The Outer Banks is a great place to visit with its beautiful beaches, breathtaking views of the ocean, and plenty of activities. Visitors come from all over the world for their vacation on this pristine beach. But sometimes visitors can get in trouble while they are there.
In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about criminal charges on Federal Seashore beaches on the Outer Banks.
OBX defense lawyer Danny Glover is an experienced criminal lawyer who defends clients on the Outer Banks. He has extensive experience defending people with possession charges, DWI’s, assaults, and more.
If you are charged with any OBX beach charges in federal court in North Eastern NC contact Danny Glover for help today!
Federal traffic tickets
Tickets involving driving on the beach in North Carolina, subject to jurisdiction in Federal Court, can be a hassle.
If you are caught committing a crime on a Federal Seashore beach in North Carolina, it can be more than just a hassle.
The penalties can be much more severe, especially if the allegations involve a felony.
It is illegal to speed on a beach in North Carolina.
Driving a vehicle on the beach in NC may be prohibited in certain areas in Dare County, and therefore illegal, in certain areas.
Depending on where you are at the time the ticket is issued, you may find yourself in in Elizabeth City, Dare County District Court, or Federal Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, located in Greenville NC.
The US District Court for the Eastern Division is headquartered in Greenville and handles cases including Halifax, Hyde, Pamlico, Martin, Lenoir, Jones, Pitt, Greene, Craven, and Beaufort Counties in North Carolina.
Driving on beaches can be dangerous for several reasons, including speed limits are very low, many people walk along the beaches each year, it can be difficult to drive or ride fast on the sand. Additionally, if you get stuck while driving too close to the shoreline your car will probably end up submerged in water and you could lose it.
There are also federally protected bird sanctuaries in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Violating a protected area, public trust land, or prohibited beachfront in U.S. District Court is a serious accusation by Park Rangers.
For these reasons, the Federal Government has created a set of regulations that apply to driving on beaches in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
And when people break them they can be charged with serious crimes such as assault or possession of drugs; federal laws do not always take into account local circumstances like why the person was driving on the beach.
DWI on the Beach is one of the more serious allegations. In addition to carrying substantial penalties itself, “drunk driving” on the beach can result in other life-changing felony charges if someone was hurt or killed as a result of impaired driving.
Federal Impaired Driving Charges
It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs on a Federal Seashore beach in North Carolina, and doing so can result in significant penalties for Federal DWI Charges. In addition, your driver’s license could be revoked.
To be clear, if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or impairing substances anywhere in North Carolina, including along a beachfront road, you could face DWI charges.
The penalties for a Federal DWI conviction also depend on your blood-alcohol concentration and whether children were involved in any way.
Without question, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated on Federal Seashore property.
This includes driving a car, motorcycle, boat, or any other type of vehicle while subject to national seashore laws.
Federal charges involving impaired driving differ from DWI in North Carolina in different ways. Federal Court also has different procedures and rules than those in the State Court in North Carolina.
There are differences in the evidence that may be admissible against you. For example, in Federal Court, the reading on the handheld “breathalyzer” may be admissible. In state court, the numerical reading is not available for DWI prosecution.
The ADA assigned to the matter may only seek to introduce whether the AlcoSensor reading was “positive for alcohol.”
Across the board, the penalties for a wide range of misdemeanors and felonies in Federal Court may be much harsher.
Federal Drug Laws on Beaches
Beachgoers who are caught with illegal controlled substances face federal charges instead of state offenses. Park Rangers on federal property are law enforcement officers.
They have access to the beachfront and other areas subject to Federal Jurisdiction.
This is because these areas are under federal jurisdiction. That means you can be charged with drug crimes, including possession and distribution, even if marijuana was legal in your state or territory at one point
If you are charged with an offense, it’s important to work with a criminal defense attorney who understands how federal law works in this unique setting.
Drug charges can result in long prison sentences and other serious consequences for defendants accused of drug crimes under federal law.
It is illegal to possess a controlled substance unless the person has a valid prescription from a doctor. This means if you are caught with drugs on Federal Seashore property without a prescription, you could face serious allegations.
Possession of marijuana or hashish can also be charged as drug trafficking depending on the amount that was found.
If you are arrested for a drug trafficking charge on the coast, you could face up to life in prison. Offenses range from simple possession, to possession with the intent to sell or deliver, and even trafficking.
The consequences for drug charges are generally thought of as harsh on Federal Seashore land. There are numerous federal laws on the books that both protect the federal seashores that may be prosecuted.
Possession of cocaine, heroin, or other controlled substances by an officer can result in five to forty years in prison and require to to pay fines up to $500,000 if convicted. Even simple possession of methamphetamines could lock you away for twenty years with a fine up to $500,000.
We think it’s a good idea to “lawyer up” and establish an attorney-client relationship as soon as possible. Legal services include explaining how the systems work, what you face after a violation, and reviewing your options.
“Lawyers help explain the system and the consequences getting arrested, help clients understand what to expect, and support the constitution at trial. When possible, it’s important to challenge the allegations, defend the crime, and work to get the charges dismissed – Danny Glover, Jr.
Drinking Alcohol on Federal Seashore property
Federal law also prohibits drinking alcohol on Federal Seashore property.
It is illegal to possess an open container of alcohol or consume it in public. This includes beaches, parks, and other areas under federal jurisdiction.
Violators can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense that could result in substantial fines and jail, even for just one beer or drink!
“We do not recommend you simply pay a citation. Our legal services include reviewing your record and determining the most appropriate course of action – Danny Glover, Jr. OBX Defense Attorney
Certain offenses may result in the suspension of your driving privileges, particularly those in a complaint brought (filed) by the officer in violation of the impaired driving laws.
Federal Assault Charges
Assaults on the beach happen more than you might think. It may start with something as simple as a fisherman arguing over the best spot. Oftentimes, assaults are a result of drinking too much.
If you are involved in an altercation on the beach, you could face criminal assault charges.
This includes both verbal and physical altercations.
In some cases, even threatening to harm someone can lead to charges relating to “communicating threats.”
Under federal law, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for assaulting someone on the beach.
It all depends on your intent and how much harm is done to the victim.
If convicted of serious offenses, you could face time in prison and fines, which are related to the severity of the assault. The federal sentencing guidelines give the judge a fair amount of discretion.
If you are convicted of a felony offense, the fines could be up to $250,000.
There is also an additional penalty for any federal conviction that involves violence or the use of weapons on the beach: at least three years probation and mandatory treatment in a center with special programs designed to help people stop their violent behavior.
OBX Criminal Defense Lawyer Danny Glover Jr
Danny Glover Jr is an experienced legal advocate. His office is located in Elizabeth City, in Pasquotank County, but he travels extensively throughout the Outer Banks helping people in Dare County, and Currituck County.
“We don’t just handle matters in Elizabeth City, I regularly make appearances in both state and federal court throughout the Outer Banks and Inner Banks areas” – Danny Glover, Defense Attorney
We help people with cases in:
- SOUTHERN SHORES
- NAGS HEAD
- CURRITUCK COUNTY
- KITTY HAWK
- BODIE ISLAND
- DARE COUNTY
If you have been subject to arrest, we recommend you speak with legal counsel before your first appearance if possible. In U.S. District Court, the first appearance may take place in one of the regularly appearing Federal Courthouses in the Eastern District of NC.