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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Can I be charged with reckless driving in North Carolina if I live out-of-state?
If 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.
Facing Reckless Driving Charges?
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?
Illegally 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.
Facing Racing Charges?
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?
If 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?
In 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.
When is a DNR Necessary?
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.
Talk To an Estate Planning Attorney
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.
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Is it illegal to text and drive in North Carolina?
Any form of distracted driving is unsafe, but using a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distractions that lead to accidents. In North Carolina, it is illegal to text and drive. Violating this law can result in stiff fines and harsh penalties if you are a school bus or commercial truck driver.
What Is North Carolina’s Law on Texting and Driving?
While most motorists over 18 years old are allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving, texting while driving is banned. North Carolina is a “primary law” state, which means that the police can stop you and issue you a ticket solely for violating this law. It is illegal for drivers to:
- Manually enter letters or text in a cell phone in an effort to communicate with another individual
- Read an e-mail or text transmitted to or stored in an electronic device
There are exceptions to this ban on texting and driving. It will not apply in these situations:
- The driver is lawfully parked or stopped
- The person is a police officer, firefighter, or ambulance driver texting while they are performing official duties
- The technology used is a factory-installed or after-purchased GPS
- The person is using voice-operated technology
Fines and Drivers' License Points
A violation of this traffic law is a civil infraction that is punishable by a $100 fine. A person will not have drivers’ license points placed on his driving record or face higher insurance costs.
If the individual violating the texting ban is a school bus driver, it would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, not a civil infraction. The penalty is a fine of at least $100.
There are more severe penalties if the person is driving a commercial vehicle. Commercial truck drivers are also prohibited from texting and driving under federal regulations. Two convictions within three years will result in the person’s commercial license being suspended for 60 days while three convictions within this time period could result in a 120-day revocation.
Speak To a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Today
Did you receive a traffic ticket for texting while driving in Charlotte? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to answer your questions and help you achieve the best possible outcome with fewer long-term consequences. Call our Charlotte office today to schedule your free consultation.
Do I need an attorney if I have been charged with reckless driving in North Carolina?
You may consider trying to save money by attending your court hearing for your reckless driving charges on your own. However, retaining an experienced reckless driving attorney is in your best interests, and it may be more affordable to do so than you may think
Why You Need to Retain an Experienced Reckless Driving Attorney
You may not realize it, but you do have options for fighting a reckless driving charge even if you believe that you are guilty. Here are reasons why you want an experienced reckless driving attorney at your side:
- Misdemeanor offense. Reckless driving is not a traffic offense in North Carolina. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, it will result in a permanent criminal record, points on your driving record, increased insurance costs, and a possible driver’s license suspension. You may be able to avoid some of these harsh consequences if you are represented by an attorney.
- Possible defenses. You may have defenses to the charges, such as speedometer calibration, GPS defense, lack of probable cause to stop you, and other violations of your constitutional rights, even if you are guilty. A skilled lawyer will be able to identify these defenses and use them to fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
- Court hearing. You are required to appear at a court hearing when charged with reckless driving in North Carolina. However, your attorney may be able to attend your hearing without you so that you do not have to miss work and lose wages.
- Plea bargain. An attorney will be able to enter into a more favorable plea agreement if that is in your best interest. He may be able to use facts in your case, such as a clean driving record or successful completion of a driver improvement course, to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges to a less serious traffic offense.
Contact a Reckless Driving Attorney
At Browning & Long, PLLC, we are committed to aggressively fighting for the rights of our clients facing reckless driving charges. We have the added advantage of being former prosecutors, which gives us a greater understanding of the strategies that they employ in these cases. To learn more about your possible defenses and how we can assist you, start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today.
What defenses could I have after being arrested for shoplifting?
If you have been charged with shoplifting as a misdemeanor or felony in Charlotte, it would be a big mistake not to take the charges seriously. The punishment could be a jail or prison sentence, a large fine, and a permanent criminal record. Fortunately, even if you are guilty, you may have strong defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
Defenses That Can Help You Fight Shoplifting Charges
There are a number of defenses that can be present in any criminal case, such as the failure to give you your Miranda warnings or questioning you after you invoke your right to remain silent that could be applicable to your arrest. However, there are also defenses specific to the crimes of shoplifting and what must be proven to convict you of this offense in North Carolina. The prosecutor must prove these two elements:
- You intentionally concealed or possessed items for sale.
- You intended to permanently deprive the business of the item without paying for it.
You will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to identify and raise the defenses that you have to shoplifting charges. Some effective ones that he may use to defend you include:
- Lack of intent. Because the crime of shoplifting requires an intent on your part to intentionally conceal and possess the goods and to deprive the store of them, your lawyer may challenge this aspect of the prosecutor’s case. He may present evidence that you did not intend to steal the items. Depending on the facts in your case, he may be able to show that you accidentally forgot to pay or that you tried to go back and return the merchandise as soon as you realized your mistake.
- Challenging witnesses. In some cases, there is video footage of the shoplifting. However, the prosecutor may rely on witness testimony as to how they saw the crime being committed. These witnesses can be store employees, other customers, or bystanders. A skilled attorney may be able to challenge their observations as unreliable or completely false.
Facing Shoplifting Charges?
Have you been arrested for shoplifting in Charlotte? Our skilled legal team can help you build a strong defense to the charges that you face and will aggressively fight for the best outcome possible. To learn more about your defenses and options, schedule your free consultation today.
Can my DWI charge be reduced to wet reckless in North Carolina?
