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.

In Raleigh, NC What are the Costs of Getting a DWI Conviction?

There are a number of factors to consider when you’ve been charged with DWI, and even more with a conviction. The safety of yourself and others, the possible damages caused, and the possibility of spending time in jail is avoidable by calling an Uber or a taxi for $20 or so and parking your car.

But there’s one part of getting a DWI that most people don’t consider: how much it will cost.

The Arrest

In Raleigh, NC What are the Costs of Getting a DWI Conviction?Your license is immediately revoked if there is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. You’ll lose your license for 30 days, just for being charged with DWI. You can request a limited driving privilege after 10 days, which will cost $100, plus whatever it costs you to get to work for ten days (if you still have a job.)

You will also be required to complete a substance abuse assessment costing $100, and you’ll need a certified copy of your driving record, about $15.00. If you’re approved for the privilege, you’ve spent $215 to drive for 19 days out of 30. Since it’s a criminal charge, you’re required to appear in court.

If you hire an attorney, that will also cost—a minimum of $500, but probably more than $2,500. Attorney’s fees will also vary depending on variables such as your first charge or a subsequent charge, such as if any property damage occurred, or if anyone was injured or killed as a result.

If your charges are dismissed, that’s the end of it. But if you’re headed for trial, it’s going to get a lot more expensive.

Depending on the type of job you have, you could be terminated after the arrest, especially if you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL.)  Not only will you lose your income, but you will also have a difficult time finding another job with a DUI.

The Trial And Conviction

Going to trial for DWI means there is a strong chance of not only conviction but jail time.

North Carolina has five levels of DWI charges, with Level 5 being the lowest and Level 1 being the highest, with the highest punishment, fees, and license revocation. Fines alone start at $200 and go as high as $4,000 just for the DWI. An aggravated Level I felony can be as high as $10,000 in fines. You’ll also owe additional court costs.

After A Conviction

In addition to or instead of jail time, you may be able to perform community service, at a cost of $250. You’ll also be required to complete substance abuse treatment, the cost of which is determined by the agency and can be as high as $800 to $1,000.

You’ll also have to complete the Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School, which will also cost about $260. Additionally, monthly post-conviction substance abuse assessments cost $100.

If you want to regain your driving privileges, you’ll also have to pay to get your license restored, which can run upwards of $300.

Before you can start driving again, there’s also the matter of car insurance. You’ll find that you can get an insurance policy, but it will be considerably more expensive. Most drivers find their insurance increases an average of 400% after a DUI.

One more thing—you’ll be required to have an ignition interlock system installed on your car before you can drive again. This system requires you to blow into it, just like a breathalyzer, before you can start your vehicle. You’ll also be required to stop and “blow” again during your drive to continue driving. If at any time the system detects alcohol, you won’t be able to drive. Purchase and installation run between $2,000 and $4,000, with monthly maintenance at about $100 per month.

Other Costs of DWI

If you caused property damage while driving intoxicated, such as hitting someone’s car or house, you will also find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury suit from the other party (or wrongful death if someone died as a result of the accident.)  You may be sued by the other party for medical expenses, lost and future wages, pain, and suffering, and other compensatory damages, and you’ll be responsible for them. A wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the relatives the person who died in the accident, can also end up with a large monetary settlement you’ll have to pay. These expenses can’t be dismissed in a bankruptcy, either. If you own property, such as a house, a lien can be placed on the property until you pay it.

When you add it up, avoiding a DWI by taking a bus, or calling either a taxi, Uber, or a friend to pick you up is a lot less expensive.

DWI Is Expensive

Getting arrested for DWI can cost more than just money—you could do prison time, in addition to losing your job, your home, and your rights. A DWI will also follow you around for the rest of your life, no matter where you live. Having a DWI defense attorney does cost money, but can save you a lot more, including your freedom and your rights.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI cases. He will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email him at dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.

In Raleigh, NC Can Getting A Traffic Ticket Affect My Credit Score?

