DWI Charges in North Carolina: Your Guide to What the Law Says

Are you dealing with DWI charges? If so, you could face a variety of outcomes, such as license revocation, jail time, and hefty fines.

The severity of the offense depends on your record or if you’ve had previous DWI convictions. Even a first-time offense can carry stiff penalties. Therefore, think twice before going behind the wheel, even if you’ve had one or two glasses.

This article will highlight the consequences of DWI offenses in North Carolina. Read further to know more.

Implied Consent and DWI

In North Carolina, you must adhere to implied consent. This means you must submit to a breathalyzer test if necessary. If you refuse, the state can suspend your license for 30 days.

Also, you could get an additional one-year suspension after a court hearing on the matter. Even if you beat DWI charges, the one-year suspension will remain in place.

DUI vs DWI in North Carolina

What is the NC law for DUIs? DUI and DWI fall under the same category.

DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably, and North Carolina makes no distinction between the two. DWI generally stands for driving while intoxicated. You’ll face DWI charges in North Carolina if you’re BAC surpasses the legal limit.

Before 1983, DWI usually carried heavier charges than a DUI charge. DWI penalties used to be harsher than DUI penalties. Nowadays, both labels have the same punishments.

Plus, DWI charges apply to other substances, which is why DWI is also known as driving while impaired. For example, you could face DWI charges if you’re impaired by prescription drugs.

Moreover, DWI charges are more expansive in the following ways:

  • You can face a DWI charge if you have an open container.
  • You can face a DWI charge if you have a closed or open container on the passenger side of a commercial vehicle.
  • You can face a DWI charge if you help minors obtain alcohol.

Also, you’ll contend with DWI charges even if you weren’t operating a vehicle. If you give keys to an intoxicated person, for example, you could face low-level DWI charges. Otherwise called aiding and abetting a DWI, offenders could face a level 5 DWI offense.

DWI Penalties

A level 5 offense is the lowest punishment under DWI laws in North Carolina. You’ll face a minimum of 24 hours in jail or a maximum of 60 days in jail. Further, you could pay a $200 fine, and the court can suspend your license for 24 hours until serving the minimum 24-hour sentence.

The court could also restrict your ability to operate a vehicle for 30 days, and you may have to perform 24 hours of community service.

In most cases, the judge can suspend the minimum sentence but not always. The remaining offenses break down as follows:

  • Level 4 Offense: Under this category, you’ll get a minimum 48-hour jail sentence and a maximum of 120 days in jail. Then, the judge could suspend your license upon completion of your 48-hour sentence, and you could pay a $500 fine. Then, they could sentence you to 48 hours of community service and/or suspend your ability to drive for 30 days.
  • Level 3 Offense: This category carries a $1,000 fine, a minimum sentence of 72 hours, or a maximum sentence of six months. The judge will lift the suspension of your license after you complete at least 72 hours of jail time. After, you’ll have to complete 72 hours of community service, followed by a 60-day suspension of your driving privileges.
  • Level 2 Offense: This offense category comes with a $1,000 fine and a minimum of seven days in jail. You could also get a sentence of up to one year. In this category, the court cannot lift a minimum sentence.
  • Level 1 Offense: Judges cannot suspend the minimum sentences in this category either. The convicted must serve at least 30 days in jail or up to two years. They could also receive a $4,000 fine.

Offenders who receive level 1 or 2 offenses may also have to complete a substance abuse program. In other cases, they must enroll in other substance-related programs to qualify for license reinstatement.

Levels 1 and 2 offenders could also be repeat offenders. If you have three DWI offenses in the past seven years, you could face a felony DWI.

In this case, you must serve a minimum of one year in jail and complete a substance abuse program. In extreme cases, an officer can seize your car if you drove with a revoked due to a previous DWI offense.

The Solutions

Above all, contact an attorney if you’re facing an NC DWI. More importantly, find an experienced attorney who knows how to handle DWI cases. They can craft a strong defense in the courtroom, and they can help you get your license reinstated.

  • Note: If you’re arrested for a DWI offense, invoke your right to remain silent until you can speak to an attorney. Don’t talk to investigators or police about your case, as they can use anything you say against you.

Also, a bond agency can get you out of jail. Bail bondsmen are a great alternative if you cannot afford to pay the bond on your own.

DWI Charges Are No Laughing Matter

DWI charges carry weighty sentences, which is why you should hire legal representation to help you. DWI and DUI charges fall under the same umbrella in North Carolina.

In most cases, you must serve a minimum amount of jail time. You’ll face heftier sentences for repeat DWI offenses, and the courts could charge you with a felony DWI.

Are you dealing with DUI charges in North Carolina? Click here to learn more.

What to do If you Have a DUI: How to Navigate Bail on a DUI

Do you need bail on a DUI charge? Perhaps your friend or loved one cannot afford to get out of jail.

If so, you need a bond agency to help you. For a fee, a bondsman will get you or your loved one out of jail.

