When it comes time to renew your green card, one of the questions you’ll be asked is if you were arrested, or committed any violations. If you’ve received a traffic ticket, even for something minor, you must answer “yes,” no matter how minor. Because if you answer “no,” they’ll find out anyway. Not telling the truth can definitely have an effect on your green card renewal. But a ticket, especially for something minor, doesn’t necessarily mean your green card won’t be approved.
Getting A Ticket
Since becoming a US citizen takes a long time, a “green card” can give you the time you need to stay in the US while your citizenship is being processed. If you acquire a driver’s license in the US, you’ll also have to follow the laws for driving a car in the state where you live.
You may find yourself with a ticket one day. Don’t ignore it, take care of it. An attorney who understands how traffic court operates can help you so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem.
After you fill out Form I-90 with USCIS, you’ll also be required to submit fingerprints, which are forwarded to the FBI. After the FBI receives your fingerprints, they’re checked against multiple law enforcement database. If you’ve received a citation of any kind (or have an arrest), the FBI will know immediately.
Obviously, serious felonies crimes will most certainly affect your green card, and possibly derail your citizenship. But a misdemeanor is a different story.
Under US Immigration Law, a misdemeanor is one that:
Is punishable by one year or less of imprisonment
Is punishable by more than one year’s imprisonment, but is a misdemeanor by state law, as long as the sentence the individual actually received was one year or less.
Most minor traffic tickets are misdemeanors, and won’t cause a problem for your green card renewal, as long as you don’t lie about it.
However, federal immigration laws are different than most state laws regarding misdemeanors. This means that some things considered misdemeanors at the state level may actually be a felony under federal immigration laws.
What Is A Crime For Immigration
Crimes that will affect your immigration are any misdemeanors involving:
Drug/controlled substance violations
Any crime involving violence
Any crime involving moral turpitude
Conviction of a crime that involves violence is a felony under immigration law, even if it’s considered a misdemeanor at the state level, and is grounds for immediate removal from the US. (If you’re accused of a crime involving violence, contact an immigration attorney immediately.)
Conviction of two crimes involving moral turpitude that were not from a single act is grounds for removal by DHS. This is true of crimes that the state considers a misdemeanor. However, a single act of moral turpitude would not be enough for DHS to initiate removal if the maximum sentence at the state level is less than one year.
Conviction of a controlled substance violation, which includes paraphernalia, is also grounds for denial of your green card and removal, even if the state considers it a misdemeanor. The exception is for less than 30 grams of marijuana.
Particularly difficult is the possession of marijuana, which is actually legal in a number of states (but not in North Carolina.) While less than 30 grams is not grounds for denial of your green card and removal, it is grounds for inadmissibility. This means if you leave the US, you can be denied re-entry. You’ll have to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to be allowed back into the US.
Ticketed In Raleigh? Call Today
A traffic ticket probably isn’t the end of the world, but it can cause problems, especially if you ignore it. Don’t let a traffic ticket raise your insurance rates or cause problems getting or renewing your green card.
If you’ve been arrested of DWI in Raleigh, you may have been told that you can have it “expunged,” or removed from your record. North Carolina does allow some types of charges and convictions to be expuncted (as it’s called here), including DWI arrests, dismissals, and non-convictions.
But for a conviction, it’s a different story.
The Short Answer: No
North Carolina does NOT allow a conviction for DWI to be expunged from your record. Last year, Senate Bill 445 changed some of the time frames to allow more people to clear their records of old charges and arrests, including DWI. The idea was to give more than 2 million North Carolina residents the opportunity to clear their criminal records in a shorter amount of time after paying their debt to society and open up more job and housing opportunities. Once the process was completed, they could truthfully answer that they did not have an arrest record.
But a conviction for DWI is a different matter. Previously, the conviction had to be more than 15 years old, and there was a process to remove it. But after December 2015, that “loophole” was eliminated. Under North Carolina state law, (§15A-145.5(a)(8a)). DWI convictions are specifically excluded from expunction (as well as felony convictions that include violence.) DWI convictions can no longer be expuncted, no matter how old they are.
If You’ve Been Arrested For DWI
An arrest doesn’t always mean a conviction. Being convicted of DWI means that the charge won’t “fall off” or go away.
