Can You Be Charged For Possessing Drug Paraphernalia Without Any Drugs Present In Raleigh, NC?

During a routine traffic stop, a police officer finds that you’re in possession of some small, self-sealing clear plastic bags that are commonly used to hold jewelry and other small handmade items. Inexpensive, and purchased at a local craft store chain, they’re sold in packages of 150 and are available in sizes from 1½” x 2” to 4” x 6”.

But the officer doesn’t buy your explanation of your jewelry making business for craft shows and an Etsy store online, calling them “baggies.” Now, you’re facing charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. What just happened?

Defining Drug Paraphernalia

In a literal sense, nearly anything that can be used in the production, packaging, or use of a drug can be considered “drug paraphernalia,” including everyday items like the aforementioned small plastic bags. The prosecutor must also prove that these items were intended for a drug-related use.

If the officer discovered drugs or drug residue on an item, this charge will generally accompany another one. Other ordinary items that could be considered drug paraphernalia include:

Can You Be Charged For Possessing Drug Paraphernalia Without Any Drugs Present In Raleigh, NC?

  • Plastic food storage bags of any size with a zipper-lock (i.e., “baggies”)
  • Scales of any kind, including kitchen food scales to measure small amounts
  • Items that can be used in drug processing such as:
    • Bowls
    • Blenders and other mixing tools
    • Spoons
    • Containers, such as balloons, envelopes, capsules and other items for compounding
    • Small-scale containers for storing
  • Containers used to store and/or conceal controlled substances

Other items that are considered drug paraphernalia include:

  • Pipes used for inhaling
  • Grinders
  • Bongs
  • Rolling papers (which can also be used for tobacco)
  • Planting/cultivation kits and equipment, including grow lights
  • Separation gins and sifters (to clean and remove twigs and seeds from marijuana)
  • Hypodermic syringes and needles for injecting controlled substances
  • Objects that assist with ingesting controlled substances, such as pipes and masks

The North Carolina Drug Paraphernalia Act has a complete listing of these items, as well as a description of different related charges.

Penalties

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by a jail term of 120 days and possibly fine at the judge’s discretion. However, this also depends on one’s past criminal history.

This charge is frequently combined with other drug-related charges, such as:

  • Possession of a controlled substance (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.)
  • Sale/intent to sell and deliver
  • Drug cultivation
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug distribution

A charge of marijuana paraphernalia (items used with marijuana consumption) is a Class 3 misdemeanor with lesser penalties.

Even though possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. A criminal defense attorney can defend you against the charge or charges, as well as:

  • Challenge the circumstances of the search and arrest
  • Request the search warrant involved
  • Request if the officer had reason to believe that the items were used with or intended for use with drugs
  • Ensure that your rights are protected in court

Your charges may be dropped or reduced when your defense attorney raises these defenses.

Contact Dewey P. Brinkley For Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Raleigh

If you’ve been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, call us! It’s important to have strong legal counsel to help you fight the charges. Going to court without legal representation raises the odds that you will lose your case and see jail time that will affect every aspect of your life.

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

Reasons You Could Get Your Driver’s License Suspended In Raleigh, NC

It’s happened—your driver’s license is suspended, and you need to get around. That means you’ll need to make arrangements to get around for a while. If you’ve been considering carpooling, taking public transit or bicycling to work for a while, you’ll be covered. But you’ll still need to deal with the suspension, and getting your license back.

Why Your License Was Suspended

North Carolina has a number of reasons why your license might be suspended, including multiple traffic violations.

Reasons You Could Get Your Driver's License Suspended In Raleigh, NCFor a single offense, you can lose your license for:

  • 30 days if you were driving over 55 mph and at least 15 mph over the speed limit
  • One year if you fail to stop and offer aid when involved in an accident
  • Three years for illegal street racing with another individual, which includes the seizure of your vehicle

Having more than one offense or conviction can also lead to a suspension:

  • One year if you have two or more convictions for driving over 55 mph and 15 mph over the speed limit.
  • A conviction of reckless driving and one of the aforementioned speeding
  • A conviction of speeding over 75 mph
  • A court sentence that prohibits your ability to operate a motor vehicle for a specific time period

You can also request a suspension hearing by calling your local DMV or writing to the DMV in Raleigh. They will notify you by mail of the time and place for your hearing. You can appeal their decision within 30 days.

