General Case Information

What is the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of North Carolina?

The office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of North Carolina provides legal services in federal criminal cases to indigent individuals who are unable to retain private counsel. Although federal defenders are appointed by the Court, federal defenders (like all attorneys) are ethically bound to work diligently to get the best possible resolution in each case. The defense team includes a trial attorney, an attorney who specializes in research and writing, an investigator, a paralegal, and a legal assistant. These resources will be used to help obtain the best possible outcome in each case. 

How do I contact my lawyer?

We have offices in Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina. Our Charlotte office is on the third floor at 129 West Trade Street, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28202, and the office phone number is 704-374-0720. Our Charlotte office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30p.m., but you can leave a message at any time. Our Asheville office is on the second floor at 1 Page Avenue, Suite 210, Asheville, NC 28801, and the office phone number is 828-232-9992. Our Asheville office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but you can leave a message at any time.  Both of our offices accept collect calls.

We cannot call you while you are in jail, but your attorney will visit you. If you are out of custody, you will meet with us in our office.

I have been assigned a CJA panel attorney, who is it and where can I find contact information?

If you are unsure who was assigned to your case, you may call our office. If we cannot represent you due to a conflict and you qualify for appointment of counsel, we will arrange for the Court to appoint a private lawyer, known as a “CJA panel attorney.”
If you don’t know how to contact your panel attorney, click here for contact information.

What is a federal case?

A federal case results from being charged with a federal crime, which is a crime that violates a federal law passed by Congress. Federal crimes also include crimes committed on federal property such as a national park and certain crimes committed on Indian lands.
 
Can I be charged in both state and federal court?

It is possible to be charged in both state and federal court. Your attorney can explain this in further detail.

Do I need a federal public defender?

You may need a Federal Public Defender in any of the following situations:

  1. You have been charged in a federal offense;
  2. You are under investigation for a federal offense;
  3. You were contacted by a federal law enforcement agency or any other agency concerning a federal investigation or alleged crime that could be federal; or
  4. You were subpoenaed to appear in a U.S. District Court.

You have the right to speak with an attorney prior to questioning and you have the right to have an attorney with you during questioning.

What our clients need to know:

  1. DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your attorney or other members of your defense team. (This includes written communications such as letters, texts, etc.). Everything you say to your lawyer and your defense team is completely confidential. Do not discuss your case with any law enforcement officers. If they try to talk to you, tell them that you want your lawyer there.
  2. DO NOT discuss your case with other inmates, including your cellie, in any language or code. Anything you say could be used against you. Do not discuss the case with friends or family, in any language. All phone calls are recorded, and non-legal mail in jail is monitored. You should assume all social visits are being recorded. Your attorney, and the people working for him or her, are the only ones you should talk to about your case.
  3. We strongly caution you against taking the advice of untrained acquaintances or commercial enterprises which prey on incarcerated individuals and their families. The information is often misleading and following the advice can be harmful to your case and to you. Most inmates in jail are not federal prisoners and do not know about federal cases. Even among federal prisoners, there are many false rumors about sentencing deals and other matters. Your attorney will have accurate information. And your attorney is ethically bound to present any plea offer from the government. Federal cases are complex and are highly fact specific, and the more honest and forthcoming you are with your attorney the better the defense and guidance they can provide. In short, be your own best advocate, but be wary and discuss any concerns you may have with your attorney.