After an arrest, the burden of proof shifts to the state. After an arrest, the state must prove that you were, in fact, driving while intoxicated and in violation of the law. The three elements of proof are:
You were driving
You were on a public road in the county where you were arrested
You were impaired while driving
Although the legal blood alcohol level is .08, you can still be arrested if your level is below that, and if the officer can show that you were “appreciably impaired” (or if you refuse to test altogether.) The state’s standards for DWI are things like unsteady walking, “red, glassy eyes,” slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. However, the machine used to detect the presence of alcohol isn’t perfect, either. False positives are frequent, even in sober individuals. It’s not uncommon for police to arrest someone who cooperated with police and did consume alcohol but was well below the legal limit and not impaired.
What if you weren’t drinking or impaired at all? This is where a defense attorney can challenge faulty evidence from a faulty device and show that you were, in fact, arrested when you were not impaired. Find someone who will examine all the evidence and determine if the state unlawfully arrested you. An experienced defense attorney will fight to have your charges dismissed, reduced or a conviction to a lesser charge than DWI.
It’s also a good idea to keep good written records detailing your dealings with police, and the state of North Carolina. These will come in handy for your attorney and ensures that you won’t forget an important detail.
Wake County’s Premier DWI Defense Attorney
North Carolina has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country. An arrest for DWI in Raleigh is a serious crime. Your license can be suspended, you’ll face high fines and you could serve jail time. Don’t take chances going to court—a strong defense from an experienced DWI defense lawyer is your best bet.
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DWI cases. A charge and a conviction are two different things. His aggressive defense will fight to have your case dismissed or for a verdict of “not guilty.” Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email us at email@example.com.
If the case has extenuating circumstances, a judge may decide to close the courtroom to protect the juvenile. For instance, if there case contains sensitive information about the accused, the family, or any victims from disclosure of the information, the judge can keep the information from becoming public by closing it off.
Excluding public attendance still allows victims, their family members, law enforcement, witnesses and anyone else directly involved in the case to remain in court.
Records from juvenile court proceedings, however, are not available for public disclosure without a court order. This is to protect the privacy of the children involved in the proceedings. Only involved individuals can access these records, including:
The juvenile’s parent and/or guardian
The juvenile’s attorney
Juvenile court counselors
Attending Juvenile Court
For anyone under the age of 18 who is accused of certain types of offenses, there are two court systems available.
The first is the criminal court system for adults, which, for juveniles, is when they commit felonies including (but not limited to) drug charges, weapons possession, assault or other form of bodily harm. This system will involve going to criminal court, standing trial, and if convicted, potential jail time or other sanctions.
Juvenile court is a slightly different approach for wrongdoers under the age of 18. While the point of criminal court is justice and incarceration, juvenile court is more focused on rehabilitation, and giving the child a chance to become an adult without a criminal record.
The next steps will depend on a few things:
Whether the child is considered “delinquent” or “undisciplined”
Whether the child is in secure or non-secure custody
Whether the child is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony
The next step is an adjudicatory hearing, the equivalent of a jury trial for adults. The State holds the burden of proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the delinquent juvenile has committed the offense he or she is accused of. For an undisciplined juvenile, clear and convincing evidence must be presented to prove the case.
A disposition hearing follows, similar to a sentencing hearing for an adult. However, because this is a juvenile court, a disposition isn’t a “sentencing,” but an individual court-ordered plan for rehabilitation. It is also designed to hold the juvenile accountable for his or her actions, and not to just dismiss them because of their age.
A judge has a range of choices when it comes to administering punishment and rehabilitation. These can include:
Restitution to victims
Evaluation and Treatment
Incarceration (confinement in either a youth development center or detention center)
More information on disposition is available here and here.
Your Child’s Best Defense In Court
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley is now an experienced criminal defense attorney who can guide you and your child through the court process. He can defend your child against charges, fight wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today (or use the online contact form) to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your child’s case at (919) 832-0307.
When a juvenile breaks the law, there are two possibilities after the arrest, depending on the type of charges involved. Underage offenders who commit minor offenses are brought into the juvenile court system. Juveniles who commit more serious crimes—drug and/or weapons possessions, assault and other felonies—are generally tried as an adult in the criminal justice system. The focus of the juvenile court system is rehabilitation and intervention, rather than punishment, the focus of the adult criminal justice system.
