All posts by Chris Moreno

How Are Juvenile Crimes Treated Differently In Raleigh, NC?

Children who break the law are generally treated differently after their arrest, especially if the crimes they are charged with are minor, nonviolent and aren’t considered felonies.

Over 100 years ago, arrested juveniles were sent to jail with hardened, dangerous criminals. The juvenile justice system in the US was created in 1899 to separate young people from the adult criminal population. The focus was on punishment for juvenile crimes as well as rehabilitation to keep them away from a life of crime and live productively.

Woman discussing juvenile crimes with a young man in a black leather jacket in a dark police interrogation room.

Because of this long-held mindset, when a juvenile is arrested, he or she has a number of options for rehabilitation that an adult offender would simply receive in a jail sentence.

The Benefits Of Juvenile Court

As a parent, you never want to hear that your child has been arrested. When it happens, there are key differences in the way a child is treated than an adult.

Any infraction that a juvenile commits is called a “delinquent act,” not a crime. However, older juveniles who commit violent or serious crimes are tried and sentenced as adults, no matter what their age.

Juveniles have “adjudication hearings” instead of trials. Since these hearings are heard by judges, they are not subjected to open court as they would be in a criminal court trial.

If the delinquent acts are not violent, prerelease is possible.

Juvenile records are sealed so that their criminal record does not follow them around for life. If the individual has met certain conditions, such as completing community service, anger management or other rehabilitative orders, the record can be expunged when he or she turns 18.

Juveniles also have the right to an attorney, including a public defender at no charge.

Rights of A Juvenile

Unlike adult court, a juvenile arrest does not include the right to have:

  • Bail
  • Jury trial
  • Speedy trial
  • Self-representation

Should a juvenile be transferred to adult criminal court, these rights are restored. However, if tried as an adult, a juvenile will be subjected to prison sentences and a permanent criminal record.

A juvenile does have the right to:

  • Remain silent and decline to answer questions
  • Have an attorney present during questioning
  • Have a parent, custodian or guardian present during questioning

However, your defense goal should be to keep a juvenile out of the adult criminal justice system, and ensure that he or she is not tried as an adult.

Currently, 16- and 17-year olds are tried as adults in North Carolina, even for nonviolent offenses. In December of this year, that will change, and they will be tried and treated as juveniles until the age of 18. Currently, North Carolina is the only state that tries them as adults. The “Raise The Age” reform is estimated to keep more than 5,000 teenagers out of the criminal justice system every year, saving them from a permanent criminal record.

When A Juvenile Is Tried As An Adult

Young people who commit juvenile crimes such as drugs, weapons possession, assaults, alcohol/tobacco possession or usage and other serious felonies are automatically tried as adults.

There are three ways that an individual can be sent to adult criminal court for juvenile crmes:

  • Previous adult charge—if the juvenile has had a prior case transferred, they will always be sent to adult court
  • Discretionary waiver—should a juvenile of 13 or older be charged with an adult felony offense, the juvenile court can request a transfer to an adult criminal court
  • Mandatory waiver—a juvenile court is required to transfer a juvenile of 13 or older to adult criminal court if he or she is charged with an adult felony and there is a motion ordering the court to do so

If the prosecutor or court is asking for your child’s case to be transferred to adult criminal court, he or she can defend themselves against the request. The court must have probable cause demonstrated at a hearing before the transfer can take place.

Raleigh Juvenile Court Attorney

Dealing with juvenile court can be a harrowing experience, but a court-appointed attorney is not your only option. Having a defense attorney who can help you and your child through the system can make things a lot easier, and ensure that your child’s rights are protected.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any charges, major or minor, and work with you through the entire judicial process.  Call our juvenile defense attorney today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

What Are Some Of The Consequences Of A DWI Conviction In Raleigh, NC?

Recently we told you about the costs of getting a DWI conviction in Raleigh. As we explained, it’s quite expensive. Even if your case is dismissed, you can spend upwards of $3,500 in court and administrative costs, and attorney fees. You can also be sued in civil court for personal injury damages if you hit someone.

