Defending clients throughout Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, Iredell, and Alexander Counties.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state, and each state has unique laws that apply to DUI offenses. In North Carolina, it’s possible for an individual convicted of DUI to face heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and even incarceration, depending on the nature of their offense. It’s also possible for a DUI case to involve multiple criminal charges if the defendant damaged property, injured anyone, or caused a fatal accident. Penalties for DUI conviction also increase with multiple offenses within a short time.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Newton, NC, you need a defense attorney you can trust to help you navigate your criminal case proceedings. Attorney Robert Cayll and the team at Cayll Law, PLLC have extensive experience representing Newton, NC clients in DUI cases, and we can help you determine your best available defenses to the charges you currently face. We understand that facing any criminal charges is a distressing and uncertain situation. Our goal is to help you better understand your rights and your defense options so you can approach the situation with peace of mind and confidence.
Every American has the right to legal counsel when charged with a criminal offense. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees defense counsel, even when a defendant cannot afford to hire a private defense attorney or does not wish to pay legal fees. If necessary, the Newton, NC criminal court will appoint a public defender to act as the defendant’s counsel free of charge.
Sticking with a public defender may seem like an easy way to avoid paying legal fees. However, if you are able to hire a private defense attorney, you should. They can likely provide a higher level of defense representation than what you could expect from a public defender. While the majority of Newton, NC public defenders are capable attorneys who do their best for their clients, they have inherently demanding jobs that prevent them from devoting much personal attention to any one case at a time. A private Newton DUI defense attorney can offer more individual attention to your case and typically achieve better results on your behalf.
A professional defense attorney can also help you apply for limited driving privileges or represent you in a DMV License Restoration Hearing. Your license is automatically revoked for 30 days in the state of North Carolina if you have a BAC level of .08 or higher, regardless of how your actual case is resolved. When it comes to working with the DMV, it is important to be aware of important deadlines and necessary paperwork. Your defense lawyer can ensure you have all the necessary documentation, as well as guide you through all your options.
Limited driving privileges allow a person to continue to use their vehicle for essential purposes such as employment, education, court-ordered treatments or assessment, and emergency care. Your lawyer can also represent you in a formal License Restoration Hearing. This hearing requires detailed documentation as well as witness statements. Your defense lawyer can help you anticipate common questions, gather the paperwork needed, and set you up for your best chance of getting your license restored.
North Carolina upholds an implied consent law that applies to DUI offenses. This means that all North Carolina drivers provide their implied consent to DUI testing by using their drivers’ licenses. If the police have reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the driver must submit to a chemical test for DUI. The police must follow appropriate procedures when it comes to testing for illicit drugs and alcohol.
A blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) testing method is used when a driver is suspected of drunk driving. The legal BAC limit in North Carolina is .08%. Anything above this limit qualifies as DUI. For commercial vehicle drivers, the BAC limit is .04%, and North Carolina enforces a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. This means that any detectable amount of BAC can potentially qualify for prosecution for DUI.
North Carolina uses a level system to assign penalties for DUI, with Level Five being the least severe and Level One being the most severe. However, the penalties for Levels Five, Four, and Three are relatively similar. Conviction at these Levels can include a maximum fine of $1,000, 72 hours to six months in jail, and a one-year driver’s license revocation. Some individuals may qualify for early reinstatement of their driver’s licenses or qualify for restricted licenses that allow them to drive to and from work and to address emergencies.
A convicted DUI driver may qualify for lighter Level Four or Five penalties depending on the details of their case. Any aggravating factors can increase their penalty to Level Two or Level One, which carries the most severe sentencing. For example, if there are two gross aggravating factors or the defendant had a minor in their car, they could face a maximum fine of $4,000, 30 days to 24 months in jail, and driver’s license suspension. The defendant is also likely to face a community service obligation and compulsory substance abuse treatment.
The aggravating factors that may come into play in a Newton, NC DUI case include excessive BAC over .15%, speeding in excess of 30 mph over the speed limit while intoxicated, or passing a stopped school bus illegally. Drivers under the age of 21 arrested for DUI also face especially harsh penalties. They could qualify for Class 2 misdemeanor prosecution, face up to $1,000 in fines, up to 60 days in jail, and they may lose their driver’s license until they turn 21 and complete substance abuse treatment. A driver who has a record of a prior DUI conviction within seven years will also face harsher penalties than they would for a first-time conviction.
Working with an experienced Newton DUI defense lawyer is the best way to approach this type of criminal case. Your attorney can potentially reveal defense options that you would have overlooked on your own. Depending on how the police handled your arrest and how the prosecution handled the procedural steps in the case, your Newton DUI defense attorney can help you avoid conviction or at least plead to reduced charges. For example, it may be possible to plead down to a “wet reckless” that incurs much lighter penalties than a DUI conviction.
Ultimately, every criminal case involving DUI is unique, and it can be very difficult to determine the best available defenses in this kind of situation. Attorney Cayll has significant experience representing clients in complex DUI cases and can leverage this experience on your behalf. Our team will carefully review the details of your arrest and booking and evaluate the evidence in play. We’ll help you prepare for each phase of your case and explain all of your defensive options so you can make an informed decision about the direction of your case. Our goal is to help our clients avoid conviction whenever possible or reduce their penalties when conviction is unavoidable.
If you are facing DUI charges in Newton, NC, we can help. After your arrest, exercise your Constitutional right to legal counsel and secure defense representation you can trust. If you are ready to discuss your case with an experienced Newton DUI defense attorney, contact the Cayll Law, PLLC today to schedule your free consultation with our team.