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Why Giving a Statement Can Hurt Your Criminal or Civil Case

Whenever you encounter any trouble with the law, remember that your words can come back to haunt you. No matter how much you might want to plead your case, always try to remember the value of silence. Here’s a look at how providing a statement devoid of legal counsel can hurt a criminal and civil case.

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False Confession
It may seem a little unbelievable that someone would confess to a crime that they didn’t commit, but police use scare tactics and intimidation to coerce false confessions out of innocent people. Some interrogations last for hours as investigators take advantage of a person’s duress, exhaustion, fear, and ignorance of the law in order to get a confession. If you are truly innocent, wait for a lawyer and let your criminal defense lawyer proceed accordingly. Also, keep in mind that police interrogators are permitted to use deceit in their questioning.

Self-Incrimination
You may be totally innocent of a crime, but any small detail can be used against you in court. In the event that someone’s house was robbed and you mention to interrogators that you did not like the victim, you immediately incriminate yourself and become a suspect. Minor statements like that can make you look guilty even when you are innocent. Refrain from making any statements and you will not have the chance to incriminate yourself.

Contributory Negligence
Statements do not have to be in the written form to hold up in court. Oral statements can also be used against you. Even if you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you could admit to some minor infraction on your part and that could keep you from getting any compensation. In civil cases where contributory negligence is proven, plaintiffs receive nothing in the state of North Carolina.

Lessens Chance of Recovery
When dealing with an auto accident, don’t feel as though you need to give a statement to insurance companies. These companies are looking for ways to get out of paying you and they know how to manipulate victims. It is always wise to consult an auto accident attorney first. A failure to do so automatically gives insurance companies the upper hand, while lessening your chances of recovery.

It helps to have an attorney speak for you and make sure there is no chance you will inadvertently damage your own case. William H. Harding is ready to stand by your side in both criminal and civil cases. The Law Offices of William H. Harding can walk you through the legal process from start to finish.

Contributory Negligence Rule Can Help Defendants in North Carolina

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The specifics of contributory negligence laws differ from state to state when it comes to personal injury cases. North Carolina is one of the states that still enforces contributory negligence to the exact doctrine. If contributory negligence is proven in a personal injury lawsuit, then the plaintiff is unable to recover any compensation at all.

Contributory negligence occurs when a plaintiff is at some kind of fault for his/her personal injuries. For example, someone might be driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and is struck by another driver who ran a stop sign. The accident would appear to be the fault of the driver who ran the stop sign, but the other driver’s injuries may be intensified by the act of speeding. Therefore, the driver who ran the stop sign could claim contributory negligence on the other driver’s part.

In some states, the use of this tactic could greatly reduce the compensation that would be paid out by the driver who ran the stop sign. This would be on the basis that the other driver’s injuries could have been lesser if he/she was not speeding. However, according to NC Attorney William H. Harding, North Carolina has an all or nothing stance on contributory negligence. In North Carolina, if a plaintiff is proven to be at fault in some way, then the plaintiff is exempt from recovering any damages. The defendant will have to pay nothing in compensation.

Plaintiffs accused of contributory negligence sometimes make the plea that they were in danger and their actions were unavoidable. It is then ultimately up to the court to decide whether the plaintiff was displaying prudent behavior. But if the plaintiff was not behaving in a prudent manner, then the plaintiff will have to pay all medical expenses that were a result of their personal injuries.

Many other states have adopted a different stance on this issue which actually shares the fault among plaintiff and defendant. Those states award plaintiffs partial compensation under the doctrine of comparative negligence in which plaintiff and defendant share expenses. Nevertheless, North Carolina defendants who can prove contributory negligence will not have to pay out any personal injury compensation. Comparative negligence is not recognized in North Carolina.

If you are facing charges and are in need of an accident attorney in Charlotte or the surrounding area, contact The Law Offices of William H. Harding. With years of experience as a Charlotte injury attorney, William H. Harding will provide you with a top notch criminal defense services.

What to Do When You Are Pulled Over By a Police Officer

Mostly all of us are going to get pulled over by a police officer while driving at one time or another. When that does happen, here are some simple steps to follow to ensure your safety is maintained and your rights are protected.

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Remain Calm
Take a deep breath and relax. Any nervousness or anxiety could arouse suspicion and compel the officer to make the stop more difficult than it needs to be. Even if you are guilty of an offense, getting worked up is not going to help the matter.

Comply With Officer’s Request
On many occasions, officers let drivers go with a simple warning, presuming they are cooperative. Sometimes, compliance can be the difference between a warning and a ticket. You can even take the imitative by turning off your engine, lowering the volume of your radio and rolling down your window. Most times, officers are looking for some simple answers. Extending them some courtesy could enable you to receive some courtesy in return.

