Category Archives: DWI

How A DWI Conviction Can Affect Your Current And Future Employment In Raleigh, NC

As we’ve mentioned before, DWI is a very expensive arrest, even if you’re innocent, or failed your field sobriety tests. From the moment you are arrested even for suspicion of DWI in Raleigh (or anywhere in North Carolina), you must defend yourself, your driver’s license, and your reputation. Each of these things will cost money.

But employment is one part of the DWI that most people don’t think about. Will you be fired? How will you get to work? What about your car? All these things come into play after you’re arrested and charged with DWI in North Carolina.

The Aftermath: Your Current Job

How A DWI Conviction Can Affect Your Current And Future Employment In Raleigh, NCDepending on where you’re employed and what you do now, you may or may not be terminated. North Carolina is an “at-will” employment state, where you can be terminated with or without a cause, and there may be a policy that a DWI or other criminal arrest is cause for immediate termination.

Depending on the company’s handbook and policies, you may be required to notify your company immediately (and you may still be terminated.) If they don’t find out from you, and find out from another employee or some other source, it could make a difference.

After your arrest, your driver’s license is immediately suspended for 12 months. You may be able to have limited driving privileges after 10 days for driving to and from work (if you are still employed.) In either case, you’ll have to find another way to get back and forth to work for a while.

If driving is an essential part of your job and requires you to have a commercial driver’s license, there is a good chance you will lose your CDL—and your job.

Any kind of professional licensure—medical, legal, professional pilot, or other license—requires that you report any arrests and/or convictions to the issuing agency. As a rule, you will lose your license, as well as your job.

Absenteeism may also be a factor. Court appearances and possible jail time will force you to miss work. Excessive absenteeism may be cause for termination.

Background Checks And Disclosures

If you’ve lost your job and are looking for another one, a DWI will most certainly show up on a background check. Arrest records are also public records, available to anyone who wants to find it.  Nearly everyone is checked, and if you don’t disclose something that shows up, you’ll lose any chance you may have had of being hired.

Take a proactive stance: get a background check on yourself and see what show up. You may discover other mistakes that will keep you from finding a job as well.

Jobs To Avoid After DWI

You will be ineligible for a number of different types of jobs after a DWI. They include:

  • Government jobs, including joining the military
  • Teaching jobs, daycare jobs and other jobs working with children
  • Jobs that involve handling highly confidential information
  • Driving jobs: bus and truck drivers, delivery drivers, outside sales jobs that involve driving and visiting customers

Interviewing And Getting A Job With A DWI In Your Record

A DWI doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be able to work again. Despite the difficulties of a DWI, it is possible to interview and find another job post-conviction. But it does mean handling things differently.

Some companies may only ask about convictions, not arrests. In that case, you may not be required to disclose the arrest; ask your DWI attorney for clarification.

It’s best to mention it only if and when you are asked. While an experienced interviewer will likely not be surprised, make your explanation short and succinct, and include the steps you’ve taken afterwards, such as rehab or other corrective actions. Describe what led to the DUI and what you’ve learned from the experience, as well as other things you’ve done to restore your life. Mention that you’ve not driven after drinking since, and that you would never do anything to harm the company’s reputation.

If your case is dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial, you can also request an expunction, or removal from your record, meaning it would be as if your arrest and/or conviction had never happened. You can start the process immediately.

Expunction isn’t available for a DWI conviction.

DWI Defense

A DWI charge is always serious, and can lead to serious employment implications now and in the future.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh DWI defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against DWI charges and protect your rights in the courtroom. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DWI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

Are All Raleigh, NC Traffic Tickets Public Record?

Maybe you were speeding, buzzed through a stop sign, or made an illegal left turn somewhere while in an unfamiliar area. However, it happened, you find yourself with a traffic ticket.

It might seem like a small thing, but Raleigh, NC traffic tickets can add points to your driving record. Enough points can suspend your license. But are they public record that anyone can find?