Non-Driving Reasons For Suspension

So your driving record is perfect, but your license was still suspended? There could be another reason for that, including:

  • Not appearing in court for other traffic or parking tickets
  • Drug/alcohol rehab
  • Not paying court-ordered child support
  • Fraudulent actions
  • Leaving a vehicle running with an unattended child inside
  • Other court probations and/or violations

Suspension Vs. Revocation

A suspended driver’s license is only suspended for a period of time, such as 30 days. You will not have to re-apply for your driver’s license and re-take any tests. You may be required to pay fines to tickets as well.

A revocation indicates that your license was canceled completely, along with your driving privileges. Your license can be reinstated once you meet the state’s eligibility requirements.

Getting Your License Back

The suspension isn’t the same as a complete revocation, and you can drive again. Once your suspension period is over, you can have it restored by:

  • Paying a restoration fee of $65 to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • An additional $50 fee if you didn’t turn your license into the DMV before the start of the suspension period
  • An additional $130 fee if your suspension was for Driving While Impaired (DWI)

Working with an attorney who specializes in driver’s license suspension can make the process easier, especially if you experience any obstacles in the process or need to file a DMV appeal.

You Can Drive Again

Having your driver’s license suspended is a serious inconvenience, and can cost a considerable amount of money if you’re unable to get to work or get around. Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is your best chance in Raleigh for getting your license back and your driving privileges restored. Call today: 919-832-0307 (or contact him online) to schedule an appointment for your free initial consultation.

Can I Go To Jail For Not Paying State Taxes In North Carolina?

Springtime in North Carolina brings a number of stressors, including filing tax returns. Although this year’s state and federal tax deadlines have been extended, you’re still responsible for taking care of both returns, federal and state, as well as paying tax amounts. North Carolina is also considering eliminating tax penalties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you don’t complete your tax returns and fail to pay state taxes, you’re actually breaking the law. However, the penalties will depend on whether you made an honest mistake, or you deliberately committed fraud to avoid paying taxes.

Willful Failure

Tax Evasion and Financial Crimes DefenseIt is possible to receive jail time—and incur a criminal record—for not paying your state taxes.

North Carolina General Statutes Ch. 105 addresses the intentional failure to pay one’s state income taxes. According to the statute, “willful failure” is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can include jail time of as much as 120 days, as well as a discretionary fine.

The penalties for willful failure include:

  • 5% penalty per month, up to a maximum of 25% of the balance due
  • 10% late penalty
  • 20% “collection assistance” fee if you don’t pay within 90 days
  • An additional 50% “fraud penalty” upon conviction

Penalties can also include tax liens against properties and a damaged credit record.

Tax preparers who participate in willful failure or other misleading tax schemes can also be charged. Filing a “frivolous return” also incurs penalties, including a $500 fine.

Intentional Fraud

Tax fraud or tax evasion is the intentional act of submitting false and/or misleading information on a tax return in order to change the amount owed. Both the federal government and the state of North Carolina have penalties for purposely committing tax fraud.

In addition to the above sanctions, any actions that lead to under-paying state income taxes is a Class H felony, which carries potential jail time from 4 to 24 months. A conviction will also bring substantial financial penalties including fines and interest, as well as an additional 50% penalty of the defrauded amount.

Mistakes

It happens and is correctible. Making a mistake is not the same as a willful failure or intentionally committing fraud.

If you’ve made a mistake on your tax return, it’s easy to file an amended one. For a 2019 return, you’ll fill in the circle on Form D-400 indicating that you’re filing an amended return. Complete and attach the Form D-400 Schedule AM for a North Carolina Amended Schedule to the front of Form D-400.  Then attach all the required schedules and supporting forms.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley For Financial Crimes Defense

You really can go to jail for as long as 120 days for willful failure to file your North Carolina tax return.