But beyond the financial consequences, there are other consequences that you may suffer as a result of a North Carolina DWI arrest and conviction.  It does not “drop off” your driving and criminal record like a parking ticket, and it can affect you the rest of your life.

Students And DWI

DWI defense attorney Raleigh NC

Zero tolerance” is North Carolina’s law for underage drinking, and anyone under 21 can be convicted with any amount of alcohol in their system, not just the state limit of 0.08.

Additionally, high school students may face additional disciplinary actions at school, such as suspension or even expulsion. At the collegiate level, students may be prevented from receiving scholarships or other financial aid, or lose them if they’re already in college.

Employment

Some employers may terminate your employment immediately after an arrest; it may be part of their company policy (check your company’s employee handbook.) Depending on your job and where you work, you may have some questions to answer, but may not be fired. However, certain types of jobs may end if you’re arrested for DUI. For instance:

  • If you’re an air traffic controller or a pilot, your “medical fitness” will be reviewed automatically. If you are found “unfit” as a result of substance abuse, you won’t be allowed to work.
  • Professional licenses for doctors and nurses can be suspended or revoked by their respective state boards
  • NC’s State Board of Barber Examiners also has the ability to revoke your license after a felony conviction
  • Anyone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), such as truck drivers, can also lose their license—and their livelihood—after a commercial DWI conviction. The legal limit for CDL holders is 0.04, half of the state’s legal limit.
  • A DWI conviction can impact government employees with security clearances

A DWI can also affect your professional reputation and relationships with colleagues, coworkers and employees.

Additionally, future employment opportunities may be limited due to a conviction for DUI. If you’re asked if you’ve ever been arrested, you will have to disclose it. If you don’t, an arrest will appear when someone runs a criminal background check. While some jobs may be accepting, others, such as those that require you to drive, may decide against hiring you. You may be unable to acquire a professional license due to a DWI charge in North Carolina.

Housing

A DWI will show up if any landlord, lender or loan officer performs a criminal background check. You’ll have increased difficulty renting or buying a home, getting home financing, or even finding a place to live temporarily.

Relationships

A DWI arrest can lead to strained relationships with family, friends and colleagues, due to the stigma. Marital relationships that are already strained can worsen after a North Carolina DWI arrest and conviction, sometimes leading to divorce.

Divorce/Child Custody

If you’re already in the middle of a divorce, a DWI arrest will make things worse, especially with children.

Your spouse can use the arrest to show the judge that you are not responsible enough to properly care for your own children. As we mentioned, you’ll also have difficulty finding a place to live when you move out of the marital home, making your case more difficult.

A DWI does not mean an automatic loss of child custody, and the judge won’t necessarily use a Raleigh DWI arrest as the sole reason for denying you custody. But there are other factors that may cost you custody of your child or children, including:

  • If it was a single DWI or one of many
  • Your BAC (blood alcohol content) at the time of arrest, and if it was over 0.08, the legal limit
  • If you completed drug/alcohol treatment and/or rehabilitation
  • If you were arrested with an illegal drug or a prescription that inhibited your ability to drive
  • If you were in an accident, and if there were any injuries
  • If any children were in the car with you at the time of the arrest
  • Your criminal record—are there any additional pending charges?

Losing your license, or having severe restrictions, can also affect your visitation with them, especially if you can’t pick them up and drop them off.

A DWI Has Long-Reaching Consequences

In addition to a very expensive court case, the rest of the consequences can be just as devastating. A great DWI defense attorney can be expensive, but can save you more than just money.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced Raleigh DWI defense attorney and a former Wake County prosecutor. He can prepare a strong defense and make sure you are fairly represented in court. Contact our Raleigh law office at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation.

Can A North Carolina Assault Ever Be Accidental?

Many people use the term “assault and battery” to describe criminal acts. Although North Carolina combines the two, each term has distinctive meanings, while some states separate them.

