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North Carolina Advocates for Justice

How to Choose a Lawyer for Driving While Impaired Charges

If you are facing driving while impaired charges on the Outer Banks, it is important to choose a lawyer who understands the complexities of these cases.

You need someone who can help you navigate the legal process, answer questions, and who has a proven track record for helping people.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to choose the right lawyer for your needs.

We will provide some tips on what to look for and what to avoid.

Let’s get started!

Do I need a lawyer for DWI charges?

It is not required that you have a lawyer for DWI charges, but it is strongly advised.

DWI cases are complex and often involve scientific evidence.

A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and develop a defense strategy.

Can I represent myself in court?

You have the right to represent yourself in court, but it is not recommended.Can I represent myself for drunk driving in NC

If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held to the same standards as a lawyer.

You will be expected to know the law and procedures, and you could face serious consequences if you do not.

What should I look for in a DWI lawyer?

When choosing a DWI lawyer, you should look for someone who has experience in this area of law.

You should also ask about how many years they have practiced law and whether driving while impaired cases are a substantial part of their practice.

Can I get my DWI charges dismissed? 

It is important to find a lawyer who is trustworthy and reliable.

You should feel comfortable discussing your case with them.

You want to choose a lawyer who is ethical and professional; someone who is respected in the legal community. What to look for in an OBX DWI attorney

Danny Glover is the former President of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. He is a sought-after speaker for Continuing Legal Education for lawyers and a respected member of the Bar.

He has more than 25 years of practical courtroom experience as a DUI attorney, helping people with allegations involving driving under the influence and related criminal cases.

A DUI arrest is serious stuff. As  you might imagine DUI cases tend to be highly technical, involving scientific evidence and testimony regarding:

  • Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
  • The “Breathalyzer” – EC/IR II and AlcoSensor
  • Appreciable Impairment

When is the best time to hire a DWI attorney?

We think the best time to hire a DWI attorney is as soon as possible after you are charged. Do I need a DUI lawyer?

You want to give your lawyer enough time to prepare your defense.

If you wish to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege or what some people call a Hardship License, there can be important timing requirements for eligibility.

That’s especially true if the LCA – Licensed Chemical Analyst reports you Wilfully Refused to blow or provide a blood sample.

DWI cases are complicated.

Do not delay. It’s smart to begin immediately gathering materials, preserving potential evidence, and preparing a defense to your DUI case.

Is there a difference between DUI and DWI and Drunk Driving?

Ordinarily, DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, while DWI stands for Driving While Impaired.

People (including lawyers) tend to use the terms DUI and DWI interchangeably, also referring to the offense of impaired driving as “drunk driving” or Driving While Intoxicated.

Attention to detail matters in Impaired Driving charges

You do NOT need to be drunk to be convicted of DWI in North Carolina or “intoxicated.”

As such, in North Carolina, there is little meaningful difference between DWI and DUI, especially as it pertains to how such legal issues are handled in court and the potential punishments.

The NC DWI Law in Chapter 20-138.1 is entitled Impaired Driving. There is no reference to either a “DWI” or “DUI charge.”

There are three primary ways someone “commits the offense” in violation of N.C.G.S. Section 20-138.1 if they operate a vehicle while:

  1. Under the influence of an impairing substance. Impairing substances can include both legal, prescribed medications and illegal drugs like marijuana OR
  2. After drinking alcohol they have a BAC – Blood Alcohol Concentration (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.08 or more. In North Carolina, BAC can be determined through breath tests, blood tests, and/or urine tests OR
  3. Having any amount of a Schedule I drug (controlled substance) as set forth in N.C.G.S. Chapter 90-89 or metabolites of such controlled substance in urine or blood.

Furthermore, some people relate DUI with alcohol-related offenses. DWI can include all sorts of impairing substances, including both illegal drugs and prescription medications.

As such, in North Carolina, it does not matter much what you call it.

The legal issue is whether you are appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medications.

If you have questions about whether or not to plead guilty, the possibility of driving privileges, or a related criminal offense on the Outer Banks, call Danny Glover now to schedule a consultation.