If you’ve been charged with willful failure, 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.

 

Juvenile Crime Statistics in North Carolina

“Juvenile Justice” is the name given to the juvenile court system in North Carolina, emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration. The idea is that it’s easier to help teenagers before they develop into a life cycle in and out of jail.

But North Carolina has seen a decrease in juvenile crime over the last few years, according to the 2018 annual report from the NC Department of Public Safety.

The Statistics

Juvenile Crime Statistics in North CarolinaThe latest report from DPS indicates that since 2010, juvenile crime has decreased by 41%.

Additionally, the report states that the number of teens who were destined to a detention center has dropped a whopping 62%.

School-based complaints went from 16,097 in 2010 to 10,453 in 2018, a decrease of 35%. 75% of the complaints were about male students, and 25% were for female students.

Trends for gang affiliations also went down from 8.7% in 2010 to 7.2% in 2018.

In Wake County, the latest available information indicates that for every 1,000 youth, the rate of delinquent complaints against juveniles ages 6 through 15 received by court services offices is 6.7.

In detention center admissions, 81% of admittees were male, and 19% were female. Of those that engaged in Youth Development Center Commitments, just 9% were female, and 91% were male.

Out of 11,136 juveniles, there were a total of 23,580 complaints, many of which can have multiple outcomes. Of those complaints, 16% were closed, 24% were diverted, and 50% were approved for court.

Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) data also shows that out of 21,248 high-risk youths that were served by community-based programs that offered successful alternatives, there was a 21% recidivism of these individuals in a three-year period.

Youth Education

The report also offers success stories on some of the students who participated in the Youth Development Center (YDC) education programs:

  • Twenty of the students passed all five sections (Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies) of the HiSet assessment to obtain their high school equivalency diplomas while enrolled in YDC. One student transitioned back to his community to begin job searching and was scheduled to begin attending community college courses in spring 2019.
  • Out of a total of 167 HiSet section tests taken, 81% of the students passed the tests, with 30% of test scores at the “College and Career Ready” level. Students enrolled in traditional middle or high school courses earned credit for 88% of classes, and 90% of students were promoted to the next grade level.
  • Stonewall Jackson YDC piloted a five-student vocational training program, called C-Tech. Learning skills in copper cabling and telecommunications, all five mastered the material and earned an industry-recognized certification.
  • Stonewall Jackson YDC also offered 48 students training through the horticulture and greenhouse operations program. Several worked toward a Master Gardener certification or a certification in greenhouse management.

Raise The Age

A significant factor in the decrease is the Raise The Age campaign, which successfully sought to raise the age of those charged in non-violent adult crimes to 18. Signed into law and implemented on December 1, 2019, the law allowed these teens to stay in out of the adult court system and avoid an adult criminal record.

North Carolina became the last state in the US to implement this change, allowing more 16- and 17-year olds to avoid criminal charges in adult court as an under-age offender for non-violent offenses. While these teenagers will still be held accountable for their actions, they will not have to suffer the lifelong consequences of an adult criminal charge.

Class A to G felonies committed by 16- and 17-year olds will still be transferred to adult court after a notice of indictment or a court that finds probable cause.

However, what has yet to be addressed is the fate of these teenagers who were already in the system when the law took effect.

Call Juvenile Crime Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley

If your child has been charged with a crime, it’s important to find a juvenile court attorney who can investigate and determine your chances at trial and keep your child’s case in the juvenile court system and out of adult criminal court. Alternative sentencing, education, and training and other similar state services may be available in lieu of jail time, but you might not be aware of these options on your own.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any criminal charges, major or minor. He will work to ensure a fair trial and that your child’s rights are protected.  Call today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

How Bad Is A “Disorderly Conduct” Charge In Raleigh, NC?

Of all the things a person could be charged with, “disorderly conduct” sounds rather tame. Another name for it is “disturbing the peace.”

But if it happens to you, realize that it’s because a police officer interpreted your conduct—whatever it was—as a disturbance. When you reach trial, it will be up to a judge to determine if what you were doing actually was disorderly conduct. That’s where a criminal defense attorney can make the difference.