How much is bail on a DUI?

Overall, the cost can range from $500 to $5,000 or above. If you kill or injure someone, the judge could set bail at $1 million or more. In some cases, they could deny bail altogether.

However, you may not have to pay a bond at all. Depending on the charge, the court will release the defendants without a bond.

This article will highlight the DUI bond process in North Carolina. Let’s explore.

Who Sets Bail?

The magistrate usually grants bail to a defendant. You’ll usually receive a bail hearing within two days of your arrest. If the judge doesn’t deem you a flight risk, the court will grant bail. In most cases, you can receive bail on a DUI charge.

The judge will grant bail based on various factors, such as your criminal history. Further, the court will structure the bond based on any passengers riding with you, especially minors. In severe DUI cases, the judge could deny bail outright.

Also, the judge may impose certain terms, depending on the circumstance.

What Happens If I Cannot Pay the Bond?

If you can’t pay the bail, you have the following options at your disposal:

  • Contact a Bond Agency: A bail agent can bail you out if you cannot afford to do so. The agent assures the court that you will abide by the bond terms and show up to court.
  • Ask Family and Friends: Many people turn to family and friends for help. However, they may not have the money. Therefore, a bail agency is the surest way to get out of jail.

How Much Does Bail Cost in North Carolina?

A bond agent can charge up to 15% in North Carolina. Due to competition among bail bondsmen, however, you could pay less than 15%.

Moreover, each bondsman has different terms and conditions. The terms usually include check-ins, travel restrictions, and drug/alcohol testing. Therefore, read the terms before agreeing to them.

Also, the bond agency will determine the percentage based on various factors, such as the severity of the DUI charge and your criminal history. After you accept the bondsman’s terms, they will pay the bond. Then, authorities could release you within a few hours.

What Happens If I Violate Bail Terms on a DUI Charge?

If you violate the bond terms, a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. You’ll also violate the bond if you don’t attend court hearings. After your arrest, you must remain in jail until your trial date.

How Strict Are North Carolina’s DUI Laws?

In some cases, you may encounter a judge who refuses to issue bail on a DUI charge. In other cases, they could bestow a higher bond.

The circumstances surrounding your DUI cause will play a role in the bond amount. Further, you could face stiffer criminal penalties for severe offenses.

For instance, you could pay a higher bond and receive a longer jail sentence if you engaged in reckless driving and endangered other motorists. The judge may also impose a higher bond based on your BAC level. A judge can deny bail if your BAC is 1.5 or above.

In particular, the court frowns upon serious charges, such as injured victims, minor passengers, and previous DUI convictions.

Additionally, the judge could be harsh if you’re under 21. North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for under-age drinkers.

Whether you’re a minor or an adult, you could also be released on a bond recognizance. A bond recognizance means you’ll be released without paying any bond. You may receive a BR release if:

  • You have no prior record of DUI charges.
  • You have a blood-alcohol content of less than 1.4.

What Type of Bail Is Available in North Carolina?

North Carolina has different forms of bond, such as:

  • Secured Bond: Under a secured bond, you would pay the bond in cash, or the bail agent will pay for you. If you don’t have cash, you can also use collateral to pay the bond. When it comes to collateral, the assets must be equal to or greater than the bond amount.
  • Unsecured Bond: The judge will bestow the bond, but you don’t have to pay it upfront. If you violate the terms or fail to appear, you’ll pay the bond amount. Upon arrest, you must pay the full bond to be released.
  • Promise to Appear: This means you must sign a statement pledging you’ll show up to future court dates. If you sign, the judge won’t charge you a bond.

Regarding DUI charges, the judge can choose any type of bond.

Is Bail on a DUI Worth the Trouble?

Getting bail on a DUI is worth the pursuit because you won’t have to remain in jail. Without bail, you must remain in jail until your trial.

When the agent pays your bond, they will ensure you meet the bond terms and attend court hearings. If you fail to meet the terms, you could end up back in jail. Bondsmen offer different terms and rates, which is why you should find the best one for you.

Are you in need of a bond agent? Click here to learn important questions that you must ask a bail bondsman.

Bail Bond 101: How to Bail Out Your Loved Ones

Do you know someone who has been incarcerated and placed on bail? Bail allows them to be released from jail if they pay a fee. However, this fee (bail) can be costly for the average person. As a result, they end up spending more time in jail. If you want to help your loved one with their bail, you can consider getting a bail bond. This is a loan for bail and covers a variety of different criminal accusations.

So how do you find the best bail bond services? What is the process on how to file for bail?

This detailed guide will help you find the ideal bail bond services for the incarcerated individual.

The Guide on How on the Bail Bond Process

If your loved one gets arrested, the first thing you should always do is consult a lawyer. They can advise best on what the next steps forward are. They can also play a part in convincing a judge to grant bail.

If bail gets granted, then you have to first be clear on the charge that the individual has received. You will have to research bail bond services that offer bail for a specific charge.