As if getting a traffic ticket isn’t bad enough, the idea that it might affect your credit score is even worse. You may have even been told that the traffic ticket goes on your credit report. But does it?

It doesn’t–but most bills that go unpaid for any length of time end up in a collection agency. Over time, if you still don’t pay the bill, the collection agency may be able to take you to court over the unpaid bill (depending on how much it is, along with attorney’s fees.) As a rule, the collection action and judgment is what ends up on your credit report—not the actual traffic ticket.

Two Separate Processes

man receiving a traffic ticket

The ticket is an action initiated by a police officer if you’re stopped for a violation, such as speeding. You can go to court to contest it (with or without an attorney), or you can just pay the fine and be done with it. Whichever you choose, there is likely a fine involved, which must be paid. If you don’t go to court, it’s an unresolved violation with additional fines and consequences, including a license suspension.

If you don’t pay the fine, it’s a delinquent charge after a certain number of days. The municipality that issued the fine may, at some point, send it to a collection agency for them to try and collect the money for it. Until recently, the collection agency’s action is what would and could affect your credit score.

The National Consumer Assistance Plan

This plan, developed by the big three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, removes certain types of collection actions from credit reports in two stages.

·         As of June 15, 2016, collection agencies cannot report debts that did not originate from a contract or agreement to pay. This means that unpaid parking and traffic tickets, library fines, and other charges from governmental agencies, domestic and foreign, won’t appear on your credit report.

·         As of July 1, 2017, civil judgments tax liens and civil judgments can’t be included in a consumer’s credit report without either their Social Security number or DOB, in addition to the individual’s full name and address.

Some of these types of charges have lowered credit scores as much as 100 points. If a traffic ticket in collections negatively impacted your credit report, the new rules may remove them. Your credit score may benefit as a result.

But You Still Need To Pay The Fine

This is not to say that you can ignore the ticket and get out of paying the traffic fine—far from it.

By simply paying the fine, you are admitting guilt. Working with a traffic ticket attorney to have your charges reduced or to fight the charges may keep points off your record, but you still need to pay any fines and court charges.

You can also be charged $200 for “failure to appear.” Your ticket indicates the fines involved with the charges, as well as any additional fees if you don’t show up, don’t take corrective action (such as hiring an attorney to represent you in court) or don’t pay it within 20 days of issuance. Fines can increase the longer you ignore them.

Eventually, the state of North Carolina will notify you that your license is being suspended, and you’ll still have to appear in court.

Additionally, you’ll receive additional points on your driver’s license, and your insurance rates will likely increase.

Ticketed In Raleigh? Call Today

A traffic ticket isn’t usually a big problem. But don’t ignore it, or it can get worse. Don’t let a traffic ticket raise your insurance rates or get your license suspended.

If you received a traffic ticket in Raleigh, contact Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh, NC. You can use our online contact form or call our offices any time at 919-832-0307. We look forward to helping you.

 

Is There Such a Thing as “Attempted Drug Possession” in Raleigh, NC?

Drug possession as a charge can bring a number of outcomes depending on the type and quantity. North Carolina’s scheduling of drug severity spells out the penalties and specifics of the different charges, including possession.

But what if you attempted drug possession? Here we’ll discuss the types of possession and what that may mean to you if you’re arrested and charged.

NC’s Drug Possession Schedules

The state uses categories to distinguish Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and rate their seriousness. Included in the schedule are the substances used to create the drugs.

Is There Such a Thing as "Attempted Drug Possession" in Raleigh, NC?

  • Schedule 1 – Includes but not limited to; Heroin, Peyote, and Ecstasy

 

  • Schedule 2 – Includes but not limited to; Cocaine, Morphine, and Methadone

 

  • Schedule 3 – Includes but not limited to; Anabolic Steroids, Ketamine, and some Barbiturates

 

  • Schedule 4 – Includes but not limited to; Valium, and Xanax

 

  • Schedule 5 – Includes but not limited to; OTC cough medicines that include codeine

 

  • Schedule 6 – Includes but not limited to; Marijuana, and Hashish

 

  • The entire schedule is available, including the penalties for possession. Trafficking is different than possession and therefore carries much higher penalties.

