Tag Archives: dui lawyer

Can a DUI/DWI be expunged in Raleigh, NC?

Getting a DUI can be embarrassing—and expensive. It can also follow you around for a long time. Employment and other opportunities could be lost because of one mistake. Car insurance will be very expensive. You could also lose your job, custody of your children and even your home over a DUI.

But what if it were just one? What if your DUI was an anomaly, and not who you really are? Can you have that charge expunged, and “make it go away?” It’s possible but time-consuming. There are specific conditions you have to have to be “rid” of a DUI.

Changes In Expunction Laws

Can a DUI/DWI be expunged in Raleigh, NC?

Last year, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 445 into law, which took effect in December of 2017. This new bill reduces the waiting time for nonviolent offenders to apply for expungement. Some of the changes include:

  • Instead of 15 years, the wait time for misdemeanor convictions is 5 years
  •  Instead of 15 years, the wait time for felony convictions is 10 years
  • Law enforcement and prosecutors now have access to your records
  • There is no longer a limit on the number of dismissals that can be expunged, as long as you have no felony convictions

This bill is expected to help more than 2 million North Carolina residents get rid of old dismissed or “not guilty” charges that remain on their criminal records. Even if dismissed, old charges can inhibit the ability to find employment, housing education and other opportunities. Once completed, the charge will not show up on routine background checks but will be retained in the event of additional charges later.

The request for expungement must be filed in the county where it occurred. For instance, if you live in Wake County, but were charged during a beach weekend in Carteret County, you’ll have to file your expungement request in Carteret County since that’s where the charge originated.

Currently, it takes about nine months to one year for an expungement to be completed. With more individuals eligible for expungement, the wait time may be a little longer as more people take advantage and file to have old charges dismissed.

The Type Of DUI

Were you arrested for DUI, but not charged? Did you go to trial but found not guilty? Or were you convicted in a trial?

If your charge was dismissed, or you were acquitted, you can file for an expunction immediately, if you have no other felonies on your record. The judge is allowed discretion in approving an expunction, even if all the conditions are met.

But if you were convicted of DUI in North Carolina, expunctions are not included, and not allowed under §15A-145.5(a)(8a).

Driver’s License Suspension For DUI

If your license has been suspended for DUI, it’s a completely separate administrative matter. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has information on suspensions, revocations, and instructions on restoring your license. If your license has been suspended because of a DUI, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you restore your driving privileges as well.

We Can Help Expunge Your Record

A criminal charge doesn’t go away on its own—you have to request an expungement when the time is right. It’s a complicated process, and an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh can help you through the process.

Dewey P. Brinkley understands that DUI is not who you are. It doesn’t have to last forever. As a former Wake County prosecutor, he has helped thousands of clients and successfully defended many in DUI cases. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or user our online contact form) for a free consultation.

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

Drunk driving. It’s a serious problem in the US, including North Carolina, and one that even the US Supreme Court feels is important enough to rule on.

The Fourth Amendment

This is the amendment that prohibits illegal search and seizures. However, The Supreme Court has ruled that because drunk driving is such a danger, DUI checkpoints aren’t illegal. They just have to be random, and not used for general crime control.

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?

In other words, the checkpoints are put up randomly and in various places, (i.e., not on a particular intersection every weekend) to enable police to check for drunk drivers. Should police encounter other, non-vehicular violations, (such as wanted suspects for other crimes) they are allowed to place these individuals under arrest. But they can’t use the checkpoints for that reason.

Checkpoints also have to be publicly announced. You can find out when and where checkpoints will happen at RoadBlock.org or DUIBlock.com.

North Carolina’s Gen. Stat. §20-16.3A also makes the state’s DUI (“sobriety”) checkpoints legal for the purpose of finding and removing drivers under the influence who are a danger to other drivers.

Checkpoints usually occur late at night and early in the morning in the areas of bars and restaurants where, presumably, drunk drivers will frequently be caught.

Probable Cause

As a rule, a police officer must have probable cause to suspect you and stop you for something. Because of The Supreme Court’s ruling, DUI checkpoints in response to the innate dangers of drunk drivers do not override the rights of all drivers under the Fourth Amendment.

You Are Required To Stop

Since police officers are looking for drunk drivers at DUI checkpoints, you are required to stop. If you’re not drunk driving, have a current license and insurance, and not committing any other sort of crime, your stop will be quick and easy. It’s better to just go through the checkpoint and you’ll be on your way, even if it’s just a few minutes of delay.

