Getting a DUI can be embarrassing—and expensive. It can also follow you around for a long time. Employment and other opportunities could be lost because of one mistake. Car insurance will be very expensive. You could also lose your job, custody of your children and even your home over a DUI.
But what if it were just one? What if your DUI was an anomaly, and not who you really are? Can you have that charge expunged, and “make it go away?” It’s possible but time-consuming. There are specific conditions you have to have to be “rid” of a DUI.
Changes In Expunction Laws
Last year, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 445 into law, which took effect in December of 2017. This new bill reduces the waiting time for nonviolent offenders to apply for expungement. Some of the changes include:
Instead of 15 years, the wait time for misdemeanor convictions is 5 years
Instead of 15 years, the wait time for felony convictions is 10 years
Law enforcement and prosecutors now have access to your records
There is no longer a limit on the number of dismissals that can be expunged, as long as you have no felony convictions
This bill is expected to help more than 2 million North Carolina residents get rid of old dismissed or “not guilty” charges that remain on their criminal records. Even if dismissed, old charges can inhibit the ability to find employment, housing education and other opportunities. Once completed, the charge will not show up on routine background checks but will be retained in the event of additional charges later.
The request for expungement must be filed in the county where it occurred. For instance, if you live in Wake County, but were charged during a beach weekend in Carteret County, you’ll have to file your expungement request in Carteret County since that’s where the charge originated.
Currently, it takes about nine months to one year for an expungement to be completed. With more individuals eligible for expungement, the wait time may be a little longer as more people take advantage and file to have old charges dismissed.
The Type Of DUI
Were you arrested for DUI, but not charged? Did you go to trial but found not guilty? Or were you convicted in a trial?
If your charge was dismissed, or you were acquitted, you can file for an expunction immediately, if you have no other felonies on your record. The judge is allowed discretion in approving an expunction, even if all the conditions are met.
But if you were convicted of DUI in North Carolina, expunctions are not included, and not allowed under §15A-145.5(a)(8a).
Driver’s License Suspension For DUI
If your license has been suspended for DUI, it’s a completely separate administrative matter. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has information on suspensions, revocations, and instructions on restoring your license. If your license has been suspended because of a DUI, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you restore your driving privileges as well.
Dewey P. Brinkley understands that DUI is not who you are. It doesn’t have to last forever. As a former Wake County prosecutor, he has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DUI cases. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation.
Are you considering law school? You’re in a great place for it. Forbes recently rated Raleigh as the “#1 City For Raising A Family.” If you live here, you already know Raleigh is a great place to live.
North Carolina is home to six top-rated law schools. Three of them are in the Raleigh area, with two in nearby Durham. The Raleigh-Durham area is one of the fastest growing areas in the US, with a low cost of living. US News & World Report rates us as #13 in their list of 125 Best Places to Live in the USA.
Campbell University School of Law
Raleigh’s own law school is located right in the downtown area. A relatively new addition to American law schools, it began in 1976 with the first 97 students, and still works with a relatively smaller student body.
Today, Campbell law has more than 3,400 alumni, and the school has one of the highest pass rates for the bar exam in the US.
Campbell Law seeks to educate students to not only train compassionate lawyers who are dedicated to practicing law for a just society, but also from a Christian perspective. The exclusive peer mentoring program assigns incoming students to second- and third-year students who volunteer as supportive advisors. The law school’s active alumni base is both involved and engaged, and they frequently hire students and graduates for internships and jobs.
Most of Campbell Law’s graduates practice in North Carolina, with many in surrounding areas. Two of Campbell Law’s alumni serve as judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. More alumni sit on superior and district courts, as well as 15 district attorneys.
Duke is the first of two law schools in nearby Durham. The Bull City is another great place to live in the state, and Duke fits right in with the rest of the city.
From its humble beginnings, known then as Trinity College, Duke Law is now consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the US. The school has consistently ranked as one of the top 14 law schools ranked by US News & World Report. Admitting about 20% of its applicants, roughly 95% of graduates are employed at graduation. Duke Law publishes multiple law journals and has a long list of notable alumni (including one US President, Richard Nixon.)
