Traffic tickets can range widely in severity from the most trivial non-moving violations like Expired Inspection up to Driving While Impaired and other significant criminal charges. At Welch and Harris, LLP we take cases involving motor vehicle violations just as seriously as any other legal matter and we work hard to have the vast majority of these cases reduced or dismissed outright. A traffic ticket may not be the worst thing to happen to a person but it can be expensive and inconvenient, while a DWI is a serious matter and deserves experienced legal representation. We can help.
Traffic and Speeding Tickets
Tens of thousands of traffic citations are issued in Onslow County alone every year, so if you have gotten a speeding ticket or been cited for some other motor vehicle offense you should not feel bad because you have lots of company. Residents of Eastern North Carolina have few options for getting around other than by car which makes it particularly important to try to mitigate the negative fallout from a ticket.
When people get charged with a moving violation they typically have a number of concerns. Primarily folks worry about whether their insurance is going to go up and how many points they are going to get on their license, plus there may be a chance of having their driving privilege suspended or revoked (on top of the inevitable fines and court costs). Some tickets can simply be “paid off” either by mail or online, while others require an appearance in court, but whether you show up in person or pay it off, pleading guilty to the ticket as charged is almost certainly going to result in some or all of these negative consequences, which is a shame because in many cases all of that could have been avoided.
The reality is that if you are only charged with a relatively minor traffic ticket, especially if you are not required to attend court, having a lawyer is purely optional. At Welch and Harris, LLP we recognize that our fundamental job in traffic cases is to provide a good value to our clients, and we feel confident that we save time and money in the long run for the people who trust us to take care of their ticket for them. We offer free consultations for traffic cases, so contact us to talk about how we can handle your ticket and potentially keep the points off your driving record, keep your insurance from going up, keep you driving, and keep you from having to go to court.
DWI, DUI, Drunk Driving?
Between checkpoints in Jacksonville, Holly Ridge, Richlands, North Topsail Beach and elsewhere and roving enforcement by the Highway Patrol and other agencies, Onslow and Duplin Counties see a lot of DWI arrests. When a person is charged with Driving While Impaired there are essentially two sets of potential consequences. First, DWI is a crime, so if convicted the defendant can expect to receive a sentence that can range from a suspended sentence with fines and some community service to a theoretical maximum punishment of three years in prison. Second, a DWI conviction will result in the mandatory suspension of a person’s privilege to drive in North Carolina (regardless of what state issued their license, and it is likely that the suspension will be reported back to their homes state).
Driving While Impaired is a charge that tends to involve a set of laws, rules and regulations that are not present in most other criminal and traffic cases. As a result it can be advantageous to retain a lawyer who has a lot of experience defending this particular criminal offense. Unlike some motor vehicle offenses where the decision to retain legal counsel ultimately comes down to someone’s personal preference, a person charged with Driving While Impaired really does need a lawyer.
North Carolina does not permit the prosecutors in DWI cases to reduce or dismiss those charges, so in the end the decision facing the person charged is whether to plead guilty or not guilty. As a result, DWI cases call for an aggressive defense strategy with a close examination of the exact circumstances surrounding how the police came into contact with the person charged, the manner in which any sobriety tests were conducted, and the procedures for administering a breath or blood test (among other factors). While the legal limit in North Carolina is .08%, it is not accurate to say that anyone who is over the limit will automatically be convicted of DWI as there are a multitude of other potential defenses that may apply. Increasingly many cases do not involve alcohol as the alleged impairing substance at all, and our attorneys have had extensive experience defending cases of impairment by prescription medications, narcotics, and even non-controlled substances.
Even if the evidence against you is strong, we can help you mitigate the damage from a DWI conviction. This can mean arguing for a mitigated sentence from the court, going to DMV to fight to keep your license, or preparation of a limited driving privilege to keep you able to drive to work or school. DWI law is complex but we can help walk you through the process of dealing with the case in court, minimizing the fallout, and working to get you driving again. However many of your rights in a DWI case can be waived unless you act within a few days of your arrest, so if you have a pending driving while impaired case please contact a lawyer as soon as possible so they can start work on your defense quickly!
Revoked Licenses and Failure to Appear (FTA)
Even if you have never held a North Carolina driver’s license you have a privilege to drive in the state that can be suspended. The North Carolina DMV can suspend or revoke that privilege for a surprisingly large number of reasons, ranging from the obvious such as unpaid tickets and missed court dates to the obscure such as dropping out of high school and unpaid child support. Once a person’s driving privilege has been suspended they can find themselves in a vicious cycle of additional revocations being imposed because each new ticket they receive will prolong the period of revocation. And as long as people have no choice but to drive to get to work or school they are in jeopardy of more tickets and more revocations.
At Welch and Harris, LLP we can help break this cycle. If you have a FTA for a missed court date we can take care of that case quickly to end your suspension or avoid one altogether. If you are already dealing with a lengthy suspension we may be able to analyze your driving record and fix problems with your history to get you driving again without needing a DMV hearing. Even if you have been permanently suspended we may be able to get a limited driving privilege to allow you to drive to work or to maintain your household.
Legal Advice and Guidance
At Welch and Harris, LLP we have represented the people of Eastern North Carolina charged with motor vehicle violations in Onslow, Duplin, Sampson, Jones, Pender and New Hanover counties for more than a dozen years and in literally thousands of traffic cases and hundreds of DWI defenses. We take these cases seriously, we handle them carefully and we make sure they are done right. We will protect your rights and protect your record while we work to reduce or eliminate the risk of fines, insurance increases, license suspensions and other possible consequences. Contact us for a free consultation and let us help you as well.