Here’s what else you need to know about the bail bond process:

Fees

As a general rule, you will have to pay a small portion of the bail bond for the bail to be posted. You will not be required to pay the entire amount in full, and you can discuss a payment plan with the bail bond service beforehand.

When searching for bail bond services, you can consider the fees they charge as part of your selection criteria. You want to make sure that you can afford the initial fee in one go so that your loved one can be released as soon as possible.

Research

When you research the various bail bond services, you have to check the credentials beforehand. You will later have to verify these credentials when you make an appointment.

First, however, you should research reviews of the bail bond services you consider. You should find as many positive testimonials as you can to prepare your shortlist. Once you have found a few potential candidates, then you can visit the offices for a further inquiry.

Inquiry

When you have found a few bail bond services, you want to inquire further about their services and credentials. This will help you narrow down which one is best for your needs.

For example, apart from finding out about the fees you want to also ask if the bail bond service has authorization in the particular jurisdiction. You need to confirm that they have a license and that they have a good rating from institutions such as the Better Business Bureau, etc.

You also want to learn about the track record of the bail bond service and how they have helped their clientele.

Will They Get Bail?

So once you have chosen your bail bond agency, you might wonder if the defendant will indeed receive bail.

As we mentioned in the introduction, the lawyer (and at times, the bail bondsman) can advocate on the defendant’s behalf to receive bail.

You have to look at the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the charge, as well as the specific charge. These are all factors that determine whether bail will be granted.

It’s at the hearing where the defendant might or might not receive bail. It’s at the hearing where you want a lawyer and/or a bail bondsman to advocate and petition for the defendant to receive bail. Bail is not guaranteed and a judge has the authority to deny bail.

Paying Your Bail

If the defendant receives bail, you can pay the initial fee to the bail bondsman for bail them to post bail. Once the payment plan comes to an agreement, you must always honor your payments.

You want to make sure that you are regular with your payments. You have to look at a bail bond as you would any other type of loan. Not paying on time can result in legal action.

Even before you seek a bail bondsman, you want to make sure you can pay the bail. You can estimate or find the exact initial fee that you will have to pay. You must make sure you can pay this full amount. You also need to plan ahead on paying off the bail as soon as possible.

You can set aside your earnings, seek assistance from family and friends, liquidate some of your investments, and/or crowdfund the money needed to pay for bail. Whatever method you choose, you must pay your bail on time.

Luckily, bail bond services are understanding. You can discuss the payment plan beforehand. They are used to clients who need time to pay off the bail obligations.

Additional Facts About Bail

While there are a few states that prohibit bail bonds services, most don’t. The particularities of bail depend on the laws of each state.

A state might have a specific set price for bail depending on the crime committed. Other states will allow the judge to determine bail. If this is the case, the judge will determine bail on a variety of factors including criminal history, the severity of the charge, predicted flight risk of the accused, etc.

As long as the crime is not a capital offense, the accused has the right to petition for bail. Individuals who have received a charge for a violent offense can petition of bail — though, naturally this is much harder to petition for.

There are a variety of different bail bonds for a multitude of purposes. These include immigration bonds for immigrant detainees, a citation release that is usually for minor crimes, etc. Bonds can also get paid in the form of cash, property, or a surety bond. There are also bonds for federal crimes.

Let Us Help You

If you have a loved one who has a criminal charge, we can help you petition for bail. If they have received bail and you need help paying for it, we can help you with that as well!

Reach out to us today to see what we can do for you.

Falsely Accused? Here’s How to Deal with Domestic Violence Charges

Did you know that 10 million people are victims of domestic violence annually? 

Although so many people suffer from domestic violence every year, many others are subject to false accusations.

If you’re dealing with false domestic abuse charges, you came to the right place.

Read on to learn more.  

What is Domestic Violence?

Although there are many different ways to categorize domestic violence, there’s a clear definition of the term. Domestic violence refers to the violent pattern of abusive behavior that happens in a relationship. It often involves one partner trying to maintain control over the other. 

There are different types of domestic violence that are the most common: physical abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is a type of domestic violence that happens when one partner inflicts physical harm over the other. Physical violence is in the form of slapping, hitting, biting, shoving, punching, burning, and more. 

Emotional Abuse

Domestic violence also takes the form of emotional abuse when one partner intimidates the other. The abusive partner might result in tactics to harm the victim’s self-worth or self-esteem. 

Economic Abuse

Many domestic abusers also abuse their partners by cutting their financial resources. The victim might feel like he or she doesn’t have access to funds. The abuser might stop them from having access to bank accounts or forbid them from getting a job. 

Psychological Abuse

In some instances, the abuser might threaten their partner in psychological ways to prevent them from leaving them. The abuser might threaten the victim by suggesting to harm themselves, their children, pets, or a loved one. 

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is another type of domestic violence. The partner in control might coerce the other partner into having sex with him or her. 

It also involves making demeaning sexual comments, jokes, and attacking sexual body parts. 