Duke Law also offers dual-degree JD programs, with Duke’s Graduate School, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke Divinity School, The Pratt School of Engineering, The Sanford School of Public Policy and the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. Academic and professional dual degree programs, as well as law and business degree programs, are available.
North Carolina Central University School of Law
The second law school in Durham, it was founded to help the African-American community become lawyers. A historically under-represented population in law schools and the practice of law, law students are educated to become lawyers who can easily and adequately address the needs of under-served groups.
NCCU School of Law operates 15 student-run legal clinics for low-income clients. Specialties include Intellectual Property, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Domestic Violence, Civil Litigation, and other commonly needed services.
The Street Law program brings second- and third-year law students into middle or high school social studies classes to teach law basics. Students hands-on skills that also help in breaking down complex legal concepts for both students and juries, as well as the skills they will need dealing with clients and going into court. Bringing real-world law issues and concepts to high school students helps them better understand things like Civics and other static subjects. Topics like court systems (state and federal), the criminal law process, and Constitutional law are brought to students and fosters an interest in a future legal career.
UNC School of Law
Chapel Hill’s own law school is just 30 miles west of Raleigh, less than an hour on I-40 West. Like many of our law schools, UNC’s curriculum builds practical skills for a future in the legal workforce. Graduates are not only ready for private practice attorneys in law firms, they’re trained to work in a number of different roles and fields. Corporate law departments, public service as elected officials and other public sector jobs are just some of the jobs UNC law graduates are ready to tackle. “With a Carolina Law degree,” the website says, “our students can go anywhere.” Five previous NC governors are UNC alumni, as are 3 members of the 113th Congress.
US News & World Report rates UNC’s Law School as #45. While the first-year curriculum is the same for all students, second- and third-year students have more flexibility to choose the courses that best suit their career path. Through a partnership with Duke University Law School and North Carolina Central University School of Law, students can also choose courses at either of these schools if they’re not offered at UNC.
UNC also offers more than $2 million every year in scholarship money, helping reduce student expenses (and loans.) Six legal clinics, mentoring and a supportive environment offer students hands-on experience in multiple disciplines.
The UNC School of Law even has its own legal blog. Run by faculty member Jeff Welty, a criminal law specialist, the North Carolina Criminal Law blog is published “to disseminate information about, and to serve as a forum for the discussion of, North Carolina criminal law and procedure and related topics.”
Elon University School of Law
Greensboro is also a drive on I-40 west, but less than 100 miles, and a little over an hour from Raleigh. North Carolina’s newest law school, Elon opened in 2006 and became ABA accredited in 2011. The unique 2.5-year program means you’ll graduate in December, take the bar exam in February and be ready to begin your legal career in the spring. Students in other programs won’t take the bar exam until at least July.
Housed within the School of Law is the North Carolina Business Court, a working court. Real cases in corporate law and other complex commercial disputes are heard and presided over by a judge. The cases are assigned by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Elon is one of the few law schools in the US to have a working court.
One of the hallmarks of Elon Law School’s program is a residency for each student that’s directly relevant to the curriculum. Live experience is available year-round, instead of just during the summer months. Additional hands-on opportunities are available with Elon’s legal clinics, internships, and clerkships. Mock trials, moot courts, and attorney-led case simulations also offer real-world legal experience that prepares you for your legal career.
Tuition is 20% lower than the national average for private law schools. The shorter degree program means you’ll graduate sooner than most, and begin working while other graduates are still in school. Dual-degree programs are also available.
Wake Forest School of Law
Although Winston-Salem is a farther drive (about 103 miles west on I-40 West), Wake Forest’s School of Law may well be worth the move. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, this top-tier law school emphasizes smaller classes. Graduates routinely have a high bar passage, with an 81% rate from the 2016 class. US News & World Report ranks Wake Forest at #32 in 2018. Graduates find full-time employment within 10 months after graduation. Degree programs include Juris Doctor as well as JD dual degrees.
