Raleigh DWI Lawyer Answers, “What Should You Do When Stopped for DWI?” (Video)

This is Part 19 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “What Should You Do When Stopped for DWI?

Transcript:

The most important thing to remember with DWIs is that they’re very complex cases. The best way you can help yourself if you’ve been stopped for drinking and driving is to not give the officer any more evidence than you have to. The officer is going to approach your car and you are required by law to give them your license and registration. You are not required to do any field sobriety testing. You are not required to tell him or answer the question, “Where are you coming from?” or “How much have you had to drink?”

You’re really not required to do any of the field sobriety testing. As I tell my clients, I generally advise them not to do the field sobriety testing. Even if they can do 99 out of 100 things right, be sure that when the case goes to court the prosecutor is going to hammer you on the one thing that you did wrong and argue that is evidence of impairment. Just remember, you do have to provide your license and registration. You don’t have to answer any questions about where you’ve been or how much you’ve had to drink. You don’t have to do the officer’s tests. You don’t have to blow into anything until you get to the jail. The real question there is do you make the decision to blow into the actual breath test at the jail.

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Raleigh DWI Attorney Answers, “Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?” (Video)

This is Part 18 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Transcript:

That’s a decision really that only the client can make. The reason for that is if you don’t blow and you refuse the test, your license will be suspended for a year and there’s a good chance the officer will attempt to get a search warrant and draw your blood. That’s only a decision that you can make.

Raleigh DWI Lawyer Answers, “Should You Take a Roadside Sobriety Test?” (Video)

This is Part 17 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “Should You Take a Roadside Sobriety Test?

Transcript:

The field sobriety test, especially if the officer does not have a dash cam video or some kind of video to record the test, when those cases go to court you’re relying specifically on that officer’s recollection and his notes as to how you did.

Keep in mind that those officers are trying to build a case against you. Often their recollection on how you did the tests may differ from how you think you did the tests. The tests are very difficult. They’re difficult to do if you’re even sober.

Again, the least little slip-up on one of the tests, you can be sure that the District Attorney’s Office and that prosecutor when it goes to court are going to say that’s evidence of impairment. That’s why I tell I tell clients, “Don’t do the tests. Don’t add evidence; don’t give that evidence to the police officer.”

Raleigh DUI/DWI Limited Driving Privileges

Legally speaking, driving is a privilege in North Carolina and not a right, and if you are convicted of a DWI or a DUI-related offense in Raleigh or Wake County, then there’s a good possibility that you may lose your driving privileges. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can receive limited driving privileges after a DWI or DUI-related offense.

For more information about limited driving privileges in North Carolina, or to speak with one of the leading DWI attorneys in Raleigh, call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley today. Following your DWI arrest, call our criminal defense law firm at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. We will work with you, every step of the way, to fight for favorable results, including limited driving privileges.

Understanding Limited Driving Privileges in North Carolina

When found guilty of an impaired driving offense, DWI or DUI, in Wake County or anywhere else in North Carolina, then you may be eligible for limited driving privileges. The North Carolina law covering limited driving privileges is North Carolina General Statute §20-179.3, and this statute lays out the eligibility and other requirements so that you can continue driving.

Additionally, it’s essential to understand that you can have your driver’s license suspended or revoked both after a charge and after a conviction, and there are eligibility considerations for both situations.

Pre-Trial DWI Charge and Limited Driving Privileges

Raleigh DUI/DWI Limited Driving Privileges | Dewey Brinkley LawAccording to North Carolina General Statute § 20-16.5, you can lose your license due to the following three situations:

Following the revocation of your license, which is usually the arrest date, you have to wait 10 days before you can obtain your limited driving privileges. The eligibility for these privileges include:

  • You had a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense (or your driver’s license was expired for less than a year)
  • You do not have a pending DWI charge, or you receive another DWI conviction while your case is pending
  • You had your driver’s license revoked for 10 days of a 30-day revocation or at least 30 days for a 45-day revocation
  • You obtained a substance abuse assessment from a mental health facility. You must also register and participate in any recommended training or treatment.

By meeting these conditions, you and your DWI attorney can file a Petition for Limited Driving Privilege with the court. A hearing date is usually set, and you and your attorney will need to bring the necessary documentation to get your limited driving privileges. Generally, this documentation includes:

  • Proof of Insurance through Form DL-123
  • Proof of completion of a substance abuse assessment or proof that you enrolled in recommended treatment
  • Certified copy of your 7-year driving history from the DMV
  • Payment of $100 to the Clerk of Court

Eligibility for Limited Driving Privileges in North Carolina after a DWI Conviction

When found guilty of a DWI charge in North Carolina, you still may be able to receive limited driving privileges. The eligibility for a post-DWI conviction limited driving privilege is similar to the pre-trial DWI requirements mentioned above. However, this is only true if you are convicted of a Level 5, 4 or 3 impaired driving punishment. If you fall into this category and had an alcohol concentration of less than 0.15, then you can refer to above requirements for your driving privileges.