North Carolina assault between two menAn assault in North Carolina is classified as giving another party (the “aggrieved” party) the fear of bodily harm, including the possibility of death. Acting in a potentially threatening manner or communicating threats of harm without touching another person is classified as “assault.

Battery” includes the actual contact and unwanted touching of a person without their consent. It is frequently combined with assault, but is a charge on its own.

Assault can be either a misdemeanor class or higher, depending on the severity of the assault. North Carolina assault charges have several classes, from simple to the felonious “assault with a deadly weapon.” The statute for the various degrees of assault is detailed in N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-33.

The Components of Assault

In order for an “assault” to occur, several components must be present:

  • One person threatens to or actually does harm another individual.
  • The other person had reason to believe he or she was actually in danger of being harmed
  • The intended harm was immediate and imminent
  • The assailant’s behavior was “offensive behavior” or communicated a physical threat, such as raising a fist to a potential victim’s jaw, indicating a potential punch

All of these elements must be in place to indicate assault, but it can be difficult to prove actual intent, as well as harmful and/or offensive. This is especially true when phrases like “I’m going to beat you senseless” are used casually, and refer to a sporting activity rather than to indicate the imminent intent of harm.

Defenses Against Assault

It is possible to raise a defense against assault charges. Potential defenses against North Carolina assault charges include:

  •  Self-defense—instead of the aggressor, you were the victim, and needed to use reasonable force to defend yourself or another person from the attacker. You must show that the other party acted first, and that you used reasonable force for the situation with which you were faced.
  • Consent—you and the other individual agreed to engage in a fight or other activity that led to injuries consistent with an assault.
  • Alibi—the prosecution charged the wrong individual, and you can prove your whereabouts at the time of the incident with one or more witnesses.

Can It Be Accidental?

Since assault is the act of someone intending to create a state of fear in another individual, but not necessarily making contact, the answer is probably “no.” An accident is just that, an accident, done without intent, and not intended to give the other individual fear of being attacked or harmed in any way.

However, every accusation of assault is different. Consult with an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and build a strong defense if you are required to attend a trial.

Fight Assault Charges

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney. As a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney, he understands the North Carolina criminal justice system. He has the experience to defend you in court against assault, whether a misdemeanor or felony charges.

Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

 

Will Getting My Driver’s License Suspended Affect My Auto Insurance?

A suspended license is bad enough. There’s a process you have to complete in order to have your North Carolina driver’s license reinstated, and it costs money. On top of that, you still need insurance. But once your insurance company discovers your license is suspended, there’s a strong chance you’ll be paying more for your auto insurance.

Reasons For Suspension

North Carolina drivers license attorneyLicense suspensions happen for a number of different reasons. North Carolina uses the “point” system, and even a single point can raise your insurance rates without a suspension. After you’ve accumulated seven points, the state requires you to take a Driver Improvement Clinic. If you accumulate 12 points in a three year period, your license could be suspended anywhere from 60 days up to a year.

Suspension for risky driving behavior may cause your insurance company to cancel your policy. The most common reasons are moving violations, such as:

  • Speeding
  • DWI
  • Hit-and-run
  • Felony with a motor vehicle
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Evading a police officer
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving without insurance
  • Reckless endangerment in a construction zone

Your driver’s license can also be suspended for non-vehicle related reasons, such as:

  • Court probation and violations
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Acts of fraud
  • Leaving a child unattended in a running vehicle
  • Undergoing rehab for an alcohol and/or chemical dependency
  • Failure to appear in court for parking or other tickets

Some insurers may not raise rates for non-vehicular suspensions, but that varies by company.

If your North Carolina driver’s license is suspended long-term, you may be considering cancelling your insurance until your license is renewed. This may not be a good idea, since getting re-insured later may cost more. A non-owner’s policy may be available through your insurer to keep you insured until you can drive again. You may also consider shopping around for new insurers before you cancel completely.

