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Charlotte Federal Court Trial Lawyers: Practice Areas

Federal Criminal Litigation

From its beginning, Terpening Law was founded to litigate criminal cases in federal court.

Federal court presents high stakes challenges and requires particular experience and skill. We are well suited to such work.

We regularly try cases in federal court, and have handled over a hundred criminal matters in the Western District of North Carolina, as well as dozens of other federal matters around the nation, during the past decade. Our extensive experience in Charlotte federal criminal court includes defense of the following matters:

  • Tax Fraud.
  • Securities Fraud.
  • Healthcare Fraud.
  • Mortgage and Loan Fraud.
  • Drug Crimes.
  • Identity Theft.
  • Hobbes Act/Bank Robbery.
  • Conspiracies.

Although our practice is national, our roots in the federal court in Charlotte make us a strong, experienced choice if you need expertise in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Because our lawyers are equally strong in federal civil and federal criminal litigation, we are well suited to challenging “parallel proceedings” — cases in which our clients are being simultaneously attacked by private parties in a civil matter, regulators, and criminal authorities. It takes broad experience to see the big picture in such matters, and at Terpening Law, we have that perspective.

Comprehensive Criminal Defense: Pre-Indictment through Appeal

We are here for all stages of your federal criminal case – In Charlotte and nationwide.
Whenever you hear from the government, you should call us to protect your rights before you do anything else.

Government agents are good at seeming to be friendly… at first. Mistakes during “informal” FBI, SEC, or IRS interviews, with responding to government subpoenas, or in handling the execution of a search warrant at your home or place of business can lead to misunderstandings with the government, or worse. Early issues can make it much more difficult to favorably resolve criminal cases later. Thus, we encourage prospective clients to contact us when they first hear from federal authorities.

In similar fashion, there is significant value to policing your own company before the federal authorities become involved. In this era, all companies should consider implementing a plan that ensures their compliance with the laws and regulations pertaining to them. And when companies see any sign that they or their employees may have violated any applicable law or regulation, whether intentionally or not, they should investigate internally to assess and resolve the issue before outside authorities become involved.

We have significant experience assisting companies that deal proactively with these issues and are available to discuss ways that your company could benefit from a compliance plan. Because we have litigated so many criminal and civil business fraud cases, we have learned where problems can arise. This unique perspective will help us develop a comprehensive and thoughtful “real world” compliance plan for you, or to lead internal investigations that get to the root problem expeditiously and efficiently.

Finally, and unfortunately, defendants are convicted in federal court much more often than not.  If you have been convicted and would like to have new attorneys review your case, Terpening Law attorneys have significant experience with federal appeals and post-conviction litigation.

  • Management of civil litigation that may give rise to criminal charges.
  • Correction of tax problems arising from failure to file returns or erroneous filings.
  • Plea Negotiations.
  • Subpoena Response.
  • Grand Jury.
  • Search Warrants.
  • FBI/SBI/SEC/DOJ/IRS Interview Requests.
  • Trials.
  • Sentencing.
  • Appeals.
  • Post-Conviction.
  • Internal Investigations.
  • Compliance.

Federal Civil Litigation

We pride ourselves on being old school trial lawyers.

Unlike most modern day litigators, we are trial lawyers: We actually try cases and go to court. And we like it.

Terpening Law has a passion for taking cases to trial, and the education and experience necessary to intelligently and efficiently resolve the case through means other than trial, if trial is not in the client’s best interest. Putting the client and their business first, we treat civil business litigation as the business problem that it is for our clients, and we endeavor to achieve the most beneficial, cost-effective solution. In this respect, we partner with our clients, and view things through their eyes.

Our firm is known for successfully handling an eclectic mix of high-stakes cases.

Areas of particular focus for civil litigation are:

  • Anything in Federal Court.
  • Civil Tax Controversy Cases in Federal Court Against the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice.
  • Cases Involving Allegations of Fraud.
  • Securities Disputes Between Private Parties or with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Complex Business Partnership “Divorces” and Partnership Issues.
  • North Carolina Business Court matters.

Civil Threats & Litigation

  • Business divorce and disputes between owners of a business.
  • Employee disputes.
  • Sued by customers or clients.
  • Sued by competitors (trade secret claims, etc.).
  • Lateral investigation.
  • Compliance.
  • Embezzlement.

Traditional Crimes

At Terpening Law, we believe that the best criminal defense lawyers do not just focus on a specific area.

We are skilled in all Federal Criminal Defense matters, and have been defending federal criminal cases in Charlotte for 20 years.

We handle all criminal matters in federal court. Although we are best known for defense of professionals, executives, and their businesses, we often take high-stakes federal and state drug, bank robbery, prostitution, or other “traditional” criminal cases. We believe this conditions us to think flexibly, and is part of the Terpening Law Formula that gives us an edge over attorneys at bigger law firms who practice only within a narrow area. Taking traditional criminal cases keeps us in the courtroom, where we belong, improving our skills for our clients.

