All posts by Chris Moreno

Domestic Violence Since the Pandemic Isolation in Raleigh, NC

It’s been a full year since COVID-19 closed down the state of North Carolina and the entire world. Beginning in March of 2020, many countries began ordering “lockdowns” for citizens to stem the spread of the coronavirus to more of the population. Masks became commonplace, many office-based employees began working from home.

Children began online schooling, and many parents became home-schoolers as well. Retail employees in grocery and discount stores became “essential workers” while everyone else stayed home.

People everywhere have adapted to the new lifestyle, with many making permanent changes. Unfortunately, one less positive outcome of the pandemic isolation has been the increase of domestic violence resulting from the nationwide lockdowns.

Lockdown With An Abusive Partner

Changes in Domestic Violence Since the Pandemic Isolation in Raleigh, NC

Another name for domestic violence is “intimate partner violence,” or IPV. The CDC reports:

  • About one in four women and one in ten men have experienced domestic violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported at least one impact of the violence, i.e., concern for personal safety
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime

The pandemic lockdowns have exacerbated domestic violence. Individuals who were planning to leave their abusive domestic partner may have seen their plans thwarted when the shelter-in-place plans were implemented, trapping them with their abuser. Teachers, social workers, childcare professionals, and others who would otherwise have more frequent contact with victims are not in touch to be able to help.

Social distancing requirements meant that abused partners no longer had options in friends or relatives ready to help. The risk of COVID-19, and subsequent quarantine, took away resources such as shelters that might have been available before. Closures of courts also mean that protection orders were more difficult or even impossible to acquire.

Violence can take the forms of:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Sexual

Many of these types of relationships also involve financial entanglement, and victims may not be able to access their own paycheck in order to leave.

Medical Implications

One of the most prevalent indicators of increased domestic violence during the pandemic has been the uptick in Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Even outside of the pandemic, TBI in women is about one in four. That rate has increased along with the rise in domestic violence cases.

Medical facilities are frequently safe spaces for victims to be able to report abuse and seek help. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also taken away that option. Surgeries and other appointments were canceled in the wake of the pandemic. Non-emergency medical visits have taken the form of telemedicine, either a phone call or video call with patients to determine a diagnosis. This means that abusers may be able to listen in to conversations, rendering the patient unable to disclose any indication of abuse.

American Family Physician recently published guidelines for healthcare providers for helping identify and assist victims of domestic violence.

North Carolina’s Response

In March of 2020, police departments in the US saw as much as a 27% increase in domestic violence calls, although the number of calls in Raleigh stayed about the same as the previous year. However, shelters such as Interact have seen a weekly increase in calls as much as 30% to 50%.

North Carolina Health News also reported an uptick in domestic violence cases statewide.

The COVID-19 Remote Hearing Resource For Domestic Violence Matters, published in January of 2021 by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts sets out guidelines for courts to handle these particularly difficult cases. Additional information is available on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website.

Despite the lockdown, Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order does allow domestic violence victims the opportunity to leave home and seek safety and shelter. Victims may not realize that they can leave, no matter what their abuser tells them. Help is also available through:

The North Carolina Domestic Violence Intervention Program also offers treatment for abusers to help end the cycle of abuse and learn new methods of interaction with family members and intimate partners.

Criminal Defense Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley In Raleigh

If you’ve been accused of a crime or arrested for one, it’s important to find a strong defense attorney quickly to begin building an effective defense. Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who understands the criminal justice system, and how to defend you against many types of criminal charges.

Call 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.

Negligence vs Income Tax Fraud in Raleigh, NC

Tax time is here. Maybe you’ve already e-filed your return and are awaiting a refund, or you’re awaiting some additional information before you can file. Or like many Americans, you’re procrastinating until the last minute, which isn’t recommended.

We’ve discussed what you could face if you fail to pay your North Carolina state taxes in a previous blog. If you’ve done something wrong, you’ll generally be audited. But is it negligence, or tax fraud?

Negligence

Tax laws are complex, and not easy for the everyday taxpayer to understand. Even with tax software, mistakes can happen. In the absence of evidence of fraud and/or criminal activity, the IRS will generally assume you (or your tax preparer) have made a genuine mistake.