License Reinstatement

Whether your suspension is temporary or is a permanent revocation, it is a permanent part of your driving record.

North Carolina’s process for reinstating a driver’s license begins when you receive a letter informing you that your license is suspended. Depending on the reason why your license was suspended, you may request an administrative hearing by contacting the central DMV office in Raleigh. You can contact the office by phone: (919) 715-7000, or by mail:

Driver License Hearings
3118 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697

When your suspension period is completed, or you’ve been restored through a hearing, you’ll have to visit a NC DMV office, re-apply for your license, and pay a restoration fee of $65 (or $130 if it was for DUI), as well as a $50 service fee.

If your suspension was for a non-vehicular reason, such as nonpayment of child support, you will need to comply with the provisions of the agency or court that issued the suspension.

Once your North Carolina driver’s license is restored, all points are then cancelled.

Return To The Driver’s Seat

A suspended or revoked license doesn’t mean your driving days are over. You can get your license back, even if it does take time. Need help? North Carolina driver’s license suspension 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 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

What Are The Age Limits To Be Tried In A North Carolina Juvenile Court?

You’ve received a phone call you hoped you never would: your child is in trouble with the law. If it’s the first time, you’re probably very concerned, and not sure what to do. The words “juvenile court” are probably one of the first things you think of.

North Carolina considers anyone who is under the age of 18 and unmarried, un-emancipated and not a member of the military to be a “juvenile.”

What Is Juvenile Court?

Raleigh NC defense attorney discusses North Carolina juvenile justice system.In North Carolina, it’s actually called Juvenile Justice,” and refers to anyone ages 6 through 15 that “alleged to or have been found to have committed an undisciplined or criminal offense.”  DPS also handles youths 16 and 17 years old who have undisciplined complaints filed against them.

The North Carolina Juvenile Justice system handles two types of offenders: delinquents and undisciplined.

A delinquent is someone who has committed a misdemeanor crime, such as traffic offenses, vandalism, and shoplifting.

An undisciplined juvenile is one who is outside of the discipline of his or her parents, guardians or custodians. These are the kids who skip school, go where they should not be (such as bars) and has run away from home for more than 24 hours.

Many of the offenses can be expunged once the court records are sealed, if the crimes aren’t serious.

Penalties

One of the main differences between North Carolina Juvenile Justice and adult criminal court is the focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Because the system concentrates on rehabilitating juveniles, they may be eligible to have their records expunged upon successful completion of sentencing. These are for individuals who have not committed felonies.

A judge can issue several types of alternative sentencing, including community service types of programs, victim restitution, counseling and other “non-jail” penalties.

Detention centers are locked facilities for juveniles awaiting a hearing or for juveniles ordered to confinement for an act of delinquency. Repeat offenders may be required to stay in detention until the age of 21.

A flowchart of the process is available on the North Carolina DPS website.

North Carolina Juveniles Committing Felonies

If a North Carolina juvenile commits felony offense, such as drug trafficking, alcohol or tobacco possession or use, or other serious crime, they are automatically sent directly into the adult court system if they are 16 or older if the judge finds probable cause. As of December 1, 2019, they will be automatically sent at the age of 18, and anyone younger will have a transfer hearing before being sent to adult criminal court.

Should the judge find probable cause of a Class A felony (such as first-degree murder) with a juvenile who is 13 or over, he or she is required to send the case to adult court without a transfer hearing.

Unlike Juvenile Justice, they will be tried as an adult, and if they are 15 or over, the arrest and proceedings will be public, just as if they are over 21. Unless acquitted, the juvenile’s court record will not be sealed, and everything will be made public.

Hire An Experienced Raleigh, NC Defense Attorney

If your child has been is in trouble with the law, you’ll need an experienced Raleigh, NC defense attorney who understands the state’s juvenile justice system as well as the adult court system. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any charges, major or minor. Call Mr. Brinkley today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

What Does Aggravated Drug Possession Mean in Raleigh NC?

