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Monday, October 31, 2011

North Carolina Limited Driving Privileges| What is Needed for the Petition

In today's DWI Blog, I will be focusing on North Carolina's Limited Driving Privilege.  Though a Limited Driving Privilege applies to more situation then a DWI, today's blog will only focus on it's function in the DWI world.

First, the Petition is just that, a petition.  The Privilege must be agreed to by a District Court Judge, there are no guarantees that you will be given a privilege.  Second, the Privilege is normally only for Monday through Friday, 6:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M.  If you need to drive outside of those time for school or work, it can be requested with additional documentation.

There are two areas of a DWI case where the Limited Driving Privilege applies, first is after being charged with a DWI, you will have your license suspended for 30 days.  Most likely, the Police Officer took your license.  In those situations the Privilege can not be granted for the first 10 days, therefore if granted, the Privilege will only be for the remaining 20 days.  If convicted of a DWI or if you plead guilty to a DWI, you will have your license suspended for 12 months.  Depending on how high your blood/alcohol level was at the time of your arrest will dictate when you can petition the court for a Limited Driving Privilege for those 12 months.  The petition requires several things before a Judge will consider it.  Below, I have listed those things that are necessary.

1. A certified 7-year driving record from the DMV
2. A Limited Driving Privilege Petition (Form AOC-CVR-9)
3. Fully completed Limited Driving Privileges (Form AOC-CVR-10 or AOC-CVR-11) (3 copies of each)
4. Valid proof of driving insurance (called a 'DL-123 form')
5. Proof of Substance Abuse Assessment
6. Letter from an employer or school if requesting more time outside of the standard hours.
7. $100 cost for the privilege.

This process can seem a bit complicated, but it can be done.  If you feel overwhelmed, speak with a local Durham DWI Attorney or Raleigh DWI Attorney or a DWI Attorney in your area for assistance.  Some may be willing to assist you without handling your DWI case.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Driving While License Revoked| The Gift that Keeps Giving (even when you wish it wouldn't)

Okay, so today's blog will deal with the North Carolina charge of Driving While License Revoked.  Though this may seem a bit out of bounds for a Driving While Intoxicated blog, it's not as far off the mark as you may believe.  Let me explain.

A North Carolina DWI Conviction carries with it a one-year suspension of your Driver's License.  If, during that period of suspension, the Defendant is caught driving on a North Carolina street or highway without having a limited driving privilege, they will be charged with Driving While License Revoked.  

So, what is it about this charge that makes it so serious that it warrants it's own blog topic?  Well, there are several reasons why this charge is important.

First, though a Driving While Intoxicated conviction is one way to have your license suspended, there are other ways.   First, if a driver receives 12 or more points on their license in a three-year period, their license will be suspended for a year.  Additionally, should a Defendant not appear in court, or not pay their fines, they risk having their license suspended after a year.  This particular situation can be tricky because, though someone may have simply forgotten about their court date or fines, their suspension will go through with very little notice to them.  In fact, aside from a letter that is sent 20 days after the missed court date or missed payment date, there is no other notice.  Therefore, a Driver can be driving around under the assumption that the License in their possession is valid, only to find that it has been revoked.  In these cases, the 'notice' of revocation always comes about when the Driver receives another ticket, like a registration, seatbelt, speeding, or headlight ticket, and the Officer will also cite them for Driving While License Revoked.

Secondly, this charge carries with it 8 points towards your insurance.  Under North Carolina's Safe Driver Incentive Plan, 8 points will result in an increase to your automotive insurance premium by 220% for the next three years.  As an example, if you are presently paying $300 a year for your car insurance, you will be paying $660 a year for the next three years.

Finally, and most importantly, this charge is serious because a conviction of Driving While License Revoked will result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges.  Since most people cannot go without driving a car, many chose to drive anyways.  If they are caught driving during the one-year suspension period, it will result in an additional Driving While License Revoked charge.  That carries with it a two-year suspension.  A third or more charge will result in a permanent suspension (though you can petition the court for limited driving privilege after two years.   