Negligence vs Income Tax Fraud in Raleigh, NC

That doesn’t mean that you won’t face a penalty for making a mistake. You can expect a penalty of about 20% on a return with errors. In this case, you likely won’t face criminal charges, only a potential fine, and penalty.

If you are unable to pay your taxes, North Carolina also offers an installment agreement as well as a settlement plan, called “Offer In Compromise.” Waivers are available in special hardship circumstances. You’ll need to complete Form NC-5500 and submit it to the North Carolina Department of Revenue to request one.

You can get help from a tax attorney or tax preparation professional to take care of tax return mistakes. For taxpayers who have not filed previous years’ tax returns, the IRS offers guidance on its website.

Tax Fraud

There is a difference between minimizing your tax burden through deductions, credits, contributions, and other options and intentionally misrepresenting your income to lower your taxes.

When questioning your tax returns, the state of North Carolina and the IRS focus on the intent of the taxpayer. Was this an honest error, or was there a deliberate attempt to conceal income, assets, and any other taxable items?

Income tax fraud can take the form of:

  • Knowingly failing to file your income tax return
  • Deliberately failing to pay any taxes that are due
  • Consciously failing to report all received income
  • Preparing and filing an intentionally false return
  • Making false or fraudulent claims

The IRS will review your return for common signs of fraudulent activity, such as:

  • Intentionally under-reporting your income
  • Transfers and/or concealed income
  • Two or more sets of ledgers
  • Stating personal expenses as business expenses
  • Altered and fabricated documents
  • Frivolous tax claims, including exaggerated exemptions and deductions
  • Using a bogus Social Security number
  • Claiming exemptions for a child or other dependent that doesn’t exist

If you have a cash-based business, are self-employed, or are primarily paid in cash when you work, you may find it easy to under-report your income. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be caught for tax fraud. The State of North Carolina and the IRS are well-versed in identifying fraudulent tax returns as well as tax evasion.

Penalties

There are different penalties for both negligence and tax fraud.

For an unintentional error, you will still likely be assessed a 20% penalty. But for intentional tax fraud, a conviction can include penalties of:

  • Fines of up to $100,000
  • Imprisonment for up to five years
  • A combination of both

Additionally, you may be susceptible to more frequent audits and have a difficult time finding someone to take care of your tax returns.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley For Financial Crimes Defense

If you’ve been charged with willful failure to file a tax return, tax evasion, or any financial crimes, you’ll need the help of a financial crimes defense attorney immediately to avoid a potential jail sentence, fines, and penalties, along with a permanent criminal record.

Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley immediately 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 Social Media Posts Be Used As Evidence In Raleigh, NC Court Cases?

Many users post to social media without considering that their words, pictures, or other content could have adverse consequences. Most people like to post pictures of food, their pets, children, or discuss other everyday things. But sometimes what you post can have serious repercussions.

If you are involved in a court case—whether criminal, family law (including divorce and child custody cases), worker’s compensation, or personal injury, for instance—anything posted on social media is available to anyone who finds it. Many people have lost their cases because of something found on their social media.

Divorce lawyers are particularly devious when it comes to finding evidence on social media that can win the case for their clients. In any court case, content posted on social media can and likely will be used as evidence by opposing counsel. Technology means that unless you can prove that your account was hacked, everything can be authenticated before the trial.

Criminal Postings

It seems ridiculous, but many people have been caught and arrested after posting pictures of themselves on social media and even confessing to a crime.

Can Social Media Posts Be Used As Evidence In Raleigh, NC Court Cases?

  • Mooresville NC— Jade Tyson Brannon, 44, was arrested in June of 2020 for posting threats of violence against law enforcement on social media.
  • Fayetteville, NC— Lacy Kornegay, 21, made social media posts with threats against an ethnic group and listed someone else’s address to lead a reader to someone else’s home.
  • San Diego, CA—bank employee Arlando Henderson, 29, is arrested by the FBI in December of 2019 after stealing over $88,000 from the bank’s vault. He posted multiple pictures of himself with stacks of cash on both Facebook and Instagram. He used some of the money to put a down payment on a new luxury vehicle, and committed loan fraud to pay the balance.