A Ticket Is A Court Case

Police officer pulling a blue car over on the side of the road to give them Raleigh, NC traffic tickets.Anytime you’re issued a traffic ticket, you’re given a court date to appear. You can hire a traffic ticket attorney and have them take care of it. This, of course, is depending on the charge and severity. For instance, running a stop sign is not as severe as a DUI or vehicular manslaughter, for which you will be required to go to court, and possibly spend time in jail. But they will all have a court date.

A “waivable” traffic ticket is one you can pay the fine for and be done with it. This means that you’ll waive your right to trial, plead guilty, and accept the points and or other consequences of that ticket. This only applies to charges like minor traffic and equipment violations, not something more serious like DUI.

Can Anybody Find My Ticket?

Yes, but it’s not as easy as you think.

Only someone who has a “vested interest” can find your Raleigh, NC traffic tickets upon request, if they have the required information needed to find it. These individuals must agree to the website’s terms of service.

Anyone requesting the information online will be required to read and certify:

I certify under penalty of law that I am entitled to personal information from the requested driving record under one or more of the permissible uses listed in the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act.*

I am aware that there are federal criminal and civil penalties for knowingly obtaining, disclosing or using this personal information for a purpose not permitted under DPPA (18 U.S.C. Sections 2721-2724).

I also understand that North Carolina G.S. 20-43.1 prohibits someone from obtaining personal information from a driver record by purposely or knowingly misrepresenting his or her identity or the use for which he or she is seeking that information. Anyone who does so may be charged with felony tampering with a public record.

While your personal information (name, address, etc.) are not publicly available under Chapter 123, Section 2721 of the U.S. Code (Driver Privacy Protection Act), and N.C. G.S. 20-43.1, some parties and/or entities can access your driving record (including personal information), some personal information may be disclosed upon request. They include:

  • You, the driver, to receive your own driving record
  • Insurance companies, for rating or underwriting, claims, and anti-fraud activities
  • Employers to verify information for commercial drivers’ licenses
  • Private toll operations, to identify drivers
  • To notify owners of towed or impounded vehicles
  • In the course of normal business (conditions apply)

The entire list of interested parties who can access your driving record can be found on North Carolina’s DOT website.

Caveat—Lawyer Advertising

The NC Department of Public Safety states on its website that if you receive an unsolicited letter from an attorney offering help with your traffic ticket, it’s the result of getting your name from the Clerk of Superior Court, and has nothing to do with the officer who issued it.

Need Help With Raleigh, NC Traffic Tickets?

If you’ve received a traffic ticket and would like to learn more about your options, contact our offices any time or call 919-832-0307. Dewey P. Brinkley is Raleigh’s leading traffic ticket attorney, and can help neutralize the effects of traffic tickets on your driving record.

How To Fight A Raleigh, NC Traffic Ticket

A traffic ticket can be one of those minor annoyances that are part of everyday life in the Tarheel State. But getting a traffic ticket can also cost more than a little fine. Depending on the charge, your insurance could go up, and you’ll likely have an increase of points on your driver’s license. (More than 12 points, and your license could be suspended.) If you drive for a living, you could lose your job as well as your license.

Sometimes, drivers have been known to talk their way out of a ticket. But that’s not always an option.

While it’s tempting to just pay it and be done with it, you may not want to do that. But how do you go about fighting a Raleigh, NC traffic ticket? It takes a little time and effort, but it can be done, successfully.

Dispute The Officer’s Subjective Judgement/Conclusion

If you were in a situation where the officer was required to make a judgment call as to whether or not you violated the law, you may be able to levy a challenge. Was the officer in an ideal location to observe your actions when giving you a Raleigh, NC traffic ticket?

