DUI or DWI: Which Is Worse?

You never thought it would happen to you until it does. You find yourself in handcuffs in the back of a police cruiser for a DUI or DWI. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most frequent driving violations in North Carolina.

Impairment from alcohol contributes to 34% of all automobile fatalities in North Carolina. The state has experienced 485 alcohol-related fatalities in 2021. Drug use contributes to about 16% of car crashes.

When you find yourself in cuffs, you will likely be wondering about the difference between DUI and DWI. How do they determine which charge you receive? Learn everything you need to know about the law if this happens to you.

DUI or DWI—What’s the Difference?

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI), the state of North Carolina makes no distinction between them. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for driving while impaired.

Prior to the enactment of the North Carolina Safe Roads Act of 1983 the state made a distinction between DWI vs DUI. Prior to that year, a DWI was a higher crime than a DUI.

The new law moved all alcohol and drug moving violations under the term of DWI. In any instance where a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will receive a criminal charge of driving while impaired.

Determination of DWI

The level of alcohol in your blood to result in DWI charges depends on your age. Anyone over the legal drinking age of 21 years with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher will be put under arrest for DWI. If you are under 21 years of age and are found driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, you will be arrested for DWI.

If you have a prior DUI/DWI charge and are pulled over, you will receive DWI charges for having 0.04% of alcohol or more in your blood. This is also the maximum level allowable for commercial drivers.

Other DWI Offenses

In addition to having alcohol or drugs in your bloodstream, there are other acts that can result in your being charged with a DWI. This includes having an open container containing alcohol in your vehicle or having an open or closed container of alcohol on the passenger seat of a commercial vehicle. You will also receive a DWI charge if you are found guilty of helping a minor to obtain alcohol.

Field Sobriety Test

If an officer pulls you over for speeding, weaving in traffic, or reckless driving they may require you to participate in a field sobriety test. This test checks your physical and mental abilities by having you do things such as:

  • Walk a straight line
  • Stand on one leg
  • Speak clearly
  • Touch your nose, and more

After determining there is reason to believe you are under the influence of any type of substance, the officer may ask you to take a chemical test.

DUI Versus DWI Penalties

It doesn’t matter whether you call it a DUI or a DWI, the penalties for these charges in North Carolina are severe. The state has a 7-year lookback period, meaning every DWI you receive within a 7-year period increases penalty severity.

There are five levels of misdemeanor DWI in North Carolina. Judges make a determination on what level each driver falls into depending on several mitigating factors. These include:

  • BAC level
  • Driving record
  • Level of visible impairment
  • Voluntary submission or participating in assessment and treatment
  • DWI contributing to an accident
  • Prior DWI offenses
  • Speeding
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license

The more factors the driver meets under the judge’s evaluation, the more severe the level of the criminal charges the driver receives.

The lowest charge is a level V DWI. A conviction includes penalties of 24 hours to 60 days in jail or 24 hours in jail and 24 hours of community service. It also includes up to $200 in fines and driver’s license revocation for between 30-365 days. The judge may also order a substance abuse assessment.

The most severe offense is Level I DWI, which includes 30 days to two years in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, and permanent license revocation. You must also complete a substance abuse assessment.

If you have three or more DWI convictions within a seven-year period, you will be charged with a felony DWI. You will receive the label of habitual offender. You will serve a minimum of one year in jail and complete a substance abuse program during your incarceration.

Ignition Interlock

If you receive a conviction with a BAC of 0.15% or higher or have two DWI convictions within a seven-year period you will be required to have an ignition interlock device to drive. Installation of this device on your steering wheel requires you to take a breathalyzer test prior to being able to start your vehicle. You will also take periodic breath tests while driving.

Failure to “blow” immediately upon notification is a violation. Violations of interlock device requirements result in the immediate removal of your driving privileges.

Impact on Auto Insurance

In addition to jail time, fines, and having a criminal record, picking up a DWI charge will impact your insurance rates. This is because there is an increase in risk when you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These risks cost the insurance company more in payment of claims by accident victims.

The average insurance increase in North Carolina following a DWI is $3,416. This is 68% higher than the average U.S. increase following a DUI.