Last year, the FBI admitted that it searched through social media to try and identify “potential flashpoints for violence.”

Even if your settings are “private,” it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to connect with someone on your friend’s list to obtain evidence. Witnesses can also provide evidence from a social media page.

But doesn’t this come under free speech? Yes, it does—and it’s placed online for the world to see. Therefore, law enforcement may not need a warrant to get it, since discussing anything on social media is no different than discussing it in any public place.

A Real-Life Case

On 9/10/2012, a grand jury indicted Antonio Delontay Ford of involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice in the death of Eugene Cameron. The matter went to trial on 7/23/2014, and he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

In State Of NC vs. Ford (No. COA15-75, filed in the appellate court, 2/16/2016), the defendant appealed a decision based on the unlawful introduction of some of his social media postings from his MySpace page. The page included pictures of his dog, a pit bull named “DMX,” which attacked and killed Cameron unprovoked.

Neighbors reported previous encounters with this dog, including three incidents of bites. The dog was known to be vicious, and it had been allowed to run through the neighborhood unsecured and unsupervised. The owner of the home where Cameron was found suggested to detectives that they speak with next-door neighbor Ford, a dog owner.

Detectives questioned Ford, he admitted that DMX was his. DNA analysis of both the victim and DMX showed that the dog was responsible for Cameron’s injuries that led to his death.

The night before the trial, a detective discovered Ford’s MySpace page. In addition to pictures and videos of the dog, the page contained a video captioned, “DMX tha Killer Pit.” A second video contained the caption, “After a Short Fight, he killed that mut.”  One picture bore the description, “undefeated.” Screenshots of several videos were submitted into evidence, and a rap song sung by the defendant was played for the jury. The song was posted on his Myspace page, and the lyrics denied that the dog was the cause of death.

In his appeal, Ford stated that the court erred in submitting his rap song about the dog, evidence from his online presence, and committed an error in admitting opinion testimony. He attempted to stop the admission of his rap song as evidence but was denied. The jury heard the rap song in its entirety, including racial epithets and other profanities. Ford contended that the content offended the jury, which caused them to overlook the “holes in the State’s case.” Conversely, the prosecution showed that not only did Ford know that DMX was a dangerous and vicious animal, but he was also proud of it. Ford’s social media supported this assertion.

The court disagreed with Ford’s appeal:

“Pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes, section 8C-1, Rule 402, “[a]ll relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United States, by the Constitution of North Carolina, by Act of Congress, by Act of the General Assembly or by these rules. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8C-1, Rule 402 (2013)

Your Criminal Defense Counsel In Raleigh

If you’ve been charged with a crime—any crime—the first thing to do is stay off social media, and avoid posting anything until you speak with a criminal defense attorney.

Even as a misdemeanor, any type of conviction can have long-ranging consequences that impact your life, including a permanent criminal record.

If you’ve been arrested and are facing any kind of criminal 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.

How Are Crimes Categorized In North Carolina?

Crimes in North Carolina have two general categories: felonies and misdemeanors. They are divided further into sub-categories based on the seriousness of the crime.

Each division has its own sentencing guidelines, which are ordered at the judge’s discretion. Some crimes may be given the state’s minimum sentencing, while others may be given at the maximum sentencing. The judge can add to or subtract from the specified sentence as well as specify what type of sentence the defendant will serve.

Misdemeanors

From simple affray to possession of very small amounts of marijuana, a misdemeanor is a “minor” crime that frequently requires a court appearance in front of a jury. It may or may not include jail time. Punishments are either active, intermediate, or community, and are up to the judge to decide.

How Are Crimes Categorized In North Carolina?These misdemeanor categories are:

  • Class 3, the least serious of offenses, such as shoplifting. This can include a sentence of 1 to 20 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment
  • Class 2, the next serious offense, such as carrying a firearm without a permit. This can include a sentence of 1 to 60 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment
  • Class 1, such as prostitution. This can include a sentence of 1 to 120 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment
  • Class A1, the highest level of misdemeanor, such as assault that inflicts serious injury. This can include a sentence of 1 to 150 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment

It’s important to note that although a misdemeanor is a “minor crime,” a conviction, even without jail time, can leave you with a criminal record and all that goes with it.