How much does it cost to hire a DWI lawyer?

The cost of hiring a DWI lawyer will vary depending on the complexity of your case and the lawyer’s experience.

Criminal defense lawyers generally do not charge consultation fees or an hourly rate to review your case and discuss your legal options.

Part of establishing an attorney client relationship involves setting legal fees.

Given the possible consequences of a drunk driving conviction, we strongly recommend retaining legal counsel without delay.

Can I get a free consultation?

Most criminal defense attorneys and DUI lawyers offer free consultations.  Make sure to ask about this when you are looking for an attorney to handle your DUI case.

What documents should I bring to the first visit?

Experienced DUI attorneys often want to see the following documents:

  • A copy of the Uniform Citation, Ticket, Police Report, or Warrant for Arrest you received from law enforcement, if available.
  • A copy of your driving record. This can be obtained online at the NCDMV website. Your DUI lawyer may refer to that as an “abstract” or “driving history.” (North Carolina Department of Transportation / Division of Motor Vehicles)

Does experience matter?

When it comes to choosing a lawyer for your DUI charges, we think experience does matter.

DWI Sentencing in NC 

An attorney who regularly practices in the area of DUI defense on the Outer Banks will likely have a better understanding of the science, legal issues, and potential defenses in your case than someone who rarely handles DWI charges.

Additionally, experienced DUI lawyers a familiar with local rules, protocols, preferences, and procedures for handling DUI cases.

When you are looking for a DUI attorney for your criminal defense (driving while impaired is a criminal charge in North Carolina), we encourage you to ask about their experience specifically handling drunk driving cases on the Outer Banks.

A qualified and experienced DUI lawyer should be able to provide you with specific details about their experience, training, and results in handling these types of cases.

You can also read reviews from past clients on Google, Avvo, and other sites to get a sense of what others have experienced working with the lawyer.

How often should I expect to talk to my DUI lawyer?

This will depend on your lawyer, the stage of your case, and the attorney client relationship.

Your DUI attorney will want to speak with you regularly until the case is resolved. The entire process can take quite some time.

Whether that is weekly, monthly, or quarterly is largely dictated by the nature and circumstances of the charges, when and where you got arrested (where on the OBX), and how busy the legal system is with disposing cases in the respective jurisdictions.

During plea negotiations or hearings, you may need to speak with your DUI lawyer more frequently.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should feel free to reach out and contact your lawyer.

Can I get a hardship license?

A hardship license allows a driver to operate a vehicle for certain limited purposes, such as going to work, school, or church.

In North Carolina, most attorneys refer to it as a Limited Driving Privilege.

There are several different types of Limited Privileges for DWI charges in NC, such as:

DUI law and the process of applying for and receiving a hardship license can be time consuming.

In some jurisdictions, obtaining a limited privilege for a DUI charge may require setting a court date and additional inquiry/review by the sitting judge.

We think it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced, local attorney lawyer about your specific DUI case.

What is Habitual Driving While Impaired in North Carolina?

If you have three (or more) separate prior convictions for driving while impaired (DWI), within a certain ten years of the offense date of the most recent, pending charge, you may be looking at an indictment for habitual driving while impaired.

Habitual Impairing Driving Law in NC

Defense lawyers may refer to Habitual DWI as ‘Felony DWI.” Ordinarily, impaired driving in North Carolina is classified as a misdemeanor charge.

Take note: Misdemeanor DWI in North Carolina may serve as a legal basis for much more serious, related felony charges.

DUI law in North Carolina is complicated.

Each case is different.

A DUI conviction carries consequences, including possibly increased insurance premiums, community service, and jail time in some circumstances.

The best way to understand how the law may apply to the facts of your case is to speak with a local, experienced DUI lawyer.

Call an attorney who regularly practices on the Outer Banks and has experience handling these types of cases.

An Outer Banks attorney can answer questions about your driver’s license, the costs of legal representation, and whether a plea agreement or other favorable outcome is available in your case.

Call today for a free consultation with an Outer Banks DUI lawyer Danny Glover Jr.

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