The Bail Process

Within 48 hours of your arrest, a hearing will be held advising you of the criminal charges you face. During the hearing, the judge will determine the amount of bail necessary for your release from jail. The amount of bail depends on several factors including the seriousness of the crime and your prior criminal history.

Payment of your bail will depend on the judge’s specific orders. It may be by cash, secured bail bonds, unsecured bail bonds, or in some cases your own recognizance. When you do not have the funds to pay your bail in full, a bail bonds service will accept 15% of the total bond amount and front the remaining amount for you.

The bail bonds service pays the full amount of your bail directly to the court. Once paid you will be released from jail pending your appearance in court.

Because of the risk the bail bond service takes, an Indemnitor must sign agreeing to pay the full amount of your bail if you do not appear in court. This is because your failure to appear means the bail bond service must pay the full bail amount to the court.

Bail Bonds Sets You Free

When it comes to receiving a DUI or DWI, the initial result is the same. You are going to jail. When that happens make sure you have the name of an expert bail bondsman to help you obtain a quick release.

Amistad Bail Bonds is a team of professional bail bondsmen in Raleigh, North Carolina. We are available 24/7 at (800) 537-0645. We help your loved one by preparing all necessary paperwork to obtain your freedom pending trial.

To help make the process easy, we offer a variety of payment plans and free consultations. Don’t hesitate, call us today to find an agent near you.

What is a Voluntary Departure Bond?

The voluntary departure bond is one of the requirements for an alien to be granted voluntary departure from the United States.

According to US Code 1229c, voluntary departure is  when an immigration judge permits an alien to depart the United States by their own accord.

Opting for a voluntary departure needs to be requested from the Attorney General during the initial process of deportation. Ideally, the detainee should request the immigration proceedings, but the detainee or legal counsel can still present the offer midway.

If the alien is suspected of terrorism or gets charged with an aggravated felony, however, their voluntary departure request will likely get denied.

The Purpose of a Voluntary Departure Bond

Should the alien decide to depart voluntarily, they have up to 120 days to do so. It is crucial that the alien leaves the United States within the scheduled time.

For this reason, the Attorney General may decide to impose a bond in the amount necessary to make sure that the alien has departed the United States within that specified time. This, effectively, is the voluntary departure bond. Once the alien is confirmed to have left the United States within the specific time, the bond will be refunded.

How Much is a Voluntary Departure Bond?

The voluntary departure bond is usually set with a minimum of $500, though the judge may require a larger amount, if that will ensure the alien leaves within the allotted time period.

However, if the alien fails to depart in the scheduled time, the bond will get forfeited and the detainee faces the possibility of getting charged.

Why Would you Choose Voluntary Departure?

Why offer to voluntarily remove yourself from the country, especially at your own expense?

One major benefit of opting for a voluntary departure is that you will not be detained or held in detention until your scheduled departure. For individuals arrested and under threat of deportation, the plea and the bond prevents the case from going to immigration court and they will not be forcibly removed, allowing them to get their affairs in order and make preparations for their departure during the 120 days given.

Opting for a voluntary departure can also present a good image to the court, showing that you are willing to cooperate under the law and could lend a better opinion of you and your family, and leaves the door open for reentry at a later date.

Usually, a voluntary departure is a last resort for immigration cases where the chances of a positive outcome are unlikely. In these cases, the offer to depart voluntarily can have a positive impact on your chances in the future.

Amistad Bail Bonds provides bail bond services in North Carolina. If you have an immigration case pending and are looking for options to finance your voluntary departure bond, contact Amistad Bail Bonds now..

 

Immigration Arrest: What to Do If You’re Detained by Immigration

Everyone has heard the horror stories about families separated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It can be a scary thought, and you might not be sure exactly what to do to protect yourself from that.

The first thing you should do is to stay calm. Even if you get detained during an immigration arrest, you shouldn’t be forced out of the country right away. There’s a process to go through before that happens.

If you are detained and asked to leave the country, you most likely will get to see your family again before you have to go. You will have time to make plans for what to do if that happens. In most cases, this is the worst thing that will happen.

But, understandably, you might still be concerned. That’s why this article will guide you through what to do if you or a loved one are detained by ICE so that you’re prepared for whatever happens.