Types Of Possession

North Carolina has two types of possession:

·        Actual possession, in which the drug was on your person, you’re aware of it, the drug is readily available and you had the intent to use or dispose of it. For instance, you’re considered to be in actual possession if the drug is found in your pocket, in a wallet, bag, or another accessory.

·        Constructive possession, where you didn’t have actual possession, but you have intent and the capability to have control over the drug. This would include a drug in a car you were sitting and/or riding in, even if you were just a passenger and were not aware of the presence of the drugs.

Marijuana possession carries the least amount of penalties. The amount of sentencing you receive all depends on the amount you had in your possession:

  • For 0.5 oz or less—no jail time, but a fine of up to $200
  • For 0.5 – 1.5 oz—1 to 45 days jail time and a fine of up to $1,000
  • For 1.5 oz – 10 lbs—3 to 8 months of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000

Larger amounts of marijuana, or anything that looks like it’s packaged for sale or distribution, can upgrade your charges to a felony called Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver (PWISD). You could also be charged with drug trafficking.

North Carolina’s drug laws, including possession and trafficking, are available in their entirety online.

Fight Your Drug Possession Charge

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 case at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form.)

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

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

 

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

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

What A Background Check Finds

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

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

The National Driver Register

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

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

Get Help With A Suspended License

If your license has been suspended, you may need help getting it reinstated. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for reversing your suspended license and your driving privileges restored. Don’t let a suspension cost you your job, housing or other things. He can help you through the appeals process and defend you in court. Call today: 919-832-0307 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

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

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

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

Field Sobriety Testing (FST)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refusing The FST

So what happens if you refuse to take these tests?

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

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

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

Have You Failed An FST? Call An Experienced DUI Attorney

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

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

 

Why is Resisting Arrest a Serious Crime in Raleigh, NC?

You’re being arrested, and you’re not sure why. Maybe you’re innocent and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever it’s for, you may be tempted to flee the scene or otherwise put up a fight, especially if you believe it’s a wrongful arrest. But should you?

Why Resisting Arrest Is A Crime

Why is Resisting Arrest a serious crime in Raleigh, NC?North Carolina General Statutes Section 14-223 states that “If any person shall willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”  Additional information is available here.

Resisting arrest is doing something that interferes with a police officer doing his or her job. You can go to jail for as long as three months, even if you are innocent of the original charge. For instance, if you’re wrongly arrested for shoplifting and fight or resist the police officer, you can also be charged with resisting arrest. You may be acquitted of shoplifting, but can still be convicted of resisting arrest, and make a bad situation worse. In other words, until you resisted, you were innocent.

You may also be charged if you refuse to cooperate with an officer, give false information or refuse to accept a traffic ticket. Anytime you obstruct, resist or delay an officer or prevent him from doing his or her job, you can be arrested. While these are not the same as physical resistance, they carry the same weight.

Conviction of resisting arrest is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. This can mean:

  • Fines up of up to $1,000
  • Jail time of up to 60 days in county jail
  • Probation that can include required “counseling” and other regular meetings
  •  A requirement for community service

Defense

“Resisting arrest” can be interpreted a number of ways, but there are defenses that can be raised.

  • Self-defense against excessive force—the police are allowed to use necessary force in the course of an arrest. However, they are not allowed to be violent or use excessive force during arrests. If you were the victim of excessive force, you can argue that you were in the act of defending yourself.
  • Unlawful arrest—if a police officer arrests you without a warrant, do not have probable cause or otherwise exceeds authority, you have been “unlawfully” arrested.
  • False accusations—in court, you and your attorney must prove that the accusations are actually false.

Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before going to prepare your best defense.

Avoid Being Charged With Resisting Arrest

The first thing to remember is to be polite and cooperate with the police officer. No swearing, fighting or otherwise interfering with the officer, including resisting, delaying, or obstructing him or her.

