Common Questions and Helpful Answers About NC Criminal and DWI Charges

It is natural to have many questions and concerns when charged with a crime in North Carolina. These charges can have serious consequences and long-lasting effects on those charged with their families, so they need reliable answers quickly. Here, Todd Browning and Howard Long share their answers to many of these tough questions. Find out their thoughts on DWI, traffic charges, and many other crimes.

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  • How do police decide who to stop for drunk driving in Charlotte?

    Police officers in Mecklenburg County and North Carolina Highway Patrol are trained to look for numerous visual clues and driver behavior patterns when deciding whether to make an investigative stop of a drunk driving suspect. These visual clues, identified by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study on impaired drivers, help officers determine if there is enough reasonable suspicion to justify pulling you over for DWI.

    Outside of DUI checkpoints, police must have reasonable suspicion to legally stop you for drunk driving. 

    How Police Determine Reasonable Suspicion for a DWI Stop

    The visual clues identified by the NHTSA fall into one of the following four categories:

    1. Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position
    2. Speeding and Braking Problems
    3. Vigilance Problems
    4. Judgment Problems

    Visual clues used to identify Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position include:

    • Weaving within a lane
    • Weaving across lane lines
    • Straddling a lane line
    • Swerving
    • Turning with a wide radius
    • Drifting
    • Almost striking a vehicle or other object

    Visual clues used to identify Speeding and Braking Problems include:

    • Stopping problems (too far, too short, too jerky)
    • Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason
    • Varying speed
    • Slow speed (10+ mph under limit)

    Visual clues used to identify Vigilance Problems include:

    • Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one way
    • Slow response to traffic signals
    • Slow or failure to respond to officer’s signals
    • Stopping in lane for no apparent reason
    • Driving without headlights at night
    • Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action

    Visual clues used to identify Judgment Problems include:

    • Following too closely
    • Improper or unsafe lane change
    • Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp)
    • Driving on other than designated roadway
    • Stopping inappropriately in response to officer
    • Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing up, arguing)
    • Appearing to be impaired

    If an officer observed you exhibiting any of these behaviors, he may be legally justified in stopping you for drunk driving, but not always. For example, if you make an illegal turn, you have likely violated the law and an officer is likely justified in stopping you on that fact alone. On the other hand, if you were weaving within your own lane only, an officer is not likely going to be justified in stopping you. When a DWI stop is based on the driver weaving within a lane, North Carolina law generally requires weaving within a lane plus some other fact in order for an officer to make a stop.

    Find Out if Your Charlotte DWI Could be Dropped

    If an officer did not have a legal justification for pulling you over, it may be possible to have your drunk driving charge dismissed based on that lack of reasonable suspicion. If you have been arrested for DWI in the Charlotte metro area, contact a Mecklenburg County DWI defense attorney at Browning & Long, PLLC for a free consultation to evaluate your case and assist in making this determination.

     

  • Will my NC driver’s license be suspended if I refuse to blow or if I'm arrested for DWI?

    It depends. There are numerous instances where your driver's license will be revoked by North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for issues involving or related to driving under the influence. The most common scenarios where the DMV will revoke your driver’s license is when you (i) willfully refuse to submit to chemical analysis (i.e. breath or blood test), (ii) are charged with and/or arrested for driving under the influence, or (iii) are convicted of driving under the influence.

    License Suspension for Willful Refusal to Breathalyzer or Chemical Testing

    The laws of most states, including North Carolina, highly encourage a person suspected of driving under the influence to submit to chemical analysis (i.e. breath or blood test). Such laws do so through the consequences implemented when a person refuses such testing. Specifically, North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 20-16.2(a)(1) informs a driving under the influence suspect that they may refuse any chemical test, but doing so will result in their driver’s license being revoked for a period of one year, and in some cases even longer.

    This often means that if you refuse a chemical test, your driver's license will be revoked for one year. It's important to know the difference between the various breath-testing instruments and the consequences of refusing to blow in these devices. For example, an alcohol screening test, often referred to as a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), is a breath test that is typically administered roadside before you are arrested. Refusing to submit to this test is not considered a willful refusal and will not revoke your driver's license for a period of one year. Thus, an alcohol screening test is not considered a chemical test for this purpose. However, a breath test using the Intoxilyzer 5000 or Intox EC/IR II, as well as a blood draw, are considered chemical tests. If you refuse to submit to these tests, your driver's license may be revoked for a period of one year. The Intoxilyzer 500 and Intox EC/IR II are generally administered after you have been arrested and left the scene.