Wake Forest’s School of Law focuses on “fundamental lawyering skills,” and encourages students to “consider the social and economic settings in which legal principles and rules operate and the ways in which lawyers use those principles and rules in practice.” Other, non-legal instruction is part of a law student’s education. Topics like technology, oral and written communications, and functioning in a world that is quickly and constantly changing are also important for students and graduates.
The School of Law also operates eight law clinics for the public, where law students work with clients under the auspices of professors:
Community & Business Law
Innocence & Justice
Civil & Criminal Externship
The clinics offer real-world, hands-on legal experience for students before graduation. They also provide valuable legal representation to members of the public who may not otherwise be able to get it.
Drug possession — two words that can mean the end of your life as you know it. Like DUI, North Carolina has some of the strictest laws and harshest penalties in the country. One mistake can mean lifelong consequences—even jail time.
Possession of drug paraphernalia can also see you arrested, whether or not you intend to use it for drug consumption. Even everyday items like a scale and small bags can be considered “paraphernalia” for either using or selling.
Drug trafficking (sale, distribution, and possession of large amounts for those purposes) are more serious charges that can get you long-term jail time and heavy fines.
Even a misdemeanor drug conviction can negatively affect your life for years to come. It can be even worse if you’re actually innocent.
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act
North Carolina divides different drugs into categories, or “schedules,” and the penalties differ with each classification, depending on their potential for abuse. The state’s Controlled Substances Act spells out each category and grades each substance. Penalties and jail times vary with the severity of the charges.
Schedule I: this is a class I felony for drugs like opiates, heroin, ecstasy, and peyote, among others, with no “accepted medical use” and are at high risk for addiction and abuse.
Schedule II: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for drugs that have a medical use, but also have the potential for addiction, such as opium, cocaine, morphine, Oxycodone, Methadone, and others.
Schedule III: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for addictive substances that also have a medical use, such as anabolic steroids, ketamine, Lysergic Acid and Nalorphine with a lower potential for addiction.
Schedule IV: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for prescription drugs with an accepted medical use but a lower risk of abuse and addiction. This class includes prescriptions such as Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Clonazepam, and others.
Schedule V: this is a class 1 misdemeanor for prescription narcotic drugs that aren’t as addictive, but still have the potential for abuse. This includes over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup with codeine.
Schedule VI: this is a class 3 misdemeanor for drugs with no recognized medical use in North Carolina, have a low potential for addiction and abuse, including marijuana, hashish oil, and hashish.
A Note About Marijuana
Having marijuana in your possession is still a crime in North Carolina. “For medicinal purposes” is not a valid defense.
Many states have passed varying amounts of marijuana legalization for different reasons. One of the latest, Louisiana, has only legalized marijuana for medical uses, not in smokeable form or for recreational use. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as neighboring Kentucky and Tennessee, have not passed any laws legalizing it, and you can still be charged.
Until then, marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina. You can still be arrested for having it, even in small amounts.
Call A Strong Criminal Defense Attorney in Raleigh, NC
Do you need an attorney to defend you for drug charges in North Carolina? Absolutely, or you could risk even more jail time, fines and other penalties. Hiring the right Raleigh drug possession attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
Whatever you do, don’t just plead guilty because you’re not sure what you should do (especially if you’re innocent.) You have the right to have an attorney who can aggressively defend you and make sure your rights are protected.
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley is now an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend you and work towards the most favorable outcome. He can defend you against drug charges, fight any wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your child’s case at (919) 832-0307.
Raleigh is a vibrant American city with industry, culture, performing and visual arts, biotech and high-tech research as well as collegiate and professional sports.
It’s no surprise that Forbes ranked us #1 on their 2015 list of the best places for businesses and careers. Known as the “City of Oaks,” Raleigh is also the third most educated city in the US as well as the capital city.
There are so many things to like about Raleigh. Here are just three.
With The Research Triangle right in the middle of the state, it’s no wonder that Raleigh (and North Carolina in general) is home to some of the biggest industries in the US. Bordered by North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, it’s no wonder the area is so successful.
