operated under a system of structured sentences for felony and misdemeanor crimes. Structured sentencing is designed to advance important goals, such as consistent sentencing for similar crimes and similar offenders and a rational basis for the severity of each sentence. The structure itself is a grid formed by two axes representing the foremost factors that judges should consider when sentencing a convicted offender:
For felonies, the axis of severity has ten levels, rising from the least severe to the most severe. Examples of crimes at each level follow.
The second axis contains six levels based on the number of points an offender has accumulated due to prior convictions. These run from 0 points for someone with no priors to 19 or more points for a repeat felon with multiple convictions. This means that for any crime, there are six possible boxes that could be assigned to an offender. Each box contains three ranges of sentences given in months. For example, an offender who had previously been convicted of possessing a small amount of cocaine would have two points from that prior. If he is now convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, his box on the sentencing grid would contain three options:
The next step requires the judge to consider aggravating and/or mitigating factors to decide whether to exercise discretion and depart from the presumptive range for sentencing. If there are only mitigating factors or if mitigating factors outweigh aggravating factors, the judge may choose the mitigated range. An example of a mitigating factor would be if the offender was under duress or compulsion to commit the crime. If there are only aggravating factors or if aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors, a judge may choose the aggravated range. An aggravating factor would be if the offender had induced others to participate in the crime. The judge must then set the minimum and maximum sentence for the offender to serve.
Sentencing for misdemeanor crimes operates under a similar grid.
North Carolina’s structured sentencing law makes it very important for defense attorneys to be vigilant at every step of the legal process. We always hope to get charges dropped or win an acquittal if the case goes to trial, but the facts of a case often make that hope unrealistic. What we can do is:
When you retain our services, you get a criminal defense attorney who understands the system and how to work within that system for your benefit.
We defend clients facing a full range of misdemeanor and felony charges, as well as civil offenses, including:
As your determined advocate, our goal is to protect your civil rights throughout the process and deliver the best results possible. In many cases it’s possible to get charges dropped or win an acquittal at trial. In other cases, where the weight of the evidence is against our client, a positive outcome can include a reduction in charges, more lenient sentencing, or a sentence that avoids jail time.
To help protect your rights in any encounter with police, we suggest you download and print the American Civil Liberties Union “bust card” and carry it with you always.
The Law Office of Anthony R. Morrow has the knowledge, skill and experience to deliver high-quality, determined criminal defense to state and federal charges. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 828-202-7965 or contact us online. Our main office is located at 217 Gilkey School Road in Rutherfordton, off U.S. 221, but can come to you if circumstances require.
On a case by case basis, we accept clients facing serious criminal charges in California and Illinois. Contact us today to determine if we are able to assist you in your time of need.