Be Prepared For An Immigration Arrest

If you feel that you’re at risk of ICE detaining you, then it’s best to have a plan in place. Make sure you know who you’re going to call before you get detained. This could be a loved one who knows the plan or a lawyer.

Make sure you know where ICE tends to pick people up. Usually, they do this during workplace raids, but they may also come to your house. It is also becoming more common for ICE to approach people on the streets.

Keep an eye out for new unmarked vehicles around your house. Sometimes ICE uses white vans for stalking people to learn their daily routines before making an arrest.

ICE may use certain tactics to get inside your home without a signed warrant. They may say that they’re looking for someone else or that they’re with the police. In most cases, this is completely legal, but you don’t need to let them inside your home because of that.

If they do not have a warrant, then ask them to come back with one. Otherwise, don’t let them inside your home. You shouldn’t lie to officers, but you shouldn’t answer questions without a lawyer present either.

You may also be detained during routine traffic stops. If this happens, don’t answer any questions about immigration status. ICE may ask to interview you when your information is entered into the system, and that is when you will be placed in their custody.

Know Your Rights

Once you are actively in immigration detention, you should be aware that you have rights according to the United States Government. Make sure to exercise these rights as quickly as possible once you’ve been detained.

The main two rights that you have to remember are the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. You get the option of these two rights under United States immigration laws. However, a lawyer will not automatically be provided for you.

The first thing you should do once you are in custody is to announce that you wish to have an immigration lawyer present. Then announce your intention to use your right to remain silent. After this, answer no questions beyond confirming your intentions.

Again, do not lie to any ICE or police officers. They can use this against you later in immigration court. However, you should be aware that your right to remain silent means that you do not have to answer any question asked by an officer.

Your lawyer will know what questions to answer and not answer once they arrive. Ideally, you will have met with your chosen lawyer beforehand at least once to discuss a plan for if you are detained. If you haven’t done this, then be sure to ask for identification before speaking to anyone.

Remember that if you answer any questions before your court date, the court will assume that you waived your right to remain silent. This is why it is so important to only speak to your lawyer.

Get a Bond

Once you have a lawyer and a court date, the next thing you need to do is get yourself out of immigration detention. Usually, you will have some type of bail that lets you leave until your court date. That’s why your next step should be to get a bail bond.

There are three different types of bonds that you might be looking at for immigration court. Each type should get paid back once you meet certain requirements.

The first is a simple delivery bond. This is commonly used for those who also have other criminal charges against them. It’s meant to ensure that you actually arrive at court so that you can get your money back.

The second is a voluntary departure bond. This comes with an agreement that you will leave the country on your own once you’re released. You will get your money back when it’s confirmed that you’re no longer in the United States.

The third type of bond is an order of supervision bond. This does not require you to leave the country. Anyone who has this may live and work in the United States until their court date.

However, if you have an order of supervision bond, then you must follow certain rules that ICE will give you. You may have an ankle monitor put on you. There may be certain places that you’re not allowed to go to, like bars.

Your goal now is to be able to leave and be with your family until your court date. This is the final step towards making that happen.

Get Bonded Today

If you or a loved one are the victims of an immigration arrest, then don’t wait. Make sure you have a plan in place to walk out of the detention center freely.

You need a reliable bail bonds team to help you with this. That’s why you should trust Amistad Bail Bonds. We’re here to help you get back to your family, and we serve bonds for immigration courts nationwide.

Find an agent today and see how we can help you get back to your family.

Most Frequently Broken NC Driving Laws

Breaking the law in North Carolina can lead to an arrest resulting in jail time. If it is serious enough, you may need to post bail to get released from police custody to come home and prepare for your court appearances.

Thankfully, there is something that you can do to avoid getting pulled over while driving. It’s simple really. Make sure you are following every single traffic law specific to the area that you are driving in. Driving is a privilege. These driving privileges can be taken away if they are abused in any way. Driving legally is the only way to prevent this.

Continue reading to learn about the most frequently made violations to NC driving laws.

Speeding

The most obvious driving violation in the U.S. is driving over the posted speed limit. Driving several miles above the speed limit can cause tragic car accidents ending in the death of the driver or other people.