Take even a first-time charge seriously. However tame it sounds, you could still be convicted, serve time in jail, pay fines, and walk away with a criminal record.

What North Carolina Considers Disorderly Conduct

North Carolina Code §14-288.4How Bad Is A "Disorderly Conduct" Charge In Raleigh, NC? describes disorderly conduct as “a public disturbance intentionally caused by any person” who commits any one of a number of described actions, such as:

  • Fighting or other violent activity
  • Abusive language, including abusive gestures
  • Overtaking school premises without permission
  • Refusing to leave a building after being asked to by either law enforcement or other administrator
  • Interfering with or otherwise disrupting the teaching of students in any educational environment
  • Congregating in any fashion after being told not to by law enforcement or other administrators
  • Disturbing the peace on a school bus
  • Interfering with or otherwise disturbing any religious activity

“Failing to disperse” is a similar charge that is sometimes used when three or more individuals do not leave as ordered by law enforcement after a period of time or creates the risk of injury to another person.

What Happens If I’m Arrested?

When you or a family member is charged with disorderly conduct and/or failure to disperse, it’s important to act quickly to be ready for a court appearance, and with good legal representation.

After your arrest, a judge may require you to post bail to leave, depending on any prior convictions you may have, and if the judge considers you to be a flight risk. If not, you may be released on a promise to appear for your court date without bail.

Right away, it’s time to find and retain legal counsel to begin building your defense. You need to be represented in court by someone who will defend you against the charges and give you the best chance at a positive outcome.

Convictions And Sentencing

For a first offense, you may be required to pay a fine without jail time. However, the judge’s discretion determines your sentencing.

Since Disorderly Conduct is a Class 2 misdemeanor, it’s possible to be sentenced to 60 days in jail with a $1,000 fine for a first offense. Second offenses are classified as a Class 1 felony, increasing jail time to as much as 12 months in prison. Third and subsequent offenses become Class H felonies, with as much as 25 months in prison.

If convicted, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor, or possibly dismissed outright.

Defending Yourself

When you find yourself in charged with disorderly conduct, remember to:

  • Never resist arrest, even if you’re wrongly charged—that’s a separate charge for which you can be convicted
  • Strongly exercise your right to remain silent, and only speak with your lawyer, no one else. Literally, anything you say can (and likely will) be used against you later.
  • Find and retain a skilled and experienced Raleigh criminal defense lawyer who will investigate your case and create a compelling and persuasive defense strategy to have your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.

Gather any available evidence that can prove your innocence as well, from digital information such as GPS coordinates, texts, and emails to physical evidence such as photographs, tickets, or other information that can positively prove your whereabouts at the time the crime was committed. Your attorney can use them when building your defense.

Call Dewey P. Brinkley For Disorderly Conduct Charges

False accusations do happen, but even if you have committed a crime, a strong defense is your best chance in court.

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 charged with disorderly conduct and works for the best possible outcome. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation.

Technology-Facilitated Cyberstalking Charges In Raleigh, NC

Our increasingly technical society has changed the way we do nearly everything. From banking to grocery shopping and even working, technology is a big part of everyday life—especially now, with Zoom conferences and online collaboration platforms like Slack and Asana. As we learn how to use each new app and tool and find ways to live and work better, others have discovered ways to misuse technology to their ill intent.

Cyberstalking Defined

Technology-facilitated stalking, commonly known as “cyberstalking,” is the act of stalking another individual with the addition of technology, including:

  • Smartphones and other mobile devices
  • GPS devices (for following individuals while driving)
  • Phone calls
  • Social media messages
  • Emails
  • Hacking into a victim’s online account, whether email, financial, or other accounts

Technology-Facilitated Stalking Defense Attorney In Raleigh, NCCyberstalking can also be from different individuals known to the victim, such as neighbors, friends of friends, relatives, or coworkers, or may even be strangers. Whatever the case, an individual who is a target of cyberstalking finds themselves experiencing a persisting and strategic campaign of different types of online abuse intended to harass, threaten, and humiliate an individual to control and intimidate a victim. Other forms of abuse include financial abuse and an attempt to isolate the victim from supportive family and friends.