    License Suspension After Being Charged and/or Arrested for DWI

    Under North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 20-16.5(b), a person driving under the influence is subject to civil revocation of their driver’s license if the following applies:

    1. A law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed an implied consent offense;
    2. The person is charged with an implied consent offense;
    3. The law enforcement officer and the chemical analyst comply with the procedures of G.S. 20-16.2 and G.S. 20-139.1 in requiring the person's submission to or procuring a chemical analysis; and
    4. The person
      • Willfully refuses to submit to the chemical analysis;
      • Has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within a relevant time after the driving;
      • Has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more at any relevant time after the driving of a commercial motor vehicle; or
      • Has any alcohol concentration at any relevant time after the driving and the person is under 21 years of age.

    When your driver's license is revoked under N.C.G.S. 20-16.5(b), the minimum period of revocation is either 30 or 45 days depending on when your driver’s license was surrendered. If your driver’s license is surrendered within five (5) working days of the revocation (generally the day you were charged), the minimum revocation period is 30 days. If your driver’s license is not surrendered within five (5) working days of the revocation, the minimum revocation is generally 45 days from the date you surrender your driver’s license. Additionally, if you have a pending driving under the influence charge or other implied consent offense, your driver's license will be suspended indefinitely until all pending charges are resolved.

    License Suspension After a Drunk Driving Conviction

    A conviction for driving under the influence results in a mandatory revocation of a person’s driver’s license by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) under North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 20-17(a)(2). The length of such driver’s license revocation largely depends on whether you have any prior impaired driving convictions, and if so, the amount of time that has passed since those convictions.

    More information: License Revocation and Restoration After a DWI Conviction in Mecklenburg County

    Contact Our Charlotte DWI License Restoration Lawyers

    If your driver’s license has been revoked due to one of the three common scenarios discussed under this question, it is important to remember that there are often circumstances where a you may be able to legally drive with a limited driving privilege. A DWI defense attorney at Browning & Long, PLLC can assist you in getting you back on the road as soon as possible.

  • What factors will the court consider when sentencing me for a DUI conviction in Mecklenburg County?

    If you have been convicted of DUI in Mecklenburg County, the level of punishment of you will face is determined by the existence and balancing of what are called grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors, or mitigating factors. Several of the following legal terms can be difficult to grasp, so it's always best to consult with a DWI defense attorney if you've been charged.

    Grossly Aggravating Factors for DUI Sentencing

    Grossly aggravating factors are seen as more serious than aggravating factors. The State must prove any grossly aggravating factor beyond a reasonable doubt. With that, the first step in determining the level of punishment you will face if convicted of DUI is to find out whether any grossly aggravating factors exist.

    Four grossly aggravating factors:

    1. A prior conviction for a DUI related offense (See N.C.G.S. 20-4.01(24a) for the list of offenses) if:
      • the prior conviction occurred within seven years of the current DUI offense date;
      • the prior conviction occurred after the current DUI offense date, but before or at the same time as the sentencing in the current DUI case; or
      • the prior conviction was in District Court, the conviction was appealed to Superior Court, the appeal was withdrawn or the case was remanded back to District Court, and a new sentencing hearing for the case has not been held.
    2. At the time of the current DUI offense, you drove while your driver’s license was revoked and the revocation was for a DUI revocation under N.C.G.S. 20-28.2(a).
    3. Your DUI caused serious injury to another person.
    4. At the time of the current DUI offense, you drove while:
      • A child under the age of 18 years was in the vehicle
      • A person with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 years was in the vehicle; or
      • A person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle was in the vehicle.

    Aggravating Factors for DUI Sentencing

    As mentioned, aggravating factors are considered less serious than grossly aggravating factors. However, like grossly aggravating factors, the State must prove any aggravating factor beyond a reasonable doubt. When there are no grossly aggravating factors, or where grossly aggravating factors exist but the judge decides to consider any aggravating and mitigating factors as well, the next step in DUI sentencing is to determine whether any aggravating factors exist.

