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Philip J. Clarke III

Philip J. Clarke III

Experienced , Aggressive Courtroom Lawyer who will stick with you.
  • Criminal Law, DUI & DWI, Traffic Tickets...
  • North Carolina
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

Our legal system is one of the best in the world, if not the best, but you won't likely feel that way if you ever find yourself charged with a crime or in some legal difficulty. It can be terribly frustrating, disappointing and confusing. It helps to have someone in your corner you can trust to navigate for you. The experience I have gained over the last 15 years in practice, trying cases and negotiating non-trial dispositions with state prosecutors, has equipped me to handle most any state criminal law problem you might have, from traffic tickets in District Court to the most serious felonies in Superior Court, and many other legal situations. I know that every case is unique, and I strive to search out every factual detail and every legal argument that may benefit my clients. I think my life experience prior to practicing law gives me some valuable perspective, though it might be difficult to say exactly how. I did not go to law school until I was 37. And I had not graduated from college until just before law school. I had been working as a civilian on military aircraft at Cherry Point for several years after a brief enlistment in the Marine Corps, and had decided it was time to do something that fit my interests and current sense of calling a little better. I care about people and families, so being a helper, an advocate, and a defender of accused persons in a system that can be very hard on the individual and the family is more than just a job to me.

Practice Areas
  • Criminal Law
  • DUI & DWI
  • Traffic Tickets
  • White Collar Crime
  • Consumer Law
  • Landlord Tenant
  • Juvenile Law
  • Family Law
  • Free Consultation
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
North Carolina
  • English
Professional Experience
Philip J. Clarke, I I I, Attorney at Law
- Current
Clarke & Hewlett, PLLC
Philip J. Clarke, Attorney at Law
Campbell Law School
J.D. (2000)
Professional Associations
North Carolina Advocates for Justice
North Carolina Bar Association
Alliance Defending Freedom
allied attorney
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
11 Questions Answered