If you received a Level 1 or 2 punishment and/or had a BAC of 0.15 or over, then you may be considered a “High-Risk Driver.” This means that you’ll have to wait 45 days after the final conviction and you’ll have to comply with the ignition interlock requirements. After meeting these requirements, you may be eligible for interlock limited driving privileges.

What You Can Do With a Limited Driving Privilege

When you have limited driving privileges in North Carolina, you have a range of regulations that you must follow. Just some of the rules associated with these privileges include, but are not limited to:

  • You cannot drive with any alcohol in your system (BAC of 0.00)
  • You cannot drive with a controlled substance in your body, unless it’s a lawfully prescribed drug taken in recommend amounts
  • Limited driving privileges do not include commercial vehicles (refer to statute § 20-4.01)
  • You can drive for medical necessities at any time
  • You can drive for work-related purposes during standard working hours, 6 AM to 8 PM, Monday – Friday. During this time, you may also drive in relation to maintenance of the household, educational purposes, attending alcohol assessments or other court-ordered requirements, and other specified activities.
  • Driving during the non-standard hours may be allowed if the necessary documentation is provided to the court

Contact Raleigh’s Top DWI Attorney at Dewey Brinkley Law

If you have received limited driving privileges in North Carolina, then it’s essential to be fully aware of the law as well as your driving limitations. Failure to uphold these privileges may result in the loss of your license for the duration of the punishment.

By calling DWI attorney Dewey Brinkley in Raleigh NC, you can get one of the leading defense attorneys in the area to give your case the full representation it deserves.

Don’t hesitate, call Raleigh DWI attorney Dewey Brinkley at (919) 832-0307. Free consultations are available.

Raleigh Defense Lawyer – How to Politely Decline Answering the Police’s Questions (Video)

This is Part 16 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “How to Politely Decline Answering the Police’s Questions

Transcript:

If the officer asks you to get out of the car, clearly, you get out of the car. You follow his instructions. If he asks you to come to the back of the car, you follow his instructions. Simply being polite and saying, “Officer, I don’t want to answer that,” is perfectly fine.

Many of these officers want to engage you in conversation, asking you, “Where have you been? Where are you coming from? How much have you had to drink?” It’s very easy to be polite, be sure, and say, “Officer, I’m sorry. I’m not comfortable. I’m not going to answer any questions.”

Defendant in a Domestic Violence Case in Raleigh? Here’s What to Do

Defendant in a Domestic Violence Case in Raleigh? Here's What to DoDomestic violence charges are not these exclusively private affairs that you can glide by. For instance, even if there wasn’t a serious injury, even if your partner wants to drop the case, and even if your friend, a real estate lawyer, seems like a good option for representing you, then you’d be in for a surprise. Domestic violence cases can be complex and the Raleigh and Wake County courts can be particularly unforgiving to individuals charged with domestic violence.

From being separated from your family for a long period of time to getting a criminal record and the long-term consequences associated with it, it’s absolutely critical to speak with the best domestic violence defense attorney in Raleigh, Dewey P. Brinkley. If you were charged with domestic violence, don’t hesitate and call our criminal defense law firm today at (919) 832-0307. Free consultations are available.

In the meantime, as a defendant charged with domestic violence in Raleigh, here are a few things that you can do.

What to Do After Being Arrested for Domestic Abuse?

Being arrested, no matter the charges or the circumstances surrounding the arrest, is a stressful and emotional experience. When arrested for domestic abuse, however, the high levels of stress and emotion cause a fairly dangerous situation for police officers. In fact, many police officers in Raleigh and Wake County have reported that domestic violence calls often pose the most threat to the responding officers.

Right to Remain Silent and Remaining Civil

Therefore, whether or not the police are making a mistake in arresting you, it is absolutely critical that you comply, remain polite, and use your right to remain silent. In order to invoke this right, calmly and politely say, “I want to invoke my right to remain silent,” instead of not responding to the police questioning. Furthermore, you don’t want to incriminate yourself by saying something that the prosecutor can use against you.

Calling a Criminal Defense Attorney

If arrested and charged with domestic violence, don’t consider it equivalent to a speeding ticket or something insignificant. Remember, criminal charges will adversely affect your freedom, your job, your ability to make a living and gain employment in the future, and your family, as well as many other matters.

