Archive for June 2013

The Difference Between a Driving Restriction and a DWI

If you’ve been convicted of a first time standard DWI offense where the blow does not exceed .15, North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 20-19(c3) provides: For the first restoration of a drivers license for a person convicted of driving while impaired, G.S. 20-138.1, or a drivers license revoked pursuant to G.S. 20-23 or G.S. 20-23.2…

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Can the State Require the Defendant to Pay for the State’s Witnesses?

The Sixth Amendment affords the Defendant the right to confront witnesses against him or her. This right can be waived. This right has certain exceptions and caveats. But in recent years, following Crawford v. Washington and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Bullcoming v. New Mexico, the Supreme Court of the United States has reiterated that the…

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Per Se BAC Limits and DWI Cases

Shea Denning has a hypothetical DWI jury instructions question at the UNC School of Government’s Criminal Law blog. She asks whether, in a per se DWI case, the judge should give the pattern jury instruction which includes the line: “The results of a chemical analysis are deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration.”…

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North Carolina Structured Sentencing is looking more like Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Generally, North Carolina law has abjured the use of special sentencing enhancements for most crimes. In our structured sentencing system, if convicted of a crime, a defendant is sentenced in the presumptive, unless the state can prove that aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors or the defense can prove mitigating factors outweigh aggravating factors. (DWIs and…

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Be Careful Out There: Hiring a Lawyer is an Important Decision

I was recently approached by a recent law school graduate. This person is not currently practicing law. He is doing something else with his life. He approached me because he had a potential client who was interested in hiring him, but he felt as though he didn’t have the experience to handle the matter. Ultimately,…

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Win or Lose, Clients Want an Excellent Defense

Not every case is won, no matter who you hire to represent you. Sometimes the facts or circumstances go against you especially in DWI cases where the law in North Carolina is very difficult to beat. I’ve won my share, but I’ve also lost. I hate losing, but it happens. It’s the nature of being…

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The New Wake County Justice Center

As of July 2013, Wake County moved its criminal courthouse from the previous courthouse on Fayetteville Street. The new courthouse (called the Wake County Justice Center) has many more elevators, has escalators to lower level floors, and, best of all, a lot of natural light. The old courthouse will be dedicated to mostly civil matters,…

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Are your phones being tapped?

I live by the adage that you should never say anything on the phone or write anything on the internet or via email that you do not want to hear twice – first when you say or write it, and again when confronted by it in a court of law. That’s not to say that…

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Cruel and Unusual North Carolina Drug Trafficking Laws

Drug laws in North Carolina are notoriously harsh, in part because relatively small quantities of drugs can result in trafficking charges that create mandatory minimums even for people who have never been in trouble with the law before. One of the quirks of North Carolina law that makes its drug laws even harsher than some…

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