Forgery In Raleigh, NC. What You Better Know

When most people hear the word “forgery,” they may think of famous works of art reproduced, and the fakes replaced or sold as the real thing. But forgery has a number of different meanings, all of which can mean jail time for the person caught.

Forgery involves creating an imitation of an object of value, including a document, a signature, or other item with the sole intent of committing some kind of fraud for gain. This can include things like driver’s licenses and ID cards, birth certificates and other official documents, prescriptions, as well as things like contracts. One of the most common forms of forgery is when someone signs another person’s name on a check or has a fake ID printed.

Forgery may also be part of identity theft, and may also be used to charge someone.

Is Forgery A Felony?

North Carolina considers nearly any form of forgery as a felony, since it’s a form of fraud, whether you created, altered or possessed something that was counterfeit under N.C. Gen. Stat. § §14-119-125.  Even if you are unsuccessful at defrauding someone with a type of forgery, but had the intent to do so, you can still be charged with a crime, most of which can result in fines and jail time.

“Uttering” a forged document means that you sold it, attempted to sell it, put it into circulation, or otherwise intend to pass it off as the genuine article with the intent to defraud another individual.

Class 1 Felony charges are for forged checks and other related financial instruments (such as corporate securities), as well as uttering a forged document, and will bring three to twelve months in prison for a first offense, plus fines. If you have more than five of these forged documents in your possession, that charge becomes a Class G felony, bringing ten to twenty-five months in prison, as well as possible fines.

Selling or transferring a forged item is a Class H felony, for money or exchanged for anything of value, and brings five to twenty months in prison, along with fines.

Forging or changing the content of wills, deeds and other similar documents is also Class H felony, bringing five to twenty months in prison, along with possible fines imposed by the court.

Forgery of transcripts from high schools, colleges and universities are Class 1 misdemeanors, since they don’t have a specific monetary value, or are less than $10,000. However, a conviction brings as much as 45 days in jail.

Note that there is no statute of limitations on forgery charges in North Carolina, so you will not be able to claim that as a defense.

Prescription Forgery

Forgery in Raleigh, NC. What you better know.Obtaining a prescription drug by forgery is also considered a drug charge, and includes:

  • Acquiring a controlled substance by forgery, fraud or other type of deception
  • An individual who obtains a controlled substance by representing themselves as a person who is licensed to prescribed, but isn’t
  • Stealing a prescription pad, or creating a forged prescription pad with a doctor’s DEA number for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance

Although prescription fraud/forgery may be a misdemeanor if a violation was committed mistakenly, most are committed intentionally and will be treated as felonies. Even if you are not the individual using the prescription, you may face harsh penalties for forging a prescription to obtain a controlled substance illegally.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-108(a)(10) describes the prohibited acts and penalties for prescription forgery, as well as the penalties for Class 1 misdemeanors and Class 1 felonies.

Charged With Forgery?

A conviction on forgery charges can have long-term consequences that stay with you even with a fairly light penalty. If you find yourself under investigation or charged with forgery, it’s important to have a Raleigh, NC criminal defense attorney who can build your defense, represent you in court and make sure your rights are protected.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend forgery in Raleigh, NC and other criminal cases. 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.

 

How Serious Are Disorderly Conduct Charges in Raleigh, NC?

Historically, the term “disorderly conduct” conjures up images of protests, marches, sit-ins and other public demonstrations from the 1960’s. These types of activities still exist, but public rallies and other gatherings usually require permits from the city or municipality where they are held.

Two men fighting and then receiving disorderly conduct charges Raleigh, North Carolina

While many large-scale gatherings are peaceful, they can also change into something that endangers the public quickly. Intoxicated individuals, people blocking or disrupting the course of normal business, groups of people shouting at funeral or memorial services, and other acts intended to cause problems or violence can result in disorderly conduct charges under NC General Statutes Section 14-288.4.