    Nine aggravating factors:

    1. Gross impairment of your faculties while driving or an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more.
    2. Especially reckless or dangerous driving.
    3. Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident.
    4. Driving while your driver's license was revoked.
    5. Two or more prior convictions of certain motor vehicle offenses for which at least three points are assigned or which subject your driver’s license to revocation, if the convictions occurred within five years of the current offense, or one or more prior convictions of an offense involving DUI that occurred more than seven years before the current offense.
    6. Conviction under N.C.G.S. 20-141.5 of speeding to elude.
    7. Conviction under N.C.G.S. 20-141 of speeding by at least 30 miles per hour over the legal limit.
    8. Passing a stopped school bus in violation of N.C.G.S. 20-217.
    9. Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense.

    Mitigating Factors for DUI Sentencing

    After determining whether any aggravating factors exist, the next step in determining the appropriate level of punishment in DUI sentencing is to see if any mitigating factors exist. It is your burden to prove the existence of any mitigating factor by a preponderance of the evidence.

    Eight mitigating factors:

    1. Slight impairment of your faculties resulting solely from alcohol, and an alcohol concentration that did not exceed 0.09 at any relevant time after the driving.
    2. Slight impairment of your faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to the defendant.
    3. Safe and lawful driving at the time of the offense, except for the DUI.
    4. A safe driving record.
    5. Impairment caused by a lawfully prescribed drug for an existing medical condition, and the amount of the drug taken was within the prescribed dosage.
    6. Voluntary submission to a substance abuse assessment and voluntary participation in the recommended treatment.
    7. Completion of a substance abuse assessment, compliance with its recommendations, and simultaneously maintaining 60 days of continuous abstinence from alcohol consumption, as proven by a continuous alcohol monitoring system.
    8. Any other factor that mitigates the seriousness of the offense.

    DUI/DWI Sentencing Levels of Punishment

    The determination of the appropriate DWI sentencing level of punishment involves balancing the presence of any grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors mentioned above. The chart below summarizes the six sentencing levels and the corresponding punishments authorized by N.C.G.S. 20-179.

    Aggravated Level One

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    Three or more grossly aggravating factors Up to $10,000 If suspended, must require 1-imprisonment of at least 120 days; AND 2-alcohol abstinence of at least 120 days to a maximum of the term of probation, as verified by CAM.
    Imprisonment: 12 months minimum to 36 months maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

    Level One

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    1. Grossly aggravating factor in N.C.G.S. 20-179(c)(4); OR
    2. Two other grossly aggravating factors
    Up to $4,000 If suspended, must require 1-imprisonment of at least 30 days; OR 2-imprisonment of at least 10 days and alcohol abstinence and CAM for at least 120 days
    Imprisonment: 30 days minimum to 24 months maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

    Level Two

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    One grossly aggravating factor Up to $2,000 If suspended, must require 1-imprisonment of at least 7 days; OR 2-alcohol abstinence and CAM for at least 90 days
    Imprisonment: 7 days minimum to 12 months maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

    Level Three

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    Aggravating factors substantially outweigh any mitigating factors Up to $1,000 If suspended, must require one or both of the following: 1-imprisonment for at least 72 hours 2-community service for a term of at least 72 hours
    Imprisonment: 72 hours minimum to 6 months maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

    Level Four

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    No aggravating or mitigating factors or aggravating factors are substantially counterbalanced by mitigating factors Up to $500 If suspended, must require one or both of the following: 1-imprisonment for 48 hours 2-community service for a term of 48 hours
    Imprisonment: 48 hours minimum to 120 days maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

    Level Five

    Factors Fine Probationary Conditions
    Mitigating factors substantially outweigh aggravating factors Up to $200 If suspended, must require one or both of the following:
    1-imprisonment for 24 hours
    2-community service for a term of 24 hours
    Imprisonment: 24 hours to 60 days maximum
    Substance Abuse Assessment Required: Yes

     

    Contact Our Charlotte DUI Lawyers if you have questions regarding a DWI arrest in Mecklenburg County by calling 980-224-4482.