A cyberstalker can be anyone from a casual acquaintance to someone well known, or someone you’ve never met. Many cases of stalking and cyberstalking are from former spouses, domestic partners, or significant others, like the recent case of Dr. Aime Hardwick in California. While Dr. Hardwick had previously obtained a restraining order against ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse, it had expired just two weeks before her death. Pursehouse had repeatedly stalked Dr. Hardwick for over ten years, followed her around in public as well as online. Repeated attempts to stop his endless stalking and harassment failed.

North Carolina Laws On Cyberstalking

North Carolina considers stalking to be when an individual willfully harasses another on more than two occasions without any legal reason, and:

  • Causes the individual to fear for themselves, a family member, or another person they are close to (such as a spouse or partner)
  • Or causes extreme fear in a person for bodily injury, death, or persistent and recurrent harassment

North Carolina General Statute 14-196.3 states:

  • The use of email or other electronic communications (including social media) is deployed to threaten a person, a relative (spouse, children, etc.) to extort property and/or money
  • Using email or other electronic media to threaten, abuse, or otherwise harass an individual, even when there is no conversation
  • Emailing an individual or a family member with false statements regarding criminal or indecent conduct, injury, illness, disfigurement, or death with the intent to terrify, threaten, or otherwise abuse.
  • Knowingly placing an electronic tracking device under a victim’s control (such as on a car or in a woman’s purse) to monitor their locations (exceptions for law enforcement, fleet vehicles, and other legitimate purposes.) This can include an individual who intentionally allows a cyberstalker to use his or her device to harass another person, such as a smartphone or tablet.

Social media can include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. North Carolina law does not require that the victim believe the threatening statements, or that the “reasonable person” would believe them.

Technology-related stalking, or cyberstalking, is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A conviction can bring 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If You Are Charged With Cyberstalking

Much will depend on the circumstances and facts surrounding the arrest. Should you find yourself charged with cyberstalking, there may be defenses available, even if you are technically “guilty.” The charges may be reduced to something less serious. A conviction will leave you with a criminal record and the consequences that come with it.

For a free consultation regarding your stalking or cyberstalking charges with the lawyers at the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, call our Raleigh law office immediately at 919-832-0307 to make an appointment. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and will begin building a strong and effective defense for you.

What’s The Difference Between Trespassing And Criminal Trespassing In Raleigh, NC?

 

Being charged with trespassing is, to any degree, a criminal charge in North Carolina. But you may not realize that there are two forms of trespassing. It’s essential to know the difference, and what you may be facing if you’re charged with one or both of them.

Trespassing Defined

On a basic level, trespassing is the act of intentionally going onto someone’s land without permission. You shouldn’t be there, you may see the posted signs, or someone has asked you to leave. While you may accidentally and unintentionally walk onto someone’s property at some point, bypassing signs that say “no trespassing” and going where you’ve been asked not to demonstrates intent, which makes the difference.

North Carolina has more than one type of trespass, which includes criminal trespassing. Here we discuss the differences.

First Degree Trespass (Criminal Trespass)

This Class 2 misdemeanor means that the state will be required to prove that a person not only entered the property but remained there and that the building or property was enclosed or secured that made it evident that the owner intended to keep people out of place. The penalties for this degree of trespassing is a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

What's the difference between trespassing and criminal trespassing in Raleigh, NC.?

The penalties increase to 150 days in jail along with a fine to be decided by a judge if:

  • The facility is owned by a utility, such as a:
    • Public waterworks
    • Natural gas entity
    • Electric power supplier
  • The individual breached a fence, wall, or other barriers to access the facility.

A trespasser can be imprisoned for up to 39 months if:

  • The individual accessed the facility intending to disrupt the facility’s operations.
  • The act of trespassing places the individual and/or others at risk for serious bodily injuries.

The act of trespassing then becomes a Class H felony.