Dispute The Officer’s Observations

Police office going over to a motorcyclist to give them a Raleigh, NC traffic ticketWhile a police officer’s observation and opinion is frequently the prevailing one, evidence may be used to prove your side of the story:

  • Witness statements who can substantiate your version of the events (these would be passengers, bystanders or anyone else who was a witness)
  • Drawings and/or diagrams of the area where the ticket was issued, including the locations of your vehicle as well as the officer’s. Include locations such as stop signs, other vehicles, traffic signals and other landmarks.
  • Photographs of the area where you were stopped and ticketed, including road conditions, obstructions, and anything else that can prove your version of events.
  • Additional evidence that would dispute the officer’s ability to correctly observe your alleged violation.

The “Mistake Of Fact” Defense

Old, faded or hidden stop signs, or other markings that aren’t readily visible can mean that even the most attentive drivers miss something. Because the sign or instructions weren’t clear to the driver, (especially something like a stop sign that’s hidden behind a tree, branch or other obstruction) you weren’t given notice of the conduct that was expected. Under these circumstances, a judge may dismiss your ticket as a “mistake of fact.”

If you find yourself in this situation, taking pictures of the hidden sign or other invisible signage is essential to proving your case.

“Legal Necessity” For Your Actions

Should you find yourself in a situation where you needed to pull over, speed up or slow down to avoid an accident, injury or other danger, you may be able to use this defense. Rather than disputing the officer’s testimony, you’ll introduce another legal point which may be successful.

For instance, if your vehicle began making a loud noise, or suddenly stops operating, you stop in the middle of the road to avoid harming other drivers and causing an accident. Or you swerve and/or speed up to avoid another vehicle that’s out of control or an unexpected object. If you’ve ever swerved to avoid a bag or a box in the road, you understand this.

Of course, you’ll also need evidence, such as pictures, repair bills, witness statements, or other documentation in order to prove your defense.

Winning By Default

Police officers sometimes don’t show up for court. If this happens, and your ticket is dismissed, pat yourself on the back. Make sure you don’t owe any fines or court costs before you leave the courthouse, or you’ll be in for another surprise later.

You Can Fight A Raleigh, NC Traffic Ticket

Don’t fight a ticket alone, especially if you already have points on your license. Keep your license and your driving record clear with the right help. Dewey P. Brinkley is ready to help you fight back against a traffic ticket and keep your driving record clear. Call him today at 919-832-0307 or contact him online to schedule your free consultation.

 

Reinstating A Suspended North Carolina Driver’s License

It happened—you now have a suspended NC driver’s license. You can’t drive. How will you get to work or school? Are you stuck with public transportation and bumming rides from friends and relatives? Not necessarily.

In North Carolina, you can drive again after a suspended license, but not while the license is suspended. That, of course, is another charge, and you could see your suspension period increased face large fines and even the loss of your car.

Reasons You May Receive A Suspended NC Driver’s License

Gavel and scales of justice on an open legal book in a home library to show researching a suspended NC driver's license and what to do about it.One of the determining factors may be why your license was suspended. Those reasons dictate the time period for a suspension, including

A combination of more than one traffic offense can increase your suspension period.

License Restoration After Suspension

A license suspension is for a period of time, and your driving privileges are reinstated after that time period. You will not have to retake the driving test or apply for a new license, but you can request a hearing to appeal the suspension. An experienced attorney can help you with your hearing and appeal.

When your suspension period is over, you’ll get your license back by:

  • Paying a $65 restoration fee to the North Carolina DMV
  • Pay a $50 service fee to the DMV if you didn’t surrender your license to the DMV at the time of suspension
  • Pay an additional $130 fee if you’ve been convicted of DUI (driving under the influence) and it was the reason your license was suspended in the first place

Revocation, on the other hand, is a termination of your driving privileges, and requires a longer process to be reinstated, including re-taking the driving test and applying for a new license.

You can also request an administrative hearing by calling the DMV in Raleigh.

License Points

Anytime you commit a traffic violation, you’ll accumulate “points” on your driving record. When you reach 12 points in a three-year period, your license will be suspended for 60 days. Subsequent accumulations will yield longer suspensions.

