No matter who you are, getting charged with DWI is an overwhelming experience. Thankfully, our Swain County DWI Defense Attorney is ready to help you navigate this process in hopes of obtaining the most beneficial resolution available. The attorneys at iTicket.law have extensive working knowledge of North Carolina’s Implied Consent laws, which are the laws that determine how DWI cases are handled. When you hire the Hatley Law Office, you’re not just hiring one attorney, you’re employing the expertise of a team of attorneys and iTicket.law’s statewide DWI disposition database. This unique resource collects the wisdom and experience from our attorneys from across the state and allows them to access details about years of case histories. With over 20 attorneys on staff across the state, we are able to put our collective resources and our wealth of knowledge to work for you.
In our experience, the following areas are of interest to clients fighting a charge of DWI:
1. Court Appearance
For most NC DWI cases, our client will be required to appear in court at least once. While there will be numerous hearings during the handling of any DWI case, our DWI Attorney is usually able to attend most preliminary hearings on their client’s behalf, saving them valuable time. At the conclusion of the case, when your case is totally prepared for either trial or entry of a plea agreement, you will almost certainly be required to appear for a final hearing. Prior to that time, we will advise you on appropriate dress and etiquette, and your Swain County DWI Defense lawyer will then meet with you and personally go before the judge by your side to seek a final resolution. Remember, a DWI is a serious criminal offense which can result in imprisonment. Without adequate representation you may face serious penalties that could otherwise have been avoided. You don’t have to go it alone. If you put your trust in our firm, we will fight for you every step of the way.
2. Reducing the Impact of Your DWI Charge
A Driving While Impaired charge is made up of four elements: a client (1) operated (2) a motor vehicle (3) on a street, highway, or public vehicular area (4) while impaired.
If it becomes clear to your attorney that the state will be able to admit all the evidence necessary to prove these four elements, and that there are no viable defenses available to you, the best choice is often to plead guilty to the DWI charge and seek to convince the Court to sentence you at the lowest level possible in order to minimize any negative impact to you. In such situations, our attorneys will typically encourage clients to complete certain activities known as mitigators which increase the likelihood of a reduced sentence, or in other words, to make the punishment less severe. Our DWI Defense Attorneys may encourage a client facing a charge of DWI to complete community service hours at a local nonprofit, complete a substance-abuse assessment, attend a victim-impact panel, attend substance abuse classes, and/or attend substance abuse treatment. For more serious charges, and for clients who have received prior DWI convictions, an alcohol-detection device worn on the ankle can be required as well.
While compliance with these mitigation tasks can feel overwhelming sometimes, it’s our goal to walk you through the process so you always know you have an advocate that’s working for you. Additionally, clients often find the work enriching, and that it can lead to valuable personal growth. In many cases, our Swain County DWI Defense Lawyer is able to avoid jail-time for their clients facing a first offense of Driving While Impaired if they diligently complete these mitigating factors.*
3. Swain County DWI Limited Driving Privilege
In North Carolina, if you are convicted of any level of DWI, your license will be suspended for at least one full year. Our local DWI attorney recognizes how critical your ability to drive legally is to remaining independent, and being able to support yourself and your family. Our team will assist you every step of the way to minimize the difficulties that license suspension can impose. To start, clients are often able to recover their licenses within 45 days of their original DWI stop, and are legally allowed to drive between that time and their final court date. Often, DWI cases take several months, and sometimes a year or more, to resolve, so knowing you have the right to drive until the case’s final resolution is an important fact to remember.
If our client is convicted for DWI, meaning that their license will be suspended for one year, the client is often eligible for a “Limited Driving Privilege” (LDP), which is a court document of permission that works like a license. The difference is, in order to drive using an LDP, a driver must comply with the restrictions it imposes. Typically those restrictions impose a night-time curfew and allow the driver to drive only to essential functions like work, school, and medical appointments. We work closely with each DWI client to try to ensure the LDP is as accommodating as possible to allow the client to retain independence during the time of suspension.
For higher-level DWI cases, specifically ones involving a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or above 0.15, it is often necessary for a client to have an interlock breath detection device installed in their vehicle during the time of the suspension if they wish to drive using an LDP. The interlock device is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle and connected to the ignition; it will prevent the driver from operating the vehicle if their BAC is detected to be above a certain limit. Our firm provides clients with the referrals necessary to have the device installed, maintained, serviced, and removed, in a timely manner that complies with the court’s order. Please note that obtaining and keeping an interlock device installed in your vehicle for one full year is required by the NC DMV following any DWI conviction where the BAC was 0.15 or greater. If the interlock device is not installed and maintained for this full period of time, the NC DMV will not allow the driver's license to be reinstated.
4. DWI Substance Abuse Assessment, Treatment, and Compliance
Treatment is often a part of the aftermath of a DWI. Our DWI attorney and the rest of our staff attorneys have worked diligently to compile a resource list to make this experience as painless as possible. We’ll connect clients ordered to enroll in rehabilitation with facilities that have good track records and that have demonstrated their capacity to meet our clients’ needs and to satisfy the demands of the court. Our resource list includes inpatient and outpatient options, as well as lists of providers capable of administering the Substance Abuse Assessment that can determine the suggested depth and duration of a treatment order. Our Driving While Impaired Attorney can also provide the information necessary to complete community service hours when ordered, as well as how to complete other compliance tasks if they are deemed necessary.
5. Should you consider hiring an attorney for your Driving While Impaired charge?
When doing a cost-benefit analysis on whether or not to hire a Swain County DWI Attorney, the advantages are clear.
For example, in most instances, we seek to reduce the number of court appearances that you need to make. Sometimes, as few as one - the final appearance - seeking to save you the hassle of having to take off work, hire a babysitter, or even drive hours from where you live to appear at the County courthouse. The negative impacts on insurance premiums and driver’s license points can be significant for a seemingly “minor” DWI. For instance, if you are found to have driven with a BAC of 0.09 you can be fined $200 and be imprisoned for 60 days. This is the least serious DWI conviction (a “Level Five DWI”) — the fines and jail time can increase up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the most serious DWI convictions. The opportunity cost of missing work due to a suspended license can add up quickly as well. With affordable fees and payment plans available, our seasoned DWI Defense attorneys and their team can seek to relieve you of the stress and burdens of handling a DWI citation.