Second Degree Trespass

This is a lesser charge of trespassing, such as being notified by an owner or authorized person (i.e., store manager) to leave or not enter the property or stays on the premises despite the posted signs warning intruders or others to stay out of the property. Although still a criminal trespass, a conviction for second-degree trespass is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor, accompanied by a $200 fine and 20 days in jail.

Domestic Criminal Trespass

As the name indicates, this type of criminal trespass involves one party accessing or entering the property of a former spouse or domestic partner where he or she is no longer welcome and refuses to leave the property.

A person cannot just claim domestic criminal trespass; he or she will be required to prove it according to the state statute (N.C.G.S. §14-134.3), by:

  • Showing that both parties have separate residences
  • A court order requiring the party to stay away from the premises
  • An agreement between the two parties to live separately
  • An order of legal separation

Conviction of domestic criminal trespass is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor and a fine at the judge’s discretion.

However, if the property in question is a “safe house or haven for victims of domestic violence and the person is armed with a deadly weapon at the time of the offense,” an individual will be charged with a Class G felony. A conviction for a Class G felony entails a maximum jail time of 47 months.

Don’t Ignore A Trespassing Charge

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

If you’ve been charged with trespassing, 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.

 

Types of Traffic Violations in Raleigh, NC

Most Tarheel State residents are familiar with DWI, or Driving While Impaired, which is the charge for someone driving a motor vehicle while or after drinking alcohol. But even for drivers who have never had a drop of alcohol before, there are still a range of traffic violations that can be as serious as a DWI—and about as expensive.

But if you’re not familiar with some of the charges that you can receive on a ticket, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more common charges. You should be aware of these violations and have some understanding should you find yourself speaking to a police officer.

Driving Without A License

There are two versions of this ticket:

  • Driving Without A Valid License, when you are unable to produce a license or your license has expired. This charge is also levied against individuals from foreign countries who fail to obtain a legal NC driver’s permit, and can include harsh penalties.
  • Driving With A Revoked License, a class 2 misdemeanor that can add 3 points to your driving record and increase your insurance as much as 25%. You could also face high fines and possibly jail time for this charge.

Careless & Reckless Driving

This charge usually includes speeding, but is used anytime a driver operates their vehicle in an unsafe or irresponsible fashion. This charge can lead to a suspended license.

Types of Traffic Violations in Raleigh, NC

Exceeding Posted Speed

Not a “speeding” charge, it’s a lesser charge that can escalate your insurance rates.

Speeding

This common citation can include both fines and points on your driving record as well as dramatically increase your insurance rates.

Failure To Stop For/Passing A Stopped School Bus

This is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with the possibility of 120 days in jail or community service and driving school. The charge includes a $500 fine and $190 court costs, and it must be paid before renewing your license and vehicle registrations for all your vehicles. You’ll gain five points on your driving record and four on your insurance record for this one, with the potential for an 80% increase.

Hit & Run

It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in NC, as well as many other states. After an accident, all drivers are required to stop and wait for police. You’re also required to exchange information with all other drivers, and ensure that any injured parties receive necessary medical attention.

If you must leave the scene of the accident to notify police, get immediate medical attention, or prevent further injury to yourself or other parties, you must return to the scene within a reasonable period of time or face charges.

North Carolina sees hit & run as both a misdemeanor and a felony, depending on the severity of the accident. Penalties range from fines and 120 days in jail to a Class H or Class F felony, with high fines and as much as 41 months in jail.

DWI, Driving While Inebriated (Including Provisional DWI)

We discuss this charge in-depth on our website, as well as in a number of blog posts. North Carolina has some of the harshest DWI laws in the US, with high fines and jail time for those convicted.

Ignoring It Will Not Make It Go Away

Even for the most minor violations that you might think are “no big deal,” you must pay attention and take care of a ticket. Some may not require you to appear in court, others will. But ignoring the citation altogether will it will cost more to get your license restored if you get to the point of suspension. Read your ticket carefully and understand instructions for payment before you find yourself with additional issues like:

  • Failing to appear for a speeding ticket adds a $200 fine
  • Eventual license suspension for failing to appear and pay a fine for speeding
  • A warrant for your arrest
  • Additional points

It’s also not wise to pay the fine and be done with it—that’s an admission of guilt, and can raise your insurance rates as well. A Raleigh traffic ticket attorney can inform you of all your legal options.