This term has a number of meanings in different places. Black’s Law Dictionary defines adjudication as “the giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree in a cause; also the judgment given.”
In Raleigh, North Carolina, “adjudication” in juvenile court is the equivalent of the term “conviction” for an adult in criminal court. Court proceedings are handled in state court.
What Is Adjudication?
Juvenile cases are similar to adult court proceedings. The trial is called an “adjudicatory hearing,” where a judge (and in some jurisdictions, a jury) reviews the evidence and determines the facts prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If he or she has been found “guilty” in juvenile court, the verdict is called “adjudication.”
An adjudication does not always mean incarceration (also called “commitment”) as it might in an adult criminal court. Since the focus is on rehabilitation before the age of 18 (and sometimes, 21), there are a number of alternatives to jail time that a juvenile can receive.
Deferred adjudication (also called Diversion) is an alternative to incarceration that may involve probation or other conditions that the juvenile will have to meet to resolve, and possibly dismiss the charge or charges. Deferred adjudication is frequently used in cases where the circumstances of the case warrant giving the juvenile a second chance.
The Disposition is the equivalent of a sentence and is the final decision on how the juvenile’s case will be handled after adjudication. Again, rehabilitation is the goal, so the disposition can include:
Fines and restitution
In-home placement under supervision or probation
Out of home placement in commitment facilities
Disposition can also involve a specific treatment plan to address conditions in the child’s current behavior and living environment.
Adjudication is also not a matter of public record as standard criminal convictions are.
As an adult, a conviction in criminal court is a different matter, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual did commit the crime in question. Depending on the severity of the charges and the outcome, fines, loss of a driver’s license, and jail time are possibilities.
While juvenile charges may, eventually, be reduced or dismissed, adult criminal convictions aren’t as easy to lose. A conviction, even if no jail time is involved, can bring difficult restrictions that may be lifelong obstacles, such as:
Losing the right to vote
Barred from holding a public office
Barred from serving as a juror
Restrictions from many types of employment that require licensure (health care workers, attorneys, barbers and cosmetologists, and others), depending on the charges
Employment restrictions may depend on the type of charges one is convicted of; but discharge from employment is also possible in occupations where “moral turpitude” is a factor. Once discharged after a criminal conviction, unemployment can also be denied.
Convictions can be expunged under certain circumstances. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you remove a conviction from your record, or appeal if necessary.
Drug charges—of any type—are always a serious matter. Since most drug charges can end in a conviction, you’ll need an attorney who knows what the state will go through to get it.
How can you defend yourself against a drug charge in Raleigh? Here are some ways an attorney can offer a defense:
· Illegal search and seizure—the Fourth Amendment guards all citizens from being searched for no reason, and requiring probable cause. Generally, authorities need a search warrant to search your home, but in a car, drugs in plain view of the officer are an exception. But if your car was searched without a warrant or without your consent, your Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated. The drugs would then be inadmissible in court, and the charges will likely be dropped.
· Proving possession—the state must prove that any illegal substances found actually belonged to you. For instance, if you were riding in a car with a number of people, proving possession will be more difficult. Being near the drugs may not be enough to convict, and a defense attorney can cast doubt on you being in possession.
· Proving that it was drugs—a “mysterious white powder” must be analyzed by a crime lab to determine whether it’s baking soda, over-the-counter medication or an illegal controlled substance. If it isn’t, your attorney can argue that there’s no way to prove that the “powder” was a controlled substance or not.
· Where are the drugs?—a defense attorney can require the prosecution produce the substances in question that are being used to bring you to trial. If the prosecution doesn’t keep track of what the police recovered, and can’t produce the evidence at trial, your attorney will have a strong case to have the charges dropped.
· Planted drugs (aka “entrapment”)—it’s not unheard of for an individual to “plant” drugs on an innocent individual, including the occasional law enforcement officer. While this scenario is rare, your attorney can raise this defense if there is evidence that points to the possibility that someone had the motive. The prosecution is then required to prove that the substances were not planted and belonged to the defendant.
