Arrested for DWI in Charlotte – What You Need to Know Now
First Priority – Getting Your License Back
After a DWI arrest, your most immediate concern is how to get your license back. Because you have to get to work, that is our first priority as well. When arrested, the police take your license and say you can’t drive for thirty (30) days. Try not to worry. In most situations, we can get you back on the road quickly. Under North Carolina law, you actually have two (2) options.
DMV Suspension Challenge
The first and best option is to request a DMV challenge hearing. This is an expedited procedure in which the State of North Carolina must be given up to three (3) days notice to be heard. After that period, or if the State elects to waive this notice, we will appear in front of a District Court judge on your behalf. You do not have to be present. If approved, your license is restored in full. No restrictions or limitations (other than any that may have already existed). Clients naturally prefer this option because it is much faster and does not have the additional costs associated with a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP). We will explain further below.
Limited Driving Privilege (LDP)
If the DMV challenge hearing is rejected, we can then petition for a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) after ten (10) days from the date arrested. This process requires two items from our client. First, they will have to have a substance abuse assessment (just the assessment, not the treatment) which costs $100 paid to the facility. Next, the client will need to have their insurance company send confirmation to our firm of existing coverage on a Form DL-123. We will prepare the necessary documents and submit to a District Court judge for approval. After the judge signs, we file the executed LDP along with your $100 fee to the State of North Carolina.
These documents then become your “license” for the next twenty (20) days. However, you are restricted to driving only to and from work during certain time periods. While the “standard” LDP allows you to drive Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, we can ask for “non-standard” hours. In addition, you are allowed to attend church and/or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Then, thirty (30) days after arrest, you pay another $100 fee to the State of North Carolina to fully restore your license.
Initial Consultation with a Charlotte DWI Attorney
As you might expect, the process starts here with the initial consultation. Because your choice of lawyer is so important, we encourage you to carefully compare our credentials and experience. While there are many lawyers in Mecklenburg County, relatively few practice criminal law. More importantly, even fewer attorneys focus their criminal practice on DWI defense. However, that’s just what our criminal defense lawyers do.
Consequently, let’s sit down, go over your case, and review your concerns. Furthermore, ask us hard questions. For example, what percentage of our practice is DWI cases? In addition, do we fight for our clients in court? In addition, ask if we are personally available after regular business hours or weekends? Once you have met with several attorneys, you will know who gives you the most confidence and who you want as your lawyer.
Focused Charlotte DWI Arrest Practice
North Carolina DUI laws are complex. The stakes are high even for a first offense with no prior criminal record. That is why we focus our North Carolina criminal practice on DWI cases. We may occasionally handle other serious criminal cases. But our primary focus and passion is helping clients charged with DWI and the attending DMV issues. We know you have many great choices here in Charlotte. We are honored to be considered. We encourage you to research several law firms and compare our credentials and experience against anyone. After your initial research, we invite you to personally meet with several attorneys before making your final decision.
Direct Access to Your Lawyer
In this era of smart phones and email, there is no excuse to not be able to speak directly with your lawyer. Paralegals are great, but there will be times when you really need to talk to your lawyer. We understand the anxiety a DWI can cause. That’s why each of our clients has our mobile phone numbers and direct email addresses. We appreciate the stress you are feeling and pledge to help by being there when you need us. We will answer your questions and concerns even if if is after the “traditional” business hours. We respond in the evenings and weekends because we know a little information and guidance will help you sleep better. That’s what you should expect when you hire a lawyer. That’s what you will get if you retain our firm.
Our Credentials and Experience
Robert J. Reeves
Charlotte DWI lawyer Robert J. Reeves is a practicing trial attorney located here in Mecklenburg County with over 27 years litigation experience in both criminal and civil courts. He is licensed in North Carolina (1996) as well as South Carolina (1989). Located across the street from the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Mr. Reeves focuses his criminal practice on Driving While Impaired (DWI) and cases. He has undergone the same training as police and has received certificates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in both DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing as well as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).
Mr. Reeves is an accomplished trial attorney who has been inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense. Mr. Reeves will work tirelessly on your behalf and makes himself personally available to his clients to answer questions when you need him – evenings, weekends, and holidays. Mr. Reeves’ direct mobile phone number is 704.351.7979 and his direct email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org. We know how stressful this ordeal is to you and will do everything we can to ease your burden. We are going to be engaged in every step of the process, and Mr. Reeves will be there to guide you from start to finish.
G. Anthony Wayne
Charlotte DWI attorney Anthony Wayne works with Mr. Reeves in DUI defense and resolves DMV licensing issues for our clients. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Campbell University School of Law. Mr. Wayne devotes his practice to DWI and has completed training in DWI Investigation and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. This is the same course taken by police and results in a certificate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
We took the same training as the police. After all, we should know what the police know so that we can effectively challenge and even refute improper procedure during a DUI arrest. It is critically important to challenge every aspect of a DUI stop and investigation from start to finish in the arrest process. Mr. Wayne’s direct mobile phone number is 704.960.9097 and his direct email address which is email@example.com.
