Tag Archives: north carolina criminal defense lawyer

Breaking and Entering Penalties

If you are implicated in a breaking and entering offense in North Carolina, understanding the penalties and how they apply to your specific case is vital. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer should be your first step. While it might be daunting to navigate through the complex legal system, partnering with a seasoned defense lawyer can guide you through every legal turn, potentially reducing your sentencing or even getting charges dropped altogether. In this article, we discuss breaking and entering charges in North Carolina so penalties if convicted.

What is Breaking and Entering in North Carolina?

breaking and entering

Breaking and entering have penalties ranging from probation to prison time. In North Carolina, breaking and entering is defined as illegally entering someone else’s property without permission or authorization. It is considered to be a type of burglary, which is usually classified as either a first- or second-degree offense, depending on the circumstances of what happened.

The severity of the sentence for breaking and entering will depend on a variety of factors, such as whether any property was stolen or damaged during the incident. The judge will also take into account whether or not this was your first offense or what other charges are on your criminal record.

First vs. Second-Degree Burglary

With first-degree burglary, there were people in the home or commercial building that has been entered. It cannot be the area around the home, and there must be an intent to commit a felony. According to NC § 14-51., it is punishable as a Class D Felony and is punishable by up to 204 months of incarceration.

Second-degree burglary charges can be filed against you even if you are in the curtilage, or area around the dwelling. Usually, the dwelling isn’t occupied. The maximum jail time for this Class G Felony is 47 months.

Contact a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been charged with breaking and entering North Carolina, it’s important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. As an experienced attorney, Dewey P. Brinkley will be able to review your case and develop a strategy that will help minimize any potential penalties that you may face.

He will also be able to explain all your options so that you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed with your case. Contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at (919) 832-0307 or by using the online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Is Boating Under the Influence (BUI) a Crime in NC?

Boating Under the Influence in North Carolina is illegal. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws are related or similar to driving while impaired (driving under the influence) (DWI/DUI) laws and carry similar consequences if convicted. It may be necessary to reach out to a DWI defense attorney for advice and help.

The key difference between DWI/DUI and BUI is that DUI is for cars and other motor vehicles on land whereas the BUI means operating a boat or other watercraft, such as jet skis, when impaired by alcohol or other controlled substances (drugs). In this article, we’ll provide an overview of BUI laws in North Carolina and some comparisons to DUI. If you have been arrested for this crime or DWI/DUI, you should retain a good North Carolina defense attorney.

What is BUI in North Carolina?

boat capsized due to BUI (boating under influence)

The state of North Carolina defines “boating under the influence” as operating any boat while having consumed enough alcohol or drugs to impair one’s ability to do so safely. It outlines this in G.S. 75A-10(b1). North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 75a-10 refers to Operating a Vessel While Impaired – “Boating While Impaired” commonly referred to as “BWI” “Drunk Boating” or “Impaired Boating.”

It should also be noted that minors, those under the age of 21, are prohibited from operating any watercraft after having consumed any amount of alcohol or other intoxicants; otherwise, they face harsher penalties than adults would for similar offenses.

Drunk Boating Vs. Drunk Driving

The main difference between BWI and DWI is that one occurs on the water while the other occurs on land. While both offenses are dangerous, drunk boating has the potential for even greater danger due to a lack of boating experience, lack of marked roadways, and the unpredictable nature of the environment. Not only does this increase the risk of an accident occurring, but it also increases the chances of severe injury or death due to drowning.

On the other hand, there are many more drivers on land as it is our chief form of personal transportation. So statistically you are more likely to be in a car accident or possibly cause a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 31% of traffic fatalities in the US involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher).  Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes. There is no comparison when it comes to BWI accidents. Boating under the influence though accounts for 50% of boating accidents according to stats.

Despite sharing common definitions with impairing driving laws, boating while impaired and surfing or skiing while impaired are not implied consent offenses. This means that boaters, skiers, and surfers—unlike drivers—are not considered to have provided consent to testing to a chemical analysis if charged with a BUI and that a refusal to be tested does not cause driver’s license revocation.

Penalties from a BUI Conviction

If you are arrested for Boating Under the Influence in North Carolina, there are numerous potential consequences that could result from your conviction. Penalties can be harsher depending on factors such as prior criminal history and degree of intoxication at the time of arrest.

Possible punishments range from fines and jail time to license revocation and community service requirements; however, it is important to note that these vary greatly based on individual circumstances and the severity of the offense. For instance, first-time offenders may receive leniency when compared to multiple-offense offenders who could face more severe punishments such as mandatory jail time or loss of their boating privileges permanently.

Most North Carolina BUIs are class 2 misdemeanors. The sentence a court can impose depends on the offender’s criminal history. But generally, North Carolina BUI offenders face $250 to $1,000 in fines and a maximum of 60 days in jail.

For DWI/DUI penalties, see our site.