An attorney who understands drug charges, the court process and how to create a strong defense is your best chance of success in the courtroom.
Your Drug Charge Defense Attorney
Offenses involving any form of drugs—from a small amount of marijuana to a saleable quantity of anything else—can land you in jail. Drug charges can ruin your life forever, even if you’re innocent. Don’t plead “guilty” just because you think you should. Find a drug charge attorney who will fight for your rights.
Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, your defense is critical to the outcome. A criminal defense attorney experienced in drug cases can defend you in court and make sure your rights are protected. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law.
If your driver’s license has been suspended, it’s inconvenient, but may not be permanent. North Carolina has an appeals process for a license suspension so that you can, eventually, get it back.
Why Was Your License Suspended?
There are a number of reasons why your license can be suspended. The ease or difficulty of appealing depends on why your license was suspended, and for how long. The state will notify you in writing of the suspension, and list the reason.
If your suspension is for an insurance lapse, failing to pay a ticket or appear in court, excess points on your driving record, or other administrative reason, you simply need to comply with the requirements and your license will be reinstated.
However, if you’ve lost your license for things like speeding or failing to stop and render aid in an accident, the suspensions are longer. Charges such as DWI, death by vehicle (misdemeanor) participation in illegal street racing and refusing a blood test can lead to suspensions of 1 to 4 years.
Additionally, your license can be suspended for:
Two speeding convictions over 55 mph in a 12-month period
One conviction of speeding (over 55) with one conviction of reckless driving in a year
As part of a sentence or suspended sentence that revokes your driving privileges
A conviction for speeding in excess of 75 mph
Subsequent DWIs or felony death by vehicle incurs a permanent license suspension.
A suspension can also be part of a separate action, such as a criminal conviction or failure to pay child support. In cases like these, you’ll need to comply with the requirements (such as pay back child support or serve a jail term) before you can go through the process of getting your license back.
A suspension becomes part of your permanent driving record.
Once you’re notified that your license has been suspended, you may be able to request an administrative hearing to appeal. This will depend on the reason your license was suspended, and you’ll retain your driving privileges (and your license) until the hearing. The hearings are not guaranteed and will be granted based on the reason for the suspension.
To request a hearing, you can contact the central DMV office in Raleigh at 919-715-7500, or by writing to:
North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver License Hearings
3118 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697
The DMV will notify you in writing of the day and time of your hearing. If you lose this hearing, you can appeal the decision to the North Carolina Superior Court in your resident county. But you must file your appeal to NC Superior Court within 30 days.
Getting Your Driver’s License Back
If you’re not able to win on appeal, you’ll need to go to your local DMV office after your suspension is over and pay a $50 fee ($100 if you were suspended for DUI) and re-apply for your license. You may be required to re-take any testing involved.
Get Back Behind The Wheel
Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked doesn’t mean you’ll never legally drive again. But license restoration is a process and can take some time. Need help? Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for getting your license back and your driving privileges restored. He can help you through the appeals process and defend you in court. Call today: 919-832-0307 to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.
North Carolina takes drunk driving very seriously. With some of the strictest laws in the US, a DWI is a difficult charge to defend, and even more difficult to dismiss. But with the right legal representation, good fact investigation and a strong defense, a DWI can, in some circumstances, be dismissed. Here’s what you need to know.
Was The Arrest Conducted Correctly?
A police officer must follow specific, proper procedures for a drunk driving (or any) arrest. He or she must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull a vehicle over, and be able to prove that you were, indeed driving while intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
There are some occasions where an officer made multiple mistakes in the arrest and the DA dismisses the case, but those are very rare. If you’re not lucky enough to have the charge dismissed by the DA before trial, you’ll have to fight in court.
If the arresting officer mishandled the arrest or made other mistakes that are crucial to the arrest and criminal case, a judge may decide to dismiss the case completely. But you must have all the facts of your case documented, along with any evidence. Mistakes like:
Failing to read your Miranda rights (right to remain silent, to have an attorney, etc.)
Acting in a disrespectful and/or intimidating manner
Displaying any improper conduct toward you during your arrest
Improperly administering a breathalyzer or field sobriety test
Evidence That Disproves The Officer’s Claim And Creates Doubt
Again, the police officer must have probable cause to pull you over and begin an arrest. His or her testimony carries a lot of weight in court. However, details are important here. For instance, if the officer did not actually witness you driving the car while inebriated, there may be some doubt involved, and the case could be dismissed.