Do Not Reach For ID or Registration without Being Asked For It
Officers are taught to be suspicious. Any sudden movements on your part, such as reaching into your glove compartment, could make an officer fear the worst. Remember, plenty of officers have been killed during routine traffic stops. If an officer senses danger, the first act is usually to reach for his/her gun. That is the last predicament you want to be in during a traffic stop.

Do Not Be Hostile or Aggressive
Hostility and aggressiveness can only lead to trouble. They can lead to more citations and moving violations. Keep in mind that a good amount of officers do not issue tickets for every single offense during a traffic stop. Some even let you off with a warning.

If You Feel You Were Illegally Stopped Contact a Lawyer
Just because you get pulled over does not mean the officer is always right. There have been plenty of documented traffic stops that were completely unwarranted. Illegal searches also happen frequently as there are only certain situations that give officers the right to search your vehicle. If you feel as though your rights have been violated, contact an attorney immediately.

Thankfully, The Law Offices of William H. Harding is here to help motorists whose rights have been violated. If you find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney, choose a Charlotte lawyer who will fight for you. The Law Offices of William H. Harding also specializes in auto accidents, wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits with a 96% success rate.

Why it’s Important to Know Your Rights after an Arrest

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When you are arrested, you have certain rights and it is important to know all of them so that you can exercise those rights appropriately. Using those rights could make a world of difference in how your case plays out. Here’s a look at how to utilize your rights.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Sometimes less is better and this is a prime situation where that applies. You should know that you are not going to talk your way out of an arrest, so don’t even bother trying. Furthermore, what you say could be used against you. Why give an arresting officer any more leverage than he already has? It’s best to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney who can do your talking for you.

Invoke Your Right to Contact an Attorney
This is part of your Miranda rights, but don’t wait for an officer to read those rights to you. Officers will not usually ask if you want an attorney, so it is up to you to invoke that right. You have the right to contact an attorney, but you need to express that. This is an unequivocal right and more courts are making it mandatory that this right is granted in a timely fashion.

Don’t Talk To Anyone
The time for talking will come, just be patient. The arresting officer and other members of law enforcement do not care about your predicament. Pleading your case to them is a waste of time and it could also cause you to say something incriminating. After invoking your right to contact an attorney, do not say anything to anyone. Remember, it’s your right to stay silent. Use it.

Officers Will Try To Elicit a Confession Out Of You
Officers use a whole bunch of different tactics to get you to say what they want to hear. Some will try to befriend you and nicely coax out a confession while others will attempt to scare you with promises of jail time if you do not confess. Keep in mind that their job is made easier when you confess and that is their only concern. You are not obligated to tell them anything. Disregard their attempts and wait for your lawyer.

The Law Offices of William H. Harding has years of experience handling all kinds of criminal defense cases in Charlotte. If you have been arrested and are in need of representation, contact The Law Offices of William H. Harding for the top criminal attorney Charlotte has to offer.
“If you have a phone, you have a lawyer”

Why You Should Speak With an Attorney After a Car Accident

Auto accidents can quickly develop into a legal battle in which insurance companies will use all their power to provide you with as small of a payout as possible. That is why it is important to speak with an attorney following an auto accident as it will provide you with the following advantages.

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Levels the Playing Field
Insurance companies will approach you like they are concerned about your best interests, but that is not at all the case. Following an accident, insurance companies are going to try to fast talk you into making a quick deal that seems good for you. Furthermore, the statements you make to insurance companies could be used against you. Saying the wrong things could actually give them sufficient reason to deny your claim. Hiring an auto accident attorney will level the playing field and take away any advantages the insurance company may have previously had over you.

More Financial Compensation
When someone is at fault in an accident, their insurance company is responsible to compensate you. They might offer to cover your medical expenses and it may seem like a good deal. But there is also the potential for you to receive compensation for any lost wages, future medical costs in addition to your pain and suffering. Hiring an auto accident attorney can get you substantially more in financial compensation.

Keeps You From Damaging Your Case
A car accident lawyer will advise you on what to say and, more importantly, what not to say. What might seem like an innocuous statement could actually wind up hurting your case. Speaking with an attorney will allow you to avoid making mistakes which could be costly. Remember that insurance companies train their adjusters to minimize payouts as much as possible, so they which angles to play.

Someone On Your Side
Car accidents can be traumatic events and leave you with a lot of stress afterwards. But you don’t have to go through this process alone. Having an attorney on your side will allow all your questions answered. You also won’t be forced to navigate through the legal process alone. And keep in mind that your accident attorney gets paid when you reach a settlement, so the two of you are in it together.

The Law Offices of William H. Harding can provide you with a personal injury lawyer that will see your case through to the end. Lean on years of experience and get the most out of your accident with the help of an injury attorney at the Law Offices of William H. Harding.

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