Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What steps should I be taking outside legal guidance to help my DWI case?”
With so many holidays right around the corner, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the imperative of calling your attorney immediately if you are arrested or face new criminal charges this holiday season.
Ignoring criminal legal issues around this time of year can be all too easy—if you’re already in an eggnog haze for dealing with Aunt Linda’s dire political musings over the dinner table, why not add one more thing to the list and put the extra money towards the kids’ stocking stuffers?—but the truth is that waiting to deal with criminal charges until after the holidays can permanently damage your case, rights and freedom.
Take, for example, one of the most common charges around this time of year—Driving While Impaired. A DWI is what is known as an implied consent crime in North Carolina; for the privilege of driving on state roads and highways, you impliedly consent to submit to an approved blood or breath test if you are pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving. Failing to call your attorney as soon as you are arrested for or charged with this offense can have a serious detrimental impact on your rights. Below are just a few examples.
- Losing your right to challenge license revocation for refusal. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test after being pulled for suspicion of DWI, you will face an “automatic” driver’s license revocation for one (1) year for the refusal alone. There is a short period of time during which you can challenge this revocation, but this challenge must be entered at your initial appearance or within 10 days of the effective date of your revocation. If you wait past this point to call your attorney, your license will be revoked automatically and you will have lost your right to challenge it.
- Losing your right to have a hearing on the record about your revocation. Even if you aren’t arrested for a DWI over the holidays, failing to follow up with your attorney on a pending case during this time can cause you to lose other rights. For example, if you previously challenged your revocation for refusal to submit to a chemical analysis but the revocation was sustained, you have the right to petition the superior court for an on-the-record hearing on the matter—but only if you do so within 30 days. A hearing on the record is a powerful tool your attorney can use to attack the State’s case against you and restore your driving privileges; failing to petition for this in time will cause you to lose this right.
- Losing your right to challenge license revocation for blowing a 0.08. If you do submit to an approved chemical analysis test and blow a 0.08 or more (or 0.04 if you are driving a commercial vehicle, or any alcohol concentration if you are under 21), then you will face an automatic 30-day revocation/suspension of your driver’s license. This “automatic” revocation can also be challenged, but again, you must raise this challenge at either your initial appearance or within 10 days of the effective date of your revocation. Sitting on this right to challenge your license revocation will cause you to lose that right.
- Missing the chance to obtain limited driving privileges. If you have had your license revoked your attorney may be able to petition the court for you to obtain limited driving privileges that still allow you to drive for essential purposes related to work, education, court-ordered treatment or assessment, and religious worship. If you continue to drive while your license is revoked or suspended, this can have severe consequences. For example, driving with a license that was suspended because of an impaired driving offense is generally a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail and permanent revocation of your license.
Forfeiting your rights by trying to ignore new or pending criminal charges over the holidays is not just limited to DWI, but we hope this serves to illustrate the importance of the matter. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are just a call away to aggressively defend these rights.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, please contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our attorneys stand at the ready to defend you against state or federal charges. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Brad Smith is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of criminal defense, DUI / DWI defense and traffic defense.
Mr. Smith was born and raised in Charlotte. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney before entering private practice in 2006.
In his free time, Mr. Smith enjoys traveling, boating, golf, hiking and spending time with his wife and three children.
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