During an arrest or hearing, you may hear the term “aggravated drug possession,” but may not understand what it means as it applies to your case.

A prosecutor must prove that there was “possession” beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knowingly had possession of the drug and knew it was a controlled substance. Any additional factors can turn a simple misdemeanor drug possession into something more serious.

Types Of Possession

As we’ve mentioned previously, North Carolina has two types of possession:

Raleigh NC Aggravated Drug Possession

  • Actual possession, where the drug is on your person and within your reach, and you’re aware of it

 

  • Constructive possession, where the drug is available to you but you don’t have actual possession, such as riding in a car but unaware that the drugs are available.

The level of drug possession in North Carolina depends on how much you were carrying at the time of arrest. Higher amounts of nearly any type of drug (including marijuana) or a combination of drugs and fillers can escalate charges to drug trafficking, a much more serious charge.

The Aggravating Factor

In the case of drug crimes, “aggravated drug possession” means that there are additional mitigating factors in the case (“aggravating factors”) that make the crime worse. Punishments such as jail time are increased with the “aggravating” aspects of the arrest.

There are multiple factors that may accompany a North Carolina drug charge that can elevate it to “aggravated drug possession” meaning more serious than it would be otherwise. Aggravating factors for drug cases in North Carolina include:

  • Sale or delivery of a controlled substance to a minor
  • Previous drug convictions
  • Manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of someone under 18, where the minor lives, or exposing the minor to meth, its ingredients or byproducts
  • Manufacturing meth in a dwelling that is part of more than 4 contiguous dwellings (such as an apartment or condominium complex)
  • A minor who has a previous arrest and/or conviction for an offense that would be a Class A, B1, B2, C, D, or E felony if committed by an adult.

Any aggravating factors can also bring additional charges, such as child endangerment if arrested with drugs near a school.

What an Aggravated Drug Possession Charge Can Mean In Court

Aggravating factors can turn a misdemeanor into a felony, especially increase your jail sentence as well as other penalties, such as fines. Instead of the standard time periods for jail time, the “aggravated range” is longer than standard range for the crime and conviction.

Prior drug convictions may also be considered “aggravating factors,” increasing penalties and jail time. This will depend on how many prior convictions you may have, and what type of convictions.

Aggravated Drug Possession Defense In Raleigh, NC

In his previous role as a Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley oversaw the conviction of individuals accused of criminal charges including aggravated drug possession. Now as an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney, he can aggressively defend you in court and fight for a better outcome. He can defend you against North Carolina drug charges, fight any wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form.)

Are Raleigh Field Sobriety Tests Admissible In Court?

Finding yourself pulled over by a police officer in Raleigh is bad enough. Now you’re being asked to take tests to prove that you’re sober. You know that these field sobriety tests are actually intended to prove that you’re inebriated. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, but you know that whatever happens, the tests will be brought to court. So, are they actually admissible?

Taking Or Not Taking Field Sobriety Tests

Raleigh field sobriety testsIn our blog from December, we discussed the three parts to Field Sobriety Tests (FST). They are:

  • The “Walk-And-Turn” Test
  • The “One Leg Stand” Test
  • The “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test” (HGN)

Police perform these tests at a roadside stop or at DUI checkpoints when an officer has reason to believe you are driving intoxicated.

These Raleigh field sobriety tests were developed and perfected in a laboratory, but side-of-the-road testing may not always be as effective, or accurate.

The officer makes the arrest decision based on the way you perform on these tests as to whether you are “impaired.” But the same “clues” that tell a police officer that you are intoxicated can also be attributed to other factors. Medications, weather, the time of day or night, your physical condition, and other factors can contribute to “failing” standard FSTs.

For instance, if you were playing basketball earlier in the day and twisted your knee, you’ll likely have trouble with the first two tests, especially if your knee still hurts. Even if you’ve consumed no alcohol, the officer may declare you “intoxicated,” because you couldn’t walk exactly right or stand on one knee.