You are required to give your name to the officer as well as your state identification. (If you’re involved in a car accident, you’ll also be asked for insurance and registration, which is also required.) Beyond that, you do not have to answer any questions, no matter how forcefully they are asked. Decline to answer, in the most civilized and polite fashion, and request to speak to a criminal defense attorney. (You may be given a public defender first.) Avoid answering any more questions or providing any information that, as they say on TV, can, and will, be used against you in court. You could unwittingly give a prosecutor enough information to convict.

Fight Charges of Resisting Arrest

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh. Before defending those accused of crimes, he was a Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He understands the criminal justice system and can defend you against even the most serious felony charges. If you’re charged with resisting arrest, you must take it seriously.

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.

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

When it comes time to renew your green card, one of the questions you’ll be asked is if you were arrested, or committed any violations. If you’ve received a traffic ticket, even for something minor, you must answer “yes,” no matter how minor. Because if you answer “no,” they’ll find out anyway. Not telling the truth can definitely have an effect on your green card renewal. But a ticket, especially for something minor, doesn’t necessarily mean your green card won’t be approved.

Getting A Ticket

Can a Traffic Ticket Affect the Renewal of My Green Card in Raleigh, NC?Since becoming a US citizen takes a long time, a “green card” can give you the time you need to stay in the US while your citizenship is being processed. If you acquire a driver’s license in the US, you’ll also have to follow the laws for driving a car in the state where you live.

You may find yourself with a ticket one day. Don’t ignore it, take care of it. An attorney who understands how traffic court operates can help you so that it doesn’t become a bigger problem.

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

After you fill out Form I-90 with USCIS, you’ll also be required to submit fingerprints, which are forwarded to the FBI. After the FBI receives your fingerprints, they’re checked against multiple law enforcement database. If you’ve received a citation of any kind (or have an arrest), the FBI will know immediately.

The Misdemeanor

Obviously, serious felonies crimes will most certainly affect your green card, and possibly derail your citizenship. But a misdemeanor is a different story.

Under US Immigration Law, a misdemeanor is one that:

  • Is punishable by one year or less of imprisonment
  • Is punishable by more than one year’s imprisonment, but is a misdemeanor by state law, as long as the sentence the individual actually received was one year or less.

Most minor traffic tickets are misdemeanors, and won’t cause a problem for your green card renewal, as long as you don’t lie about it.

However, federal immigration laws are different than most state laws regarding misdemeanors. This means that some things considered misdemeanors at the state level may actually be a felony under federal immigration laws.

What Is A Crime For Immigration

Crimes that will affect your immigration are any misdemeanors involving:

  • Drug/controlled substance violations
  • Any crime involving violence
  • Any crime involving moral turpitude

Conviction of a crime that involves violence is a felony under immigration law, even if it’s considered a misdemeanor at the state level, and is grounds for immediate removal from the US. (If you’re accused of a crime involving violence, contact an immigration attorney immediately.)

Conviction of two crimes involving moral turpitude that were not from a single act is grounds for removal by DHS. This is true of crimes that the state considers a misdemeanor. However, a single act of moral turpitude would not be enough for DHS to initiate removal if the maximum sentence at the state level is less than one year.

Conviction of a controlled substance violation, which includes paraphernalia, is also grounds for denial of your green card and removal, even if the state considers it a misdemeanor. The exception is for less than 30 grams of marijuana.

Particularly difficult is the possession of marijuana, which is actually legal in a number of states (but not in North Carolina.) While less than 30 grams is not grounds for denial of your green card and removal, it is grounds for inadmissibility. This means if you leave the US, you can be denied re-entry. You’ll have to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to be allowed back into the US.

Ticketed In Raleigh? Call Today

A traffic ticket probably isn’t the end of the world, but it can cause problems, especially if you ignore it. Don’t let a traffic ticket raise your insurance rates or cause problems getting or renewing your green card.

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