Category Archives: DWI

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.

 

In Raleigh, NC Does A Suspended License Show Up On A Background Check?

Job hunting is a lot more complex than it used to be. Credit and background checks are standard procedure for new hires, and in some cases, applicants. Many organizations feel that it’s better to do a background screen on an individual before they even interview them, especially since it’s now much less expensive.  In Raleigh, NC Does A Suspended License Show Up On A Background Check?

 

Background checks are part of the normal course of business for more than just jobs. If you’re trying to rent a new apartment, the new landlord or management company wants to make sure you’re someone they can reasonably trust to take care of their property and won’t be a “bad neighbor.

If you’re attempting to purchase a firearm, a criminal background check is standard procedure. Specific jobs, such as teachers and childcare workers, will undergo a more thorough background check to comply with the elevated standards that are part of the job.

What A Background Check Finds

When someone says they will be doing a “background check,” it means that they will be looking at your criminal history, particularly within the last 7 to 10 years. They will also be checking to see if your education and experience match what you’ve listed on your resume. Employment background checks can also include driving records, credit records, reference verifications, and drug screens, depending on the type of job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a job that requires a valid driver’s license, a driving record check will likely be included.

If there is any adverse information in your report, particularly a criminal conviction, it will show up, and you’ll likely be questioned about it. If there is an entry that you know will appear, it’s best to mention it to the company before they run a check, and alert them that it will appear. A company considering you for a job where money is handled will want to know if you’ve previously been accused of or convicted of a money-related crime, such as embezzlement.

The National Driver Register

This division of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a nationwide database of individuals who have lost their driving privileges. The NDR is a repository of driving infractions from DMV offices around the US. Anyone running a background check with the NDR will find a suspended license, as well as a revoked or denied for cause, such as a DUI conviction.

Although all 50 states participate, it is not without error, and some records may not have been updated as they should have been. However, the driving records are not kept with the NDR, they are handled and updated at the state level. Record updates are done according to the individual state’s recordkeeping requirements.

Get Help With A Suspended License

If your license has been suspended, you may need help getting it reinstated. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for reversing your suspended license and your driving privileges restored. Don’t let a suspension cost you your job, housing or other things. 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.

Should You Submit To A Field Sobriety Test When Pulled Over In Raleigh, NC?

Whether at a checkpoint stop or just being pulled over, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test to determine if you are driving under inebriation. However, you do have the right to refuse to take these “roadside tests” even if you have consumed alcohol.

But if you’re sober, why not take them and prove that you are? Because like a breath alcohol device, field sobriety tests are not always accurate, and may not be properly administered. You could end up being arrested for “driving under the influence” when you’re anything but.

Field Sobriety Testing (FST)

North Carolina officers administer a series of three roadside tests to determine if a driver is impaired:

Should you submit to a Field Sobriety Test when pulled over in Raleigh, NC?

·         The “Walk-And-Turn” Test—the officer will ask you to walk in a straight line, one foot in front of the other so that the officer can observe your sense of balance. He or she may also ask you to take a specific number of steps, and observe if you can remember the number. Unfortunately, a number of variables can affect your balance, from foot pain to uncomfortable shoes to other physical impairments.

·         The “One Leg Stand” Test—the officer will ask you to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and count to 30. The officer will observe both balance and your ability to count. The officer is looking for four things:

  • Swaying while balancing
  • Balancing with arms
  • Hopping
  • Putting down the raised foot

Like the previous test, a number of variables can affect the outcome, including your age, weight, street or weather conditions or your current physical condition, such as an injury like a pulled muscle. Officers who incorrectly administer the test may interpret the results incorrectly, declaring you “impaired.”

·         The “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test” (HGN)—this is the test where an officer asks you to stand still, hands at your sides, and follow his finger, a light, or some other object put in front of you. If your eyes don’t move smoothly side to side, but in a jerking fashion, you’ll be determined to be “impaired.”

Additionally, breath alcohol testing mechanisms may not be used or calibrated properly, leading to even more inaccurate evidence.

These tests are, by some accounts, designed to make you fail them. The passing and failing of these tests is a personal decision made by the officer.

Obviously, a number of factors can affect the outcome. Fatigue, allergies, injuries and other ailments can lead to a “failed attempt.” An elderly driver not in peak physical condition may not be able to hold his or her leg up for 30 seconds or do a walk-and-turn to the officer’s satisfaction.

No matter how well you perform these tests, if the police officer renders an opinion in court that you didn’t perform them adequately, this would indicate to him or her that you were indeed “impaired,” even if you weren’t. A jury may well side with the officer based on his or her opinion.

Additionally, breath alcohol testing mechanisms may not be used or calibrated properly, leading to even more false evidence.

Refusing The FST

So what happens if you refuse to take these tests?