Witnesses who can corroborate your story can also be helpful. If bloodshot eyes are the only evidence of your “intoxication,” they could indicate another condition such as allergies or fatigue (or crying.) Without additional evidence, such as an odor of alcohol, a field sobriety test, or a blood alcohol level test, the prosecution can’t positively prove that you were driving and intoxicated.
One medical condition that can actually raise BAC is Candida albicans. That’s a scientific name for yeast overgrowth in the gut. In advanced cases, yeast overgrowth can actually cause detectable levels of alcohol in the blood without a drop of alcohol consumed. Candida can be diagnosed by a simple blood test and is easily treated and eradicated with antifungals and diet. But left untreated, candida can cause symptoms that could lead an officer to believe you’re actually driving drunk.
This is where you’ll need a good criminal defense attorney at your side, both before and during the trial. Your attorney can request evidence from the police department from the arresting officer’s records, including any video. He or she can also investigate other evidence before the trial that can prove your innocence.
You Can’t “Plead Down”
In some states, a DWI can be reduced to a lesser charge, like reckless driving. However, North Carolina doesn’t allow reductions of DWI. In fact, under N.C.G.S. 20-179.4, DWI charges are actually more difficult. Unless the state can’t produce a witness, such as a police officer or other witness that can prove that you’re guilty, your case will go to trial.
Get Help From Raleigh’s DWI Attorney
An experienced DWI attorney can review your case, examine details, investigate and find out the exact circumstances of your case before you go to court. That’s why it’s important to have someone who knows how to defend someone in a DWI case and bring a successful outcome.
Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public records are any kind of information pertaining to a governmental agency. It’s data or other information collected by the government that isn’t of a confidential nature. The most common public records are birth and death records, marriage and divorce records, lien information and bankruptcy records, but there are quite a number of others. Accessibility depends on what state you live in.
Companies that charge for online record searches (i.e., Intellius) also use public records for background checks and people searcher functions. While they can provide the information you can find yourself, the sites can gather it much faster.
But after a DUI arrest, you may be wondering if anyone else can, or will, find out about it.
Arrest Records Are Public Records
If you’ve been arrested in Raleigh for DWI—or anything else—anyone can find out about it through a public record search.
According to the Wake County website, any kind of governmental record collected by any state agency is considered to be “property of the people.” Any information of this kind is to be made public unless it is specifically marked as confidential in nature (i.e., with identifying information such as a date of birth or Social Security numbers.) This includes arrest records, real estate deeds and other types of information that involves a public entity. Wake County abides by the North Carolina Public Records Law, found at N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, which explains public records in further detail.
Public records are required to be made available to the public for free or for a “nominal cost,” but are also accessible online. Internet access to public records is immediate, as well as saves Wake County money on maintenance, staff, and overhead.
City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI)
Wake County arrest records are in the CCBI portal and are searchable for free. The types of offenses that are in the database are listed in the North Carolina General Statute § 15A-502. Driving while intoxicated is included in the list. You can access the database online and for free. However, current case status and dispositions are not included in the database but are available in the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office.
How It Affects You
Anytime you’re asked if you’ve been arrested, you’re required to disclose that you have (unless you’ve had an expunction in NC.) Background checks for employment, housing, education and other things are easy to get, so if you don’t answer truthfully, you’ll be found out almost immediately.
Loans like mortgages, student loans, credit cards and other types of revolving charges may be more difficult to get. This can limit your ability to acquire housing, education, and other necessities.
Additionally, a DUI arrest almost immediately raises your insurance rate, since you’re now “high risk.” You may even be dropped by your insurance company, but there are some insurers who offer insurance to those who have a DUI.
Fight The DUI
Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DUI cases. He will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. You can also email him at email@example.com.
Getting a DUI can be embarrassing—and expensive. It can also follow you around for a long time. Employment and other opportunities could be lost because of one mistake. Car insurance will be very expensive. You could also lose your job, custody of your children and even your home over a DUI.