Prior Misdemeanor Convictions

These groupings are only for first offenses. The state also classifies conviction levels as follows:

  • Level I: no prior convictions
  • Level II: one to four prior convictions
  • Level III: five or more prior convictions

The court takes these levels into consideration when determining the sentence.

Felonies

These are more serious crimes and are given much harsher penalties and sentences. From the highest to lowest, these are North Carolina’s classifications for felonies:

  • Class A—death penalty or life with or without parole (for the most serious, such as murder)
  • Class B1—144 months to life without parole
  • Class B2—94 to 393 months
  • Class C—44 to 182 months
  • Class D—38 to 160 months
  • Class E—15 to 63 months
  • Class F—10 to 41 months
  • Class G—8 to 31 months
  • Class H—4 to 25 months
  • Class I—3 to 12 months

These classifications are only for an individual’s first offense.

Prior Felony Convictions

Similar to prior misdemeanor convictions, North Carolina takes prior convictions into consideration.

North Carolina’s state statute assigns points to each prior conviction:

  • Class A felony conviction: 10 points per conviction
  • Class BI felony conviction: 9 points per conviction
  • Class B2, C, or D felony conviction: 6 points per conviction
  • Class E, F, or G felony conviction: 4 points per conviction
  • Class H or I felony conviction: 2 points per conviction
  • Previous misdemeanor conviction: 1 point per conviction

Points are added and a level is assigned based on the total number of points:

  • Level I—0 to 1 point
  • Level II—2 to 5 points
  • Level III—6 to 9 points
  • Level IV—10 to 13 points
  • Level V—14 to 17 points
  • Level VI—18 or more points

The court then uses this number to determine the dispositional range for sentencing, as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors.

Fines

In addition to prison time, a judge can impose a fine, depending on the crime and the severity. For instance, someone who is sentenced only to community service can be also subject to paying a fine (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1340.23 (2019))

Your Criminal Defense Counsel In Raleigh

Even as a misdemeanor, any type of conviction can have long-ranging consequences that impact your life, including a criminal record. Don’t ignore any criminal charges, no matter how minor. They can cost you considerably later on, and impact your life for years to come.

If you’ve been arrested and are facing any kind of criminal 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.

Are The Penalties For Commercial DWI Different Than Regular DWI In Raleigh, NC?

Anyone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) has an increased level of responsibility and duty of care, even when they’re not working. Because a CDL is required for many jobs that require driving, losing that license can directly impact your employment. This is especially true for individuals who drive large trucks long distances over the road.

As harsh as a DWI is, the laws are even stricter for someone with a CDL license.

At The Traffic Stop

Are The Penalties For Commercial DWI Different Than Regular DWI In Raleigh, NC?North Carolina Law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAD) of 0.04 percent or more.

North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.2A makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor operate any commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol. If you have any detectable level of alcohol in your system, even under .04%, you will be placed “out of service” for a period of 24 hours. A conviction will bring a 10-day disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle and a fine of $100. Within seven years, if you are convicted a second time, you’ll face a one-year prohibition on driving a commercial vehicle.

A CDL driver will also have an increase in the number of “points” on their driving record as a result. Fines can also be increased to as much as double for a CDL license holder.

Hazardous Materials

Penalties are increased if you are in the process of transporting hazardous materials and are stopped for DWI.

If you’re convicted of DWI while transporting these materials, you can be disqualified from driving any commercial vehicle for as long as three years. A second conviction will result in a permanent revocation.

Subsequent DWI Convictions

A first-time conviction for a CDL DWI can disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle for up to one year.

A second DWI brings a lifetime suspension but can be reduced to ten years by meeting certain conditions set out by the DMV.

A third DWI is a lifetime suspension without the opportunity for reinstatement.

DWI In A Passenger Vehicle

Even if you were driving your own personal vehicle or a rental car, a DWI can still cause problems for your CDL.

