DUI charges in North Carolina can be incredibly complex at times.
The consequences of a conviction may also be devastating, involving the possibility of revocation of your license, jail time, probation, costs of court, fines, and other penalties given the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
Prior to doing anything, we strongly recommend you speak with DWI lawyer, a person who understands the nuances and complexities of the law. Attention to detail matters – Danny Glover, OBX DUI lawyer
A recent opinion (legal ruling) of the NC Court of Appeals makes that point abundantly clear in State of North Carolina vs. Kayla Sue McGaha.
In an opinion written by Allegra Collins, the Court addresses issues regarding:
- Preserving legal rights
- Trial Procedures
- Statutory Sentencing under the NC DWI Laws
- Notice of Factors in Aggravation
Preservation of the Right to Appeal
Simply filing a motion to suppress or motion to dismiss in a North Carolina DWI case does not necessarily preserve the issue for appeal.
The law of the State of North Carolina sets forth an evidentiary ruling at trial, on a motion to suppress, does not necessarily preserve the issue for appeal unless the defendant ultimately renews the objection during the trial in the case in chief.
Read State v. Hargett, 241 N.C. App. 121 (2015).
If the defendant fails to renew the Motion and properly object to evidence offered at trial, after losing the motion at a pretrial hearing, appellate review on that legal issue would be limited to the “plain error” standard of law.
A review consistent with “plain error” is available in circumstances where the action by the court, the judicial action, is distinctly and specifically alleged to amount to plain error. NC Rules of Appellate Court, Rule 10(a)(4).
Counsel must ‘preserve’ the issue for appeal by again objecting a trial, even after the Court has already ruled on the legal issue and motion, by renewing and restating the motion – Danny Glover, OBX DWI Defense
Motions to Dismiss for Insufficient Evidence
Appellate courts in North Carolina review the Superior Court judge’s denial of a motion to dismiss due to lack of evidence, or what defense lawyers refer to as “insufficient evidence,” de novo.
“De Novo” is Latin and a term-of-art used by defense attorneys, relative to appeals of criminal charges to the appellate level, which means “fresh” or “anew.”
The Court in reviewing a legal matter de novo is allowed to reconsider the motion using its own judgment and discretion. That type of legal review differs from the “abuse of discretion” standard.
A motion to dismiss during a criminal trial, if denied, is proper in the event there is substantial evidence of the prima facie elements of the criminal charge.
Prima facie materials ordinarily relate to the “essential elements” of the criminal charge.
Indeed, for DWI charges in North Carolina, that may include evidence of things like:
- Operation of a motor vehicle
- On a public street or highway in North Carolina
- While subject to an impairing substance and/or
- BAC of .08 or higher (DUI)
DWI defense lawyers tend to use the term “DUI” interchangeably with “DWI.” That’s because many people still refer to the offense as “drunk driving” or DUI.
The NC DWI laws include references to driving under the influence and driving while subject to an impairing substance, as referenced in the opinion.
Substantial evidence of a crime is defined as evidence that is relevant, such that a reasonable person or reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support the conclusion that the defendant committed the offense or crime.
In legal challenges seeking review of challenges for the sufficiency, or lack of sufficiency of the evidence, the appellate courts consider the evidence in a legal standard known as the light most favorable to the State.
As such, the prosecutor is given the benefit of all reasonable inferences.
That is a different legal standard that Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
Pretrial motions, and appeals regarding pretrial motions to suppress, are therefore held to a lesser standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
When viewed in a “light most favorable to the State,” there must be sufficient evidence supporting a reasonable conclusion the person accused of DUI – driving under the influence of some impairing substance” at the time of her or her arrest. N.C.G.S. 20-138.1(a)(1).
Outer Banks DUI Lawyer – OBX DWI Defense – Danny Glover Jr.
For more information regarding the NC DWI laws, license suspension or revocation issues related to NCDMV action, or other issues involve criminal charges, call Danny Glover Jr NOW at 252-299-5300.
You may also email Danny Glover directly at: Danny@DannyGloverLawFirm.com