Tag Archives: defense attorney in Raleigh NC

Are Field Sobriety Tests Accurate In Raleigh, NC?

We recently discussed the admissibility of the Field Sobriety Tests (FST) commonly used at DUI checkpoints and traffic stops in North Carolina. These physical tests are administered in conjunction with a breath alcohol device that is intended to measure the amount of alcohol in your system.

In a word, no. Commonly used by police to determine intoxication, FSTs aren’t foolproof. Although FSTs are the norm, the decision of intoxication lies solely with the officer at the scene. The officer will use his or her own judgment, based on visuals, FSTs, and a breathalyzer to determine whether to complete an arrest based on an assessment of DUI.

What Are FSTs?

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

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

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

Challenging the FST Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defense For DUI And Inaccurate Field Sobriety Testing

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

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

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

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

Getting A Ticket

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

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

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

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

The Misdemeanor

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

Under US Immigration Law, a misdemeanor is one that:

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

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

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

What Is A Crime For Immigration

Crimes that will affect your immigration are any misdemeanors involving:

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

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

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

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

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

Ticketed In Raleigh? Call Today

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

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

What You Should Expect When You Hire a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney

When you’re arrested for an alleged crime by North Carolina law enforcement, you may feel devastated, frustrated, or just downright angry. However, it’s essential to remember that an arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty, and you still have a battle in courts to prove your innocence, get the charges dropped, or seek reduced or alternative sentencing.

For this reason, it’s critical to contact an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney soon after you’re arrested. The main benefit of an attorney is the comprehensive representation you’ll receive, a diligent protection of your rights, and an advocate who’ll seek legal solutions. If you’ve been arrested, it’s important to not hesitate and contact one of Raleigh’s leading criminal defense lawyers by calling attorney Dewey P. Brinkley today at (919) 832-0307.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are looking at serious penalties, jail time, or other legal repercussions from an alleged crime, you’ll want the best criminal defense attorney fighting for you.  If facing criminal prosecution, your defense attorney can help you understand some fundamental things, including:

  • The nature of the charges filed against you
  • The available defenses
  • What plea bargains are likely to be offered
  • What you can expect after trial or a conviction

Criminal defense attorneys, like us at the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, have substantial experience in a wide variety of criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, drug crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, and more. As such, no matter the unique circumstances that led to your arrest and alleged charges, an experienced defense attorney will aim to:

  • Reduce a criminal charge to a lesser offense
  • Lessen the severity of the punishments
  • Reduce or eliminate jail time
  • Develop a sound defense strategy

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

As your actual lawyer, the criminal defense attorney has many roles to more effectively achieve the desired result. In short, your attorney will do more than just cross-examine witnesses that the prosecution calls to the stand. Some of the other tasks that your lawyer may conduct can include:

  • Working with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a “deal,” also known as a plea bargain, to reduce or eliminate some or all of the charges filed against you.
  • Helping to determine a positive sentencing program in case you’re sentenced guilty. For instance, instead of spending 10 months in prison, your attorney can argue for 6 months in prison and 4 months in a rehabilitation center, for instance.
  • Helping you with the difficult emotions associated with a criminal trial.
  • Providing a reality check that includes important insights into how the trial is going and what you can actually expect to happen in the near future.
  • Pointing out essential legal rules and regulations that you might now know about.
  • Explaining some of the hidden consequences associated with pleading guilty.
  • Gathering statements, testimony, and evidence from witnesses that are to be called by the prosecution.
  • Finding and hiring investigators to investigate the alleged crime.
  • Finding and hiring expert witnesses that can show evidence or make the prosecution’s case less credible.

Call the Law Firm of Dewey P. Brinkley Today

When you call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we’ll begin working on your case immediately. Together, we’ll go through the events leading up to your arrest, step by step, and search for any pieces of evidence, violations of your rights, and more. Our fundamental goal is to prove your innocence or, if you’re guilty and the evidence is thoroughly stacked against you, seek alternative or reduced punishments.

Time is often in short supply in these cases, so it’s important to act quickly. For your free consultation with attorney Brinkley, call our Raleigh law firm today at (919) 832-0307.


What Constitutes “Expert Testimony” in a Criminal Trial?

Some crimes, ranging from violent crimes to white-collar crimes, involve complex circumstances. Whether those circumstances includes convoluted financial transactions or voluminous documents, the State or the defense may wish to assist the jury in wading through this information through an expert testimony.

