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Charlotte, North Carolina

A Bustling Urban Center

Charlotte is North Carolina’s largest city and is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In general, county courthouses in the Tar Heel State are located in a county’s “seat,” and Charlotte is no different. It boasts a nine-story stone fortress at the corners of Trade and McDowell Streets in uptown Charlotte.

Judges in Mecklenburg County’s courthouse consider all manner of civil and criminal cases arising in the “Queen City” and other municipalities in Mecklenburg County. Those municipalities include Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville as well as other unincorporated neighborhoods such as Biddleville, Elizabeth, Myers Park, Shuffletown and Rosedale.

Charlotte is a bustling, modern city and boasts nearly all the amenities of any world-class city. Those amenities come at a price. An ever-expanding population has resulted in heavy traffic. The city’s infrastructure has struggled to keep apace of the influx of new residents. An expanding population has meant—in sheer numerical terms—more and more work for lawyers prosecuting and defending criminals in the city.

Help for those charged with crimes and infractions

Charlotte’s courthouse is the largest in the State of North Carolina. It is by far the state’s busiest courthouse. Prosecutors in Charlotte handle some 225,000 misdemeanor charges and infractions per year, on top of 10,000 felony cases and an additional 4,000 related cases. If you have been charged with a crime in Charlotte, making your way through the maze of courts and court procedures can seem bewildering.

You do not have to look far to find help. Charlotte’s more-than 2,000 lawyers make it the most lawyer-populated city in the State of North Carolina. This may seem like an infamous title to some, but when you are facing a criminal charge, nothing is more comforting than having an advocate on your side who understands how the system works. Charlotte may have thousands of lawyers, but there is only one right lawyer for you.

J. Bradley Smith began his legal career as an assistant prosecutor. After working in the District Attorney’s office, Mr. Smith and Board-Certified Family Law Specialist Matthew Arnold founded Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Arnold & Smith, PLLC is headquartered in uptown Charlotte across from the main post office, in the historic John Carr Price House. The John Carr Price House is located just two blocks from the state courthouse, giving Arnold & Smith, PLLC’s team of ten lawyers and twenty legal assistants and paralegals unparalleled access to the levers of justice in Mecklenburg County.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense or if you have received a traffic citation, please give Brad Smith or one of Arnold & Smith, PLLC’s many experienced criminal defense attorneys a call today.

A bustling city looks to its past

Both Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was the wife of King George III—the same king to whom Thomas Jefferson addressed the Declaration of Independence. Many road and regional names invoke Charlotte’s colonial history. The main thoroughfare through uptown Charlotte—Tryon Street—is named after one of colonial Carolina’s governors, William Tryon.

Charlotte’s city limits extend far outside the city’s core at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets. Prior to European settlement of the area in the mid-eighteenth century, the intersection known as “Independence Square” marked the point where two native-American trading paths crossed. The area around the intersection served as a kind of open-air market where tradespeople sold their wares.

One of the trading paths—called “the Great Wagon Road” by European settlers—is still in use today. Interstate 85, which runs from near Montgomery, Alabama, to near Petersburg, Virginia, roughly follows the path of “the Great Wagon Road.” Interstate 85 crosses eastward from Gaston County into Mecklenburg County at the Catawba River.

The Catawba River—named for the Native Americans who populated much of the area in and around Charlotte—meanders southward along Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s western shoulder, forming the boundary between Mecklenburg County and its neighbors to the west: Gaston and Lincoln Counties. Several road names—Beatties Ford Road, Nations Ford Road, Cowans Ford Road, Rozzells Ferry Road and Walkers Ferry Road—harken back to periods in Charlotte’s history in which tradespeople had to rely on river fords or ferries to cross the Catawba River. Beatties Ford Road is named after John Beatty, who purchased land in what is now western Mecklenburg County in 1749. He established a ferry to take travelers across the river. Other important river crossings were established at or near the termini of Nations Ford, Cowans Ford, Rozzells Ferry and Walkers Ferry Roads.

The ferries have been replaced, of course, and now most travelers to the Queen City arrive by plane or automobile. The river and its crossings have not dimmed, however, in their significance. Modern-day travelers will find just four river crossings into Mecklenburg County from the west: the North Carolina Highway 16 bridge at Mountain Island Lake; the North Carolina Highway 27 bridge at Mount Holly; the Interstate 85 bridge; and the old Highway 74 bridge from the City of Belmont. Many travelers from York County, South Carolina and points from the southwest also cross the well-known Buster Boyd Bridge at Lake Wylie, South Carolina, into Mecklenburg County.

The Catawba River is far more to Charlotteans than something to cross on one’s way from tither to hither. It is, quite simply, the well-spring of human development in the greater metropolitan area. It is the source of fresh drinking water and a primary source of energy in the region, with several hydroelectric plants and two nuclear power plants bestriding it. The river has been dammed at numerous points both to the north and south of Charlotte. In 1904, the Catawba Power Company built a dam south of Charlotte, forming what is now known as Lake Wylie. The hydroelectric power station built on the lake is still in operation, as is the Catawba Nuclear Generating Station.

To the north, the well-known Cowans Ford Dam—completed in 1964—formed Lake Norman. Lake Norman is more than twice the size of Lake Wylie and powers a hydroelectric power station at Cowans Ford as well as the nearby McGuire Nuclear Station. Many residents and visitors to the Charlotte area enjoy boating, jet skiing, fishing and other outdoor recreational activities on or near the lake.

The City of Charlotte has exploded in size, transforming the once-dusty trading post into one of the most populated urban centers in the southeastern United States. It is generally considered to be America’s second financial capital—after New York City—with the United States’ second-largest bank, Bank of America, calling the Queen City home. Charlotte was once the home of Wachovia Bank, which merged with Wells Fargo in 2008 and became the San Francisco-based bank’s regional headquarters.

A destination for those seeking a better life

Over the past century, the United States has fought wars, undergone a depression and numerous recessions, has seen booms followed by busts. One thing has remained constant for the City of Charlotte: its appeal to people from both within and outside of the United States looking for a place to call home.

It is no wonder, to be frank, that people choose Charlotte as a home. The climate is mild—hot in the summer, balmy in the spring, cool in the fall and winter. The cost of living is manageable—it can be cheap compared to other large cities in the United States. Most importantly, the city’s people still possess some of the old southern charm for which Charlotte and America’s south are famous.

Charm aside, Charlotte is also a city that takes its law enforcement seriously. If you are charged with a crime, the prosecutor in your case likely has one goal in mind: conviction. Charlotte may be a nice place with many nice people, but if you are charged with a crime and swept up into the cauldron of criminal processes in Charlotte, it may feel like you have been transported into an alternate universe. Court processes—even in the Queen City—may seem bewildering to a criminal defendant who is unfamiliar with the system.

Brad Smith and the team of experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are fighting for criminal clients in Charlotte courtrooms literally every day court is in session. We would be honored to fight for you. If you have been charged with a crime or issued a traffic citation, give us a call today at 704-370-2828. We will fight to protect your interests and to obtain the best result for you, given the unique circumstances of your case.