Points Add Up

Different charges come with different amounts of points that are added to your driving record. Rack up enough of them, and you may be assigned to a “driver improvement clinic.” If you continue to rack up points, your driver’s license can be outright suspended:

  • First suspension: 60 days
  • Second suspension: 6 months
  • Third suspension: 12 months

Points are cancelled after the license is reinstated.

Insurance rates can also escalate, and additional fines and fees may be required to reinstate your license.

One option is to request a reduction of your charge to a lower ranking citation. If the court agrees, you could avoid having points added to your driving record.

Defense For Traffic Violations

Even with minor charges, traffic violations can cost money and cause trouble later. Ignoring a traffic ticket can bring additional problems than if you’d dealt with it at the outset, so get help.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh traffic ticket defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against traffic tickets of all types—including DWI—and protect your rights in court. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DWI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at dewey@deweypbrinkleylaw.com, or use our online contact form

Long-Term Effects Of A Juvenile Crime Conviction In North Carolina

If you or your child are become entangled in the juvenile court system, you may be concerned as to how this will affect his or her life longer-term. Like an adult (over 18) who commits a crime, there are repercussions that could persist long after his or her 18th birthday, sometimes called “collateral consequences.”

What Is A Juvenile?

Long-Term Effects Of A Juvenile Crime Conviction In North CarolinaAs of December 2019, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile. The state’s “Raise The Age” initiative took 16- and 17-year old out of the adult court for most misdemeanors and moved them into the juvenile justice system. So now this age group has the chance for a “clean slate” at the age of 18, and the chance to start over, just as if they were 15 and under.

Additionally, the juvenile justice system in North Carolina (as is in most of the US) focuses on rehabilitation, rather than retribution, although incarceration figures into both. Youths are sent to “correctional facilities” rather than prisons. The idea is that the juveniles will be re-educated to become productive members of society, rather than continually cycling through the criminal justice system.

Social Stigma

It’s no secret that juvenile males are more likely to commit crimes than females, and they are arrested more often than females. Juveniles don’t always make the best decisions, particularly quick decisions.

Going through the juvenile justice system is expensive for parents, and if they are unable to pay the high-dollar costs of fines and rehabilitation, the charges may follow him or her into adulthood. Because the individual lacks the education, he or she may find themselves unable to find anything but low-paying employment.

An adolescent with a record may be labeled as a “criminal” may face social retribution from family, friends, and others in the community. Some juvenile criminals continue into a life of crime and stay there their entire lives.

Education And Employment

Because more than 60% of colleges and universities include questions about an applicant’s criminal history on their application, juvenile delinquents have a distinct disadvantage for both higher education and employment. While it’s not impossible, it can be difficult to get into higher learning with a criminal history as a juvenile. Many are more likely to ascent to two-year programs rather than four-year programs. However, many arrestees are more likely to drop out of high school, long before they’re anywhere near the point of applying to college or a trade school.

Companies that offer jobs to teenage applicants may be put off by an arrest and/or conviction of a juvenile, and many occupations may prohibit someone with a juvenile arrest record from participating.

Future Income

A study by Eric Hyla at Illinois Wesleyan University notes that youths with an arrest make, on average, reduces their income $6,000 than their peers who had no criminal convictions. This figure is only for one arrest, and doesn’t take into account multiple arrests. The study also shows that children who grow up with more affluent parents tend to have higher incomes later in life despite an arrest.

However, when education is included, the youth’s future income increases by $3,000 with one year of education. Individuals who were not arrested had two additional years to devote to education, and a conviction of a juvenile conviction does not necessarily impact future income if education is included. Without it, future earnings can be significantly impacted, especially if the juvenile continues committing crimes as an adult.

Housing

If the juvenile’s family lives in public housing, it’s very likely that they will be evicted because of the arrest.