If you have more than seven points on your record, you can drop three points off your record by taking a $50 Driver Improvement Clinic. You can attend one of these clinics every five years, and remove three points each time.

You Can Drive Again

Reinstating your suspended NC driver’s license after a suspension takes time and a little patience. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for getting your license back and your driving privileges restored. He can work with you to navigate the appeals process, and defend you in any court hearing. Call today: 919-832-0307 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

 

Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate In Raleigh, NC?

We recently discussed the admissibility of the Field Sobriety Tests (FST) commonly used at DUI checkpoints and traffic stops in North Carolina. These physical tests are administered in conjunction with a breath alcohol device that is intended to measure the amount of alcohol in your system.

In a word, no. Commonly used by police to determine intoxication, FSTs aren’t foolproof. Although FSTs are the norm, the decision of intoxication lies solely with the officer at the scene. The officer will use his or her own judgment, based on visuals, FSTs, and a breathalyzer to determine whether to complete an arrest based on an assessment of DUI.

What Are FSTs?

There are three standard Field Sobriety Tests that are used in Raleigh and nationwide after an officer has administered a breath or blood alcohol test:

  • A sad man in his red car after failing his field sobriety test in Raleigh, NC.The “Walk-And-Turn” Test, in which you’re asked to walk in a straight line, one foot in front of the other, for a specific number of steps. Your balance as well as your ability to remember the number is observed.
  • The “One Leg Stand” Test, in which you stand on one leg and count to 30, presumably for 30 seconds. The officer will observe to see if you can stand, or you use your arms, hop, sway, or put down your foot while trying to balance.
    • In both of these tests, factors such as age, fatigue, physical condition, injuries, and even uncomfortable shoes can make balancing difficult. Even sober, you may be ruled “intoxicated.”
  • The “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test” (HGN), where the officer checks your eye movement while moving his finger or other object side to side.

Other non-standard tests that may be requested by an officer are reciting the alphabet backwards, putting your finger on the tip of your nose, and counting forward, then backwards. These are not scientific nor standard tests. They are not accurate for determining intoxication, and challenged in court if used to arrest you for DUI.

Challenging the FST Results

The protocols for these standard FSTs were developed in a laboratory under controlled conditions. If you’re being asked to perform them, it’s probably on the side of the road.

The FSTs were developed by the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI), which determined that these three tests were the most accurate for determining intoxication. Initially, their success rate was around 40%. Over time, SCRI standardized the testing so that it gave an 82% success rate. However, this number only reflects the ability to detect intoxication, not the ability to drive a car.

If a police officer stops you, even sober, you are already stressed. The likelihood of being able to perfectly stand on one foot for 30 seconds without wavering or holding up your arms for balance, then counting to 30 (or until told to stop) is very low. Yet this is one of the gold-standard “tests” for determining sobriety in a driver.

The established guidelines for administering the standard FSTs are not always precisely followed. Even correctly administered, the FSTs may inaccurately indicate intoxication. Police officers aren’t penalized for arresting an innocent individual, so they will make the arrest anyway.

As mentioned previously, other factors can inhibit someone’s ability to complete the FSTs. Even with a blood alcohol content (BAC) below the legal limit of 0.08, an officer may make an arrest for DUI based on how you perform when asked.

Results from FSTs are known to be subjective, and offices who incorrectly administer or evaluate will create an inaccurate decision. The results could then be challenged in court.

Defense For DUI And Inaccurate Field Sobriety Testing

Even if you’re 100% sober, FSTs don’t tell the whole story. An experienced DUI attorney can challenge the officer’s findings and request a dismissal of charges dismissed based on the inaccuracy of the FSTs.

Sober or not, a DUI charge is serious, and must be handled correctly to avoid more serious consequences. Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh DUI defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against false DUI charges and protect your rights in court. 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.

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.

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.

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.