By acquiring an experienced criminal defense attorney, your attorney will work on your behalf to gather evidence and investigate the circumstances of the charge.

Cooperate and Follow Any Requirements Regarding Counseling or Diversion Programs

If you are convicted of domestic violence and are given an alternative sentence to jail time, make sure that you follow these regulations to a “T.” If you fail to fulfill these requirements, then original penalties or other consequences may be imposed.

Asked to Visit the Detective Regarding “Your Side of the Story?”

Often in a domestic violence case, our clients will call us saying, “The detective in my case called me in so that I can tell my side of the story.” The detective will generally sound very nice, like he/she just wants to straighten out the facts and move on.

A general rule, however, is that if you are called into the precinct, you should consult your attorney and don’t go alone. The detective may not want to straighten things out, but, instead, he/she may be looking to arrest you. For instance, the officer may ask for your side of the story, and if you respond, “My wife was trying to attack me, and so I pushed her away,” then you may have just admitted to pushing your wife. Now, the DA might just have the necessary evidence to move forward with your case.

The Victim and Your Domestic Abuse Charges

Many, if not most, of the claimants in a domestic violence case (i.e., the “victim”) regret having their spouse arrested. As a result, they may try to call the precinct or the defendant’s attorney trying to get the charges withdrawn.

Unlike civil cases, where the plaintiff can withdraw his/her motion, criminal charges in North Carolina act a bit differently. As a criminal case, the victim is considered a “witness” and does not, technically, file or decide whether the charges will be dropped. It is up to the State regarding how a case will proceed in criminal courts.

How the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley Can Defend Your Charges

Every domestic violence case is different, involving a wide range of factors, causes, and effects. As a result, our criminal defense approach to your domestic violence case will highly depend on these factors.

At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we will thorough investigate these factors, provide you with essential and realistic counsel regarding your case, and we will use leading domestic abuse defense tactics to seek a favorable result in North Carolina courts.

For a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley today at (919) 832-0307

Raleigh DWI Lawyer – How a Breathalyzer Relates to a DWI Charge (Video)

This is Part 15 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “How a Breathalyzer Relates to a DWI Charge

Transcript:

We tend to break DWI cases down into three phases. We look at the reason that the person was originally stopped. Were they lawfully stopped? Is that stop accompanied by reasonable suspicion? Any time you’re caught for speeding or you’re weaving on the road, the officer has to have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. The first analysis is, “Did he have a lawful reason to stop you?”

The second area we look at is, “Did the officer gather enough evidence there, roadside?” He will note if you did the tests, any odor he smelled, how you got out of the car, if you had slurred speech, and if your eyes were red and glassy. What we look at is, “Did he gather enough to actually arrest you?” That’s what we call probable cause to arrest.

Assuming that there is a lawful reason to stop the car, and there’s a lawful reason to actually place you under arrest, then we look at the breath test. Was there an observation period? Was preventative maintenance done on the instrument? Was this officer a licensed chemical analyst? There are so many little details that go into the proper foundation for the entry of that breath test.

DWI Lawyer in Raleigh, NC, Talks Breath Testing and Henry’s Law

This is Part 14 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “Breath Testing and Henry’s Law

Transcript:

Henry’s law assumes that the alcohol that is in your blood if it was in a closed container that over time the amount of alcohol in your blood would go into the air above your blood or into the lungs. That really only applies when it is a closed area.

The way gas chromatography works is that they take a sample of your blood, put it into a test tube, that test tube is capped, and it’s put into a machine and under a certain temperature the science says that the alcohol that’s in that blood sample will leach into the head space of that vial and that eventually they will reach equilibrium.

The human body isn’t like that. Our lungs aren’t a closed system. There is nothing that is like that test tube where it’s closed off. To some extent, it doesn’t work that way in terms of the human body.

NC DWI Sentencing Guidelines – What You Should Know

Have you been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina? If so, the experience can be frightening and stressful, but while you are waiting for the next steps in the North Carolina criminal process, it can be helpful to look at the NC DWI sentencing guidelines.

NC DWI Sentencing Guidelines | Dewey Brinkley DWI Attorney in Raleigh

There is a wide range of potential punishments that you can face if you are convicted of a DWI. At the low end, you may be looking at fines and community service. At the other end, you could be looking at serious time in jail or prison. No matter the severity of your DWI offense, you absolutely need an experienced and skilled Raleigh DWI lawyer like Dewey Brinkley. We’ve helped many individuals just like yourself with their DWI charges, achieving not guilty results, dropped charges, and reduced or alternative charges.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Raleigh DWI law firm, call us today at (919) 832-0307.