What the State Has to Prove
The State has to prove three (3) things to win their case against you: (1) driving, (2) on a public roadway in Mecklenburg County, and (3) BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.o8 or greater and/or mental/physical impairment. The first two elements are usually a given. But not always. It is the third element that is usually disputed. So here is our basic strategy. First of all, we challenge the reliability of the “machine” and so-called “breath testing.” For example, if your BAC is low, we argue margins for error with any mechanical device. But if your BAC is high, we see if your video reflects someone who is truly impaired. And if there is no BAC (refusal or machine failure), we again look to your video. Either you are “impaired” or “drunk,” or not.
DWI Arrest and Investigation
If you’re reading this material, we know that you or someone you care about has probably had a long night. On the way home from dinner or an evening out, you were stopped by police or came upon a DWI checkpoint. You may have had a few drinks but felt fine to drive. Of course, you would never have driven if you thought for a moment you were unsafe. You are a responsible person who does not take chances. Nevertheless, life circumstances can change pretty quickly, and you now find yourself facing a DWI arrest. Defending a DWI is a process and it will take time to work through the various stages. That’s where our firm can help.
DWI Arrest Process
Regardless of the reason you were initially stopped by police, everything changes once the officer detects any alcohol on your breath. At that point, the focus shifts to a DWI investigation and a DWI arrest. First, you will be asked a series of questions while gathering requested documents such as your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance cards. These are “divided attention” tasks. Next, you will be asked to step out of your car and perform “Field Sobriety Tests” on the side of the road. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn (WAT), and One Leg Stand (OLS).
Even though you may feel you did well, almost everyone “fails” and gets arrested. Here is the problem. If you submit to testing, you will most probably fail and be arrested. And if you decline testing, you absolutely will be arrested. Rather, you get the idea here. Either way, once the investigation starts, plan on spending the night in jail.
DWI Court Process
Your first court date and time is shown on the arrest documents given to you when released. All Charlotte DWI cases start in Courtroom 1130 at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. If you hire our firm, you will sign a Waiver of Appearance form so that we can appear on your behalf. You will not have to be there. On that first date, we will examine all documents in your file and request a second court date in 1130. As before, you will not have to be at that next court date. In the meantime, we will file several standard Motions and request any video evidence that may be available in your case. After the second court date in 1130, your case will start being scheduled on the fourth floor, or the District Court level.
Our office notifies you with the date, time, and courtroom number. There are several court dates during which we collect all of the State’s evidence, including video. We personally interview the arresting officer to learn every detail about your arrest. Once we have all the evidence and have carefully reviewed it, we will go over your options so that you can decide what is best for you. We will answer all of your questions, review the pros and cons of your case, and make recommendations. Then, you decide how to proceed. We never pressure our clients on any course of action. Rather, we advise and suggest options. It is always your case and your decision.
Is DWI Worth Fighting?
Absolutely. While you would expect a DWI lawyer to give such advice, it’s true. Perhaps we should explain why it is worth the investment to aggressively fight a DWI arrest. First of all, a DWI conviction is a permanent criminal record. In addition, you can lose your license, your job, and maybe even your freedom. So as you know, there is too much at stake to just give up without a fight.
Misdemeanor or Felony
Unless there is serious injury or death, a DWI is a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, if convicted or plead guilty, a DWI is a permanent criminal record that cannot expunged even years later. As with all criminal charges, a DWI should be thoroughly investigated and aggressively defended. The burden of proof is on the State of North Carolina, and the prosecution must prove all elements “beyond a reasonable doubt.” North Carolina has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country, but subject to both legal and factual defenses. You are beginning what can be a very stressful time in your life.
This is why hiring an experienced DWI attorney is critical. We know and understand what is involved and how this process works. We can explain what to expect and answer the questions that are waking you up at night. Then, we can collect all of the State’s evidence and then sit down and review a strategy for your case. If you decide to fight the charges, we will get ready for trial. If you decide to plea, we will prepare available mitigators with the goal of minimizing your ultimate punishment level and sentence. The choice of how to proceed in your case is always yours. You are the client. We always remember that we work for you.
“Best Charlotte DWI Attorney”
Common searches on the internet often include variations of “who is the best DUI attorney in Charlotte?” But here is the simple truth. After comparing several lawyers, you decide who is the “best Charlotte DUI lawyer” to represent you. Because who to defend you is so critical, consider your options and make your decision carefully. After you have done your research and even met with several attorneys, go with who gives you the most confidence but also puts you at ease. If you hire us, we pledge our best efforts to fight for you. In addition, we are there for you when you need us. Even after hours, in the evenings, and on the weekends, you can get to us. And whether it is good or bad news, we will give you honest, straight answers. That’s how we do this. And we want to be your Charlotte DWI lawyer. Call us now.