But what if it were just one? What if your DUI was an anomaly, and not who you really are? Can you have that charge expunged, and “make it go away?” It’s possible but time-consuming. There are specific conditions you have to have to be “rid” of a DUI.
Changes In Expunction Laws
Last year, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 445 into law, which took effect in December of 2017. This new bill reduces the waiting time for nonviolent offenders to apply for expungement. Some of the changes include:
Instead of 15 years, the wait time for misdemeanor convictions is 5 years
Instead of 15 years, the wait time for felony convictions is 10 years
Law enforcement and prosecutors now have access to your records
There is no longer a limit on the number of dismissals that can be expunged, as long as you have no felony convictions
This bill is expected to help more than 2 million North Carolina residents get rid of old dismissed or “not guilty” charges that remain on their criminal records. Even if dismissed, old charges can inhibit the ability to find employment, housing education and other opportunities. Once completed, the charge will not show up on routine background checks but will be retained in the event of additional charges later.
The request for expungement must be filed in the county where it occurred. For instance, if you live in Wake County, but were charged during a beach weekend in Carteret County, you’ll have to file your expungement request in Carteret County since that’s where the charge originated.
Currently, it takes about nine months to one year for an expungement to be completed. With more individuals eligible for expungement, the wait time may be a little longer as more people take advantage and file to have old charges dismissed.
The Type Of DUI
Were you arrested for DUI, but not charged? Did you go to trial but found not guilty? Or were you convicted in a trial?
If your charge was dismissed, or you were acquitted, you can file for an expunction immediately, if you have no other felonies on your record. The judge is allowed discretion in approving an expunction, even if all the conditions are met.
But if you were convicted of DUI in North Carolina, expunctions are not included, and not allowed under §15A-145.5(a)(8a).
Driver’s License Suspension For DUI
If your license has been suspended for DUI, it’s a completely separate administrative matter. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has information on suspensions, revocations, and instructions on restoring your license. If your license has been suspended because of a DUI, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you restore your driving privileges as well.
Dewey P. Brinkley understands that DUI is not who you are. It doesn’t have to last forever. As a former Wake County prosecutor, he has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DUI cases. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation.
Are you considering law school? You’re in a great place for it. Forbes recently rated Raleigh as the “#1 City For Raising A Family.” If you live here, you already know Raleigh is a great place to live.
North Carolina is home to six top-rated law schools. Three of them are in the Raleigh area, with two in nearby Durham. The Raleigh-Durham area is one of the fastest growing areas in the US, with a low cost of living. US News & World Report rates us as #13 in their list of 125 Best Places to Live in the USA.
Campbell University School of Law
Raleigh’s own law school is located right in the downtown area. A relatively new addition to American law schools, it began in 1976 with the first 97 students, and still works with a relatively smaller student body.
Today, Campbell law has more than 3,400 alumni, and the school has one of the highest pass rates for the bar exam in the US.
Campbell Law seeks to educate students to not only train compassionate lawyers who are dedicated to practicing law for a just society, but also from a Christian perspective. The exclusive peer mentoring program assigns incoming students to second- and third-year students who volunteer as supportive advisors. The law school’s active alumni base is both involved and engaged, and they frequently hire students and graduates for internships and jobs.
Most of Campbell Law’s graduates practice in North Carolina, with many in surrounding areas. Two of Campbell Law’s alumni serve as judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. More alumni sit on superior and district courts, as well as 15 district attorneys.
Duke is the first of two law schools in nearby Durham. The Bull City is another great place to live in the state, and Duke fits right in with the rest of the city.
From its humble beginnings, known then as Trinity College, Duke Law is now consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the US. The school has consistently ranked as one of the top 14 law schools ranked by US News & World Report. Admitting about 20% of its applicants, roughly 95% of graduates are employed at graduation. Duke Law publishes multiple law journals and has a long list of notable alumni (including one US President, Richard Nixon.)
Duke Law also offers dual-degree JD programs, with Duke’s Graduate School, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke Divinity School, The Pratt School of Engineering, The Sanford School of Public Policy and the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. Academic and professional dual degree programs, as well as law and business degree programs, are available.
North Carolina Central University School of Law
The second law school in Durham, it was founded to help the African-American community become lawyers. A historically under-represented population in law schools and the practice of law, law students are educated to become lawyers who can easily and adequately address the needs of under-served groups.
