Our Shelby Office Has Moved!

By King Law Offices November 4th, 2014

King Law Offices, known locally as King, Crotts, Duncan & Jaynes, has moved it’s Shelby office from 221 South Lafayette Street,  #4,  to 131 West Marion Street., directly across from the upcoming Farmer’s Market.

Since coming to Shelby in 2011, King, Crotts, Duncan & Jaynes has looked for a permanent presence in the area. After beginning a search in early Spring 2014 the firm selected the historical corner location at 131 West Marion Street.  King Law Offices has been focused on completing a major overhaul of the building while still keeping the architectural and historical value of the property, using local businesses for 100% of the building upgrade. Read the rest of this entry »

Brian King Teaching Small Biz Law Basics

By King Law Offices | October 14th, 2014

King, Crotts, Duncan & Jaynes would like to thank Bobbie Young and the team at REAL in Marion for providing an opportunity for Brian W. King to teach the fundamental business law practices for new businesses here in McDowell County and Western North Carolina.

Attorney Brian King stated, “I love meeting new entrepreneurs in our community. This program allows attorneys and businesspersons meet in a teaching environment where we work together to help provide strong backbones for our businesses here in McDowell County.”

Announcing a new location in Hickory NC

By King Law Offices | October 9th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
King Crotts Duncan & Jaynes, known locally as King Law Offices, is proud to announce the grand opening of it’s newest location in Hickory, North Carolina. The opening of the firm’s sixth location coincides with the announcement of the firm’s latest addition, Attorney Shane Farr.

Shane Farr is the primary attorney at King Law Offices’ Marion North Carolina office. In 2010, Shane graduated with honors from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Social Work. He received his Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University in May 2014. During his time at NCCU, Shane interned with Broughton Hospital’s Special Counsel Office, Legal Aid of Morganton and volunteered with the Elder Law Pro Bono Project.

Attorney Hannah Miller, native and resident of Hickory, NC, is the primary attorney at the firms’ Hickory location. Ms. Miller graduated summa cum laude from Appalachian State University, and later interned at the District Attorney’s Office of Judicial District 25 in Catawba County. Hannah currently practices in the areas of criminal law, family law, and estate planning.

Managing partner and certified family law attorney Brian King attributes the firm’s success to “building long lasting relationships” with clients. Mr. King quoted, “We listen first, then start to craft a plan for each individual client. We understand there’s not one single solution that fits everyone.”

The firm practices law in a variety of areas, including family law, criminal law, personal injury, Social Security disability and estate planning, among others. The firm offers a free consultation for many legal issues; call (828)270-7788 to schedule an appointment.

Am I Going to Prison? An Overview of Sentencing in North Carolina

By King Law Offices | September 16th, 2014

North Carolina uses a sentencing scheme called Structured Sentencing. Structured Sentencing applies to essentially all offenses except impaired driving offenses and drug trafficking. As with any other charge, if you have been charged with one of these special sentencing charges, you should contact our offices immediately.

Structured Sentencing was designed to embrace certain principles such as rationality, truthfulness, consistency, and priority of resources. It is a method of sentencing that classifies offenders based on the severity of their crime and their prior criminal record. Based on these two factors, judges are provided with certain types and lengths of sentencing options.

If you have been charged with a felony that is not one of the above exceptions, refer to General Statute 15-A-1340.17(c). Felonies are classified into letter classes from A to I depending on their seriousness, with A being the most serious. Crimes involving victim injury are typically the most serious while crimes involving things such as property that do not involve a risk of victim injury are normally less serious.

Next, offenders charged with a felony are classified into one of six prior record levels, I through VI. The category you fall under depends on the extent and severity of your record.