Main Defenses to Use in a Domestic Violence Case

If you or another person gets accused of domestic violence, their private attorney can use a number of tactics to defend them. 

Deny the Domestic Abuse

If the person accused of domestic violence claims he or she didn’t do it, their attorney could do a few things to prove their innocence. 

For starters, they will ask you to talk about your whereabouts. You will have to prove where you were during the time of the crime. 

If you want to use this defense, you will have to present a credible alibi. However, keep in mind the victim could present evidence such as 911 recordings or the testimony of the neighbors. 

Claim the Victim Lied About the Abuse

In some instances, the abused party could be making it all up to harm the alleged abuser. For those who want to claim it was all a lie, they will have to prove the abuse didn’t happen. 

Your defense attorney will focus on finding inconsistencies with the story. The attorney might be able to prove the victim hurt himself/herself in an accident. 

For example, they might have fallen in the shower or had a car accident. 

The Events Were an Accident

Accidents and misunderstandings happen, so if the alleged abuse were an accident, you would have to prove it. 

Your attorney will ask you questions to piece it all together and determine if it was an accident. They will interview you and the victim to find inconsistencies in the narrative. 

For example, you might claim the alleged victim slipped and their head, but they could claim you shoved them. If it were, in fact, an accident, your lawyer would find a way to prove it. 

Claim Self-Defense

If you claim you were only protecting yourself from the victim, you will have to prove it. 

The attorney will start by checking the police report to check if the victim admitted fault at any point. Compare both sides of the story for inconsistencies. 

The attorney might also want to check medical records that might suggest the injuries were in self-defense. You might also have some injuries if you claim self-defense. The victim might have attacked you first. 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Your attorney might also be able to build a defense case if there no consistent proof against you. For example, the victim might decline to offer testimony against you.

In this case, your attorney can claim the victim cannot prove the allegations against you. 

Other things your attorney can do to prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the following:

Demonstrate there are no allegations made against you in the police report. Also, you can prove there were no damages to your property. 

Accept the Charges Based on the Behavior of the Partner

If you have no choice but to admit the charges, your attorney can still build a case to defend you. 

You can claim your partner had a bad temper that provoked you. Also, you can try to prove your partner is abusive towards your children or other family members. 

The attorney will try to find evidence to prove your claim. For example, it will be important to find witnesses that can corroborate your story. 

Admit Fault Without Charges Against You

If you’re guilty of the abuse, but there were a few mistakes in the investigation, your attorney might be able to build your defense case. 

The attorney might try to prove the police committed misconduct when they questioned you. For example, did the police fail to read your basic rights? 

Did they question you without your lawyer present? They failed to let you know you had the right to remain silent. 

Also, the police could have failed to take your testimony of what happened. All of these things can be used by your attorney in your defense.

This is How You Can Fight Against Domestic Abuse Charges

Now that you know how you can fight against domestic abuse charges, it’s time you get the help you need. 

You can fight against domestic abuse charges by denying the claims, claiming self-defense, proving it was an accident, and more. 

Are you in North Carolina in need of a bail bond? Contact us for more. 

DUI vs DWI: Is There a Difference in North Carolina?

It’s an incredibly reckless thing to do. Putting their own life and the lives of others at stake, one can think of an impaired driver as being somewhere between ignorant at best, and downright selfish at worst.

Yes, the appetite for tolerating drunk driving as a social matter has varied over the years, most notably culminating in what we see today as a general intolerance for the practice altogether. 

But nonetheless, driving while impaired offenses and driving under the influence offenses persist to this day.

Come to think of it, is there a difference between DUI vs DWI charges?

The answer to that question is not a simple one.

Here, learn all about getting charged in North Carolina with either a DUI or DWI and what that means for you.

Arrested For Driving Under The Influence: What Do I Do Now?

Starting out with just the mountain of legal jeopardy you put yourself in when driving under the influence, the list of things to handle is staggering. First, you need to get yourself out of jail after the initial arrest. 

Be sure to find a reliable bail bonds service in order to assist you in making bail and getting your freedom back, at least for the time being.

Next, you need to find yourself competent legal counsel. If you think you can go at a DUI or DWI charge alone, you will find yourself behind bars in short order.

Your attorney will likely walk you through the particulars of your case at this point. How much trouble you are looking at largely depends on the various factors in your case. 

These factors include:

  • what kind of substance you were under the influence of at the time of the arrest
  • how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at the time of arrest
  • whether or not you submit to a breathalyzer
  • whether you injured any persons or property

There are a variety of other factors involved in any legal case, and they largely depend on the very specific facts that pertain to your case.

DUI vs DWI In North Carolina

 DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, whereas DWI denotes Driving While Impaired. While these terms are generally thought of to mean driving while impaired on alcohol or driving under the influence of alcohol, this isn’t actually the case.