NCCU School of Law operates 15 student-run legal clinics for low-income clients. Specialties include Intellectual Property, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Domestic Violence, Civil Litigation, and other commonly needed services.
The Street Law program brings second- and third-year law students into middle or high school social studies classes to teach law basics. Students hands-on skills that also help in breaking down complex legal concepts for both students and juries, as well as the skills they will need dealing with clients and going into court. Bringing real-world law issues and concepts to high school students helps them better understand things like Civics and other static subjects. Topics like court systems (state and federal), the criminal law process, and Constitutional law are brought to students and fosters an interest in a future legal career.
UNC School of Law
Chapel Hill’s own law school is just 30 miles west of Raleigh, less than an hour on I-40 West. Like many of our law schools, UNC’s curriculum builds practical skills for a future in the legal workforce. Graduates are not only ready for private practice attorneys in law firms, they’re trained to work in a number of different roles and fields. Corporate law departments, public service as elected officials and other public sector jobs are just some of the jobs UNC law graduates are ready to tackle. “With a Carolina Law degree,” the website says, “our students can go anywhere.” Five previous NC governors are UNC alumni, as are 3 members of the 113th Congress.
US News & World Report rates UNC’s Law School as #45. While the first-year curriculum is the same for all students, second- and third-year students have more flexibility to choose the courses that best suit their career path. Through a partnership with Duke University Law School and North Carolina Central University School of Law, students can also choose courses at either of these schools if they’re not offered at UNC.
UNC also offers more than $2 million every year in scholarship money, helping reduce student expenses (and loans.) Six legal clinics, mentoring and a supportive environment offer students hands-on experience in multiple disciplines.
The UNC School of Law even has its own legal blog. Run by faculty member Jeff Welty, a criminal law specialist, the North Carolina Criminal Law blog is published “to disseminate information about, and to serve as a forum for the discussion of, North Carolina criminal law and procedure and related topics.”
Elon University School of Law
Greensboro is also a drive on I-40 west, but less than 100 miles, and a little over an hour from Raleigh. North Carolina’s newest law school, Elon opened in 2006 and became ABA accredited in 2011. The unique 2.5-year program means you’ll graduate in December, take the bar exam in February and be ready to begin your legal career in the spring. Students in other programs won’t take the bar exam until at least July.
Housed within the School of Law is the North Carolina Business Court, a working court. Real cases in corporate law and other complex commercial disputes are heard and presided over by a judge. The cases are assigned by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Elon is one of the few law schools in the US to have a working court.
One of the hallmarks of Elon Law School’s program is a residency for each student that’s directly relevant to the curriculum. Live experience is available year-round, instead of just during the summer months. Additional hands-on opportunities are available with Elon’s legal clinics, internships, and clerkships. Mock trials, moot courts, and attorney-led case simulations also offer real-world legal experience that prepares you for your legal career.
Tuition is 20% lower than the national average for private law schools. The shorter degree program means you’ll graduate sooner than most, and begin working while other graduates are still in school. Dual-degree programs are also available.
Wake Forest School of Law
Although Winston-Salem is a farther drive (about 103 miles west on I-40 West), Wake Forest’s School of Law may well be worth the move. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, this top-tier law school emphasizes smaller classes. Graduates routinely have a high bar passage, with an 81% rate from the 2016 class. US News & World Report ranks Wake Forest at #32 in 2018. Graduates find full-time employment within 10 months after graduation. Degree programs include Juris Doctor as well as JD dual degrees.
Wake Forest’s School of Law focuses on “fundamental lawyering skills,” and encourages students to “consider the social and economic settings in which legal principles and rules operate and the ways in which lawyers use those principles and rules in practice.” Other, non-legal instruction is part of a law student’s education. Topics like technology, oral and written communications, and functioning in a world that is quickly and constantly changing are also important for students and graduates.
The School of Law also operates eight law clinics for the public, where law students work with clients under the auspices of professors:
Community & Business Law
Innocence & Justice
Civil & Criminal Externship
The clinics offer real-world, hands-on legal experience for students before graduation. They also provide valuable legal representation to members of the public who may not otherwise be able to get it.