Burke County-  Morganton, NC

Burke County, NC

The county seat of Burke County, NC, is Morganton. Recently renovated, the court facilities in Morganton is the home to NC Judicial District 25-A.  The Curtis Sluder Law Firm regularly represents criminal and traffic defendants in Morganton.

Morganton, NC Traffic Attorney

We protect the rights of defendants from  Morganton, Valdese, Hildebran, Connellys Springs, Rutherford College, Drexel, Glen Alpine, and Rhodhiss.

 

Morganton, NC Lawyer

Burke County is home to part of the Pisgah National Forest, Lake James, beautiful mountains, vineyards, shopping and more. In recent years, it was the site of the Motion Picture “The Hunger Games”.

Experienced Legal Representation

With a daily presence in court since 1998, the Curtis Sluder Law Firm has the experience you need. From a traffic matter to complex criminal defense, we stand by you and fight for your rights. From protecting your right to drive, to protecting your freedom from incarceration, we defend you every step of the way.

Our Philosophy

When you are charged with a crime in Burke County, NC, regardless of the outcome of the case, society tends to view you in a negative light. Our criminal defense firm, however, takes a very different approach; we base our mission on the ideal that each accused person is innocent until proven guilty.  With this principle serving as the foundation of our work, our attorneys work tirelessly to defend clients charged with criminal matters ranging from minor traffic violations, misdemeanors such as assault and drug possession, to serious felony charges.

Regardless of the charges against you, we will work aggressively to defend you in a court of law. We routinely represent clients charged with the following crimes:  DWI, Drug Charges, Speeding and other Traffic Charges, Driving Revoked and License restoration, Assaults, Expungement, Missed Court Dates.

Criminal Cases in Burke County- District Court

What We Will Do To Fight for Your Case

  • Provide you with a free, initial, and confidential consultation and criminal case evaluation. We listen to what did and didn’t happen, ask pertinent questions, and assess the potential strength and or weaknesses of the case against you. We will advise you of what actions to take, what not to do, what not to say, whom you should not speak with, how to protect yourself going forward, and identify potential strategies pending review of your police report, witness statements, and any other documents or evidence affecting your case.
  • Obtain and review police reports pertaining to your arrest or criminal investigation.
  • Compile a list of all possible witnesses and statements concerning your case. Interview and question all parties concerned.
  • Visit the scene of the arrest or alleged crime, combing for evidence and disproving factors while notating irregularities and any contradicting or conflicting statements cited in the police report.
  • Conduct a thorough background check of all potential witnesses and involved parties, looking for discrediting and a checkered past which may compromise their credibility
  • Hire a private investigator, when applicable, to prove or disprove essential elements of your case.
  • Employ an independent laboratory to test, document, and testify as to the reliability of evidence and / or samples related to your case.
  • Evaluate the chain of events leading up to and resulting in your arrest and detention, looking for improper adherence to procedure, collection and handling of evidence, equipment maintenance records, lack of probable cause, illegal search and seizure, and other criteria to potentially strengthen your defense.

Traffic Cases in Burke County

Traffic cases in Burke County are usually scheduled for Thursday administrative court, though occasionally they are scheduled on a Monday-Wednesday session of District Court.  We represent most traffic cases by written waiver, which means we inform you of the likely options for your case, possible outcomes, our plan of action in your case, and you allow us to go to court on your behalf, meaning you do not need to take a day off work in order to attend court to handle your traffic cases. This is especially important for persons who were ticketed while passing through western North Carolina, as well as residents with other obligations. Rest assured that your presence is not necessary, though, and if things do not go as we planned in court, we will continue the case and contact you about any new developments that may have arisen.  Representation in traffic matters usually incur a fee from as little as $100, and we typically save you far more than that by preventing possible insurance increases.

Driver License Points

North Carolina uses two different point systems for Traffic Cases. Drivers license points, and Insurance points. Drivers license points are assessed for each traffic violation, and are tabulated by the NC DMV.  When a driver accumulates 12 drivers license points in a 3 year period, The NC DMV suspends the license of the driver. After you get your license back, you can only have 8 points in three years or you lose your license again. When a driver has accumulated 7 points, they may be eligible for a DMV based “Driver Improvement Clinic” for a one time reduction of  3 points from their license.

Insurance Points

Insurance points are assessed based on convictions on the drivers official record, or accidents requiring the insurers attention.   The points assessed are regulated by the North Carolina Safe Driver improvement Program (SDIP points)  A more complete list of point assessment is located HERE.  As an example, a speeding ticket for 80-65 would result in 4 SDIP insurance points. This results in an 80% increase in insurance rates. This increase is assessed each time your insurance renews, for three years. If you currently pay $300 every 6 months, after on ticket for 80-65, your insurance would increase to $540, or $240 more. This continues for the next 6 renewal periods for a total insurance increase of $1440. We can usually modify the charge you are convicted of to prevent the assessment of insurance points, drivers license points, or both, depending  on the circumstances of each case and your record. For a legal fee as low as $100-200, you can save $1440 or more.