DWI Sentencing Factors

The North Carolina General Statutes (N.C.G.S.) § 20-179 provide the basic outline for DWI penalties and sentencing. Following a conviction of a DWI, the judge will schedule a sentencing hearing to determine the appropriate sentencing level. Often, the judge will consider several mitigating or aggravating factors in his/her decision.

Grossly Aggravating Factors

Grossly aggravating factors are the most severe, and if you have grossly aggravating factors in your case, then you may be looking at the harshest penalties in North Carolina courts. The following factors are considered grossly aggravating:

  • Prior conviction of an impaired driving offense within 7 years of the current one
    • Each prior conviction can be considered an aggravating factor
  • The driver was driving on a license that was revoked for impaired driving
  • The driver caused serious bodily injury
  • The driver had a minor in the vehicle (under 18 years old) or a person with a mental or physical disability

Aggravating Factors

Aggravating factors are less serious than the “grossly aggravating” factors, but nonetheless, aggravating factors in your case can dramatically increase the severity of the penalties you may be facing. Some aggravating factors can include:

  • Gross impairment with a BAC of 0.15 of higher
  • Especially reckless or dangerous driving
  • Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident
  • Driving with a revoked license
  • Two or more convictions of non-DWI-related offenses within 5 years
  • A conviction for speeding while fleeing or eluding a police officer
  • A conviction for speeding at least 30 mph over the speed limit
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense

Mitigating Factors

Unlike aggravating factors, having mitigating factors in your case can, in the majority of cases, serve as a benefit that reduces the potential DWI sentence you may be facing. Some mitigating factors can include:

  • Slight impairment of the driver’s faculties and a BAC that didn’t exceed 0.09
  • The driver’s driving behavior was safe and lawful (except for the impairment of faculties)
  • The driver had a safe driving record
  • Impairment was caused by a legally prescribed drug for an existing medical condition, and the drug was taken within its prescribed dosage
  • After the conviction, the driver voluntarily submitted to a mental health facility and recommended treatments

Different Sentencing Levels for DWIs

Through these factors, as well as a consideration of the unique circumstances related to the DWI stop and arrest, the courts may assign a certain level signifying the severity of your punishment.

All of the DWI sentences, aside from a felonious Habitual DWI offense, fall within five sentencing levels. Level One and Two are generally imposed if you have prior convictions within seven years or other grossly aggravating factors; Level 5, on the other side of the spectrum, often involves a first offense and mitigating factors. The five levels and their punishments are listed below:

  • Level Five: This is the lightest sentencing level often imposed when the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors.
    • Fine of up to $200; minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 120 days in jail
  • Level Four: Generally, no aggravating or mitigating factors were present or both were equally counterbalanced.
    • Fine of up to $200; minimum of 48 hours and maximum of 120 days in jail
  • Level Three: The aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors, but there were no grossly aggravating factors present.
    • Fine of up to $1,000; minimum of 72 hours and maximum of 6 months in jail
  • Level Two: There were no minors under 18 in the vehicle and only one grossly aggravating factor was present.
    • Fine of up to $2,000; minimum of 7 days and maximum of 12 months in jail
  • Level One: The driver was accompanied by a minor under 18 or there were two grossly aggravating factors involved.
    • Fine of up to $4,000; minimum of 30 days and maximum of 24 months in jail
  • Aggravated Level One: There were three or more grossly aggravating factors present.
    • Fine of up to $10,000; minimum of 12 months and maximum of 36 months in jail, with no possibility of parole

Arrested for a DWI? Call Dewey Brinkley in Raleigh NC Today!

At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh, NC, we’ve helped hundreds of individuals caught in a similar situation as yourself or your loved one. As such, with years of devotion to criminal defense and DWI defense law and legal representation, we will give you comprehensive and compassionate representation with the goal of achieving a not-guilty result, dropped charges, or alternative/reduced sentencing.

To speak with Raleigh NC DWI attorney Dewey Brinkley, call our downtown Raleigh criminal defense law firm today at (919) 832-0307.

DWI Attorney in Raleigh Answers, “How Common are Breathalyzer False Positives?” (Video)

This is Part 13 of our weekly North Carolina Criminal Defense video blog: “How Common are Breathalyzer False Positives?

Transcript:

I think the manufacturers of the instruments that you blow into would say that they are truly accurate. They certainly have an interest because the instruments themselves are expensive. They have an interest in selling them as completely accurate.

Breath testing is, to some extent, based on a number of chemical, scientific theories that clearly don’t always apply to the human body. The breath testing instrument relies on Henry’s Law. Henry’s Law only applies when the system is closed, and equating Henry’s Law to the human body doesn’t really apply. There are things about breath testing equipment that can lead to inaccuracies.