How To Fight A Raleigh, NC Traffic Ticket

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

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

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

Dispute The Officer’s Subjective Judgement/Conclusion

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

Dispute The Officer’s Observations

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

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

The “Mistake Of Fact” Defense

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

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

“Legal Necessity” For Your Actions

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

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

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

Winning By Default

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

You Can Fight A Raleigh, NC Traffic Ticket

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

 

What Constitutes Resisting Arrest In Raleigh, NC?

You’ve committed no crime, but you’re being arrested. Or you’re with someone who is being arrested, and you’re taken to jail along with them despite your innocence. You inform the officer that you’re innocent, but you’re taken to jail anyway. What now?

Whatever you do, don’t resist any arrest, even an unlawful arrest, or you’ll be charged with it.

What It Is

North Carolina considers nearly anything that causes a problem for an on-duty police officer to be part of North Carolina General Statutes, Article 30, Section § 14-223 that states:

What Constitutes Resisting Arrest In Raleigh, NC?“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.”

This means not only resisting your own arrest, but interfering with a police officer doing another arrest or otherwise doing his job.

The statute is intentionally broad as well as vague, covering a wide range of activity that interferes with a police officer doing his job. That also increases your chance of an arrest due to resisting, delaying or obstructing a police officer (RDO) by giving the officer flexibility in what he or she can arrest an individual for.

Types Of Resisting Arrest

Most people think of resisting arrest as the individual who, upon discovering he or she is targeted, runs from the police. Officers also have a certain leeway with using force, and will do so if they believe they are being threatened.

But other actions, like raising your arms in a defensive stance or instinctively moving out of the way can also be interpreted by the police officer as “physical resistance,” even if you meant no harm and were not fleeing.

Resistance can also take a non physical form. Actions such as:

  • Refusing to accept a ticket
  • Giving false information, such as name and address
  • Using abusive language
  • Otherwise slowing down an officer to prevent him from doing his job

Can also see you charged with “resisting arrest.”

Conviction For Resisting Arrest

If you are convicted of RDO, you’ll be facing:

  • Up to three months in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • A probation sentencing to include counseling and regular meetings
  • A community service requirement

Additionally, you’ll have a record of conviction that will stay on your record, and inhibit your ability to apply for jobs, professional licenses, college and student aid, and other things.

But What If I’m Innocent?

Even if you are innocent and can prove you’re a victim of wrongful arrest in court, it’s best not to resist because you’ll have an additional charge. This means that you may be acquitted of the first charge, but still convicted of the second. Avoid that second charge by not resisting arrest or interfering with a police officer.

Possible defenses against RDO include:

  • Self-defense against an officer who was using unreasonable force against you
  • An unlawful arrest, without probable cause or a warrant
  • Argue and prove that the charges are false
  • NC has no “stop and identify rule.” Unless you are operating a motor vehicle, you are not required to give the police any information, and can politely refuse the officer’s request

If you are charged with resisting arrest, an experienced criminal defense attorney can defend you in court to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Charged With Resisting Arrest? Contact Raleigh’s Criminal Defense Attorney

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in 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 resisting arrest as well as other criminal 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

Can a Drug Possession Conviction Affect My Student Aid In Raleigh, NC?

A conviction for drug possession changes a number of things in your life. Anytime you’re asked about a criminal conviction, you’re required to answer, “yes.” Employment, housing, and other opportunities may change or be lost because of a drug possession conviction.

But if you’re a college student, or were planning to become one, your plans have radically changed. If you are already using student aid for college, you may lose it. And if you’re applying to college, your options could be limited for what you’re planning to study.

The FAFSA

Hands in Handcuffs after a Drug Possession Conviction In Raleigh, NC?The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) contains questions specific to drug convictions. It’s important that you answer the question truthfully and accurately.

The question specifically asks if your conviction occurred while you were receiving student financial aid. When you answer yes, you will be required to fill out a worksheet to determine if you are eligible for subsequent financial aid assistance.

If you have a drug conviction, complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for the drug conviction question on the FAFSA to determine if your conviction will impact your aid eligibility. You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4- FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

If your conviction occurs after you submit the FAFSA, you may lose your eligibility, as well as be required to repay any financial aid you’ve already received.

What you state on the FAFSA is separate from what you state on your college admissions application, and must be truthful on both. If your college admissions form asks, you will be required to disclose a conviction.

Note that the issues arise only after a conviction for either the sale or possession of illegal drugs as an adult. If you were tried as a juvenile, and not convicted as an adult, you’ll still be eligible. This is also true if your conviction has been set aside or reversed, and you would answer “no” to the question.

Suspension Periods

The suspension period of federal student aid depends on whether the conviction was for sale or suspension, and whether it was a first or subsequent suspension.

  • First offense: one year for possession, two for sale
  • Second offense: two years for possession, indefinitely for sale
  • Third and subsequent offenses: indefinitely for both possession and sale

After your student aid eligibility is suspended by a drug conviction, there are two ways you can regain it:

  • Successful completion of an approved drug rehabilitation program
  • Agree to and pass two unannounced drug screenings by an approved drug rehabilitation program

Fighting Drug Charges

The best defense is a good offense. Take proactive stance against a potential drug conviction that could seriously impede your future.

If you’ve been arrested on drug charges, it’s important to have a strong, aggressive drug charge defense lawyer to defend you in court. Without good legal counsel, you may be at the mercy of the court, and find yourself making a guilty plea just to end it.

But pleading guilty may not be the right thing to do, especially if you’re not guilty. If you do, you’ll be a convicted felon, and end up with a criminal conviction that will follow you around for the rest of your life.

With an experienced drug charge attorney, you have a fighting chance against a conviction that will cause you problems long after you leave court, including going to college and having a career.

Drug Charges? Let Dewey P. Brinkley Will Defend You

A criminal defense attorney experienced in drug cases can defend you in court and protect your assets. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will make sure your rights are rights are respected and you receive a fair trial under the law.

 

Reinstating A Suspended North Carolina Driver’s License

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

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

Reasons You May Receive A Suspended NC Driver’s License

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

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

License Restoration After Suspension

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

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

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

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

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

License Points

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

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

You Can Drive Again

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

 

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.

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?

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

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.

What Are FSTs?

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

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

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

Challenging the FST Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense For DUI And Inaccurate Field Sobriety Testing

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

Sober or not, a DUI charge is serious, and must be handled correctly to avoid more serious consequences. Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh DUI defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against false DUI charges and protect your rights in court. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DUI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form.

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.

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

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

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.