Tag Archives: dui attorney

What Are DUI Checkpoints, And Are They Legal?

You’re driving down a highway, minding your own business, and then you see the flashing lights. The police, doing a random checkpoint for DUI. No problem, until you realize you’ve had a craft beer. Or a locally made wine. Or a glass of whiskey with a friend. What do you do now? Are these DUI checkpoints even legal? Can they really do that?

DUI Checkpoints Are Legal

North Carolina has some of the toughest DUI laws in the US. DUI is taken very seriously, and the state allows random checkpoints to find and detain inebriated drivers before they cause crashes, injuries and possibly deaths on the road. Checkpoints can also be used to find unlicensed and uninsured drivers, something that can’t be observed by general driving behaviors.

What Are DUI Checkpoints, And Are They Legal?

These checkpoints are legal under N.C. Gen. Stat. §20-16.3A. While the Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures, the Supreme Court has ruled that DUI is serious enough problem that random checkpoints are legal, and not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Police cannot use checkpoints as a regular method of general crime control, that is, seek out non-traffic related violations.

DUI checkpoints are required to be random, not in the same place on a regular basis. Since surprise is the most effective way of catching inebriated drivers, checkpoints are only identified by flashing police lights.

Generally, the police must have probable cause to stop someone. But in response to the epidemic of drunk driving, checkpoints became an easier way to find and remove drivers from traffic. The government has a direct interest in combating drunk driving, and checkpoints are effective in finding those drivers to get them off the road. The US Supreme Court ruled them legal in response to the demand in 1990.

North Carolina also allows checkpoints to look for uninsured and unlicensed drivers, as well as those using suspended licenses. They don’t need a warrant, only need to follow written policies and ensure that the checks are completely random.

Your Rights DUI Checkpoints

NC DWI Sentencing Guidelines | Dewey Brinkley DWI Attorney in Raleigh

Since the checkpoints are lega but controversial, you can object, but you are still subject to being stopped and questioned.

You can refuse a Breathalyzer test at the checkpoint, but you may be required to take other sobriety testing. Refusing may also imply guilt, you could be brought to the station, and it could harm your case later.

You can also request to wait for your attorney. But that may be interpreted as giving yourself time to allow your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) to decrease before it’s tested.

Don’t Turn Around

If you see a checkpoint, your first temptation may be to turn around and go in the other direction, even if you haven’t been near alcohol.

You may get away with it, and you may not. Police have the right to follow you and pull you over to ask why you decided to avoid the checkpoint. Even without alcohol, police see it as a presumption of guilt and avoiding them. You could even be taken into the station.

The Easy Way To Get Through A DUI Checkpoint

It’s simple: stop when told, answer questions, be polite, comply with the officer’s requests, take a test if asked, and you’ll be on your way. If you haven’t been drinking, you’ll be driving again quickly.

Need Help After A DUI Checkpoint?

Attorney Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He’s aggressively defended numerous DUI cases and will fight for you in court. DUI isn’t something to be taken lightly, and you need someone in your corner. Call the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at 919-832-0307 to schedule your free DUI consultation.

Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Lawyer

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

Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Lawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.    Do you have references?

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

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

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

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

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

Free Consultation

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

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

Arrested Of A DUI Following A Fatal Crash

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

What is a DUI?

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

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

Felony Death By Vehicle

Arrested of a DUI Following a Fatal Crash

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

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

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

What Happens Next?

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

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

DUI Is Double-Faceted

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

Take No Chances With Felony DUI

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

Can You Get Insured After A DWI In Raleigh, NC?

The aftermath of a DWI is devastating. Arrest. Court. Maybe even a conviction. You need time to sort through everything and put your life back together.

When everything’s all over, your license has been restored and you’re back driving again, there’s something else you’ll need before you get behind the wheel—car insurance. But can you get insured after a DWI?

Starting Over

Can You Get Insured After A DWI In Raleigh, NC?

Once your insurance company is informed of your DWI, your policy will either become much more expensive because of the higher risk, or it will be cancelled completely (usually in the form of non-renewal.)

In either case, you may have a difficult time getting insurance again. There are agencies who will issue a policy, but it could be drastically more expensive than before. There are some insurers that offer policies for people who have been arrested and/or convicted of a DWI.

If you have been able to acquire limited driving privileges, you’ll need to make sure you still have car insurance, or if you’ll need to find a new company.

How Long Will This Last?

North Carolina uses a point system, called the Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP). It’s used to calculate your insurance rates in the state. A DWI adds 12 points to your license at once, and your insurance can increase a whopping 400% after a conviction. (If you are a CDL holder and use it for your primary occupation, a DWI could cost you your livelihood.) Those points stay on your driving record for three years, and any additional infractions (tickets, accidents, etc.) will continue to add points and increase your insurance rates. Insurers only look at a driver’s previous three years to assess insurance rates.

Without any additional points, your rates should begin to decrease after three years.

Until Then

You may be stuck paying much higher insurance premiums due to the increased risk. Your liability limits are likely to be higher, too. Or you may decide to find another company that caters to DWI clients, and that might be less expensive. Once you have your license restored, you’ll need to prove to the state that you have auto insurance.

North Carolina requires anyone convicted of a DWI to complete an alcohol/ assessment, and may require an alcohol/drug treatment program during the license suspension.

Many North Carolina insurers will assume the increased risk of a DUI client, and offer policies with that risk. After the stark reality of a DWI, most people don’t repeat the behavior after completing the required processes, assessments and treatments.

Non-Owner’s Policy

One option is to consider is contacting a company that can offer you what’s called a “non-owner’s policy.” That is, you’re insured to drive, even though you don’t own a car However, there are limitations involved.

If you find yourself car-free after your DWI, and you aren’t buying one again for a while, a non-owner’s policy will allow you keep continuous insurance and drive occasionally (if you’re allowed to.)  This is important for future insurance rates as well. The key is whether or not you have “regular access to an automobile.” You’ll only be driving occasionally, not on a daily basis. After a DWI, this may be an option to consider.

We Can Help

Getting your life back together after a DWI in Raleigh isn’t easy. We’ve helped people like you in the Raleigh/Wake County area who have been through DWI. An aggressive DWI defense attorney can help you through the entire process, fight for you and help you get your life back. For a free consultation, contact our office at 919-832-0307 or use the contact form online.

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

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

What Are Your Options?

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

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

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

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

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

What Happens Next?

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

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

·         Restoration of driver’s license: $65.

·         Restoration following a DWI conviction: $130

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

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

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

Your Case

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

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