There are two instances of speeding in North Carolina that drivers need to be aware of: basic speeding law and absolute limits. For basic speeding limits, you should not be driving faster than necessary regarding the conditions of the road.

Absolute limits refer to driving at a maximum speed of 35 mph within municipalities, 55 mph outside of municipalities, and 70 mph on interstate highways. Driving even ONE mile above the speed limit can garner a speeding ticket because of this absolute limit.

Reckless Driving

Speeding may be reckless behavior while behind the wheel, but there is so much more to reckless driving than that. Reckless driving means that you are driving with a disregard for your own safety and the safety of others. These behaviors might include:

  • Making illegal U-turns
  • Changing lanes in an unsafe manner
  • Forgetting to use turn signals
  • Stopping or turning suddenly
  • Tailgating other drivers
  • Showing off by burnouts, etc

A conviction for reckless driving is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. You can avoid this charge by following all local and national driving laws when driving.

Fleeing the Scene of an Accident

If you’re involved in an accident on a North Carolina roadway, stay put. It is your duty to stop when there is an accident. It’s against the law to leave the scene of an accident before making sure everyone is okay. When damage is caused, you have to give the injured party your car insurance information.

When the police need to be involved, you must remain where you are until they’ve had the chance to investigate.

Driving Without the Proper Paperwork

Driving without a driver’s license and insurance is a big no-no. Having these two items means that you are aware of all traffic laws and have the ability to perform them without an issue.

Having current registration and inspection lets North Carolina law enforcement know that your car is functioning without any potentially life-threatening issues. It means that your headlights, taillights, breaks, and seat belts are useable, therefore, giving you no reason to go against the law in any capacity.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

In North Carolina, it is against the law to decide to be in a moving vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. If you are driving with children passengers, make sure that you are following the state’s child restraint laws to avoid getting cited for a violation.

The human body becomes a projectile in the event of an accident if seatbelts are not worn. In fact, any item that may become a projectile, in the event of an accident, should also be strapped down or kept in the trunk where it will not cause injuries. While the items in question may get ruined in the trunk, you will be glad that they were left back there if a serious accident did happen.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is very common despite it being against the law. Getting charged with a DUI or DWI is a very serious offense. Not only does it result in the revocation of your driver’s license, but it could also end your life.

The solution is simple: Don’t drink and drive. Order an Uber, have a sober person (designated driver) take you home, or walk home after a night of drug use or alcohol consumption.

Distracted Driving

Any behavior that takes your focus off of the road constitutes distracted driving. Driving while distracted is just as dangerous as any of the other violations previously mentioned. You should not participate in any activity where your eyes leave the road for more than a few seconds to check your speedometer, your gas levels, or your side and rearview mirrors.

Distracted driving behaviors include:

  • Texting while maneuvering the vehicle
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup or shaving
  • Listening to music or singing
  • Reaching for something in the backseat or on the floorboards
  • Paying attention to your passengers

It is illegal in North Carolina to use the phone while operating a vehicle if you are under the age of 18 unless there is an emergency. It is also against the law to read something on your phone screen while in motion, but stopping to do so is acceptable.

Follow NC Driving Laws

If you want to avoid getting a ticket while driving in North Carolina, you need to make sure you are following all NC driving laws. This is the only way to make sure that you do not get involved in a situation where driving illegally is the cause of the issue.

If you are getting charged with a driving violation in North Carolina, Amistad Bail Bonds can help you get out of awaiting your trial behind bars. Contact us today for more information.

What Is Public Intoxication and How Is It Handled with the Police?

Did you know that around 1.4 million incidents of alcohol-related violence are committed against strangers every year? Engaging in binge drinking or prolong drinking increases the chances of committing violent offenses. This is just one reason why public intoxication laws are in place.

What is public intoxication and how is it handled with the police? Read on to find out.

What Is Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication also refers to drunk and disorderly conduct or being drunk in public. This crime gets treated differently by police depending on the state you are in.

Some states point out that public intoxication disturbs the peace and can harm society. In these states, being public drunk is a crime.

Other states have a different view on being under the influence in public. The laws in these states pass the courts and take treatment approaches instead.