Being charged or convicted of a DWI does not say anything other than the driver was running a vehicle while impaired by some kind of substance. While the substance is predominantly alcohol in many cases, it does not have to be, and you can be arrested on a DWI charge for being impaired by other drugs such as cocaine, pot, and even prescription medications that belong to you. 

In essence, a DWI encompasses any and all substances that someone could consume that has the potential to impair their driving capabilities.

Which Offense Is More Severe, DUI or DWI?

This is where your location begins to matter. There are no set laws on the scope and definition of a DUI vs DWI federally, and the usage of the terms varies depending on your jurisdiction.

In some states, they consider the offenses of driving while impaired and driving under the influence to be different things, with different severities and therefore different punishments.

In states where they differentiate between charges, a DWI is considered to be more severe an offense than a DUI. This is because the states usually denote a DWI to mean a higher level of intoxication. Consequently, there will be stiffer punishments. First-time offenders of a DWI can often get their offense downgraded to a DUI in many instances.

North Carolina takes an approach to these offenses that attempts to simplify things.

Before the year 1983, North Carolina considered a DUI to be a separate charge, apart from a DWI. A DUI was actually a lesser offense than a DWI at the time. However, this changed after legislation was passed in the state.

North Carolina actually does not differentiate between a DWI and a DUI charge any longer after the North Carolina Safe Roads Act was passed in 1983.

Now, everything falls strictly under the charge of DWI.

As a result, North Carolina has varying levels of DWI, each carrying its own penalties and jail time.

Being Impaired In North Carolina

In North Carolina, someone operating a motor vehicle can be charged and convicted with driving while impaired if they are found to be operating a motor vehicle:

  • while obviously and undeniably under the influence of any impairing substance
  • while having a blood alcohol concentration above the federal limit of 0.08%
  • while having any schedule I controlled substances metabolized in your body

This means that in effect, you can be arrested for either the appearance of impairment OR based on the amount of substance found in your body. 

In North Carolina, obtaining your driver’s license means you automatically agree to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, you will hear often by some people to never submit to a breathalyzer if asked. This is a highly complex question to answer and largely depends on your specific circumstances whether it will assist or harm you ultimately. 

Failure to submit to a sobriety test can result in the suspension or revocation of your license, even if you are never convicted of a DWI.

Sentencing For A DWI

As mentioned previously, there are varying levels for a DWI charge. These levels denote the varying degrees of a DWI and correspond to varying degrees of punishment, ranging from mere fines and suspensions to substantial jail time for severe cases.

One thing that is guaranteed? If you get convicted for driving while impaired, you will lose your license for a time. 

Other factors such as your age and the number of prior offenses you’ve had can determine the severity of your eventual consequences.

Get Out Of Jail And Start Making A Plan

While the distinction between DUI vs DWI charges does not matter in North Carolina, being charged with a DWI is a serious thing. 

First and foremost, you need to get yourself out from your initial arrest so you can start to get your life back on track.

Get a free consultation with a licensed bail agent today to get yourself or your loved one their freedom back.

The Arrest Process: A Guide to Your Rights in North Carolina

If you think there’s no chance you’ll ever get arrested – think again! Statistics show that 80 percent of people arrested in the United States are accused of minor things, like disorderly conduct or other nuisance offenses. 

No one ever wants to think about having a brush with the law. However, if you find yourself in this situation, what you do next is critical.

Understanding what happens when you get arrested can help you stay calm and protect your rights. Here’s everything you need to know.

Two Arrest Scenarios

First, there are two different scenarios that can lead to your arrest. The first occurs when you’re caught in the act of committing a crime or the police have a reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed, or are going to commit, a crime. An example would be if you’re pulled over and the officer determines that you’re driving under the influence.

The second scenario occurs when an investigation of a crime results in police believing you’re the offender. This can often take anywhere from a few days to several months. In this case, you’ll often have a bit more notice that the arrest is coming, especially if the police have already questioned you.

When this happens, a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. The police may come pick you up or you’ll be asked to turn yourself in to the police department.

What Happens When You Get Arrested? Important Things to Know

No matter which of the scenarios leads to your arrest, the process that follows is fairly similar. Let’s take a look at what to expect during the initial arrest, what happens when you arrive at the police department, and how and when you’ll be released. 

Initial Arrest

When you’re first arrested, expect the police to handcuff you. They’ll tell you that you’re under arrest and read you the Miranda Warning.

This is to ensure that you understand your rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. It also lets you know that if you choose to speak, anything you say can and will be used against you, and that if you can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.

Take this advice to heart! While you should answer basic questions about your identity, do not say anything else. You can waive your Miranda Rights and answer questions if you want, but this is rarely a good idea.

While they’re reading your rights, the police may also pat you down. The purpose of this is to ensure you don’t have any concealed weapons or illegal objects (like drug paraphernalia) on you. Note that it’s illegal in the state of North Carolina for the police to search you unless you are actually under arrest.

Finally, they’ll place you in the back of their police vehicle.

There’s also a chance they may ask for permission to search your vehicle or your home (depending on where you’re at when the arrest occurs). Note that there are two scenarios where they don’t have to get your permission. This includes:

  • When a search warrant is issued as part of an investigation
  • If they have probable cause to believe there is evidence of criminal activity in the area they want to search

Note that if the police ask for your permission, this almost always means that the scenarios above don’t apply. If you say that you don’t consent, they can’t legally perform the search.

Police Intake

Once you arrive at the police station, the police will search you and take all of your belongings. They’ll give you a piece of paper that lists everything they took so you can get it back after you’re released. If anything they take is connected to the offense, it will be held as evidence.

Then, you’ll have your mugshot photo taken and you’ll be fingerprinted. If you’re being arrested for a felony, you may also have your cheek swabbed so the police can enter your DNA sample into the state or federal database. In some jails, they will take your personal clothing and require you to change into the jail uniform.

You can expect this process to take at least a couple of hours. You’ll have to sit in a holding cell while this all occurs, and then the police will give you the opportunity to call an attorney or family member to let them know about your situation. They may give you more than a single call, but expect the number to be limited.

Finally, the police may interrogate you and record your answers. There’s a good chance that they’ll read you your Miranda Rights one more time before this occurs. Remember that you do not have to answer their questions and you can also stop answering questions at any time and ask for an attorney.

Release

If you weren’t arrested based on a warrant, then the next step is for you to appear before a magistrate for what’s known as a “probable cause hearing.” This will usually occur within 48 hours of your arrest.

There are two outcomes you can expect:

  1. Release on your own recognizance – this means you’re released from jail and won’t have to pay bail. You will, however, need to sign a form promising that you’ll return to court.
  2. Bond will be set – in this case, you’ll need to stay in jail until someone can post bail for you.

In most cases, they’ll get a bail bond. This allows them to only pay 15 percent of the bail amount upfront. Once the bail is posted, you’ll be released from jail.

If you don’t show up for court, the bail bondsman will keep the 15 percent deposit. A judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and you’ll also have to pay the full bail amount to the courts.

Let Us Take Care of Your Bail Bond Needs

Now that you understand what happens when you get arrested, you can see how important it is to have access to a bail bondsman you can trust. We encourage you to contact us any time you or a loved one finds yourself in need. We’re available 24 hours a day and will help you navigate your way through the entire process.

A Burglary Charge in North Carolina: Everything You Need to Know

In North Carolina, burglary is an extremely serious offense that carries heavy consequences. 

It’s important to know everything surrounding the charge in order to mount a strong defense. 

If you or a loved one are facing this charge, this article can help educate you.

What Is Burglary in North Carolina?

In many states, burglary used to be breaking and entering into a home or dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony. 

Today, most states have adopted new standards to meet a burglary charge, but North Carolina retains the traditional definition. The element of when the crime occurs can be night or day.

To be charged with burglary, you must meet these criteria:

  • Breaking and entering
  • Without permission
  • In a home or domicile
  • Intent to commit crimes

Even if a door or window is unlocked, it can be considered breaking and entering because you do not have permission from the owner or tenant. 

Breaking and Entering

The term can be misleading. A defense that you did not break anything to enter will not hold in court. 

Breaking and entering is defined as entering a building without permission, but breaking and entering might not warrant a criminal charge of burglary.

Entering a warehouse or factory to explore or eat lunch is much different than entering a home or apartment to steal or rob someone.

If a person does not have permission to cross the threshold of a building, they can be charged with breaking and entering.

Consent

Some buildings are public institutions and a person is always welcome during operating hours. Public facilities like libraries, schools, or government buildings do not require permission.

There are a few instances where a person might need to properly sign-in or plan an appointment for a public building. 

Places like restaurants and retail stores are also open to the public during open hours as long as you follow their rules.

Homes, apartments, and condos are almost never considered open to the public. To enter these structures, you must have permission from the owner. 

If you believe you or a loved one had permission to enter, you might be able to defeat the charge.

Home or Domicile

It’s pretty simple to define home or domicile. It’s a place where someone sleeps or inhabits.

The building itself does not have to be an apartment building or home, but if the structure has a sleeping component or dwelling then you could be charged.

The exception to this rule is vacation homes. Many people buy properties to vacation or rent out to seasonal visitors. These homes are not protected under North Carolina state law for burglary.

Intent

A person must also intend to commit a felony or serious crime for burglary to take place.

The more serious crimes will earn worse punishments. 

The intent of a person is the last standard to charge someone with burglary.

Facing Penalties

You or your loved one should know the penalties associated with the two different classifications of burglary.

First-Degree

In the state of North Carolina, if a person is at home at the time of a burglary, then it is automatically a first-degree Class D felony.

The person could be in another part of the home and never know someone was there, but it would still be considered a first-degree burglary. 

A first-degree Class D felony carries a sentence range of 64 to 80 months in prison. Previous convictions may extend a sentence.