However, the threshold is the same for anyone driving a passenger vehicle.  If you are stopped with a BAC of .08 or greater, or if the officer believes you are impaired even if you are below .08, you can still be arrested for DWI. A conviction for DWI under these circumstances could lead to a year-long suspension of your CDL.

If your personal driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you won’t be able to request a “hardship” CDL license.

Stop a DWI From Ending Your CDL And Your Career

Losing your commercial driver’s license can have a direct impact on your employment, in some cases, immediately, even if the case never results in a conviction. If you’re arrested, it’s up to you to fight for your license and your livelihood. The right DWI defense lawyer can make all the difference.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI cases for CDL drivers who have been arrested. He can prepare a strong defense and make sure you are fairly represented in court. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 (or use our online contact form) for a free consultation. You can also email him at dewey@deweybrinkleylaw.com.

 

What Are The Different Types Of Defense Lawyers In Raleigh?

When you are in need of legal defense, it’s important to choose the right lawyer for your needs. It’s not enough to hire a relative or ask around until you find someone. When you’re a defendant, a lawyer with hands-on, specific experience is key to the best outcome.

Even with a referral, it is important to not only find someone who can defend you in a legal action, but also the right one for your type of case. Here, we’ll discuss four different types of defense attorneys you may need, depending on your situation.

Civil Litigation Defense Lawyers

What Are The Different Types Of Defense Lawyers In Raleigh?Also called trial lawyers, these attorneys defend people and companies who have been sued. In some cases, there is money involved. Lawyers who deal with civil litigation cover many fields of civil law, including:

  • Personal injury cases such as car accidents
  • Mass torts and class action lawsuits
  • Commercial law
  • Business disputes, such as breach of contract
  • Trust & estate litigation such as contested wills

Representing defendants, civil litigation defense lawyers may also have a specific type of law that they practice, such as estate litigation or insurance defense.

Family Law

While most people think that a family law lawyer means a “divorce lawyer,” that’s only part of what they do. In addition to divorces, a family law attorney can help with:

  • Agreements, including:
    • Prenuptial
    • Postnuptial
    • Cohabitation
  • Annulments, a nullification of legal marriage as an alternative to divorce
  • Adoptions
  • Child custody and visitation rights
  • Wills and trusts

Many people find themselves in need of defense after being surprised by a divorce or unfairly accused of wrongdoing by the other party interested in gaining an advantage. Divorce cases can become very heated and contentious, with one or both parties offering allegations that have to be proven or disproven. Some family law lawyers may represent both plaintiffs and defendants, others may work only with one or the other. It’s important to make sure that if you need a lawyer for divorce defense that he or she has this type of experience.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Anyone accused of a crime—from a small misdemeanor to a serious felony—is entitled to have and hire legal defense. An attorney who defends those accused of this activity understands how the criminal justice system works and has the considerable experience that offers the best chance of a positive outcome.

What’s also important is to find someone who works in the local criminal courts as well. Individual courts and judges have their own way of doing things. A criminal defense lawyer with local-court experience knows how each court and the various judges handle their proceedings. This can go a long way in creating a strong, effective defense for your case, and increase your chances of winning.

A criminal defense attorney can help with:

  • Traffic Tickets
  • Misdemeanor offenses, such as disorderly conduct and simple affray
  • Suspended driver’s license
  • Expunction, aka expungements
  • Juvenile crimes
  • DWI
  • Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Violent felonies, such as armed robbery and burglary
  • Drug Crimes
  • Sex crimes
  • Financial crimes, such as embezzlement

While many criminal defense lawyers handle multiple types of cases, some also handle one specific type of case, such as DWI.

Criminal Defense Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley In Raleigh

If you’ve been accused of a crime or arrested for one, it’s important to find a strong defense attorney quickly to begin building an effective defense. Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who understands the criminal justice system, and how to defend you against many types of criminal charges.

Call 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

Criminal Defense For Rioting Charges During Protests

The freedom of expression is a uniquely American civil right, one which has become a hallmark of the US. Since the spring, demonstrations have become commonplace in many major US cities to protest a number of wrongs committed against citizens.