CDL Drivers

Commercial drivers, drivers who hold a CDL or drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle, often have special circumstances and more severe repercussions for traffic offenses. Many offenses carry double, or enhanced, drivers license points when operating a commercial vehicle. Some options available to non-CDL drivers may not be available to commercial drivers. And this is true of not only “Class A” CDL holders, but “Class B” CDL drivers as well.

Commercial drivers also have to be concerned with their Federal CDL points, or CSA points. CSA points are assessed based on the original charges, so we make a special effort to secure dismissal  whenever it is possible, and modification of charges when that is not possible.  We understand how “major violations” harm a commercial driver more than a non CDL driver.  We go to great lengths for every client, but understand the peculiar circumstances CDL drivers face.   Although traffic charges are difficult to win at trial, we have tried successfully several CDL driver cases. Occasionally we can get permission to enter a not guilty plea and have a “trial by waiver”, but usually the defendant will need to be present in court for a trial.

Non CDL Drivers

Non CDL Drivers are concerned with driver license points, of course, but we understand that the bottom line for most drivers is in the pocketbook- We go over all available options with each client, and try to find the best cost saving option to prevent insurance increases.  Different options may be best suited to different clients, depending on their family, other drivers on the policy, prior record, and the amount of driving they do. If you have negative prior entries on your driving record, we may need to come up with creative options to keep you licensed and minimize your insurance. Our extensive experience in Haywood County representing traffic defendants is  your best bet for keeping your insurance rates low.

Burke County Criminal and Traffic Defense

We regularly handle traffic cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and other matters in Burke County. The county seat is in Morganton, where District and Superior court cases are handled. The courthouse is located at 201 South Green St, Morganton, NC 28655.  District court cases are usually scheduled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The courtrooms are on the second floor, and you will have to go through a metal detector prior to entering the courtroom.  Court starts on these days at 9:00 am. Please be in court at least 5 minutes before, so that you can answer the calendar call.

Traffic Defense in Burke County

Traffic Cases in Burke County

If you received a traffic ticket in Burke County, NC- do not pay it online until you speak to a qualified traffic attorney.  See more here.

Traffic cases in Burke County are usually scheduled for a Thursday session of Administrative Court. We represent most traffic cases by written waiver, which means we inform you of the likely options for your case, possible outcomes, our plan of action in your case, and you allow us to go to court on your behalf, meaning you do not need to take a day off work in order to attend court to handle your traffic cases. This is especially important for persons who were ticketed while passing through western North Carolina, as well as residents with other obligations. Representation in traffic matters usually incur a fee from as little as $100, and we typically save you far more than that by preventing possible insurance increases.

Driver License Points

North Carolina uses two different point systems for Traffic Cases. Drivers license points, and Insurance points. Drivers license points are assessed for each traffic violation, and are tabulated by the NC DMV.  When a driver accumulates 12 drivers license points in a 3 year period, The NC DMV suspends the license of the driver. After you get your license back, you can only have 8 points in three years or you lose your license again. When a driver has accumulated 7 points, they may be eligible for a DMV based “Driver Improvement Clinic” for a one time reduction of  3 points from their license.

Insurance Points

Insurance points are assessed based on convictions on the drivers official record, or accidents requiring the insurers attention.   The points assessed are regulated by the North Carolina Safe Driver improvement Program (SDIP points)  A more complete list of point assessment is located HERE.  As an example, a speeding ticket for 80-65 would result in 4 SDIP insurance points. This results in an 80% increase in insurance rates. This increase is assessed each time your insurance renews, for three years. If you currently pay $300 every 6 months, after on ticket for 80-65, your insurance would increase to $540, or $240 more. This continues for the next 6 renewal periods for a total insurance increase of $1440. We can usually modify the charge you are convicted of to prevent the assessment of insurance points, drivers license points, or both, depending  on the circumstances of each case and your record. For a legal fee as low as $100-200, you can save $1440 or more.

CDL Drivers

Commercial drivers, drivers who hold a CDL or drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle, often have special circumstances and more severe repercussions for traffic offenses. Many offenses carry double, or enhanced, drivers license points when operating a commercial vehicle. Some options available to non-CDL drivers may not be available to commercial drivers. And this is true of not only “Class A” CDL holders, but “Class B” CDL drivers as well.