Fighting Back Against an FST

Raleigh, NC Field sobriety testing is admissible in court, if everything was conducted correctly and the officer correctly followed procedure. In many cases, however, they weren’t, and can be rendered inadmissible. A DUI defense attorney can challenge the results and the way they were taken, and have the results dismissed from the case.

If these roadside assessments were accurate more than 90% of the time, you probably wouldn’t be able to defend yourself in court, let alone have the charges dismissed. But Field Sobriety Tests aren’t always accurate, particularly when given at a roadside stop. Even sober drivers may not be able to pass an FST for reasons other than alcohol consumption and/or intoxication.

Research from the Southern California Research Institute shows that each of these tests are accurate less than 80% of the time. Police officers must also follow a procedure to properly administer an FST. If he or she fails to follow procedure, some or all of the collected evidence can be dismissed.

You can refuse to take FST, particularly if you have other conditions that would cause you to “fail” the test, such as an injury. Inform the officer that you are declining to take these tests because of their inaccuracy. He or she cannot take your license based on FST refusal.

However, your refusal can be a reason to arrest you anyway and require you to take a Breathalyzer or other chemical test for BAC (blood alcohol content). A refusal can also be used against you in court later (North Carolina General Statute § 20-139.1(f)), and the officer can claim that your refusal was due to a “guilty conscience,” because you knew that you were “intoxicated.”

Whichever choice you make, it’s important to be polite, and cooperate with the police officer’s requests.

Occasionally, officers may request you to attempt non-standard FSTs, including:

  • Reciting the alphabet, or reciting it backwards
  • Counting to a certain number, then counting backwards
  • Putting your finger to your nose

If you’re arrested based on failing these nonstandard roadside tests, a DUI defense attorney can have them dismissed.

As we mentioned in our last blog, refusing a FST is not the same as refusing a EC/IR-II Breathalyzer test, which will result in a 12 month suspension of your license. You may still be arrested for refusing FST, but you won’t lose your license as a result.

Call An Experienced DUI Attorney for Field Sobriety Testing

These roadside tests aren’t always accurate. You need an experienced DUI attorney who can work to have them dismissed, especially if they weren’t properly administered or yielded a false positive.

A Raleigh, NC DUI charge needs to be handled properly to avoid severe consequences—especially if you weren’t driving drunk. Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh DUI defense attorney who can aggressively defend you and protect your rights in court, ensuring a fair trial.

Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DUI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

In Raleigh, NC What are the Costs of Getting a DWI Conviction?

There are a number of factors to consider when you’ve been charged with DWI, and even more with a conviction. The safety of yourself and others, the possible damages caused, and the possibility of spending time in jail is avoidable by calling an Uber or a taxi for $20 or so and parking your car.

But there’s one part of getting a DWI that most people don’t consider: how much it will cost.

The Arrest

In Raleigh, NC What are the Costs of Getting a DWI Conviction?Your license is immediately revoked if there is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. You’ll lose your license for 30 days, just for being charged with DWI. You can request a limited driving privilege after 10 days, which will cost $100, plus whatever it costs you to get to work for ten days (if you still have a job.)

You will also be required to complete a substance abuse assessment costing $100, and you’ll need a certified copy of your driving record, about $15.00. If you’re approved for the privilege, you’ve spent $215 to drive for 19 days out of 30. Since it’s a criminal charge, you’re required to appear in court.

If you hire an attorney, that will also cost—a minimum of $500, but probably more than $2,500. Attorney’s fees will also vary depending on variables such as your first charge or a subsequent charge, such as if any property damage occurred, or if anyone was injured or killed as a result.

If your charges are dismissed, that’s the end of it. But if you’re headed for trial, it’s going to get a lot more expensive.

Depending on the type of job you have, you could be terminated after the arrest, especially if you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL.)  Not only will you lose your income, but you will also have a difficult time finding another job with a DUI.