     

  • What is an improper equipment offense and how can it help me if I get a speeding ticket in North Carolina?

    Traffic Ticket for Speeding in North CarolinaAn improper equipment offense is a non-moving violation in North Carolina. You could receive this infraction for faulty equipment, such as a defective speedometer, broken tail light, or improper muffler. If you received a speeding ticket, you may be able to get the charge reduced to an improper equipment offense with the help of an experienced traffic law attorney.

    How Can Getting a Charlotte Speeding Ticket Reduced to an Improper Equipment Offense Help Me?

    It is within the prosecutor’s discretion to reduce a speeding ticket to an improper equipment offense, and you do not have to have a faulty speedometer for the prosecutor to agree to this plea. The most important factors in getting this reduction are the speed that you were driving at and your driving history.

    This could be a good outcome if you were ticketed for speeding. Here is how this can benefit you:

    • Lower fines. You will pay a lower fine for an improper equipment offense than if you plead guilty and pay a speeding ticket. You will also owe an additional fee to the court system, but it still will be less than the fine for a speeding ticket.
    • No points. Unlike a speeding ticket, an improper equipment offense will not result in any points on your driver license. When a sufficient number of points are applied to your driver’s license, your driver’s license could be suspended or revoked.
    • No increased insurance. Because an improper equipment offense is a non-moving violation with no points on your driver’s license, your insurance rates should not increase. You could owe significantly more in insurance premiums for a number of years after receiving a speeding ticket.

    When Are You Ineligible for an Improper Equipment Offense

    Not all speeding tickets can be reduced to an improper equipment offense. Here are some of the circumstances that could make you ineligible for this option:

    • If your speeding ticket was for driving over 85 miles per hour or more than 20 miles over the posted speed limit
    • If your ticket was for speeding in a school or work zone
    • If you already received an improper equipment offense within the last three years
    • If you received another moving violation within the last three years
    • If you received more than three moving violations within the last 10 years

    Have you received a speeding ticket or other traffic citation in Charlotte? Our experienced traffic ticket lawyers are here to help you reach the best possible outcome in your case so that your ticket is dismissed or you owe fewer fines and have fewer long-term consequences. To discuss your options, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation.

     

  • What penalties could I face if I am charged with a CDL-related offense in North Carolina?

    Two Commercial Trucks at a Charlotte Rest StopIf you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), being convicted of a traffic violation can have repercussions on your ability to drive a truck or other commercial vehicle and work. If the violation is serious enough, such as DUI or leaving the scene of an accident, your CDL could be suspended on a temporary basis or revoked. In addition, you could be charged with a CDL-related offense in North Carolina that can result in harsh penalties if you are convicted.

    CDL-Related Offenses and Penalties in North Carolina

    Drivers of commercial vehicles in North Carolina must comply with rules that do not apply to drivers of passenger vehicles. Many of these are federal requirements governing the trucking industry and other commercial drivers. Here are some CDL-related offenses and penalties in North Carolina:

    • Overweight. Vehicles that are overweight for a specific area or road are required to have a permit in order to be driven in the area or road, and the driver must carry the permit in his vehicle. In addition, the load must be loaded in a specific manner, and the vehicle must be licensed for maximum allowable weight. If a driver violates these rules, his permit could be suspended or revoked.
    • Logbook. Under federal regulations, a truck driver must complete a daily logbook that shows how long he drove, when he took a rest break, and provides other required information. This is to ensure that he complied with hours of service regulations that limit the number of hours a commercial driver can drive without taking a break. Violation of this rule by not completing or falsifying the logbook is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail.
    • Speeding while towing a trailer. If a driver is speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit while pulling a trailer, this is considered a severe violation that could result in his CDL being suspended.
    • Lane violations. When a commercial vehicle driver violates lane restrictions on what lanes he can travel on, he could face fines and a revocation of his license for 30 to 60 days. Multiple lane violations could result in a longer or permanent revocation of his CDL license.

    Have you been issued a ticket for one of these violations or another traffic citation while driving a commercial vehicle? You must take your offense seriously because it could affect your CDL license—and ability to work. Our experienced Charlotte traffic ticket attorneys are here to help you achieve the best outcome possible. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • I received a ticket in North Carolina for unsafe movements involving a motorcycle. What is this offense and what penalties could I face?