A lot of states that punish public intoxication as a criminal defense do so with several factors in mind. The prosecution must prove the following to convict a person of public intoxication:

Appearing in a Public Space

A place that is not open to the general public, like a private home or residence, is not considered a public place. The defendant must be in a public place such as a park, sidewalk, stadium, street, etc. Some states consider restaurants and bars as public places as well.

Some states can also punish intoxication if it occurs on private property without the knowledge of the owner. Trespassing on another person’s lawn is grounds for a public intoxication charge even if the area is technically private.

Being Under the Influence

Public intoxication laws state that the defendant must be under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol, a controlled substance, or another intoxicant. Those under the influence of prescribed medications are not considered guilty of public intoxication if their behavior is traceable to that medication.

The prosecution must prove that the defendant is intoxicated through one or more substances. It is rare for states to require proof through a blood alcohol test or chemical test.

The jury often concludes that the defendant was intoxicated through the testimony of the arresting officer. Other witnesses of the situation will also present testimonies. Some states don’t require the defendant to actually be intoxicated, they only appear to be.

Causing Harm or Disturbance

A defendant must create a disturbance to get charged with public intoxication. This could be harming property, injuring another person, or posing a threat to oneself.

This element is in place to prevent police officers from arresting those under the influence legally without creating a problem. A lot of states use disturbance as a broad term that could mean using offensive language or even blocking sidewalks.

Penalties for Public Intoxication

The state can classify the behavior from public intoxication as a crime or medical condition. Depending on the conviction, the consequences will vary.

Public intoxication gets considered a misdemeanor in multiple states. This means the consequence could be jail time, probation, fines, or community service. Bail bonds are often used to cover a public intoxication fine because they offer payment plans.

The first offense could mean jail time and a fine if you get convicted in a state like Indiana. In California, a defendant under the influence of only alcohol can be spared criminal charges if the enforcement officer takes them to a sobering facility.

Individuals can get charged with a felony offense if they violate other laws while under the influence. The level of intoxication is not an excuse for breaking well-known violations and laws. Even though there is proof that intoxication affects decision-making, the court will not accept it as a defense.

If public intoxication is classified as a medical condition, law enforcement officers usually have to take offenders to a facility for treatment. This occurs in Alaska because they do not think of public intoxication as a criminal defense.

Other states require the officer to bring the intoxicated individual to their home or detain them until they aren’t intoxicated. States that do this don’t allow officers to make a record of the accident.

Public Intoxication Charge Defenses

There are defenses to public intoxication charges that can help someone fight against the charge. There are some common examples of this type of charge, including no intoxication, no disturbance, not a public place, and prescription medication.

No Intoxication

A defendant can argue that they weren’t intoxicated during the arrest. This is a hard defense to win because judges and juries lean towards what the arresting officer says. There must be concrete evidence to win with this defense, such as getting a blood alcohol test.

No Disturbance

The defendant can use evidence to prove that they were not causing a disturbance or harm. Witnesses get called to prove the defendant was not bothering anyone.

Not a Public Place

If the arrest was not made in a public place, the defendant could use this as a potential defense. This defense can also be used if the defendant was involuntarily in a public place.

Prescription Medication

If a defendant was under the influence of medication prescribed by a professional medical expert, they can argue the arrest. A defendant must prove that the medication is what forced their behavior.

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged

Being drunk in public or under the influences of other intoxicants can get you a public intoxication charge. The statutes regarding public intoxication are different in every state, but most states refer to public intoxication as a misdemeanor or criminal charge.

If you or someone you know has been charged with public intoxication, bail bond services can help you out. A bail bond from Amistad Bail Bonds can cover your charges and get you out of jail sooner. Contact us today to start the bail process.

Got Arrested? These Are Your Legal Rights

You may never think that you’ll get arrested, but there is a significant portion of Americans who have had encounters with law enforcement. While we are a free country, there are still so many vague laws that can affect everyday Americans.

If you have committed a crime, of course, you can expect to get arrested faster than you think. Arrests might not always lead to convictions but they are a serious matter.

Whether you were arrested for a crime or you feel you were wrongfully arrested, you must know the legal rights that you have once arrested.

These legal rights will help you with the next steps after your arrest. Here’s what you should know.

The Miranda Warning

You might have heard of your Miranda Rights before. These came about in a historic Supreme Court case Miranda vs. Arizona. These rights require that the arresting officer must inform you of your rights during your arrest and before an interrogation. 

This is known as “The Miranda Warning” and states that the person arrested has the right to remain silent. This means that they don’t have to speak or answer legal questions until a formal interrogation process.

The Miranda Warning is an extension of the rights granted in the Fifth Amendment. This means that no citizen has to incriminate themselves.

Your Legal Rights

Apart from the warning, what are the other legal rights that Miranda Rights bring?

Make sure the arresting officer gives you the Miranda Warning before the interrogation. This is something to discuss with your attorney if they don’t do this.

Once they’ve given you the warning, you have to be aware of the consequences of not remaining silent. Any statement you make after you receive the Miranda Warning can get used against your defense in court.

For example, if you use threatening language toward the officer this will likely get brought up in court.

This includes anything you say during an interrogation or while in police custody. Regardless of why you were arrested, you have to think about what you say.

This is a scary incident whether you were rightfully or wrongfully arrested. You still want to govern your temper so that you don’t jeopardize your situation.

You also have the legal rights to hire a lawyer or opt for a public defender. Make sure you learn about both options to decide which one works best for you.

What You Should Do

If an officer tries to arrest you, they will likely explain why they are doing so. If they don’t, make sure to let your lawyer know. You want to comply and not resist arrest.

If you feel that the arrest is wrongful, you should still comply with the officer. You can always bring up this issue later with your lawyer.

Don’t ever use any force against the officer. In most cases, you won’t have to worry about an officer using force unless you initiate it. Again, if this isn’t the case you can discuss this with your lawyer.

As stressful as this situation is, you want to try to focus on the immediate. You want to have a recollection of the arrest process. This is especially crucial if you feel that it’s a wrongful arrest.

The best advice is to always follow the officer’s instructions. If you get arrested when there are others present, you want to depend on them as eyewitnesses. If you expect to get arrested, you might want to ask others to record the arrest for future reference.

Police Custody

After you get arrested, you will get placed in police custody. This will usually involve you getting held in a cell or private room in a police station. You will get to make one phone call while you are in police custody.

You want to think carefully about whom to call at this time. You might choose a bail bondsman or a lawyer.

Or you might want to speak to a close friend or family member to ask them a favor. Make sure you think about how this person can assist you in any way.

Whomever you call, they should be able to help you get out of your situation. For example, if you call a friend/family member, you might want them to find a lawyer or hire a bail bondsman.

36-Hour Rule and 48-Hour Rule

The 36-hour rule requires that the arrested person is brought to a judge within 36 hours after the day of their arrest. Legal holidays and Sundays aren’t included within this 36 hour period. These rules apply if you get arrested without a warrant.

If you get arrested with a warrant, then Sundays and holidays are counted within the 36 hour period.

There’s also the 48-hour rule. This means that from the time of arrest, a person cannot get held in police custody for more than 48 hours.

The only exception happens if a judge signs a complaint. This complaint gets signed if the judge believes that there’s probable cause for a charge.

If both the 36-hour rule and 48-hour rule get violated, a judge will likely request your immediate release. However, this doesn’t drop any charges.

If you felt that you were mistreated while in police custody, make sure to discuss this with your lawyer.

In the best case, your lawyer can fight to suppress statements made by you while in custody. There can also be rare cases where your lawyer can convince a judge to drop the charges altogether.

Choose a Bail Bondsman

Now that you know your legal rights, you are better prepared if you ever get arrested. While we hope this doesn’t happen, let this guide help you and your fellow citizens understand the rights that you have in such a situation.

Make sure you are aware of what happens and that you don’t break any rules. Don’t be aggressive to the police officer and remain silent until you speak to your lawyer.

Once you are in police custody, you’ll likely have the opportunity to post bail. If you cannot afford bail, you can take a loan — known as a ‘bail bond.’

We can help you with posting bail. Learn about our bail process if you need our assistance.

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.