Spring breaks are on the horizon, which means road trips and long weekends away are being planned. As you are excitedly packing your bags for a much needed springtime adventure don’t forget about common travel laws to keep yourself and others safe on the roads.
For our North Carolina natives it’s sometimes easy to forget the rules of the road we use almost everyday. Before you click your seatbelt be sure to set your phone to silent or connect to blue tooth, because texting and driving isn’t just against the law it’s also dangerous to yourself and others on the road. When driving on the highway be aware of police and emergency vehicles stopped on the shoulder with their lights flashing. Give them enough space and switch lanes if possible or slow down as you pass. It is just as courteous to the people stopped as it is following the law.
In our state it’s a violation to drive at a speed that “exceeds what a reasonably prudent person would drive at given the current situation.” In addition, North Carolina has an “absolute” speed limit law, which means that you could be guilty of speeding by going even one mile over the posted speed limit. You could face a fine of between $100 and $1,000, jail time for a maximum of 60 days and have your driver’s license suspended for up to one year. Speeding can also add three points on your driving record!
A speeding ticket may seem like a minor issue, but it can be costly (in more ways than one) to fight or pay for a ticket. In cases where you’re facing increased insurance premiums you’ll likely need the assistance of an experienced attorney—he or she can offer the best legal advice when it comes to dismissing your ticket. And, if the citation cannot be dismissed, a lawyer can help you reach a plea bargain agreement for lesser charges.
In some states where DWI and DUI are classified as different offenses a DUI is the lesser of the two. As it designates a lower level of impairment than a DWI. All states have some form of a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under the legal drinking age. This means that drivers under 21 cannot have any level of BAC, since it is also illegal for a person under 21 to possess or use alcohol.
In North Carolina the Safe Roads Act of 1983 changed the previous drug and alcohol related driving offenses, and put everything under the category of a DWI. North Carolina uses BAC to establish sobriety level upon a suspected alcohol and driving offense. For those over the legal drinking age of 21 and having no prior DWI offenses the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. For commercial drivers and those who have prior alcohol related offenses the BAC limit is reduced to 0.04%. For drivers under the legal drinking age the BAC limit is 0.00%.
A DWI arrest is both administrative and criminal in nature, so there are two separate cases and two sets of penalties you face. The Civil Penalty will depend on the outcome of the criminal case. It pays to have a seasoned DWI lawyer on your side to guide you through the complex process. Greene Crow Smith Attorneys at Law are skilled in DWI and all traffic related offenses. Please contact our office today for more information or to schedule a meeting regarding your personal circumstances.
Why to call an Attorney:
Here at Greene Crow Smith we’re here to guide you through the complicated, frightening, and often frustrating process known as the criminal justice system. We provide criminal law services at all levels in eastern North Carolina, including misdemeanor and felony trial defense, and post-conviction appellate work in both state and federal court. When dealing with a traffic violation is it in your best interest to first consult with an attorney if you are unable to appear in court, have points on your license that will increase your insurance or cause you to loose your license, and if you have been charged with a DWI, impaired driving reckless driving, or another serious traffic offense.
Potentially Avoiding a Ticket:
In a previous post we talk about the best ways to avoid a potential ticket. Being aware of your surroundings on the road is one of the easiest. If there is an area where you know that Police Officers often have people pulled over be sure to watch your speed through that area. Keeping an eye on the posted speed limit on unknown roads is also important. Just because a residential road where you live is 35, doesn’t mean the speed limit isn’t slower through another neighborhood. If you do get pulled over, be considerate and respectful to the Police Officer. Pulling over right away, and putting on your flashers or an interior light if it is dark are all helpful to maintain the officers safety and your own. Keep your hands visible and don’t make any sudden movements to obtain your license and registration until asked to do so. Being kind and understanding of the situation and showing respect for the officer, may not work all of the time but they are your best bets for potentially avoiding that ticket.
At Greene Crow Smith, our criminal and defense attorneys are dedicated to the protection of our clients’ constitutionals breeds and respect for their individual circumstances. Members of the experienced team at Greene Crow Smith can explain your possible outcomes, investigate your ticket or other offense, and help you avoid the negative consequences you may face. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact Greene Crow Smith Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting nctriallawyer.com.
(Sources: News & Observer, U.S State Department, NCDOT, BACtrack, North Carolina General Assembly)