With such diverse industries like banking/financial services, pharmaceuticals, paper products, food processing, clothing and textiles and telecommunications, it’s no wonder Raleigh is the second most populous city in North Carolina.
Some of Raleigh’s top companies and employers include:
NC State University
Martin Marietta Materials
First Citizens BancShares
Boasting twelve institutes of higher education, it’s no wonder Time magazine named Raleigh the third most educated city in the US in 2011. Students come from all over the US to study, and many settle in the area after graduation.
If you’re interested in higher education, you have several choices in Raleigh:
North Carolina State University
Wake Technical Community College
Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
Montreat College’s School of Professional and Adult Studies
William Peace University
Skema Business School (the first French Business School to open a campus in the USA)
Are you a foodie? Do you enjoy the process of cooking as well as trying new and interesting food? From small, humble neighborhood eateries and food trucks to the most high-end fine restaurants, Raleigh boasts a thriving food scene that rivals any US city.
Even though Raleigh’s cuisine is primarily southern, inbound migration from other parts of the US (not to mention college students) have brought in other types of non-native cuisines. Despite Texas’ claim that it originated there, aficionados will appreciate both styles of North Carolina barbecue: Lexington style and Eastern style.
Multiple farmers markets offer fresh, locally grown and produced artisanal foods directly from the grower. Visit one of Raleigh’s many “You-Pick Farms” with your kids (or by yourself) and learn about how food is grown as well as picking your own.
From coffee shops to banquet halls, Raleigh has something for every taste and every budget.
Want To Know More?
Whether you’re a lifelong resident, a recent transplant, or you’re considering moving to the Raleigh area, check out the VisitRaleigh website and learn about everything the City of Oaks has to offer.
Raleigh’s Criminal Attorney
Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh. Before working on the defense side, he was a Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He understands the criminal justice system and can handle the most serious felony charges. If you find yourself in trouble, Dewey is ready to help.
Drug possession is always a serious offense, no matter what the amount or circumstances. Marijuana is still illegal in the state of North Carolina, so any amount can be considered “drug possession.” An adult can be charged, tried and convicted, but juvenile drug possession may have a somewhat different path through the criminal justice system.
Drug charges can also have long-lasting consequences. Just being charged can limit choices in school activities as well as reduce college/education, housing, vocation and military enlistment choices. Should your child be asked later if they had any arrests, he or she will have to answer “yes,” and it will show up during a background check. Even a minor drug charge should be taken seriously.
The Juvenile Court System
There are two forms of criminal justice for juveniles—one for underage misdemeanors, and one for adults. The focus of the juvenile court system is rehabilitation, not incarceration. Numerous programs exist in Wake County that aim to reduce and prevent juvenile crime and offer diversions from such behaviors, as well as entry into the juvenile and adult criminal court systems.
Anyone arrested under the age of 16 is considered a juvenile, particularly for non-violent offenses (truancy, shoplifting, etc.) There are penalties and punishments for breaking the law, but the judge has the option of using alternative sentencing, such as drug counseling, probation with conditions and community service.
Juveniles won’t have a trial by jury as an adult would (unless they’re tried as an adult), and would attend a hearing with only a judge. After a caseworker evaluation and report, the judge will decide on the best disposition and sentencing for the child. The child has the opportunity to have the charges dismissed and the records sealed at the age of 18 once his or her sentence is completed.
However, if the juvenile is charged with a felony (i.e., drug trafficking, weapons possession), no matter what the age, they’ll probably be sent directly into the adult criminal justice system. Should that happen, the child will then will be tried as an adult, can serve jail time and may not have the opportunity to have any charges eventually dismissed.
First Offender “Forgiveness”
North Carolina offers a “First Offenders Program” that allows, under certain circumstances, the first offense to eventually be dismissed. This only works one time, and a second drug charge allows the first to be used in court.
An attorney experienced in drug possession defense and juvenile crime can help you and your child decide if the First Offenders Program is right for your case, and if so, help you through the process.
What If Your Child Is Actually Innocent?