Expert Testimony in NC Criminal Trials | Raleigh Defense Atty Brinkley

Expert testimony can be a useful tool in criminal trials, whereas the defense calls on an expert in some field to clarify facts or further define the defense to the jury. Nonetheless, if using expert testimony, you need a highly experienced defense attorney who can achieve the most benefit from the expert. Depending on the unique circumstances of the case, Raleigh NC criminal defense attorney Dewey Brinkley may consider using expert testimony. To speak to attorney Brinkley about the circumstances of your case, call our Raleigh law firm today at (919) 832-0307.

Expert Testimony in North Carolina Criminal Trials

North Carolina law (Chapter 8C, Article 7) describes many of the legal rules and other aspects of using expert testimony in criminal trials. Although substantial controversy existed in North Carolina courts regarding the use of expert testimony, the nominal North Carolina Supreme Court case Howerton v. Arai Helmet, Ltd put much of this controversy to rest.

Essentially, this controversy refers to when an expert testimony is admissible in the court proceedings. The Howerton case rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s gatekeeping test and reiterated its previous three-part test, which includes:

  1. Is the expert’s proffered method of proof sufficiently reliable as an area for expert testimony?
  2. Is the witness testifying at trial qualified as an expert in that area of
  3. Is the expert’s testimony relevant?

If these three aspects apply to the expert testimony, then the testimony may be admitted to the case.

Testimony By Experts

The prosecution and the defense cannot handpick an individual off the street and claim “expert testimony.” Instead, expert testimony is only admissible in court “if scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” Furthermore, the witness must be qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, who can testify in the form of an opinion.

Lastly, the following conditions must apply to the expert testimony:

  1. The testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data.
  2. The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods.
  3. The witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

Expert Testimony on Character or a Trait of Character

When it comes to the character of the accused, and whether the accused’s character or trait of character may shed light on his/her role in the crime (or lack of a role in the crime), expert testimony is not admissible. Although there are several reasons for this, the main reason is that circumstantial evidence of character is not a suitable piece of evidence in a criminal trial.

Contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley in Raleigh NC

Especially in cases where the defendant is facing severe punishments, expert testimony can be a very important tool to help clarify and further explain some highly technical details. At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we’ll only call for expert testimony when it is legally admissible and when the case can benefit from it. At the same time, we boast years of experience challenging the state’s expert testimony, and how that testimony relates to the alleged offenses.

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony in North Carolina, make sure to call the leading Raleigh criminal defense attorney. For a free, no-obligation consultation with attorney Dewey Brinkley, call our Raleigh law firm today at (919) 832-0307.

Criminal Defense Attorney? Why I became one…

When I was in law school in New Orleans, I had a formative experience with the Orleans Parish District Attorneys office in the summer of 2000. New Orleans is a colorful place full of colorful, flamboyant people from all kinds of backgrounds. It is also a city that is mired in poverty and during my law school years (1999-2002), crime was rampant. The police department was constantly under investigation for corruption or officers accused of wrongdoing. There were rows and rows of courtrooms in the old Orleans Parish Courthouse on Tulane Avenue and trials were constantly going on. You could peer into any of those courtrooms and see a young kid on trial for first degree murder over a Saints jacket, a crack rock, or for many other petty reasons. There would be no one in the courtroom besides court personnel, the jury, the Defendant, his lawyer, and the State’s attorney. In many ways, the criminal justice system in the Big Easy was teetering on the brink of collapse, with not enough money to fund public defenders, inadequate resources, and beyond human jail overcrowding. Amidst this maelstrom we were always allowed to order in lunch, usually fried oyster or shrimp po-boys, on the state of Louisiana’s dime if we were in the middle of a trial. It was a great experience for me in that the lawyers, both assistant district attorneys and the criminal defense bar, were a flashy bunch. Attorneys were allowed to move around the courtroom freely when questioning witnesses. Acting out the crime was commonplace during opening statements and summations. It was more like a theatrical performance.

I think out of that experience I associated a certain amount of romantic heroism with doing defense work. Part of it is just the challenge of it all. You walk into a courtroom with your client, usually in his ill-fitting dress shirt and non-matching tie, and everyone is against you—the assistant district attorney, the police, usually the Judge, most of the time the witnesses in the courtroom, and lots of times the jury in the box, at least at the beginning. So it’s an us against the world kind of feeling. That’s why I like the challenge.

To learn more about Raleigh’s leading criminal defense attorney, give us a call at 919-832-0307 or stop by the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley