Will I lose my license?

If you register a .08 or greater on a blood or breath test or you have been alleged to have refused such a test, you lose your privilege to drive in North Carolina (and your license if it is a North Carolina license) for 30 days. Some people are eligible for a driving privilege after 10 days.

If you are alleged to have refused there is an additional DMV process and an additional hearing to determine if you lose your license for a year based on that refusal. That DMV suspension process is completely separate, apart, and different from the state criminal process that you will be facing on your DWI charge. We can help you with the DMV process as well. We need to request a hearing promptly or you will lose that right and your license.

Will I have to appear at every court date?

Sometimes you can be excused from court dates, but generally, you will have to appear. The initial proceedings will be held in front of the Magistrate who set your bond and seized your license.

The next level of proceedings occurs in District Court where a judge will sit as judge and jury and determine whether you are guilty or not guilty and what sentence he/she will impose. After that hearing, you have the right to appeal and ask for a jury trial de novo (which means you start fresh) at the Superior Court level in front of a jury and a judge. Some issues are heard in front a judge in Superior Court, but juries of 12 decide fact issues.

When will I be tried? When will I be sentenced?

You will usually be sentenced on the day of your trial in District Court or Superior Court. Sometimes sentencing is delayed so that you can produce other mitigating evidence or the State can provide its evidence. If you are eligible for a driving privilege, it may be issued the day you are sentenced for DWI. There is no set time for trials to occur and in many cases they are delayed for a very long time before they are heard.

I wasn't read my Miranda rights. Will the charges be dismissed?

Usually not, though any statements you make in response to questions after your arrest to an officer are not admissible unless you are read your Miranda rights prior to those statements.

Will I go to jail?

If it is your first offense and there are no other seriously or grossly aggravating factors, it is unlikely that you will go to jail. If it is your second offense within 7 years and you are convicted, it is almost certain that you will be sentenced to jail. Jail can often be offset in the judge's discretion with inpatient treatment. We will discuss that option with you if it is appropriate and we will assist you in finding an appropriate treatment facility if you choose that option.

I had prior alcohol convictions when I was younger. What effects will they have on my driver’s license suspension and my sentence?

It depends on when those offenses occurred, the statute under which you were convicted and other factors which we will discuss.

Will I have to complete alcohol classes?

If you are convicted, you will have to complete alcohol classes. You will be assigned a certain number of hours depending on the assessor’s evaluation of the seriousness of your problem with alcohol.

Can I get a license in another state?

If your license is suspended in any of the 50 states no other state will issue you a license. There are occasions when it is sensible to get a license in another state, but you can only do that after your license has been properly restored in North Carolina and if you have established a residence in another state. International driver’s licenses or other state driver’s licenses are invalid if North Carolina has suspended your right to drive.

What if I burped or got sick within a short time before taking a breath test?

We will consider all of our options in our defense of you including the State’s requirements of ensuring that you had nothing in your mouth for a period of time prior to a breath test. If there is a way to suppress evidence of the breath test, trust that I will find it. Of course, the State can convict you without any breath test evidence. The State may convict you with other evidence that you were impaired and that is something that we will also prepare for as well.

Have you had a case like mine and been successful?

After 25 years of representing people charged with DWI, I have almost certainly represented someone in a situation similar to yours. On the other hand, I think every case is different and unique as is every individual and I treat every case and individual as unique and important.

How will I know my court dates?

I will give you a note on the court date with your new court date on it and I will send you a letter with your court date and all of the things that you need to bring within a short time after your case is continued.

Why would we continue your case?

I look at all factors in deciding whether to handle a case today or another day. Those factors include the judge, his/her mood, the District Attorney, his/her mood, whether the officer is present, how much time we have, what time of day it is, and a thousand other factors. I will discuss all factors with you in determining when to try or enter a plea in your case, but I will lobby to try or dispose of your case when I think you have the best advantage.

How can we win my DWI case when I blew over the limit?

I win many DWI cases by requiring the State to do all work the Constitutions of the United States and State of North Carolina require. The State has a burden to prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to a moral certainty and are often unable to do so when pressured.

Will I be sentenced more harshly because we pled not guilty and took up the court’s time?

We will discuss that question at length. Typically I am unwilling to try cases in which my client will be subjected to much more severe punishment because we plead not guilty. Often in a DWI case, the punishment will be exactly the same if you plead not guilty and are found guilty, as if you plead guilty and were found guilty.

My friend told me that he had a case worse than mine and was found not guilty. Doesn’t that mean that I will certainly be found not guilty?

No. Every case is different, every individual is unique. I promise to do everything possible to get you the best possible outcome.

I need to drive in the mornings and evenings to care for my children or for other reasons. Will I be able to?

I work very closely with my clients to get the best driving privileges. Typically my privileges do not impinge on your lifestyle in any significant way because they are carefully crafted.

Is there a way around the monumental insurance increase after a DWI conviction?

In some cases there is a way. We will discuss that in your free initial consultation.

I must drive to get to work. What can I do?

There are many options that do not involve violating the law and risking prison. We will discuss all those options with you at your free initial consultation.

Call me today at 919-688-1941 for your free consultation. Waiting may cause you to lose valuable options!

My license is permanently revoked after a conviction for habitual impaired driving. Does "permanent" mean I can never get my license back?

YOUR LICENSE CAN BE CONDITIONALLY RESTORED under certain conditions if you have been convicted of habitual impaired driving (at least 3 convictions for driving while impaired, such convictions occurring within 7 years of the 4th dwi charge’s date of offense). N.C.G.S. Sect. 20-138.5.

To qualify for conditional license restoration, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. You must have completed any sentence proposed by the Court (for example, among other requirements, you have paid all your court costs and fines, completed your community service or jail time, and completed the drug or alcohol treatment the assessment center recommended).
  2. Your license must have been revoked for at least 10 years after the completion of any sentence proposed by the Court.
  3. You have not been convicted in the 10 years immediately proceeding your application in North Carolina or in any other state or federal court of a motor vehicle offense, alcohol beverage control law offense, a drug law offense, or any other criminal offense.
  4. You must also show the DMV officer that you are currently not a user of alcohol, unlawfully using any controlled substance or an excessive user of prescription drugs (probably by bringing with you three testifying witnesses who know you well and have not seen you using drugs or alcohol).

Conditional restoration means that you cannot operate a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of greater than 0.00 at any “relevant” time after the driving. This restriction will remain on your license for 7 years from the date of restoration if your license is permanently revoked.

If you violate the 0.00 restriction or if you refuse to blow or submit to chemical analysis, your license will be revoked for an additional 1 year.

Call Marcus E. Hill, 919 688-1941, to discuss this further.