If you see a DUI checkpoint or roadblock and turn left, right or around to avoid it, the police have the right to follow you, stop you, and specifically ask you why you avoided the stop. Even if your turn was completely legal and legitimate, (such as turning at an intersection or stop light to go to your residence or workplace) police have the right to stop you and ask about it.

Detecting Inebriation

If the officer suspects any inebriation or you exhibit signs of it, you’ll be asked to pull over and exit your vehicle. The officer will then ask you to submit to field sobriety testing and may administer a breath and/or blood test. You are required to comply or risk seizure of your driver’s license.

Get A Strong DUI Defense Attorney

The laws surrounding DUIs are complex. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who has strongly defended numerous DUI cases and will fight for you in court. A DUI is a serious charge, and you need someone who will make sure your rights are protected. Call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 to schedule your free DUI case consultation.

Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer can be one of the most nerve-wracking things you’ll ever experience, especially if it’s for something you weren’t expecting. Ask these 5 questions before you hire a lawyer.

Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Lawyer

You may have a lot of questions, and that’s OK. (Skip generic, personal questions, like “where did you go to law school?”) Write them all down and take them with you for your first visit. You’ll want to find a lawyer who knows how to handle your particular case successfully, and interviewing them is a first step to easing your mind about your legal issue.

Many lawyers offer free consultations like we do. A lawyer will ask you about your case, but you should be asking your own questions, too. Here are five basic questions to ask a lawyer before you hire one.

1.    What experience do you have in handling legal matters like mine? Is my case in the focus of your main practice area?

While general legal practitioners do still exist, finding a specialist who is an expert in your particular legal matter is a better idea. If you need a lawyer for a traffic violation, you wouldn’t want to find someone who is better skilled at divorce law. Consider it this way: would you go to your family doctor for brain surgery? Of course not—you’d want to find a skilled brain surgeon who knew exactly what he or she was doing. It’s the same as asking your favorite personal injury lawyer to handle a criminal case, especially if it’s one where you could face jail time.

2.    How will you charge me for your services? This is a detailed question that you definitely need to ask. Don’t just ask, “how much is this going to cost me?” It’s not that simple.

Lawyers have different fee arrangements depending on the type of cases they handle. Personal injury and some other types of lawyers frequently use something called a “contingency fee” arrangement, where their fees are a percentage of any financial settlement you might receive (like one from a car accident.) But some charge either a flat fee or by the hour. You won’t know until you ask.

If your lawyer charges an hourly rate, you’ll also want to ask how often you’ll receive a bill, how they charge for parts of an hour, and if you’ll be charged for calling or emailing a paralegal or other member of their staff for updates about your case.

You should also ask if you’ll be charged a deposit for them to take your case.

3.    Who will be my primary point of contact? Will you be handling my case, or will it be assigned to another lawyer or a paralegal?

This is important because you need to know who you’ll be talking to and who to ask for if you call. Paralegals and other support staff often take care of “back-office” work in law firms and handle phone calls so that the lawyer is freed up for court appearances and other legal tasks.

a.    What’s the best way to communicate with you? Find out if they’d prefer calls, emails or even text messages for questions and short updates.

4.    Do you have references?

Just like a job interview, references can be important. But because of privacy laws, a lawyer can’t just give you names and numbers of previous clients. He or she can, however, pass your contact information to a former client who may (or may not) contact you to discuss how their particular case was handled.

5.    Do you have a written representation agreement that I can read before I sign?

Asking for this agreement will allow you to read carefully what happens when you hire this lawyer. You’ll know what to expect, and there shouldn’t be any “surprises.” If you do have any additional questions before you hire him or her, you should have an opportunity to ask them.

Additional questions are available at the North Carolina State Bar’s website. Don’t be embarrassed to ask—most lawyers welcome the opportunity to help, and will be happy to answer them for you.

Most of us don’t hire a lawyer very often, so we don’t know if we’re doing it right or not until we have a problem along the way. Asking questions and understanding the process of your particular legal matter is important to ensure that you’re working with your lawyer for a positive outcome.

Free Consultation

We’re happy to answer all of your questions about your case, whether it’s a traffic violation or offenses, drug charges, financial crimes or one of our other case specialties. Call us today at 919-832-0307 for a free initial consultation.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former assistant district attorney in Wake County and has successfully defended thousands of clients in the Raleigh/Wake County area. Mr. Brinkley will discuss your DWI case with you and design your defense so you are properly represented.

Arrested Of A DUI Following A Fatal Crash

Impaired driving, and especially drunk driving, is a serious problem in North Carolina. Most people don’t set out with the intent to get a DUI, or have a car crash. But every day, it happens. In some cases, there may be a fatality involved. If you were driving under the influence in North Carolina, you’ll probably be arrested and charged with a felony. At this point, you’ll need a criminal defense attorney with DUI experience.