A DWI conviction comes with harsh penalties, such as a jail sentence, fine of up to $10,000, driver’s license suspension, and a permanent criminal record. If you are charged with this offense, it is essential that you retain an experienced DWI attorney who can build a strong defense to charges you face. In some states, prosecutors will reduce a DWI to something called a Wet Reckless, however, in North Carolina this in not an option.
When Can Your Charges Be Pled Down to a Wet Reckless Offense?
In other states or jurisdictions, a wet reckless is a reckless driving offense involving alcohol. It is less serious than a DWI conviction but a more serious offense than a reckless driving conviction that does not involve alcohol. Prosecutors consider reducing a DWI to a wet reckless if this is your first offense of DWI and mitigating circumstances are present. These mitigating circumstances include:
- This is your first offense of DWI in North Carolina and any other state.
- Your impairment was due to alcohol and not any other substance, such as drugs.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was 1.0 percent or lower.
- You have a safe driving record.
- You were polite and cooperative when arrested.
Why Is a Wet Reckless Not an Option in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, there is not such thing as a wet reckless. The Legislature did not create a crime called a wet reckless or any other lesser included offense to a DWI. Accordingly, North Carolina District Attorney's do not offer to reduce DWI charges. They either proceed to trial on the DWI charge or dismiss the case if there is insufficient evidence.
How an Experienced DWI Attorney Can Help.
Although a DWI charge will not be reduced in North Carolina, if you a charged with multiple crimes along with your DWI an experienced attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have those charges dismissed pursuant to a plea. Additionally, an experienced DWI attorney will thoroughly examine all aspects of your DWI investigation to determine if a mistake was made or a right was violated. If so, a skilled attorney will be able to advocate for a dismissal of your DWI charge or take it to trial.
Contact Us for Help Today
If you have been arrested for DWI in Charlotte, you need an experienced DWI attorney on your side if you hope to successfully fight a DWI charge. To learn how our skilled lawyers can assist you, start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today.
What are defenses to speeding to elude arrest charges?
In North Carolina, speeding to elude arrest is a serious offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Fortunately, you may have defenses to these charges even if you believe that you are guilty. However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to build a strong defense so that the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
What Is Speeding to Elude Arrest?
It is considered speeding to elude arrest to operate a motor vehicle on a highway, street, or public road while fleeing or attempting to flee a police officer who is performing his duties. It can be charged as a felony if at least two of a list of aggravating factors are present. Some of these factors include:
- Driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit
- Having a gross impairment of a person’s faculties due to intoxication caused by drug or alcohol use or having a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent or higher
- Engaging in reckless driving under North Carolina laws
- Passing a school bus that is stopped
The penalties can include a jail or prison sentence, fines, and driver’s license suspension.
Common Defenses to Speeding to Elude Arrest
Fortunately, you may have defenses that can help you avoid the harsh penalties that you face. These defenses may result in the prosecutor not being able to meet the burden of proof for you to be found guilty. Some of these defenses include:
- Lack of knowledge. You must have known that the police officer was ordering you to pull over or was otherwise pursuing you in order to be convicted. If you can show that you had a lack of knowledge that you were being stopped, this could be a strong defense.
- Official capacity of an officer. You are only required to pull over if a police officer in his official capacity orders you to do so. If you did not know that the law enforcement official was acting in his official capacity, you may not have been obligated to stop.
- Self-defense. While a rare defense, you could claim you were acting in self-defense by fleeing if you were doing so to protect another person or yourself.
- No mitigating factors. If you are being charged with a felony, you may be able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor if you can show that no aggravating factors were present.
These are defenses specific to this crime. You may have other defenses that a skilled attorney can raise for you.
Were You Charged With Speeding To Elude Arrest?
Being charged with speeding to elude arrest could result in your imprisonment and in you having a permanent criminal record. If you face these charges, we are here to thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading to your arrest, build a strong defense, and fight for the best possible outcome. To learn more about how we can help, call our office to schedule your free consultation.
Can the police search my car after pulling me over for driving while impaired in North Carolina?
Under the United States and North Carolina constitutions, you are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. In general, this means that the police must obtain a search warrant before searching your vehicle. However, there are exceptions to this rule when a police officer stops you for driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina.
When Can the Police Search Your Vehicle Without a Search Warrant When Stopping You for DWI?
There are a number of exceptions to the rule against unreasonable searches and seizures that allow the police to search a vehicle without a warrant when stopping someone for DWI. These include the following:
- Probable cause. If the police have probable cause to believe that you are participating in criminal activity or that there is evidence of a crime in your vehicle, they can search your vehicle without a warrant. Examples of probable cause include seeing something in plain view, such as a gun or drugs, smelling marijuana or alcohol in your vehicle, or observing your bloodshot eyes or an odor of alcohol.
- Searches incident to your arrest. The police may be allowed to search your vehicle incident to your arrest to look for guns or other evidence relating to your arrest.
- Consent. If you consent to the search of your vehicle, the police would be permitted to do so. You should not consent to the search of your vehicle as you would be waiving your right to challenge the search if evidence is found that can be used against you. Your refusal to permit a search without a search warrant cannot be used against you later in court.
What Should You Do If You’re Pulled Over?
If the police stop you, remain calm and polite. You should stop your vehicle, roll down the window, and put your hands on your steering wheel where they are in plain view. You should also say as little as possible while answering the officer’s basic questions.
Have you been arrested for DWI in Mecklenburg County? Our experienced DWI defense attorneys are here to answer your questions and help you build a strong defense to the charges that you face. Fill out our online form or call our Charlotte office to schedule your free initial consultation.