In recent months, many protests intended to be peaceful have not stayed that way, with many turning into violent riots. As a result, residents, cities, and police departments are on edge during upcoming public events.

You may be considering whether you should join a protest, or stay far from it. That’s your choice, since you may not know what you’ll be walking into when you get there. Understand that if you decide to join a protest, you could face the possibility of being arrested.

Why Are Protestors Arrested?

Criminal Defense For Rioting Charges During ProtestsMost protestors are arrested for minor infractions such as failure to disperse or resisting a public officer. That was the case in Charlotte when over 100 people were arrested after protests. Disorderly conduct, a catch-all term for various types of behavior, is another frequent charge used for groups of people who become agitated.

Protests are frequently attracted individuals who have every intention of turning the event into a violent melee. Overwhelmed police may decide to arrest everyone they can and let the courts sort everything out. Innocent marchers who were not even involved with rioters are arrested as a matter of course and must fight for themselves in the court system.

Trespassing And Looting

Entering someone’s property without their consent or permission at any time is considered trespassing. You are not an invitee and have no reason to be on the property, you’re considered a trespasser. North Carolina General Statutes § 14 288.6 directly addresses both of these charges and includes:

“Entering without legal justification when the usual security of property is not effective due to the occurrence or aftermath of riot, insurrection, invasion, storm, fire, explosion, flood, collapse, or other disaster or calamity is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor of trespass during an emergency.”

Property owners generally have a duty of care to keep their premises safe for all who enter. But if you are injured on someone else’s property while trespassing, you may not be able to collect damages under premises liability law. The property owner’s responsibility is only to avoid willfully harming someone who is trespassing. Injuries you sustain while trespassing means you are on your own for medical bills and other expenses.

As we’ve seen in many cities, looting and other physical damage have destroyed businesses around the country. The same statute addresses looting:

“Any person who commits the crime of trespass during an emergency and, without legal justification, obtains or exerts control over, damages, ransacks, or destroys the property of another is guilty of the felony of looting and shall be punished as a Class H felon.”

Defense for Rioting Charges

Even if you are innocent of the charges made against you, or your arrest is unlawful, you can still be charged separately with resisting arrest.

There are circumstances where you may need to trespass during a riot or other emergency, including protecting the life of another individual or property. (Having the owner’s consent means you are not trespassing.) Recovering personal property on someone’s premises is not considered trespassing, either, such as property moved elsewhere by a hurricane. But you will be required to prove that your trespass was not intended to be criminal and that there was an imminent emergency.

Looting, on the other hand, will require a stronger burden of proof by the prosecutor. Defenses include lack of intent to commit looting, or if you were the subject of mistaken identity. You may also be able to use the defenses that the police failed to follow proper due process, or that they committed an unlawful search and seizure. Your criminal defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your arrest and the circumstances surrounding it before your court date to determine exactly what occurred to assemble your defense.

Arrested After A Protest And Need Help? Call Dewey P. Brinkley

Exercising your right to free speech shouldn’t come with an arrest. If you are arrested for rioting, disorderly conduct, or other criminal charges during a demonstration, get legal counsel immediately and defend yourself against the charges.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. He has considerable experience defending those arrested for disorderly conduct and other charges and works for the best possible outcome. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation.

Extortion And Bribery In North Carolina?

They’re words that some people use interchangeably, but don’t mean the same thing. Both are considered “white-collar” crimes and usually involve money. There are some similarities, but the elements are different.

On a basic level, both extortion and bribery involve the exchange of property in return for something else. Here, we’ll discuss the difference.

Extortion

Extortion And Bribery In North CarolinaThis generally involves an individual demanding payment or other compensation in exchange for doing or not doing something. This felony is covered by North Carolina (G.S. 14-118.4), which reads:

Any person who threatens or communicates a threat or threat to another with the intention thereby wrongfully to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity is guilty of extortion and such person shall be punished as a Class F felon.

This can take the form of someone who threatens to publish embarrassing information about an individual if the victim doesn’t pay or a person who threatens to do harm to a business unless the business owner pays the demander a sum of money. Celebrities are frequent targets of such activity, but anyone can be in the same situation.