You are within your rights to refuse to take the FSTs, as well as inform the officer that you have a medical condition that can affect the outcome (such as recent knee surgery.) You will not lose your license. But because of the high incidence of incorrect results, it’s better to decline the FST rather than explain to a court why you failed them. This way, you’ll be arguing that the testing is unreliable and wasn’t suitable instead of defending yourself against a “failed” FST.

CAVEAT: refusing the EC/IR-II Breathalyzer test is another matter and can lead to a year-long suspension of your license. This is not the same as refusing the FST. But like the FST, these devices are also subject to incorrect results, especially if the officer is not properly trained in their use, or it has not been properly calibrated or maintained.

Miranda warnings are also not required before a Breathalyzer is administered.

Have You Failed An FST? Call An Experienced DUI Attorney

If you’ve been subjected to a suspected DUI traffic stop, Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh attorney who can aggressively defend you and protect your rights in court. He will review all the evidence in your case and ensure that you have 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.

 

Can a Traffic Ticket Affect the Renewal of My Green Card in Raleigh, NC?

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

Can a Traffic Ticket Affect the Renewal of My Green Card in Raleigh, NC?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.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will ask you about any arrests, tickets or other infractions. As embarrassing as it can be to admit, you should always say “yes.”

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.

The Misdemeanor

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 have received a traffic ticket and would like to learn more about your options, contact Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh, NC. You can use our online contact form or call our offices any time or call 919-832-0307. We look forward to hearing from you.

Appealing a Suspended License in Raleigh, NC

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.

Appealing a Suspended License in Raleigh, NC

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.

Administrative Hearings

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.

 

How Can I Get My Raleigh DWI Dismissed?

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?

How Can I Get My Raleigh DWI Dismissed?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 dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.

Are Raleigh DWIs Public Record?

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

Are Raleigh DWIs Public Record?

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 dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.

 

Suspended License Attorney In Raleigh, NC

Having your driver’s license suspended in Raleigh can be a very big problem, particularly if you have to drive to your job, drive for your job, or otherwise need transportation. Public transportation may be difficult, inconvenient or non-existent for where you need to go. Taxis and other private transportation can be expensive. Dewey P. Brinkley can help you bounce back after receiving a suspended license.

Why Was Your License Suspended?

Suspended License Attorney In Raleigh, NCNorth Carolina will suspend your license for a myriad of reasons. Drunk driving is an obvious reason, (including things like refusing to take a breath or blood test) but there are many other reasons:

  • A certain number of accumulated “points” on your driving record
  • Speeding, greater than 15 miles over the speed limit if you’re over 55 mph, 30 days
  • Failure to stop and render aid at an accident, 1 year
  • “Willful racing” (illegal street racing, as well as watching, betting on or participating in racing), 3 years (vehicle will also be seized)
  • Driving without insurance or allowing insurance to be canceled
  • Failure to appear in court and/or pay traffic fines
  • Failure to pay child support

Your license can also be suspended for multiple minor infractions, such as accumulated tickets and/or traffic fines.

  • One speeding conviction for speeds greater than 75 mph
  • Two convictions of speeds greater than 55 mph within a 12 months period
  • One conviction of speeding faster than 55 mph with a reckless driving  conviction within a one-year period
  • A suspended court sentence (or part thereof) requiring that you may not operate a motor vehicle for a specific period of time

Driving while your license is suspended is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and you could receive a fine as well as jail time.

How Do I Get My License Back?

For simpler suspensions, such as unpaid tickets and fines, it’s just a matter of complying with the requirements of the ticket or going to court. You’ll also have to pay a fine, as well as possible court costs, in addition to

You won’t have to re-apply for your license after a suspension, you’ll just have to comply with the conditions to release the suspension. You may also be offered the option to attend administrative hearings, which may shorten your suspension. (Some suspensions may require this step.)

Administrative hearings also have fees, from $40 to $450, depending on the reason for your suspension/revocation.

Hardship Licenses

In some cases, you can apply for a hardship license that includes very limited driving privileges. You can’t request one if you’ve had a DUI conviction, requested one in the last 3 years, facing pending charges or have several concurrent charges in North Carolina or any other state. In addition to proof of insurance, you’ll need a viable reason for driving, such as to and from work, maintaining your household and providing emergency medical care.

License Revocation

More severe than a suspended license, revocation means that you are no longer allowed to drive. Depending on the severity of your revocation, you can still have your driving privileges restored, it may just take longer (and cost more.)

You’ll be required to schedule and attend an administrative hearing. Before requesting a hearing, North Carolina’s DOT suggests consulting a suspended license attorney to see if your situation warrants one, or if you need one.

Start Driving Yourself

A suspended or revoked license doesn’t have to mean the end of everything. Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for getting your license back and your driving privileges restored. Call him today at 919-832-0307 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.