State v. Frederick, 222 N.C.App. 576, 730 S.E.2d 275 (Aug. 21, 2012)

The defendant was denied his right to counsel at a suppression hearing. The suppression hearing was a critical stage. Although the trial court recorded waivers of counsel prior to the hearing, the waivers were not valid because the trial court failed to inform the defendant of the maximum possible sentence, as required by G.S. 15A-1242. The trial court advised the defendant that he could “go to prison for a long, long time[,]” and if convicted “the law requires you get a mandatory active prison sentence[.]” These statements do not meet the statutory requirements for a valid waiver. The court reiterated that a waiver will not be presumed from a silent record and that a completed waiver of counsel form is no substitute for compliance with the statute.