For example, if you have many prior convictions and they involve violence, you will likely be assigned a higher level class.  Once classified, you fall into one or more of three types of punishment: active, intermediate, and community. This means your type of punishment depends on your classification. Active punishment means prison or jail time. Intermediate punishment means supervised probation along with other punishment such as a split sentence (some jail time), drug or educational treatment or programs, house arrest, and/or other confinement. Community punishment is any other sentence such as supervised or unsupervised probation that is of less severity. Under community punishments, an offender may be held in contempt and later sentenced to jail if he fails to obey the required punishment conditions.

A judge is required to impose an active punishment for felons convicted of high offense crimes or for felons who have high prior record levels. However, if the felony is a low offense crime, and you have a low prior record level, a judge must impose intermediate or community punishment. A judge has discretion when the classification falls somewhere in the middle.

Designated sentence lengths are also provided depending on your classification, and the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factors. The judge selects a sentence term from one of three ranges: aggravated range, presumptive range, or mitigated range. Aggravated means there are additional factors which make your offense worse and mitigated means there are additional factors which make your offense less bad. The range chosen establishes a minimum and maximum sentence length. A felon must serve the entire minimum sentence but his conduct while serving determines whether the maximum will be imposed.

For a felony punishment chart, please click here (Opens in a new window).

Misdemeanors

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor that is not one of the above listed exceptions, refer to General Statute 15A-1340.23. Structured Sentencing works much the same for misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanors are classified into four classes, A1, 1, 2, and 3, with A1 being most serious. Offenders charged with a misdemeanor are classified into one of three prior convictions levels depending on how many prior convictions you have. The same sentencing types (active, intermediate, and/or community) are designated to your classification. If you fall under more than one sentencing type, the judge has discretion to choose what type. Unlike felony offenses, only one sentence range is available for misdemeanors. The judge selects a single term from this range, rather than a minimum and maximum, which specifies the sentence length.

For a misdemeanor punishment chart please click here (opens in a new window).
No matter what, if you have been charged with a crime, you should contact any one of our experienced attorneys. This blog may give you a brief overview of what would happen at sentencing, but there are many more steps before sentencing, including your right to a trial.

When Can a Child Testify in a Child Custody Case?

By King Law Offices | September 9th, 2014

Custody matters can be extremely difficult, time consuming, and expensive. The ultimate determination for the court is what is in the best interests of the child. Clients often want the court to hear what their child has to say about the family situation but there are some important points to be made on this topic.

First, nobody can tell the judge what to do. Your child’s testimony in no way binds the judge to any particular arrangement for custody or visitation. Second, the age of your child matters. Usually, the older the child is, the more weight will be given to his or her testimony. Children under the age of nine are generally not considered mature enough for the judge to give their testimony considerable weight. Third, there are two ways that your child may be asked to testify. Usually the child will testify in open court like any other witness. Sometimes, if both parties agree, the child can testify in judge’s chambers. In this situation, sometimes the attorneys will be present and other times the judge will speak to the child alone. If the parties cannot agree to have the child testify in chambers, your attorney can make a motion to clear the courtroom while your child testifies. Finally, the important thing to remember is that having you child testify is a huge decision. The impact it can have on your child can be significant and having them “pick sides” can cause damage to the parent-child relationship. You should carefully consider these points when deciding on whether or not to have your child testify in your child custody matter.

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Prenuptial Agreements

By King Law Offices | September 3rd, 2014

In North Carolina, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which can be found in Chapter 52B of the North Carolina General Statues.

The basic requirements are that the agreement must be in writing and signed by the engaged couple. This document will become a legally binding contract between the couple, upon the marriage of the two signing parties. According to the statute, prenuptial agreements may contract with respect to: the rights an obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located, rights to manage and control property, disposition of property upon separation or any other event, eliminate or modify spousal support, create a will, and the disposition of a life insurance policy. See N.C. Gen. Stat §52B-4. This is not an exhaustive list and there can be extensive details included in the agreements. The original agreement can be amended or revoked by a written agreement signed by both parties and the amended version is enforceable without consideration.