Private housing (such as a rental home or apartment complex) may also have a clause that includes activity that affects the well-being of the community. Any criminal activity can put the family in jeopardy of violating the terms of the lease, leading to evictions.

When the juvenile becomes an adult, it’s also likely that they will have difficulty obtaining housing for themselves and their families.

Dewey P. Brinkley, Raleigh’s Juvenile Court Attorney

If your child has been charged with a crime, your first goal should be to keep the case from moving into adult criminal court. You should also find a juvenile court attorney who can investigate and determine your chances at trial.

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He can aggressively defend your child in juvenile or adult court against any criminal charges, major or minor. He will work to ensure a fair trial and that your child’s rights are protected.  Call today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your Life

Many people don’t think much of it if they find themselves charged with a misdemeanor crime. You may believe that a misdemeanor is on the same level as a parking ticket, but it isn’t. If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor, your life can still be severely impacted. Although it isn’t as serious as a felony, a misdemeanor is still a crime, and you should take it seriously.

Defining The Misdemeanor

How Misdemeanor Charges Can Have A Major Impact On Your LifeNorth Carolina divides misdemeanors into four categories: A1, 1, 2, and 3. These will depend on the seriousness of the offense you’re charged with, and can rage from simple marijuana possession to things like larceny (theft) and property damage.

  • Category 3 incurs a maximum fine of $200 and up to 20 days jail time
  • Category 2 incurs a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 60 days jail time
  • Category 1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 120 days jail time
  • Category A1 incurs a “discretionary” fine and up to 150 days jail time

Can you afford to go to jail for 1 to 20 days? Chances are your employer will terminate you, and you’ll have a much more difficult time finding another job after a conviction.

Of course, the outcome of your case will depend on a number of different factors, including your criminal record or lack thereof, the facts of the case, and any agreements you and your defense attorney reach with the district attorney’s office. Some charges, such as minor traffic infractions, will incur no jail time.

How A Misdemeanor Can Cause Problems Later

Conviction of a misdemeanor still means that you have a criminal conviction, and you when asked, you will have to disclose your criminal record, whether it’s a single conviction or more than one.

Misdemeanor charges stay on your record, and nearly always show up on a background check. No matter how old they are, an employer will eventually find out about it once they request it. This means that a criminal conviction will show up on background checks related to:

  • Job applications
  • License applications
  • Housing applications (such as apartment complexes and other rental properties)
  • Mortgage loan applications
  • Student financial aid applications

A misdemeanor may prevent you from applying for and being hired for certain types of jobs, and restrict where you can live.

There may be occasions where an old county-level conviction may not show up in another county, or on a state level. But you should never assume that it won’t show up on a background check, especially for an employer.

Even for the most minor infractions such as simple affray, you should retain defense counsel against a misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have a criminal record, no different than if you’d committed a more serious or violent felony. Like a felony, the misdemeanor will follow you around for the rest of your life.

Expungement

Criminal convictions in North Carolina of any kind do not automatically disappear from your record, no matter how old they are.

Texas, California and several other states have a “seven-year rule,” meaning that any records that are more than 7 years old will not show up in a background check. However, North Carolina has no such rule, but you can request to have an old record cleared with an expungement.

If you were arrested and/or convicted of a misdemeanor many years ago and have not had any other charges since then, it is possible to have your case expunged, or removed, from your record. Even if you were arrested and charged but found not guilty, a record still exists of this action.

Once you apply for an expungement and the court grants it, you will no longer have a criminal record, and you can legally answer the question about your criminal record with a confident “no.”

The rules surrounding expungement are complex. That’s important to discuss a possible expungement of your misdemeanor case with a criminal defense attorney so you can start the process and get on with your life.

Let Dewey P. Brinkley Defend You Against A Misdemeanor

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney who understands the law and the Raleigh court system. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor like simple assault or disorderly conduct, no matter how minor, he can defend you in criminal court and work for the best possible outcome. Call Mr. Brinkley today at 919-832-0307 or use our contact page to schedule your free consultation.