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

North Carolina considers this to be “a public disturbance intentionally caused by any person” who:

  • Starts a fight, engages in fighting or other violent conduct
  • Creates a threat of imminent violence
  • Is abusive, disturbs the peace, and intends to cause a violent reaction
  • Takes possession of a building without permission, and refusing to leave a facility after being ordered
  • Disrupts, blocks, interferes with or otherwise interfering with and disturbing a religious activity, funeral or memorial service two hours before or after and within 500 feet of an activity, including a military funeral or memorial service
  • Occupies or otherwise interferes with the operation of an educational institution, including
    • Congregating
    • Seizing buildings
    • Blocking entrances and exits
    • Intending to disrupt the operation of the institution
  • Disturbs the peace, order or discipline at a public school or onboard a public school bus

Failing to follow an officer’s orders can also lead to additional charges of:

  • “Failure to disperse,” if an officer believes that there is a riot about to occur, you’re ordered to leave and fail to obey the officer’s request
  • Loitering
  • Being drunk in public
  • Blocking or obstructing traffic
  • Resisting arrest

“Disorderly conduct” is also a collective term that police may use to arrest a number of people who are causing a disturbance or appear to be, even if they’re innocent. That’s why it’s important to find a Raleigh criminal defense attorney who can defend you in court.

Penalties For Disorderly Conduct In North Carolina

 

North Carolina considers a first offense for disorderly conduct a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, a second offense is a Class I felony, while third and subsequent offenses are a Class H felony.

For a first offense, you may be given a fine of up to $1,000 and a sentence of 60 days in jail, depending on the judge’s discretion. A second offense can bring three to twelve months in jail, while a Class H may be four to twenty five months incarceration, in addition to any court-imposed fines. North Carolina also has no statute of limitations on felony charges.

However, police officers may use the term “disorderly conduct” when they don’t have something more specific to charge you with at the time of arrest. This means that unless you were specifically caught doing something disruptive, a North Carolina criminal defense attorney can challenge your arrest and your charges.

Raleigh’s Criminal Attorney

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney Raleigh, NC. Before working as a defense attorney, he was a Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He understands the criminal justice system, and can handle disorderly conduct as well as other misdemeanor charges.

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

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.

A sad man in his red car after failing his field sobriety test in Raleigh, NC.

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:

  • 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.

How Are Juvenile Crimes Treated Differently In Raleigh, NC?

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

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

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

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

The Benefits Of Juvenile Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rights of A Juvenile

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

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

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

A juvenile does have the right to:

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

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

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

When A Juvenile Is Tried As An Adult

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

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

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

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

Raleigh Juvenile Court Attorney

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

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

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

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

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

Students And DWI

DWI defense attorney Raleigh NC

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

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

Employment

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

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

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

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

Housing

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

Relationships

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

Divorce/Child Custody

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

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

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

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

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

A DWI Has Long-Reaching Consequences

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

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

Can A North Carolina Assault Ever Be Accidental?

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

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

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

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

The Components of Assault

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

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

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

Defenses Against Assault

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

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

Can It Be Accidental?

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

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

Fight Assault Charges

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

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

 

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

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

Reasons For Suspension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

License Reinstatement

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

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

Driver License Hearings
3118 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697

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

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

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

Return To The Driver’s Seat

A suspended or revoked license doesn’t mean your driving days are over. You can get your license back, even if it does take time. Need help? North Carolina driver’s license suspension attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for getting your license back and your driving privileges restored. He can help you through the appeals process and defend you in court. Call today: 919-832-0307 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

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

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

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

What Is Juvenile Court?

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

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

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

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

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

Penalties

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

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

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

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

North Carolina Juveniles Committing Felonies

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

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

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

Hire An Experienced Raleigh, NC Defense Attorney

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

What Does Aggravated Drug Possession Mean in Raleigh NC?

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

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

Types Of Possession

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

Raleigh NC Aggravated Drug Possession

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

 

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

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

The Aggravating Factor

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

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

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

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

What an Aggravated Drug Possession Charge Can Mean In Court

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

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

Aggravated Drug Possession Defense In Raleigh, NC

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

Are Raleigh Field Sobriety Tests Admissible In Court?

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

Taking Or Not Taking Field Sobriety Tests

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fighting Back Against an FST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call An Experienced DUI Attorney for Field Sobriety Testing

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

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

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