Commercial drivers also have to be concerned with their Federal CDL points, or CSA points. CSA points are assessed based on the original charges, so we make a special effort to secure dismissal  whenever it is possible, and modification of charges when that is not possible.  We understand how “major violations” harm a commercial driver more than a non CDL driver.  We go to great lengths for every client, but understand the peculiar circumstances CDL drivers face.   Although traffic charges are difficult to win at trial, we have tried successfully several CDL driver cases. Occasionally we can get permission to enter a not guilty plea and have a “trial by waiver”, but usually the defendant will need to be present in court for a trial.

Non CDL Drivers

Non CDL Drivers are concerned with driver license points, of course, but we understand that the bottom line for most drivers is in the pocketbook- We go over all available options with each client, and try to find the best cost saving option to prevent insurance increases.  Different options may be best suited to different clients, depending on their family, other drivers on the policy, prior record, and the amount of driving they do. If you have negative prior entries on your driving record, we may need to come up with creative options to keep you licensed and minimize your insurance. Our extensive experience in Morganton, Burke County representing traffic defendants is  your best bet for keeping your insurance rates low.

Criminal Defense in Burke County

Criminal Cases in Burke County

Typically, misdemeanor criminal cases in Burke County start in a regular session of district court, Usually Scheduled for a Monday or Wednesday. Different judges usually preside in administrative court, and our regular elected district court judges preside in the regular sessions of district court. Unless we represent you by waiver, or have told you otherwise, defendants should be in court by 9:00 for calendar call. The District Attorney is usually not available to speak with unrepresented defendants before the calendar call.

A district court criminal charge can be initiated by an arrest or by a citation.  If the defendant is arrested, he is taken before the magistrate to have bond and other conditions of release set. Often, an unsecured bond or a small secured bond is set for misdemeanants.  The defendant is given a court date if released on bond. If the defendant is taken into custody and cannot make bond, then they will be taken before a District Court Judge within a few days in order to appoint counsel or to schedule a bond hearing. Once this is done, they are given a new court date and afforded an opportunity to speak with a lawyer (who will often make a bond motion to reduce or unsecure the bond, so that the defendant can be released and better assist in defending their case.  Once the court date arrives, the defendants lawyer may further investigate the case beyond what he was able to do prior to the court date, negotiate with the District Attorney, point out weaknesses in the states case, and try to arrive at an agreeable pleabargain. If no acceptable pleabargain can be had, then the case may be called for trial.

A trial in district court begins with the District Attorney arraigning the defendant, or formally announcing the charge, and the defendant, through his or her attorney, entering a formal plea of not guilty. The state then begins to call the witnesses to the stand in order to testify against the defendant. This usually consists of law enforcement officers testimony, or victim testimony, but can include other relevant witnesses and expert testimony, such as laboratory analysts from the State Crime Lab.  Once the State witnesses have testified, we get our opportunity to cross examine the witnesses- This is where we may try to pin them down to a specific account of the facts, question their ability to accurately observe the situation, secure testimony of investigatory methods they did NOT use, question their credibility in many cases, and discredit their original testimony where possible and useful.

This process repeats for each state witness. Once the state feels they have presented their case adequately, the State “Rests”.  If I feel the state has not adequately proven their case at this point, I make a motion to dismiss- that is, even if the Judge accepts everything testified to by the State Witnesses, the State has not adequately proven the case based on the law.  If the judge grants my motion at this point, which is fairly rare, the case is dismissed. If not, we then call any witnesses we wish to testify on our behalf. The state, of course, gets the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses as we did earlier. Once all testimony has been heard, including any rebuttal witnesses or re-called witnesses, closing arguments are made before the Judge, and the Judge then issues his or her verdict.

After the verdict has been entered, if it is guilty on any of the charges, then the case proceeds to the sentencing phase.

Burke County Telephone Directory

Burke County Court Telephone Directory

Telephone                          Fax
Superior Court Judges  
(828) 433-3216           (828) 433-3217
(828) 759-3516           (828) 759-3517
(828) 433-3216          (828) 433-3217
SC Trial Court Coordinator
(828) 759-3516            (828) 759-3517
District Court Judges
(828) 261-7412             (828) 261-7413

District Court Trial Court Coordinator/ Projects Administrator
(828) 261-7447            (828) 261-7413

Court Ordered Arbitration 
(828) 261-7412            (828) 261-7413

Juvenile Court    
(828) 695-6118            (828) 695-6134

Official Court Reporters    
Christina Byrd                  (828) 773-6162
Richard DiMartino          (828) 533-3273

District Attorney

(828) 695-6110             (828) 695-6111

Burke County Satellite Office

(828) 433-3210             (828) 433-3211

Clerk of Superior Court
Mabel H. Lowman             (828) 433-3200          (828) 433-3201

Guardian ad Litem        (828) 465-1165             (828) 466-5569

Magistrates                      (828) 433-3219            (828) 433-3220