What is a DUI?

Driving Under Impairment in North Carolina means that at the time of the accident, you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, (or .04% if you were driving a commercial vehicle) you have any detectable amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your body, or you are “appreciably [visibly] impaired” by alcohol and/or drugs.

North Carolina has five different levels for DUI, with Level V being the lowest, and Level I being the highest.

Felony Death By Vehicle

Arrested of a DUI Following a Fatal Crash

Unintentionally causing the death of another person while driving in violation of North Carolina’s DUI laws is called “felony death by vehicle.” (A “misdemeanor death by vehicle” means that someone dies as a result of a non-DUI violation, such as speeding or reckless driving.)  As a Class D felony, a conviction means 38 to 160 months in prison, fines that are set by the judge, and an immediate revocation of your driver’s license for at least one year. “Aggravated Felony Death By Vehicle” indicates that an individual had another DWI within the 7 years prior to the current DUI. A conviction could mean as much as 64 to 160 months in prison.

Because someone was killed, the charge becomes a Level 1 or Level 2 DUI, and minimum jail sentences cannot be suspended by a judge. Level 2 carries a minimum 7-day jail term, maximum one year, and is punishable by a $2,000 fine. Level 1 carries minimum 30-day jail term and a minimum fine of $4,000. If convicted, you must complete a substance abuse assessment, and comply with the recommended treatment plan offered in order to restore your license and driving privileges.

Repeat offenses and convictions may result in permanent revocation of your license and driving privileges.

What Happens Next?

After the arrest and charge, your license will be revoked for a mandatory 30-day period. If there are no previous convictions, you can show insurance coverage and you complete the substance abuse assessment, your attorney may request limited driving privileges after 10 days. You’ll have to attend a court hearing with your attorney.

If you are convicted of Felony Death By Vehicle, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year, and you may face jail time. You will be placed on probation after your release from prison, and have a number of legal requirements to follow (i.e., alcohol abuse treatment, defensive driving) at the discretion of the judge.

DUI Is Double-Faceted

You will actually have two cases to deal with: the DUI criminal case and the suspension of your license, which is handled by the North Carolina DMV. An experienced DUI attorney can help you with both the criminal case and the restoration of your driver’s license. Your attorney will examine all the factors in your case, ensure that the arrest was correctly handled and all the facts are properly investigated. He or she will go to court with you to fight for you and make sure your rights are respected.

Take No Chances With Felony DUI

Felony Death By Vehicle is a very serious charge, and every case is different. Contact the top DUI/DWI attorney in North Carolina today at 919-832-0307 for a free initial consultation. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former assistant district attorney in Wake County, and has successfully defended thousands of DWI clients in the Raleigh/Wake County area. Mr. Brinkley will discuss your DWI case with you and design your defense so you are properly represented.

When Can I Re-Apply for My Driver’s License After A DWI In Raleigh, North Carolina?

A DWI charge is a serious offense,  and can lead to a loss of your driving privileges and even potential jail time. But even if you are convicted and lose your license, it may not be permanent. North Carolina has a process for restoring suspended or revoked driver’s licenses. A skilled lawyer with experience in DWI cases can help you sort through steps to get your driver’s license back. Dewey P. Brinkley has fought DWI convictions in the Raleigh/Wake Forest area for over 10 years. He thoroughly investigates all aspects of each case to ensure that you are treated fairly and your rights are protected.

What Are Your Options?

Even if you are convicted of DWI, you can get your license back—but it will take some time.

Re-Apply for your Driver’s License After A DWI

Your license will be immediately suspended for 30 days if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% (or .04% if you have a CDL.)  Refusing a blood or breath screening will also cause your license to be suspended. There may be additional criminal penalties involved, and your license will be revoked for at least one year. A third DWI will permanently revoke your driving privileges.

Purchasing alcohol for a minor or allowing a minor use your license to purchase alcohol will lead to a suspension. Minors (under 21) also face suspension for consuming (with any BAC) or buying alcohol.

For any of these charges, your license will be revoked for one year for a first offense, two years for a second, and a permanent revocation for the third. After conviction, the State of North Carolina will notify you in writing that your license has been suspended.

What Happens Next?

After you’ve been notified, you can request an administrative hearing by contacting the DMV Central Office in Raleigh. You will not be able to request limited driving privileges, also called a “hardship license,” for driving back and forth to work, school or other limited functions.

Once your revocation period is over (this will depend on whether your case was acquitted or convicted), you can restore your license. Visit your local DMV office and pay the restoration fees by cash, money order or personal check:

·         Restoration of driver’s license: $65.