The Trial And Conviction

Going to trial for DWI means there is a strong chance of not only conviction but jail time.

North Carolina has five levels of DWI charges, with Level 5 being the lowest and Level 1 being the highest, with the highest punishment, fees, and license revocation. Fines alone start at $200 and go as high as $4,000 just for the DWI. An aggravated Level I felony can be as high as $10,000 in fines. You’ll also owe additional court costs.

After A Conviction

In addition to or instead of jail time, you may be able to perform community service, at a cost of $250. You’ll also be required to complete substance abuse treatment, the cost of which is determined by the agency and can be as high as $800 to $1,000.

You’ll also have to complete the Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School, which will also cost about $260. Additionally, monthly post-conviction substance abuse assessments cost $100.

If you want to regain your driving privileges, you’ll also have to pay to get your license restored, which can run upwards of $300.

Before you can start driving again, there’s also the matter of car insurance. You’ll find that you can get an insurance policy, but it will be considerably more expensive. Most drivers find their insurance increases an average of 400% after a DUI.

One more thing—you’ll be required to have an ignition interlock system installed on your car before you can drive again. This system requires you to blow into it, just like a breathalyzer, before you can start your vehicle. You’ll also be required to stop and “blow” again during your drive to continue driving. If at any time the system detects alcohol, you won’t be able to drive. Purchase and installation run between $2,000 and $4,000, with monthly maintenance at about $100 per month.

Other Costs of DWI

If you caused property damage while driving intoxicated, such as hitting someone’s car or house, you will also find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury suit from the other party (or wrongful death if someone died as a result of the accident.)  You may be sued by the other party for medical expenses, lost and future wages, pain, and suffering, and other compensatory damages, and you’ll be responsible for them. A wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the relatives the person who died in the accident, can also end up with a large monetary settlement you’ll have to pay. These expenses can’t be dismissed in a bankruptcy, either. If you own property, such as a house, a lien can be placed on the property until you pay it.

When you add it up, avoiding a DWI by taking a bus, or calling either a taxi, Uber, or a friend to pick you up is a lot less expensive.

DWI Is Expensive

Getting arrested for DWI can cost more than just money—you could do prison time, in addition to losing your job, your home, and your rights. A DWI will also follow you around for the rest of your life, no matter where you live. Having a DWI defense attorney does cost money, but can save you a lot more, including your freedom and your rights.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI 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 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email him at dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.

In Raleigh, NC Can Getting A Traffic Ticket Affect My Credit Score?

As if getting a traffic ticket isn’t bad enough, the idea that it might affect your credit score is even worse. You may have even been told that the traffic ticket goes on your credit report. But does it?

It doesn’t–but most bills that go unpaid for any length of time end up in a collection agency. Over time, if you still don’t pay the bill, the collection agency may be able to take you to court over the unpaid bill (depending on how much it is, along with attorney’s fees.) As a rule, the collection action and judgment is what ends up on your credit report—not the actual traffic ticket.

Two Separate Processes

man receiving a traffic ticket

The ticket is an action initiated by a police officer if you’re stopped for a violation, such as speeding. You can go to court to contest it (with or without an attorney), or you can just pay the fine and be done with it. Whichever you choose, there is likely a fine involved, which must be paid. If you don’t go to court, it’s an unresolved violation with additional fines and consequences, including a license suspension.

If you don’t pay the fine, it’s a delinquent charge after a certain number of days. The municipality that issued the fine may, at some point, send it to a collection agency for them to try and collect the money for it. Until recently, the collection agency’s action is what would and could affect your credit score.

The National Consumer Assistance Plan

This plan, developed by the big three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, removes certain types of collection actions from credit reports in two stages.

·         As of June 15, 2016, collection agencies cannot report debts that did not originate from a contract or agreement to pay. This means that unpaid parking and traffic tickets, library fines, and other charges from governmental agencies, domestic and foreign, won’t appear on your credit report.