    A Motorcyclist on a North Carolina RoadWhile receiving a ticket for unsafe driving that involved a motorcycle may not seem like a big deal that requires a lawyer’s assistance, it can result in a hefty fine and long-term consequences in your life. Retaining an experienced Charlotte traffic ticket attorney can help avoid these harsh penalties.

    Unsafe Movement That Involves a Motorcycle Traffic Offense and Penalties in Charlotte

    Making unsafe movements when driving can apply to many unsafe driving practices, such as unsafe lane changes or improper turns. This ticket is often issued when there is a near-accident or collision. Under an amendment to this statute, the legislature made the penalties even harsher when a motorcycle is involved in the violation. You can be ticketed for this offense if you make an unsafe movement and cause a vehicle to change travel lanes or to leave a public road or highway. Here are the potential penalties you could face if convicted:

    • The minimum fine assessed is $200.
    • If the unsafe movement results in property damage or injuries to the motorcycle rider or his passengers, the fine could be increased to a minimum of $500 and may be even more.
    • If the property damage is more than $5,000 or the rider or a passenger suffers serious bodily injury, the minimum fine increases to $750. In addition, your driver’s license could be suspended for up to 30 days. However, you may be able to obtain limited driving privileges during this time period.

    In addition to the large fines that you may have to pay, you could also incur other long-term expenses. Four points will be added to your driver’s license. This can increase your insurance premiums by as much as 25 percent.

    Even if you want to just pay the ticket, you will need to attend at least one court hearing to resolve your citation. However, a lawyer may be able to appear on your behalf so that you do not have to take time off work to do so.

    You may have defenses to an unsafe movement ticket that can result in it being dismissed or reduced to a less serious traffic violation—even if you violated this law. To learn more about your options, call our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Charlotte traffic ticket lawyers.

     

  • Can I be charged with reckless driving in North Carolina if I live out-of-state?

    Out of State Driver That Is Being Charged With Reckless DrivingIf you live in another state, you can be charged with reckless driving and face the same punishment as a person who resides in North Carolina. Unfortunately, reckless driving is not the same as a traffic violation in our state. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and the penalties if convicted include a jail sentence of up to 60 days, fine of up to $1,000, driver’s license suspension, and points on your driving record. You would also have a permanent criminal record.

    Will You Have to Attend a Court Hearing If Charged With Reckless Driving in North Carolina?

    Reckless driving is not a “waivable offense” where you can pay the fine before the court hearing date and not appear in court. You must attend the scheduled court hearing even if you just want to plead guilty. If you fail to appear, you could owe additional court costs, and the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. However, our experienced reckless driving attorneys may be able to attend your court hearing on your behalf without the need for you to be present.

    How Will a North Carolina Reckless Driving Conviction Affect Your Driving Record in Your Home State?

    North Carolina is a member of the Driver License Compact. It is an interstate compact of states used to exchange information about driver’s license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents. Currently, 45 states are members of the compact.

    The Department of Motor Vehicles in North Carolina would report your driver’s license suspension and reckless driving conviction to your home state if it is a member of the Driver License Compact. Your state would treat the conviction as it if occurred in the state where you live.

    If you live in another state and are charged with reckless driving in North Carolina, you must retain an attorney licensed in our state to represent you in court. Our experienced Charlotte reckless driving attorneys have the added advantage of being former prosecutors, so we understand their strategies in these cases. To learn about our extensive experience and commitment to providing our clients with the best possible defense, start an online chat or call our office to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • What racing crimes could I be charged with in North Carolina?

    Car Racing Down a Charlotte RoadIllegally racing a vehicle is a serious crime in North Carolina, and if convicted, you could face many long-term consequences. These are misdemeanor offenses which can result in you having a permanent criminal record. Besides the punishments for a misdemeanor, you may lose your driver’s license for a lengthy period of time and have your vehicle seized.