·         Restoration following a DWI conviction: $130

·         Service fee: $50. (This fee is waived if you surrendered your license to the DMV before to the effective date of suspension.)

You will also be required to re-apply for your North Carolina driver’s license, re-take the written test and possibly the driving test.

The Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley can defend your DWI case, appeal the decision, fight for a reduced or alternative sentence, and help you through the process of getting your driver’s license back.

Your Case

Each DWI is different, so there is no way to predict the outcome. Was this your first offense, or your third? What was your BAC? Are you under or over 21? What cause did the officer have to pull you over, and what did he discover? Did you take or refuse a test? There may be other evidence or mitigating factors that determine the outcome of your case. Dewey P. Brinkley has worked with people just like you, and works hard for acquittal, and for reduced and alternative sentences for DWI. He will investigate your case and make sure your rights are protected and you are properly represented in court.

The first step is to call The Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 and schedule your free consultation. Call today, and take the first step to recovering from a DWI.

Will I Lose My License After A DWI In Raleigh, NC?

A DWI, or “Driving While Impaired” charge, isn’t something most people plan on. But like a lot of things, a DWI can happen, and you will lose your license, at least temporarily. It doesn’t have to be forever.

If you’ve already had a DWI in Raleigh, you’re probably wondering what to do next, and if you can get your license back. But you will need help from an attorney. Dewey P. Brinkley has represented people in Raleigh for DWI/DUI for over 15 years, and will personally handle all the details of your case.

What does “Driving While Impaired” actually mean?

Will I Lose My License After A DWI In Raleigh, NC?Driving a motor vehicle of any kind while under the influence of alcohol (or other debilitating substances.)  If you are over the age of 21, and you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .08%,  a previous DWI or are a CDL driver with a BAC over .04%, or under 21 with any alcohol concentration, North Carolina considers you “impaired.” Mitigating factors include prescription drugs, your physical or mental fitness, and how alcohol affects you. Your license will immediately be suspended for at least 30 days.

What Happens When My License Gets Suspended?

North Carolina will inform you in writing that your license has been suspended, and you are not allowed to drive. The suspension becomes a permanent part of your driving record, and you’ll accrue extra points on your license which will raise your insurance rates.

The Levels of DWI in North Carolina

North Carolina has five tiers of DWI—Level 5, for the first incident, and up to Level 1 for repeated DWI charges. Each level carries increasing fines and the potential for jail times, or probation and substance abuse assessment. Aggravated Level 1 charges includes a $10,000 fine and the potential for 12 to 36 months in jail.  Your license is immediately suspended for 30 days, with the possibility of requesting limited driving privileges after 10 days.

How Much Does A DWI Cost?

Once you finish paying for a DWI, you’ll realize why a cab is cheaper. In North Carolina, you’ll have to pay for:

  • Bail from jail
  • Auto towing/storage charges, if you don’t have a sober friend to drive your car home (or if you’ve had an accident)
  •  Court costs
  • Court-ordered fines and criminal penalties
  • Attorney’s Fees
  • Traffic school or other re-training courses, which can run from $100 to more than $250
  • This may include substance abuse rehab or other courses before you can drive again
  • Increases in your car insurance (with increased points), because you’re a higher risk
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle—required by the state of North Carolina, for anyone with a BAC of 0.15% and a subsequent DWI within 7 years of the first.
  • DMV fees to reinstate your license (about $250)

How Many DWIs Have You Had?

The length of suspension time also depends on how many DWI charges/convictions you’ve had. If it’s your first, your license can be suspended for up to one year.  A second DWI offense can see your license suspended up to 4 years, with the possibility of a hearing after 2 years. If you commit a third DWI, your license can be permanently suspended in North Carolina, with a possibility of a hearing after 3 years.

We Can Help You Fight A DWI in Raleigh

Many factors can change the course of a DWI case—incorrect testing, improper procedures and other mistakes discovered in a case can alter the outcome.

If you’ve been charged with DWI in Raleigh, you won’t be grounded forever, but you’ll need help to start the process of getting your license back. Contact the top DUI/DWI attorney in North Carolina today at 919-832-0307 for a free initial consultation. Dewey P. Brinkley is a former assistant district attorney in Wake County, and has successfully defended thousands of DWI clients in the Raleigh/Wake County area.

With experience in many types of criminal defense, Mr. Brinkley will discuss your DWI case with you and begin the process of building your defense so you are properly represented, and get you back in the driver’s seat. Call 919-832-0307 today for a free initial consultation and start your DWI defense.