Q. What is the max jail time for an intoxicated and disruptive charge
A: Intoxicated and Disruptive is a class 3 misdemeanor. The maximum jail sentence depends on the defendant's prior record level -- if 0 to 3 prior convictions then the max would be a fine only ; if 4 prior convictions then 15 days max., if 5 or more prior convictions then the max would be 20 days.
A: From the perspective of a defense attorney: You should keep up with the case and make sure that you let the DA's office know in advance if you will not be available for court for some important purpose. You should be prepared to testify and tell the judge what really happened. And you should be prepared for the defense to cross-examine you aggressively and possibly tell a whole different story. But if your story is true, the judge will likely know it and find him guilty. If you know of any witnesses, then make sure the DA's office knows about them and their addresses well in advance. You may have to make several appearances before the case is tried or pled. Other than that, I would just say, if you want to stop the guy, then testify against him. This is all the kind of thing that I think a prosecutor might tell you, but that is not my normal role in the courtroom, so you should speak to the prosecutor if you have an opportunity. NOTE: NOTHING WRITTEN HERE IS TO BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE GIVEN BY THE WRITER, NOR DOES ANYTHING WRITTEN HERE ESTABLISH ANY ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WRITER AND ANY READER BUT IS PROVIDED ONLY FOR ITS EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT BENEFIT.
Q. When a lawyer tells u to bring 1500 and charges will be dropped what should I do when I'm innocent to start with
A: I cannot answer for another attorney, but I would expect that most attorneys would make clear that they cannot guarantee the results in a case (as in charges being dropped), as that is something that ultimately requires either the agreement of the District attorney's Office or the ruling of a judge after they have been presented with the facts of the case. But, if after hearing the facts of your case, an experienced defense lawyer firmly believes (99%?) that they can get the charges dropped, then they might be expected to communicate that quite confidently. And of course, some lawyers may just promise more than they can deliver. The issue of the attorney charges for the representation seems to be another question. I trust you have no problem with the charges being dropped, but are bothered by the idea that as an innocent party you feel like you are being asked to purchase the result that the law itself should provide. And I think some folks decide to represent themselves for just that reason. I will not go into great detail, but that is often a mistake. That you are innocent does not mean that getting this done (getting the charges dismissed) will not require work on the part of the attorney. And you are paying for that attorney's skill and reputation in being able to communicate with prosecutors and argue to judges in ways that are effective to get them to see that which is clear to you (but apparently not clear to whoever charged you) -- that you are innocent. The law says you are innocent until proven guilty, with the burden of proof on the state, but the hard reality is that being accused places a big burden on you to defend yourself. False accusations may have to be shown to be so. That is where a good lawyer comes in handy. I recently (just last week) had a felony case dismissed (charges dropped) that was well over a year old. When my client originally told me the facts of the case, I told her I believed we would get the charges dismissed. It seemed pretty simple. But every month since those charges were filed, my client has had a court date. On dates when she had medical issues or other reasons for not being able to appear, I was there to continue her case, and my office kept up with the court dates and continued to urge the prosecutor to look closer at the case because it needed to be dismissed, and my client was not going to plead to anything. In this particular case I believe that the prosecutor would have eventually dropped the case whether the client had a lawyer or not if she had continued to refuse a plea agreement, but she would probably have been called and failed at least once, with an order for her arrest issued, and she would have spent a lot more time in the courtroom had she been representing herself. When it was all over, was she glad she had a lawyer? I believe she definitely was. Was it fair that a person who was falsely accused had to expend time and resources on this? I don't think so. But that is simply the way the system works. Her only recourse would be a civil suit against her accuser. And that is not a realistic possibility. I hope this was helpful. PLEASE NOTE: NOTHING SAID HERE ESATABLISHES ANY ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WRITER AND ANY READER. THIS IS GIVEN FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, AND NOTHING ELSE.
Q. Is it illegal for company to write checks that have no funds in the account at the time it was drawn
A: What you describe sounds like it might well be illegal activity that you would be right to not to participate in. If you talk to a criminal defense attorney they might help you to decide what to do next -- like maybe reporting what is being done to police. You also might be implicated in a crime, so this would be something you could discuss. Also, being fired from a job for certain reasons can be the basis for a law suit against your employer for a Retaliatory Discharge. You might want to talk to an employment law attorney; maybe one who advertises for workers compensation law or employment law.
Q. how is larceny by employee different from embezzlement
A: This is like a law school question, and just like in law school I don't know if there is a good answer to it. As applied in the employee situation I think the two charges could be interchangeable in many, if not all, situations, and cannot tell you a situation where I am sure they couldn't. Embezzlement can include persons in public office and fiduciaries, and employees, while Larceny by Employee includes only the employee situation. When the two offenses are applied to employees they are so similar as to include each other in their definitions. Larceny by Employee even includes Embezzlement as one of the ways it can be committed, Embezzlement does describe actions more geared toward hidden money transactions, and I would expect prosecutors would likely use Embezzlement for employees in those types of situations. It appears it would be easier to prove embezzlement when nothing had actually been removed yet. They both involve a trusted employee stealing in some form from his employer and they both are felonies with the same penalties for convictions. For offenses involving under $100,000 both are class H felonies and for offenses involving over $100,000 both are class C felonies. There may be more differences than I have set out here, but I don't think it worthy of further discussion since there is so much overlap, and the penalties are the same.