Second-Degree

The second-degree designation comes if no one is home during the burglary. The sentence can range from 8 to 31 months in prison. 

Second-degree burglaries are classified as a Class G felony.

Aggravating factors or previous criminal convictions may extend a sentence.

Good Defenses

In a trial, it’s the prosecution’s responsibility to show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A person is not responsible for showing why they are innocent.

You can poke holes in their case by mounting a solid defense.

If you can prove that you had permission or were invited to a home, then a prosecution will have no case against you. Review texts or messages implying welcome.

Maybe someone entered a home or dwelling accidentally. In this instance, show that you didn’t mean to enter an apartment or condo.

It’s possible that the person they are looking for isn’t you. Someone might have had their home entered by a criminal, but it wasn’t you. Have a good alibi as to where you were during the time of the crime.

Show the court that you have zero intention of committing a crime. This might not get you off the hook for breaking and entering but it should prevent a much more serious burglary charge.

Owning criminal tools for breaking and entering is a charge by itself, so be wary of which defense you choose.

Hire a Lawyer

If you have been charged or connected with a burglary case, it’s time to hire a professional lawyer.

Be sure you understand some of your basic rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You have the right to an attorney
  • You do not have to self-incriminate yourself

Always consult a lawyer before speaking to anyone about your case. People who you think are your friends may actually be working with the prosecution. 

Do not try and fight the charges alone. A skilled lawyer knowledgeable in burglary cases will know how to beat the case.

If you try to file your own motions and make a mistake, it could result in you going to prison.

Fight the Charges

It’s important to know everything about burglary charges before you decide to fight for your freedom. 

What you choose to do next can be the difference between going to prison or going home. 

If you or someone you love is being charged with burglary, contact us to get bonded out of jail so the accused can prepare properly for court.

How to Get a Motion to Reduce Bail

Have you or a loved one been saddled with unreasonably high bail? Want to know how to get a motion to reduce bail so you can reduce your financial burden?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about bail reduction, from how to get bail lowered to the bail reduction hearing.

How to Motion to Reduce Bail

Looking to file a motion to get your bail lowered? Here’s what you’ll need to do in this situation.

Decide If You Want to File

The first step in the bail reduction process is determining if it’s something you actually want to go through. Most jails have a bail schedule, which details how high bail is for any given crime. If you think your bail amount is too high given your crime, you can ask the judge to lower it during your first arraignment, which occurs between 1 to 2 days after your arrest.

Get a Good Lawyer

The next step is hiring a lawyer who can represent you in your bail reduction hearing. A lawyer will give you insight on how to get bail reduced lowered, and can present a defense argument in a way a judge may be more receptive to. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can ask the court for a public defender, and then fill out an application for one.

Build a Strong Case

An important part of the bail reduction process is building a strong case for the bail reduction hearing. That involves knowing the set of guidelines a judge uses to determine if he or she should reduce bail, which differs by state. Here are some of the factors he or she may consider:

  • The seriousness of your crime
  • Your prior criminal record
  • Your involvement in your community
  • Family ties in your community
  • How long you’ve lived in your community

If you’ve lived in your community for a long tie, have family there, and have a clean criminal record, the judge is more likely to approve your motion for a bail reduction.

Another thing you should do during this step is to organize any documents that may help strengthen your case. Here are the documents you should have on hand:

  • Copies of your pay stubs
  • W2s
  • Property tax records
  • utility bills

By providing your lawyer with these documents they can build a stronger argument for your case.

Find People to Testify on Your Behalf

The next step in this process is asking people to testify on your behalf in court. If you want to do this, make sure you ask witnesses in advance and have you or your lawyer provide them with the contextual information needed to give good testimony. The best topics to talk about are the ones that establish you as a productive member of your community.

File Your Motion

Your lawyer can then draft a motion for you and file it on your behalf. Your motion should list the key factors of the case such as the charges filed and the amount of bail. You then need to prepare to argue as to why you deserve a bail reduction.

Make sure you attach a certificate of service and then file your motion with the court clerk! After that, your bail reduction hearing will be scheduled.

Attend Your Bail Reduction Hearing

At your bail reduction hearing, you and your lawyer will submit any relevant evidence for the case. You and your witnesses will also have an opportunity to testify on your behalf at this hearing. Your lawyer will propose for any opposing document but prepared to be questioned.

After the hearing is over, the judge will make a decision about your case.

Motion to Reduce Bail: Final Thoughts

Filing a motion to reduce bail can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. By preparing in advance and hiring a great lawyer, you can navigate this process in an easy and effective way.

Are you or a loved one currently in need of bail assistance? Have questions about bail bonds? Contact us to learn more!

What are the Advantage of Using a Bonding Company to Pay Bail?

Have you ever pondered the pros and cons of bail bonds? Whether it’s you or someone you know who could use one, the term can be confusing.

In laymen’s terms, a bail bond is a set dollar amount that when paid, allows you to go free until your court date. If it’s not paid, you’re awaiting trial in jail.