    Common Racing Offenses in North Carolina

    There are two offenses that you can be charged with for illegal racing. They are:

    • Prearranged racing. It is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway willfully in a prearranged race with another motor vehicle. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor with possible penalties of a fine, probation, and jail time depending on your prior criminal record. If convicted, your driver’s license would be revoked for three years, but you may request that it be reinstated after 18 months. In addition, your vehicle would be seized at your arrest. It would be sold, and you would incur 12 insurance points if you are convicted.
    • Willful racing. It is also a crime to operate a motor vehicle on a street or highway willfully in a speed competition with another vehicle. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and the punishment includes possible driver’s license revocation for one year. However, this is discretionary. Ten insurance points would be incurred. The police are not authorized to seize and sell your vehicle if you are convicted.

    There are other crimes associated with illegal racing that are also Class 1 misdemeanors:

    • Loaning a vehicle for racing. It is illegal to loan a motor vehicle for use in prearranged racing. If convicted, the owner would face a three-year suspension of his driver’s license but could request that it be reinstated after 18 months. He would also incur 10 insurance points.
    • Betting on a prearranged race. You could be charged with this offense for placing or receiving a bet on the outcome of a prearranged race on a street or highway. If convicted, your driver’s license would be suspended for three years—the same as if you were found guilty of prearranged racing.

    Have you been charged with illegal racing in North Carolina? Our experienced traffic ticket attorneys are here to mount a strong defense so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule your free consultation, call our office or start an online chat today.

     

  • Will I be required to install an interlock ignition device on my vehicle after a DWI conviction?

    Charlotte Resident Using an Interlock Ignition While in a CarIf you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, your driver’s license could be suspended for 30 days for a first conviction and for longer for a subsequent conviction or failure to consent to a breathalyzer test at the time you were arrested. Losing your ability to drive can have long-term consequences on your ability to work and your ability to get where you need to go. In order to get your driving privileges restored, the court could require you to install an interlock ignition device.

    What Is an Interlock Ignition Device?

    An interlock ignition device is an alcohol-testing device that attaches to your dashboard and is similar to what is used to administer a breathalyzer test. You cannot turn on your vehicle until you blow into the device, and it measures your blood alcohol content. If it registers any level of alcohol, your ignition will not start. It also requires you to take the test at random times when you are driving. If you fail the test, your vehicle will shut down. In order to restart it, you would need to contact the system’s provider to reset it.

    When Is an Ignition Interlock Device Required?

    If this is a first offense DWI, you probably will not be required to install an ignition interlock device. However, the court would order it installed in these situations:

    • You were convicted of DWI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.15 percent.
    • You were convicted of more than one DWI during a seven-year period.

    Who Pays for Installation and Maintenance of This Device?

    Unfortunately, you must pay for the installation and monthly rental and maintenance fees for the ignition interlock device and must obtain it from a court-approved facility. This can be costly over time.

    Have you been charged with DWI in Charlotte? Call us or start an online chat to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced DWI attorneys. We will be happy to discuss your case with you and how we can help ensure that the penalties you face are as minor as possible.

     

  • What is a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) in North Carolina?

    North Carolina Do Not Resuscitate OrderIn North Carolina, a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) is a medical order signed by a physician that alerts emergency personnel that you do not wish to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a medical emergency. This means that if you have DNR in place, health care professionals will not try to revive you by using CPR if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. The DNR is only a decision to withhold CPR, not the administration of other medical treatments such as a feeding tube, surgery, blood transfusions, and pain medicine. These latter medical treatments, as well as other life-prolonging measures, are typically addressed in a person’s living will, either on its own or as part of a health care power of attorney. 

    Unlike a living will and a health care power of attorney, a DNR is not a necessary component to everyone’s North Carolina estate plan. In fact, careful consideration should be given before having a DNR implemented. In most circumstances, a DNR is used only for the very elderly, the frail, and the critically ill for whom it wouldn't make sense to perform CPR. Additionally, not understanding the difference between a living will and a DNR may result in medical treatments being administered, or withheld, in a manner inconsistent with your desires. 

    It is advisable to discuss the option of a DNR with both your North Carolina estate planning attorney, who may be able to utilize other legal tools to better address your goals and objectives, and your physician, who would be the person who needs to prepare and sign the DNR order, to ensure that your health care decisions are planned effectively. 

    Our estate planning attorneys are here to answer your questions and help achieve your goals and objectives. Call our North Carolina office today at (980) 207-3355, or contact us online, to discuss your estate planning needs.