It’s not uncommon for several teenagers in a car or other close proximity to all be charged with drug possession when only one actually has it. This is particularly true of marijuana when a police officer detects the odor at a traffic stop. If your child has a solid legal defense, such as insufficient evidence, or if he or she were the victim of an illegal search/seizure, it’s better to go to court with an attorney and present that defense instead.
If your child is innocent, don’t use up his or her only chance at the First Offender’s Program instead of going to court and being acquitted. An attorney experienced in juvenile drug possession charges can discuss this with you and prepare an effective defense for an acquittal.
Get The Legal Help Your Child Needs
If your child has been charged with juvenile drug possession in Raleigh, it’s time to find an attorney who can help, right now. You need someone who is experienced and can represent you and your child in court.
As a former Wake County prosecutor, Dewey P. Brinkley is now an experienced criminal defense attorney who can guide you and your child through the court process. He can defend your child against drug charges, fight wrongful charges and work for a more reasonable sentence if convicted. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your child’s case at (919) 832-0307.
If you find yourself facing a drug charge—especially if it’s your first—you may not understand everything that’s involved. There are varying degrees of drug charges based on how much you were found to be in possession of, as well as the type of drug you were carrying.
While it doesn’t take much to trigger a drug charge, it’s always a serious offense, and should never be taken lightly. Instead of a public defender, hiring a experienced Raleigh drug possession defense attorney to defend you may be the difference between jail and probation, or a long sentence vs. a short sentence.
• Misdemeanor Drug Laws
• Felony Drug Laws
• Felony Drug Trafficking Laws
• Federal Drug Laws and Federal Drug Trafficking Laws
Everything depends on what you were arrested with, how much, and how the substance is classified.
Marijuana Is Still Illegal In North Carolina
Nine US states have legalized marijuana for personal use, and 29 states allow marijuana to be prescribed by a doctor for medicinal use. While medical evidence shows the benefits of cannabis therapy for a number of conditions, North Carolina isn’t in either “pot-friendly” group. You can still be stopped and arrested for its possession and/or distribution in the state, and a “doctor’s note” or prescription is not acceptable as a valid defense.
Class 1/Class 2 Misdemeanor
• Possession of drug paraphernalia (N.C.G.S. § 90-113.22): any kind of tools or equipment used in the production, sale, or use of controlled substances.
• Possession of marijuana, up to 1.5 ounces, and may include up to 45 days of jail time.
• Possession of Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV drugs (opioids, codeine, cocaine, marijuana.)
Class 3 Misdemeanor
Very small amounts of marijuana, less than a half-ounce, is called “simple possession of marijuana.” This includes derivatives hashish and hashish oil. Simple possession incurs a $200 fine, but a first offense doesn’t usually include jail time. A second offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can include 30 days in jail.
Any charge for these substances is a felony on the first arrest. Schedule I is the class of drug that includes:
Other “harder” drugs may be included. A first arrest for one of these substances is always a felony with at least 4 months of jail time, as is the second.
A first offense for these drugs is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, but a second offense becomes a Class 1 felony:
Harsher penalties are involved with stronger and larger amounts of drugs, turning drug possession into a felony. North Carolina drug felonies are classified as Class G, H, or I, and include:
The sale of any Schedule I or Schedule II drugs (Heroin, Opium or Cocaine) are considered Class G felonies.
The manufacture of methamphetamine (Meth) is a Class C felony. If “manufacturing” is found to be only packaging and/or labeling meth, it’s a Class H felony.
The sale of Scheduled III, Schedule IV, Schedule V, and Schedule VI drugs are punishable as Class H felonies. This includes marijuana, a Scheduled VI drug; it’s punishable as a Class H felony.
Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver (PWISD) of Schedule III through Schedule VI drugs, (except cocaine and heroin), a Class I felony.
Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver (PWISD) or sale of any counterfeit drug, a Class I felony.
Possession, sale, transportation, warehousing or distribution of prohibited substances always comes with prison time. Providing “substantial assistance” to authorities can help reduce your sentence, and the judge has some leeway in sentencing. But you’ll need to speak a lawyer right away in order to ensure that your case is handled properly.