As well as handling traditional crimes like gun, drug, and prostitution offenses lets us help our executive and professional clients even on those same accessories where their mistakes are not so “white collar.”

Finally, handling traditional criminal cases is consistent with the Firm’s mission of representing the broadest possible spectrum of the community.

Trials and Appeals

In a day and age where people rarely try cases, we are the opposite, and the exception. We are trial lawyers.

We encourage our clients to fight it out in the courtroom, when it makes sense.

The Terpening Team has experience in both state and federal trials. From federal fraud trials to business court trials, we are experienced in every avenue. We can help you if your trial is a month away or a year away. We are equipped to handle quick trial prep and know the ins and outs of the courtroom. Don’t worry about being fearless, we are fearless for you.

We are extremely experienced with Fourth Circuit criminal and civil appeals. Indeed, Will Terpening has handled over 50 appeals in the federal Fourth Circuit as lead counsel. In addition, he has litigated appeals in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh Circuits, as well as the United States Supreme Court. The vast majority of these appeals arose from clients coming to Terpening Law after not achieving optimal success with predecessor counsel.


Crisis Management & Unusual Cases

Sometimes unexpected legal emergencies and problems occur that you never anticipate.

Whether because of our broad expertise in both criminal and civil litigation, our experience dealing with the authorities, our academic and professional background, or perhaps simply because of our reputation and track record, our firm is often called upon in such times of crisis. We regularly receive calls from other lawyers, professionals, and businesses with “unusual” legal problems that do not “fit” with other law firms. We can help with immediate triage, calm the situation down, develop a plan for resolution, and then execute that plan.

Examples of crisis calls or “unusual problem” calls we manage and solve:

  • Financial professional contacts us because a family member is involved in a fatal auto accident and is criminally charged. We immediately control the situation and manage both civil and criminal aspects of the case for favorable settlement and resolution to the criminal case.
  • CEO contacts us late on a Friday afternoon because his company is wrongfully terminating and making false defamatory statements about him. Negotiations undertaken over the weekend and situation resolved by Monday.
  • University student contacts us on Fourth of July because FBI is trying to question his alleged links to terrorism and role in bank robbery. We are off the lake and protecting improper attempts to interview him in jail that holiday afternoon and defending him in court the next day.
  • Wealthy executive arrested at airport after being caught with a gun going through security while flying commercial when accustomed to flying private. We immediately responded to get the charges dropped and the executive was able to retain their flight privileges.
  • Bank executives departing bank are falsely accused by bank of misappropriating trade secrets. We stand up to bank, which drops claims, so our clients can proceed with their careers.

Regulatory Investigations & Litigation

Set yourself up for success by partnering with our experienced lawyers before you make mistakes during the investigation.

We can protect your rights early in the SEC, IRS, or DOJ investigation if you call us when you first learn you are being investigated.

Defense of complete Internal Revenue Service (tax), Securities Exchange Commission (securities), Department of Justice, FBI, North Carolina Department of Revenue or Securities Division, and other criminal authorities and regulators is best managed when you retain experienced counsel at your first notice of the investigation – before you talk with agents and before you give them any documents.

Our efforts to protect you during the investigation can yield immeasurable benefits during later litigation or after an indictment – or even alleviate an indictment or litigation altogether through early education of investigators about the real facts.

We can help with:

  • Search Warrants.
  • Subpoenas for Testimony or Documents.
  • Federal Grand Jury Proceedings.
  • FINRA Investigations.
  • SEC Investigations.
  • Licensing Board Investigations (e.g. North Carolina Real Estate Commission, North Carolina Medial Board).
  • IRS Investigations, Including Criminal Tax Investigations.

North Carolina Superior Court Litigation

We are a comprehensive solution to your litigation, providing a 360 degree approach to protect your interests.

We litigate a wide range of civil and criminal cases in the North Carolina State Courts, with a particular expertise in North Carolina Business Court.

Although Terpening Law was born to litigate challenging federal court matters, our lawyers are experience and effective in every forum. We have decades of experience in North Carolina’s State Courts, including Mecklenburg County Superior Court. Recent criminal and civil successes for our clients in North Carolina’s Superior Courts include:

  • Persuading Mecklenburg County District Attorney to drop embezzlement charges against our client during the very early stages of the case.
  • Persuading a Wake County Superior Court Judge to issue a protective order, over the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s strenuous objection, ensuring the confidentiality of our client’s (a large multi-national retail corporation) production of sensitive tax documents.
  • Completely mitigating criminal exposure, in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, of a woman involved in the death of a cyclist.

Whether the courtroom or conference room, our advocates will efficiently and effectively tackle your most challenging criminal or civil dispute.