·         As of July 1, 2017, civil judgments tax liens and civil judgments can’t be included in a consumer’s credit report without either their Social Security number or DOB, in addition to the individual’s full name and address.

Some of these types of charges have lowered credit scores as much as 100 points. If a traffic ticket in collections negatively impacted your credit report, the new rules may remove them. Your credit score may benefit as a result.

But You Still Need To Pay The Fine

This is not to say that you can ignore the ticket and get out of paying the traffic fine—far from it.

By simply paying the fine, you are admitting guilt. Working with a traffic ticket attorney to have your charges reduced or to fight the charges may keep points off your record, but you still need to pay any fines and court charges.

You can also be charged $200 for “failure to appear.” Your ticket indicates the fines involved with the charges, as well as any additional fees if you don’t show up, don’t take corrective action (such as hiring an attorney to represent you in court) or don’t pay it within 20 days of issuance. Fines can increase the longer you ignore them.

Eventually, the state of North Carolina will notify you that your license is being suspended, and you’ll still have to appear in court.

Additionally, you’ll receive additional points on your driver’s license, and your insurance rates will likely increase.

Ticketed In Raleigh? Call Today

A traffic ticket isn’t usually a big problem. But don’t ignore it, or it can get worse. Don’t let a traffic ticket raise your insurance rates or get your license suspended.

If you received a traffic ticket in Raleigh, contact Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh, NC. You can use our online contact form or call our offices any time at 919-832-0307. We look forward to helping you.

 

Is There Such a Thing as “Attempted Drug Possession” in Raleigh, NC?

Drug possession as a charge can bring a number of outcomes depending on the type and quantity. North Carolina’s scheduling of drug severity spells out the penalties and specifics of the different charges, including possession.

But what if you attempted drug possession? Here we’ll discuss the types of possession and what that may mean to you if you’re arrested and charged.

NC’s Drug Possession Schedules

The state uses categories to distinguish Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and rate their seriousness. Included in the schedule are the substances used to create the drugs.

Is There Such a Thing as "Attempted Drug Possession" in Raleigh, NC?

  • Schedule 1 – Includes but not limited to; Heroin, Peyote, and Ecstasy

 

  • Schedule 2 – Includes but not limited to; Cocaine, Morphine, and Methadone

 

  • Schedule 3 – Includes but not limited to; Anabolic Steroids, Ketamine, and some Barbiturates

 

  • Schedule 4 – Includes but not limited to; Valium, and Xanax

 

  • Schedule 5 – Includes but not limited to; OTC cough medicines that include codeine

 

  • Schedule 6 – Includes but not limited to; Marijuana, and Hashish

 

  • The entire schedule is available, including the penalties for possession. Trafficking is different than possession and therefore carries much higher penalties.

Types Of Possession

North Carolina has two types of possession:

·        Actual possession, in which the drug was on your person, you’re aware of it, the drug is readily available and you had the intent to use or dispose of it. For instance, you’re considered to be in actual possession if the drug is found in your pocket, in a wallet, bag, or another accessory.

·        Constructive possession, where you didn’t have actual possession, but you have intent and the capability to have control over the drug. This would include a drug in a car you were sitting and/or riding in, even if you were just a passenger and were not aware of the presence of the drugs.

Marijuana possession carries the least amount of penalties. The amount of sentencing you receive all depends on the amount you had in your possession:

  • For 0.5 oz or less—no jail time, but a fine of up to $200
  • For 0.5 – 1.5 oz—1 to 45 days jail time and a fine of up to $1,000
  • For 1.5 oz – 10 lbs—3 to 8 months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000

Larger amounts of marijuana, or anything that looks like it’s packaged for sale or distribution, can upgrade your charges to a felony called Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver (PWISD). You could also be charged with drug trafficking.

North Carolina’s drug laws, including possession and trafficking, are available in their entirety online.

Fight Your Drug Possession Charge

As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley is now an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend you and work towards the most favorable outcome. He can defend you against drug charges, fight any wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form.)