Q. I need help with a expungement of a felony charge back in 1993 ?
A: There is a possibility of expunging a non-violent felony conviction over 15 years old, but there are several conditions that must be met. There are different kinds of expunctions that may apply to your case. Your 15 year old conviction and your dismissals probably come under two separate statutes. And it is worth noting that there are limitations on expunctions such that getting one may disqualify you from getting another. You could best find out about those conditions by conferring with an attorney. Many criminal defense attorneys handle expunctions. I believe that it would be worth the time and expense to consult with an attorney on this kind of matter because the timing of what you do, and which statutes you use may change what you are ultimately able to do. Most criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations so you should be able to give them enough information then for them to be able to tell you whether you can get your charges expunged. The laws in North Carolina concerning expunctions have changed quite a bit over the last few years, and may continue to do so. It appears that the trend is to allow for more people to be able to clear up their records. There are currently some expunctions available for certain drug charges and dispositions, some for certain felony and misdemeanor convictions, some tied to the defendant's age at the time of the offense, and some for dismissals or not guilty verdicts. Some statutes allow for expunction only when no other expunction or no other expunction of a certain type has been previously obtained. Under certain circumstances it is possible to get more than one expunction, but under others expunction may be an impossibility without other actions being taken first. Sometimes expunction is just not available. There are a number of conditions under each type of expunction that must be met before it will be ordered by a judge. Note: I am not providing this as legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship between the writer and the reader here. This information is provided only for its educational benefits and is not legal advice.
Q. Do I need a criminal attorney for alleged theft by employee?
A: Since no charges have been filed, you may not need to hire an attorney just yet, but since many good criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations, there is no reason why you should not at least speak to one or two. There are things worth considering when you know you are a suspect -- like what you should say when talking to investigators; what you can expect if charged; how you will handle bond, etc. It may be that some of the things you learn from talking with that attorney could result in you not being charged, or the state not having a bunch of statements to use against you (very possibly taken out of context) because you understood your right to remain silent and some of the reasons for doing so. So...when it comes to criminal charges... even just potential criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney is a valuable person to have working for you, and worth paying for. Note: I am not providing this as legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship between the writer and the reader here. This information is provided only for its educational benefits and is not legal advice.
Q. what is the statute for NC that has to do with trespass
A: I would be glad to try and answer this question, but Trespass is a term that is used in a number of different offenses in North Carolina. You can commit trespass against personal property or against real property (land) or against a number of specific entities or on land posted for hunting etc. But most of us think of trespass as going onto the land of another without permission. So I will assume that you are looking for trespass to land. Try looking at the statutes for 1st Degree Trespass (NCGS14-159.12) and 2nd Degree Trespass (NCGS 14-159.13) can be found online using the North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 14 -- thus 14-159.12 and 13. Notice to Reader. Nothing said here by me is provided as legal advice, and is only provided for it educational and entertainment benefit.
Q. Can you break this down and tell me what the violation to be charged with this would be?
A: This is a class 2 misdemeanor (next to the lowest level misdemeanor) and is set up to be quite easy to prove against the person accused. The offense is for a person who has purchased some item on credit, with the seller or a separate lender having a security interest in the property. In other words, the lender has papers signed by the person that give the lender the right to come and get the item if the person fails to pay. The statute essentially says that the person's intent to defraud the creditor can be inferred by the property not being available for the sheriff to pick up. This can be rebutted by the accused by showing that the property being unavailable is of no fault of his, but this can be hard to prove if the person wasn't thinking ahead. These cases are often real stinky in my opinion, and if I was speaking to a person (maybe about a job) with only this on their record I wouldn't read much of anything into it. Oftentimes predatory lenders who sell overpriced items to people who are short on credit or downright poor will sell a couch or a television on credit and charge so much (value x3or4) and such a high rate of interest that the person is paying for this thing long after it has fallen apart and been dragged to the curb. Then when times get tougher and they fail to pay, the real crooks have the person charged with this or take them to small claims court and get a judgment. You hit one of my soft spots with this one. Good judges often see that these swindlers have already collected more than the they ever should have gotten and toss the cases. I hope this gives something of what you were looking for. Perhaps someone else will chime in if not. Please understand that this is not intended as legal advice. I am not acting as the lawyer for any reader here, but this is provided only for educational and entertainment purposes. IF YOU NEED LEGAL HELP YOU SHOULD CONTACT AN ATTORNEY.
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Contact & Map
Philip J. Clarke, III, Attorney at Law
534 North 35th Street, Unit I
Morehead City, NC 28557
Telephone: (252) 222-5252
Fax: (252) 222-5253