While the laws generally address large amounts of illegal drugs, sometimes the amount involved is relatively small. There are multiple levels of punishment for each type of drug, varying from 2 years (25 months) to more than 18 years in prison. This includes (but isn’t limited to) marijuana, meth, cocaine (crack or powder), heroin/opium, LSD and MDMA.
Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, your defense is critical to the outcome. A criminal defense attorney experienced in drug cases can defend you in court and make sure your rights are protected. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation.
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?
North 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
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.)
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.
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.
Drunk driving. It’s a serious problem in the US, including North Carolina, and one that even the US Supreme Court feels is important enough to rule on.
The Fourth Amendment
This is the amendment that prohibits illegal search and seizures. However, The Supreme Court has ruled that because drunk driving is such a danger, DUI checkpoints aren’t illegal. They just have to be random, and not used for general crime control.
In other words, the checkpoints are put up randomly and in various places, (i.e., not on a particular intersection every weekend) to enable police to check for drunk drivers. Should police encounter other, non-vehicular violations, (such as wanted suspects for other crimes) they are allowed to place these individuals under arrest. But they can’t use the checkpoints for that reason.
Checkpoints also have to be publicly announced. You can find out when and where checkpoints will happen at RoadBlock.org or DUIBlock.com.
Checkpoints usually occur late at night and early in the morning in the areas of bars and restaurants where, presumably, drunk drivers will frequently be caught.
As a rule, a police officer must have probable cause to suspect you and stop you for something. Because of The Supreme Court’s ruling, DUI checkpoints in response to the innate dangers of drunk drivers do not override the rights of all drivers under the Fourth Amendment.
You Are Required To Stop
Since police officers are looking for drunk drivers at DUI checkpoints, you are required to stop. If you’re not drunk driving, have a current license and insurance, and not committing any other sort of crime, your stop will be quick and easy. It’s better to just go through the checkpoint and you’ll be on your way, even if it’s just a few minutes of delay.
If you see a DUI checkpoint or roadblock and turn left, right or around to avoid it, the police have the right to follow you, stop you, and specifically ask you why you avoided the stop. Even if your turn was completely legal and legitimate, (such as turning at an intersection or stop light to go to your residence or workplace) police have the right to stop you and ask about it.
If the officer suspects any inebriation or you exhibit signs of it, you’ll be asked to pull over and exit your vehicle. The officer will then ask you to submit to field sobriety testing and may administer a breath and/or blood test. You are required to comply or risk seizure of your driver’s license.
Get A Strong DUI Defense Attorney
The laws surrounding DUIs are complex. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who has strongly defended numerous DUI cases and will fight for you in court. A DUI is a serious charge, and you need someone who will make sure your rights are protected. Call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 to schedule your free DUI case consultation.
Most of us don’t think about what would happen if we lost our driving privileges. How would you get back and forth to work, and run errands? Get to your doctor’s and other appointments? Having a suspended license can be very difficult to overcome. A suspension (or revocation) also becomes a permanent part of your driving record that you can’t expunge.
If you are suddenly without the ability to drive yourself around every day, you may need an attorney to help you get your license back.
There are a number of reasons why North Carolina may suspend your license. While DUI is a frequent cause for suspension, there are others, including:
Refusal to take a blood or breath test at a traffic stop or DUI checkpoint
Accumulated “points” on your driving record from minor violations
Unpaid traffic tickets and other issues
Part of a separate criminal court sentence
Non-DMV related issues reported by other state agencies, such as failure to pay child support
How Long Is My License Suspended For?
Depending on the violation, you’ll lose your North Carolina driving privileges for anywhere from 30 days to 4 years (for a second offense DUI.) Once that period is completed, and you’ve fulfilled the suspension requirements, your privileges will be restored. You do not have to re-apply for a driver’s license after a suspension.
Multiple offenses (especially from DUI) involve a revocation or permanent loss of your driving privileges.
How Do I Get It Back?
Your license can be restored after meeting eligibility requirements and paying all fines and fees. You may be required to attend an administrative hearing to shorten your suspension. A hearing may be required to determine your eligibility for restoration of your driving privileges after the revocation period.