Extortion occurs when an individual communicates a threat or outright threatens another person with a “wrongful intent” to acquire:

  • Something of value
  • Confirmation of the settlement of a debt or a fine
  • Immunity
  • Any type of advantage

The courts interpret the “wrongful intent” as the acquisition of the property, and not the threat. Because extortion is a Class F felony, a conviction can bring anywhere from 10 to 41 months of incarceration, depending on any prior convictions.

Although blackmail is frequently combined with extortion, North Carolina treats it as a separate charge under NC General Statutes 14-118 and is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Bribery

Different than extortion, bribery frequently involves government employees or officials, and involves the exchange for a sum of money or something else of value, usually influence or other favorable treatment, such as the awarding of government contracts. Bribery can also involve private citizens or corporate entities that pay another person or entity for something of value. These arrangements frequently have no paper trail, so it’s up to the prosecutor to prove that bribery took place.

Conversely, a public official can also be guilty of bribery if they solicited and initiated the activity. Bribes can be monetary, or anything of value, such as any type of goods, property, favors, or services.

The act of bribery does not have to involve the possibility of harming the public interest in order to be illegal. NC Gen Stat § 14-218 (2019) states that individuals convicted of bribery will be punished as a Class F felon, which can include jail time from 10 to 41 months depending on any prior convictions. This applies whether an individual offers a bribe and is accepted or not, or attempting to bribe a juror.

Dewey P. Brinkley Is Ready To Defend You

Although extortion and bribery are similar, they are two separate charges with different meanings. Accusations of either or both charges can be devastating. A conviction can lead to serious, long-term consequences.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who understands the criminal justice system, and how to defend you against both of these charges.

Call 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.

Domestic Violence In Raleigh, NC

It’s become commonplace to read news about violence in a relationship between two people, or in a home situation. Commonly called “domestic violence,” it can occur with individuals in personal relationships, including:

  • Domestic Violence In Raleigh, NCPersons currently or previously married
  • Unmarried individuals who are dating or were dating at one point
  • Unmarried individuals who currently live together, or previously lived together
  • Parents of the same child
  • Parent and child
  • Other relatives, including grandparents and child who act as a parent to a minor child

Domestic violence occurs in all types of homes without regard to race, sex, national origin, or socioeconomic status. In 2020, current statistics show that 43.9% of women and 19.3% of men experience some form of domestic violence in North Carolina. This moves the Tar Heel State into the ten states with the highest rate of domestic violence.

Types Of Domestic Violence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines it as:

“. . .the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence vary dramatically.”

The NCADV reports that every year, 10 million people are abused by an intimate partner. Family members such as children, siblings, parents, and grandparents can also potential targets of abuse through:

  • Physical violence, including restraining, striking, pushing, or other actions to cause harm
  • Verbal and emotional abuse, using statements to control and demean the other person, making them feel useless and empty
  • Psychological abuse, statements or actions made with the intent to strike fear in the victim
  • Stalking and “checking up,” unwanted and repeated surveillance against another person, including:
    • Showing up at home, work, or elsewhere without notice or an invitation
    • Following you going to work, errands, or elsewhere
    • Calling after being asked to stop
    • Calling work, school, friends, or relatives to ask about you
    • Sending unwanted letters, texts, emails, or voicemails
    • Waiting at places you frequent
    • Following and watching you on social media
    • Causing damage to your home, car, or other possessions
    • Leaving evidence that they’ve visited and are following you around
  • Financial abuse, in which the victim has no control over their finances, or is not allowed to work or even have money.

Victims can request Domestic Violence Protection Orders that offer them legal protection. Ex parte temporary orders are immediate, and protect the victim until trial, about ten days. Final domestic protection orders can last up to a full year. They are issued after a court hearing where the defendant can speak for him or herself in defense. These orders can be extended as needed.

Penalties

North Carolina does not have specific charges for domestic violence. Instead, a person arrested for will be charged for the specific crime, such as assault. Anything related to domestic violence incurs additional penalties. If the court discovers that the individual charged with a crime has a personal relationship with the victim, the records will show that the crime was domestic violence.