When weighing your options, you may not think it’s that bad. When, on the contrary, it’s worse than what you imagine in your head.

At any given time, there are approximately 450,000 people sitting in jail cells, waiting for trial. If that shocking statistic doesn’t alarm you, we’ll go over a few more reasons as to why you should use a bonding company.

Take a look.

You Can Build Your Case

If you’ve been apprehended for a serious charge, you and your attorney will need time to build your case. That means gathering evidence, finding witnesses, and checking alibis.

When you’re sitting in jail, it’s hard for your attorney to do that. And if your trial is a ways away, having your freedom will allow you to work on your defense.

Keep Your Situation on the Down Low

Not everyone needs to know your business. And explaining to someone how you’ve been arrested or that there’s a warrant out for you is embarrassing.

When working with a bonding company, only a select amount of people will know what happened. Once you know your set bond amount, it can be paid quickly before the word gets out.

Keep Your Job

Speaking of quickly paying your bond, when you do, you won’t have to miss work. Missing work can lead to questions which can lead to your unemployment.

Some companies will dismiss employees who have committed a crime. On the other hand, there is no law or rule set in place that committing a crime is an automatic firing.

Avoid Jail Time Even if You Can’t Afford Your Bond

The great thing about a bonding company is that they can pay the bond for you. There are a few ways they go about that, though.

Some will require you to pay a set amount up front. This could be anything from a quarter of the amount to half of it.

Or, you have to put up collateral. That might be your house or your car–something of good value that you’ll want to get back.

Another way to avoid jail is to get a surety bond. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it means that you won’t have to pay anything. But there’s a catch.

If you fail to show up for your court date, that full bond amount is owed. So even if a friend gets the bond for you, that friend then has to pay it because of your absence.

Wrapping Up on Using a Bonding Company

Jail time is nothing to consider. You won’t be sitting in a cell by yourself but with others who are awaiting trial, no matter their offense.

Avoid going to jail altogether. Getting a bond will save you time and money.

Have questions? Contact us today!

Domestic Violence Arrest? Here’s What to Do Next

Since 2006, 39 percent of reported domestic violence cases have led to arrests or charges. Though people living together have disagreements, some of these spiral into potential crimes. If you are in such a situation, you need to know what a domestic violence arrest entails.

One of the main causes of domestic violence is the desire to control a partner. Other causes include psychological disorders, conflict, and alcohol and drug abuse. Victims of child abuse or witnesses of violence may also turn violent as adults.

Don’t forget, cases of false accusations are also rampant. Thus, you need to know the legal details about a domestic violence arrest. Keep reading to learn what to do if you are accused of abuse.

What a Domestic Violence Arrest Entails

In the U.S., more than 20,000 phone calls are made every day to domestic violence hotlines. This makes it likely there will be a domestic violence arrest at some point. But what does this type of crime involve and what should you do next?

Here are a few details to guide you:

Police Arrest for Domestic Violence

What happens first is someone calls the police to report alleged domestic abuse. In North Carolina, General Statutes Chapter 50B governs issues of domestic violence. It defines it as harming or an attempt to harm someone with whom there is a personal relationship.

It also includes continued harassment, causing emotional distress, and terrorizing someone. Thus, once police arrive and analyze the situation, they’ll arrest you and charge you with a crime.

Cooperate but Be Aware of Your Rights

During your arrest, the police will remind you of your rights. Remain silent and don’t sign any statements about what happened. Cooperate and remain civil with the officers. They’ll take you into custody and write their reports.

Pre-Trial Hearing

Contact your lawyer and inform them of your situation. The police will take you to a pre-trial hearing. The judge will decide whether you should remain in jail until your trial or released on bail.

Using Bail Bonds

Since some cases can take months before a judge hears them, you have to get out of jail quickly. Unfortunately, you may find you don’t have enough money to pay your bail. Some common sources of bail include our family members and friends. Others are through fundraisers, the church, or your lawyer.

A better option is to use bail bonds services. If a judge grants your bail at the pre-trial hearing, a bail bondsperson will pay it on your behalf. It will be their duty to ensure you show up in court for your case.

Once you are out of jail, you can meet your lawyer and prepare your defense. In the meantime, you can finalize the details of repaying the bail bonds service.

Warrant of Arrest If You Don’t Go to Court

If you fail to make your court appearance, the judge will issue a warrant of arrest. This means you’ll have both the police and the bail bonds agent looking for you. Plus, you’ll now need to pay the full bail on your own. The bail bonds service will be paid 15 percent of the initial bail.

A warrant of arrest will reflect badly on you. It might even affect the outcome of your domestic violence case.

Learn More About Bail Bonds Services

As you can see, a domestic violence arrest can go smoothly if you cooperate with authorities. Know your rights and don’t make any decisions without your lawyer present. Moreover, if you can’t post bail, contact your local bail bonds company to get you out quickly.

Contact us to learn more about our bail bonds services.