Defenses to a BUI Charge in North Carolina

Lack of Evidence: One of the most common defenses to a BWI is that you were not impaired or operating the vessel in a negligent manner at the time of your arrest. This can be established through witness testimony or physical evidence, such as sobriety tests or breathalyzer results. However, if no chemical analysis was provided, then that particular physical evidence has not been provided and is not available as proof of impairment.

Lack of Probable Cause: Additionally, it is possible to argue that the arresting officers lacked probable cause for making the arrest in the first place, rendering any evidence obtained from it invalid.

Inaccurate Results: Another defense involves challenging the accuracy of breathalyzer results. These devices are not always accurate and can be affected by factors such as radio frequency interference, improper calibration, or even environmental factors like temperature and humidity. If these issues can be demonstrated in court, then it may be possible to have any breathalyzer evidence thrown out and have charges reduced or dismissed.

Mitigating Factors: There may even be mitigating circumstances surrounding an individual’s charge that can reduce liability or result in lesser penalties if accepted by a judge or jury. For example, an accused person may have been found operating their vessel after consuming alcohol due to an emergency such as medical distress or a mechanical malfunction on board their vessel. By demonstrating these extenuating circumstances in court, it may be possible to avoid conviction of a BUI charge in North Carolina.

Contact a DWI Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with BUI, it’s important to have experienced legal representation. Working with a criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and options in North Carolina.

Leading DWI defense attorney lawyer Dewey Brinkley has helped many clients fight against DWI/ DUI accusations. He understands the seriousness of the charges and will act with discretion while vigorously challenging the prosecution’s case. If he cannot assist you with your BUI charges, his legal reputation and associations within the North Carolina legal community will enable him to make recommendations.

Contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at (919) 832-0307 or by using the online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Are DWI Records Public in North Carolina?

If you’ve ever been arrested for anything, it’s very possible that anyone can find it with some online or offline searching. This includes being arrested for a Driving While Impaired(DWI). Therefore DWI records are public in North Carolina.

In  general, criminal records are considered public information throughout the United States. For example in Florida,  every arrest, including court dates, is a public record and easily accessible. Criminal records are available through courthouses as well as “people finder” websites. Using these third-party websites is frequently easier because the information is not limited to availability by locale. Employers may do a search on you if you are applying for a job.

The information from third-party websites can serve as a starting point for anyone looking for a specific record or several records on an individual. However online search sites are not government-sponsored. Availability may vary by the provider and some of the information may not be entirely correct.

Freedom Of Information

Are DUI Records Public in North Carolina?No matter what you’ve been arrested for, including DWI, anyone can learn about your arrest through a public record search unless it’s been expuncted from your record, meaning removed, also called “expunged” in some states.

North Carolina’s Freedom of Information Law allows the public to inspect and examine government-created records. State public criminal records are available in several databases in North Carolina. They are maintained by the courts and law enforcement agencies. These records are also accessible online and allow citizens to request copies for reasonable fees.

North Carolina’s court system also maintains a complete database of charges (arrests) and convictions made in conjunction with law enforcement agencies throughout the state. You can obtain certified copies by mail or in person, or by visiting a local police station.

Wake County utilizes the North Carolina Public Records Law, found at N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, further explains public records. North Carolina requires that public records are to be made available to the public for a nominal cost or for free, as well as via Internet accessibility. Online access to these public records makes things easier for the public and saves Wake County time, money, and resources.

Effects of DWI Arrest

If you’ve been arrested, you will be required to disclose it when asked on employment applications, as well as applications for credit, college, and housing. The exception is if the arrest was expuncted from your record. In the case of DWI, expunction is only possible if the case was dismissed.  Please note, North Carolina does not allow for expunction of DWI convictions.  Be forewarned that if you don’t tell the truth on your application, a background check will certainly reveal the truth for you.

Another direct impact of a DWI arrest is the marked increase in your insurance rates. As a newly branded “high-risk driver,” your rates will increase almost instantly after your arrest. Many companies will refuse to insure drivers who have been arrested for DWI and drop you entirely. However, there are companies that will insure someone who has been arrested, albeit expensively.


Depending on the type of job you have, it is possible you could be terminated after an arrest for DWI. This is particularly true if driving is a vital part of your job. Bus drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and other driving-centric jobs may, at the least, suspend you after a DWI arrest.

If you are terminated and need to seek new employment, it is possible to find additional employment. However, you will be ineligible for several different types of jobs, including:

• Jobs in which you’re required to drive
• Military enlistment and other government jobs
• Jobs that require the handling of very confidential information
• Jobs that require working with children, such as daycare and teaching

During an interview, it’s best to wait until asked about any arrests or convictions, but of course, don’t lie. Give a brief description of the circumstances that led to the DWI, what you’ve done since then to correct things, including rehab, and what you learned.
Your DWI defense attorney can advise you on your case and how to proceed with the employment.

Fight The DWI

Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI cases. He will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. 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.

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.


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.


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.


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 by using our online contact form.