The court can include additional terms to probation, including:

  • Treatment, including medical and/or psychiatric as an inpatient
  • Successfully complete drug treatment and rehabilitation
  • Refrain from alcohol consumption and be subjected to monitoring
  • Require the defendant to remain at home except for school, work, etc.

Resources For Victims

There are remedies available for those in a difficult situation. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 24/7.

Domestic Shelters has a listing of shelters in the state where emergency help and housing is available.

The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a list of service providers on its website (scroll down past the section on COVID Relief Funds.)

The North Carolina Department of Administration also has a list of programs for those in need of assistance.

If You’re Accused And/Or Charged

While domestic violence is a serious matter for victims, it’s also wielded as a weapon in divorces and child custody cases. Vindictive spouses and partners claim domestic violence with the idea that it will “help” their cases and goals. The intent may be to get full custody of children, a higher amount of financial support or settlement, or a larger share of marital property (such as the family home.) False accusations of domestic violence frequently backfire, but not until it’s done significant damage to the other party.

Accusing another person of anything is easy, including domestic violence. Even an accusation without any evidence can land someone in the back of a police car. It’s the call most police officers fear the most because it also puts them in danger while trying to diffuse tension. Once they arrive, they must make an arrest.

As a defendant, it’s important to adhere to and comply with any restraining orders that are issued against you. If you don’t, additional criminal charges can be filed, be arrested, and spend time in jail.

If you are accused of domestic violence, the only way to defend yourself is in court with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Failing to appear allows the court to issue a permanent order. Your attorney will work to protect your rights and help you avoid additional legal issues stemming from the original charges.

Domestic Violence Is A Serious Charge

If you’ve been charged with any form of domestic violence, you must have a strong defense when going to trial. Without it, you could be facing jail time.

Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who can defend you against charges of domestic violence. 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 You Be Sued For Breaking And Entering A Home Or Business In North Carolina?

Breaking and entering are generally considered to be a criminal act, for which you can be arrested. But if you do damage to someone’s property in the process of breaking and entering, can you can also be sued?

Civil Vs. Criminal

Can You Be Sued For Breaking And Entering A Home Or Business In North Carolina?Criminal charges are either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the intent. If someone just breaks into a home, it’s usually a misdemeanor.

Add larceny (theft) or another crime, such as the intent to terrorize someone, breaking into a house of worship, or breaking into a motor vehicle, and the charges become a felony. In either case, these criminal charges can trigger an arrest.

If an arrested individual causes a significant amount of damages, an affected person can choose to file a civil lawsuit to recover money for damages committed during the criminal activity.

Civil Damages

An individual who is the recipient of a breaking and entering attempt will frequently suffer damages as a result of the crime, such as:

  • Damage to a home, apartment or other dwellings
  • Damage to a vehicle, such as broken glass, broken doors, etc.
  • Property damage inside of the home or business, such as furniture, fixtures, plumbing, structural fixtures (such as damage to walls) or other private property

Much like a personal injury case, the plaintiff can also sue for compensatory damages for the costs of repair and/or replacement, as well as legal costs, medical costs, loss of wages, and other associated expenses. Punitive damages are also a possibility, as well as things like pain and suffering.

Statute Of Limitations

Someone who has suffered damages from an individual breaking and entering has three years from the date of the break-in to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation. North Carolina General Statutes section 1-52 details the conditions, including 5: For criminal conversation, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not hereafter enumerated.

A civil suit for these damages is separate from a criminal case, tried in a different court. Even if an individual is incarcerated for breaking and entering, he or she can still be sued in civil court and served with a summons. The rules are the same for timeliness and jurisdiction whether or not the person is in prison, and it does not stop the civil process.

However, a person who intends to sue someone who committed breaking and entering should consult with an attorney before proceeding, especially if the damages are significant.

Defend Yourself Against Breaking & Entering

Being charged with breaking and entering doesn’t always follow with a conviction. With the right criminal defense, you could see your charges reduced, or even dropped.

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 represent you for a wide range of 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.