However, the agreement will not be enforceable if the party it is being enforced against can prove that it was not signed voluntarily or that the agreement was unconscionable when it was executed. It is important to note that if alimony is waived, that waiver can be dismissed by the court if one spouse is eligible for public assistance because of the marriage ending.

Fore more information about prenuptial agreements, click here.

Mediation in Equitable Distribution Cases

By King Law Offices | August 28th, 2014

The process that deals with dividing up marital assets and debts after two parties have separated is called equitable distribution. The North Carolina General Assembly passed a statute to establish a program that requires equitable distribution disputes to go to mediation before they are heard in the court room in an effort to save time and money, as well as to facilitate judicial economy.

In North Carolina mediation is now required before equitable distribution disputes reach the court. If the parties can agree, they can choose their own neutral mediator. If they cannot agree as to who the mediator should be, then a judge will select one for them. The parties are also responsible for paying the costs of mediation. However, if the court determines that someone is indigent, which means they are unable to pay the costs of mediation, then the mediator will provide their services at no charge.

The mediator responsible for scheduling the mediation conference and finding a neutral, agreed upon location where the mediation can take place. During mediation, the mediator serves as a neutral person who focuses on the parties’ issues and helps them to try and come to a settlement agreement. A mediator should never impose their own judgment on the parties at mediation, even though a mediator may offer his or her thoughts, with counsel for the party in the room.

If the mediation serves its purpose and is successful, the parties will come to an agreement as to the division of their marital assets and debts. The agreement will be put in writing and signed by both parties and the mediator. Once the agreement is complete, the mediator will notify the court that the case has settled and there will be no need to go to court for issues related to equitable distribution. If the mediation is unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator will report to the court and the case will proceed to trial thereafter.

If you are in a situation where you need access to property, whether it is land, money, or otherwise; or, if you need documentation for title, deed, or a division of debts incurred during the marriage, contact King Law Offices to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.

Do I Really Need to do a Title Search?

By King Law Offices | August 24th, 2014

When someone buys a new home or new property, a title search needs to be conducted to make sure there are no problems with the title of the house or property.

For example, if you purchase land that has a lien attached to it, you, as the new owner of the land, are now responsible for this lien. Another example would be to ensure that the seller actually does have title to the land. A title search assures that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property and allows you to get free and clear title to your land.
Read the rest of this entry »

Local Attorney Brittany Waters Joins Our Firm

By King Law Offices | August 22nd, 2014

Lifelong Cleveland County resident and local attorney Brittany Waters joined King, Crotts, Duncan & Jaynes with a new position in their Shelby office.  Ms. Waters has concentrated her practice around family law, criminal law, and general civil law, and she expects that to continue at her new position.

Ms. Waters, a former intern with King, Crotts, Duncan & Jaynes, comments on the change, “I’m very excited to be coming back here.  This is where I began my career, and I feel very blessed to be given this opportunity to continue my practice at such an established firm.”  The change will not affect any of Ms. Waters’ current clients, as she is remaining in Shelby, continuing her service with the community.

Managing partner and firm-founder Brian King, a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, began the firm in 2002.  “I have always been impressed with Brittany as both a lawyer and a person,” said Mr. King of the move.  “She is a wonderful addition to this firm, and I am very happy to have her on our side instead of arguing cases against her.”

How Facebook and Social Media Can Affect your Child Custody Case

By King Law Offices | August 19th, 2014

The majority of people today are, in some way, linked in to social media. This allows families to keep in contact with each other like never before. However, in some child custody situations social media can pose a huge problem.

Most child custody cases today involve some aspect of social media, whether it is pictures, messages, or comments. It is important to remember that in a child custody battle, the court is trying to determine what is in the best interests of the minor child or children. Questionable photos or harassing comments could indicate to a judge that you might not be a suitable parent. Further, comments, pictures, etc., can be taken completely out of context to look worse than they are. That puts you on the defensive to prove it is out of context. Read the rest of this entry »