A Driving While License Revoked charge is extremely serious and not one to take on by yourself lightly.  It would be in your best interest to speak with a Raleigh Traffic Attorney or Durham Traffic Attorney  about your particular case.  There may be an opportunity to avoid a license suspension from the Driving While License Revoked through some plea in District Court

Disclaimer - Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

North Carolina District Court: Calender Call Explained

So, slightly off-topic, but I thought today's blog would do well to explain exactly what 'Calender Call' is as it relates to North Carolina District Courts.  As a Durham Criminal Attorney and Raleigh Criminal Attorney I have seen a lot of confusion in the courtroom from the public when it comes time for calender call.  But, more importantly, when I was an Assistant District Attorney in Harnett County, I saw what a frustrating situation it can be for the DA's when trying to run court.  Let me explain.

In Every courtroom in North Carolina, the DA's have what is called the 'Calender.'  The Calender is a list of every Defendant ordered to be in court that day, along with their charge and some other minor information.  The Calender is what the DA will work off of while running court that day.  In order to expedite the process, the DA's will call out the name of every Defendant at the start of court and ask them to answer up in one of five ways: Guilty, Not Guilty, Motion, Attorney, or Court-Appointed Attorney.  Most DA's do a good job of explaining what each answer means however, after a while, the DA's tend to fly through the explanation, and without a Q & A session, it can sometimes be hard to know how to answer.  Therefore, I will now go through each response and explain what it means.

  • Guilty: This basically tells the DA that the Defendant does not wish to fight the charges.  In some cases (probably better then half) the DA will still offer the Defendant a plea deal, since they are pleading guilty.  This is the response that most people are afraid of, because they are scared of admitting guilt before knowing what options they may have.  Though speaking with an attorney before hand will help alleviate these fears, just know that if you do answer up 'Guilty' during Calender Call, you can change your plea, so long as you haven't PLEAD GUILTY before the judge.
  • Not Guilty: This informs the DA that the Defendant wishes to fight the charges.  Unless an agreement can be made regarding a plea deal, answering up 'Not Guilty' will mean you wish to have a trial.  If this is your first or possibly second time to court, the changes are the State will continue the case in order to gather evidence.  Once the case is ready to be tried, it will normally not occur until after all the other cases have been disposed of.
  • Motion:  This response (or 'Continuance' also works) is informing the DA that the Defendant wishes to continue the case to a later date.  Understand, the court is NOT obligated to grant a continuance every time it is requested.  Normally, the Judge will allow a couple of continuances for each side.  So, if the Defendant has continued their case several times, they may face a situation whereby the Judge will NOT grant the continuance and you will either have to plead Guilty or Not Guilty.
  • Attorney:  This response (you may also answer with your Attorney's name, i.e. "Attorney Matheson") informs the DA that you have representation.  This is important because, the DA is not permitted to speak directly with a Defendant who has procured legal representation; whether by hiring an attorney or having one appointed by the court.  Once the DA knows you have an attorney, they will wait until that attorney comes to court in order to handle your case.
  • Court-Appointed Attorney:  Lastly, this response is requesting the court appoint you an attorney.  Though this is a good option for some, there are several things that should be understood about requesting a court-appointed attorney.  First, the Defendant will be required to fill out an affidavit covering their financial situation.  This affidavit is used to determine whether you qualify as an indigent (poor) Defendant.  Second, the Judge will make a determination, based off of your affidavit, whether you qualify.  The Judge is NOT obligated to appoint the Defendant an attorney.  If the Judge feels the Defendant has the resources to hire their own attorney, they will deny the request.  Lastly, court-appointed attorneys are not necessarily free.  If the Defendant ends up pleading guilty or is found guilty, they will be required to reimburse the State for that attorney's costs.  
That covers the basics of Calender Call.  Whether you are facing a with a North Carolina DWI charge or a North Carolina Misdemeanor charge this review will apply.  Obviously, you should speak with an attorney about what options you have available to you before going to court for the first time.