North Carolina charges fees to restore your driver’s license once your requirements are completed (i.e., substance abuse assessment, driver’s ed, etc.) To pay these fees, you can go to any driver’s license office to pay in person, or by mail. These fees are separate from any other fines or charges imposed by the court or the DMV.
Additionally, if your suspension involves another agency, you will also be required to complete their requirements before your license is restored. For instance, if your license was suspended for back child support, your license won’t be restored until your balance is paid in full and brought current.
Applying For A Hardship License
Under certain circumstances, you can also apply for a “Hardship License” that would allow limited driving privileges after you’ve completed part of your suspension or revocation.
In addition to proof of insurance, you’ll have to offer a valid reason, such as driving to and from work, provide emergency medical care, and/or to run your household.
Your “limited license” would allow you to drive for 1 year, or for the remainder of your revocation, whichever is shorter.
Get Your License Back
Losing your license can be devastating. An experienced attorney can help you through the process of restoring your driving privileges. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley has helped hundreds of people restore suspended and revoked North Carolina driver’s licenses. Call us at 919-832-0307 to schedule your free consultation. We can’t get every suspended (or revoked) license restored, but we’ll help you through the process, and help you avoid mistakes that may extend your suspension.
You’re driving down a highway, minding your own business, and then you see the flashing lights. The police, doing a random checkpoint for DUI. No problem, until you realize you’ve had a craft beer. Or a locally made wine. Or a glass of whiskey with a friend. What do you do now? Are these DUI checkpoints even legal? Can they really do that?
DUI Checkpoints Are Legal
North Carolina has some of the toughest DUI laws in the US. DUI is taken very seriously, and the state allows random checkpoints to find and detain inebriated drivers before they cause crashes, injuries and possibly deaths on the road. Checkpoints can also be used to find unlicensed and uninsured drivers, something that can’t be observed by general driving behaviors.
These checkpoints are legal under N.C. Gen. Stat. §20-16.3A. While the Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures, the Supreme Court has ruled that DUI is serious enough problem that random checkpoints are legal, and not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Police cannot use checkpoints as a regular method of general crime control, that is, seek out non-traffic related violations.
DUI checkpoints are required to be random, not in the same place on a regular basis. Since surprise is the most effective way of catching inebriated drivers, checkpoints are only identified by flashing police lights.
Generally, the police must have probable cause to stop someone. But in response to the epidemic of drunk driving, checkpoints became an easier way to find and remove drivers from traffic. The government has a direct interest in combating drunk driving, and checkpoints are effective in finding those drivers to get them off the road. The US Supreme Court ruled them legal in response to the demand in 1990.
North Carolina also allows checkpoints to look for uninsured and unlicensed drivers, as well as those using suspended licenses. They don’t need a warrant, only need to follow written policies and ensure that the checks are completely random.
Your Rights DUI Checkpoints
Since the checkpoints are lega but controversial, you can object, but you are still subject to being stopped and questioned.
You can refuse a Breathalyzer test at the checkpoint, but you may be required to take other sobriety testing. Refusing may also imply guilt, you could be brought to the station, and it could harm your case later.
You can also request to wait for your attorney. But that may be interpreted as giving yourself time to allow your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) to decrease before it’s tested.
Don’t Turn Around
If you see a checkpoint, your first temptation may be to turn around and go in the other direction, even if you haven’t been near alcohol.
You may get away with it, and you may not. Police have the right to follow you and pull you over to ask why you decided to avoid the checkpoint. Even without alcohol, police see it as a presumption of guilt and avoiding them. You could even be taken into the station.
The Easy Way To Get Through A DUI Checkpoint
It’s simple: stop when told, answer questions, be polite, comply with the officer’s requests, take a test if asked, and you’ll be on your way. If you haven’t been drinking, you’ll be driving again quickly.
Need Help After A DUI Checkpoint?
Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He’s aggressively defended numerous DUI cases and will fight for you in court. DUI isn’t something to be taken lightly, and you need someone in your corner. Call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 to schedule your free DUI consultation.