DUI Lawyer in Asheville, North Carolina
A charge of DUI or driving under the influence carries heavy consequences in Asheville, North Carolina. Although there are simple cases that result in simple probationary measures, there are also severe offenses that can set you back for thousands of dollars in fines. Your license could be revoked for up to a year. You may not be able to drive your vehicle even for work. Worse, the most serious offenses can lead to a prison sentence.
This is why every DUI case requires a committed DUI lawyer in Asheville, NC. With a trusted drunk driving lawyer, you will be informed of your rights as an offender, as well as the relevant laws governing your specific DUI charge.
Ask a DUI Attorney: What DUI Laws Should I Be Familiar with in Asheville, NC?
As in many other states, North Carolina is known to prohibit drunk driving and/or driving while under the influence of any impairing substance other than alcohol. Once the police suspect that an individual is driving under the influence, they will begin to administer several field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to check the driver’s cognitive ability. In addition to these DUI tests, the officer may also check your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration). If an individual’s BAC is anywhere between 0.04% – 0.08%, he or she may be charged with a DUI offense. At this point, anyone who fails a sobriety test needs to seek the legal help of a trusted DUI lawyer.
A DUI lawyer is able to provide a detailed discussion of the pertinent DUI laws in North Carolina, which are considered to be one of the most stringent in the country. Furthermore, a DUI lawyer in Asheville, NC will present the possible penalties for a serious drunk driving offense or conviction for first-time or repeat offenders, depending on your situation.
Under the Safe Roads Act of 1983, a DUI charge based on BAC tests will depend on several factors:
Age. For individuals who are twenty-one years old or older, a BAC percentage of 0.08% may be considered evidence for a DWI offense. However, DUI lawyers will point out that for younger individuals not over the age of twenty-one, any concentration of alcohol is enough to land them a drunk driving charge.
A DUI lawyer in Asheville, North Carolina will also explain that commercial drivers generally follow more rigid laws when it comes to driving violations. For a commercial driver to be charged with a DUI, his or her BAC percentage only need to be at 0.04%. This strict rule is based on the amount of responsibility that every commercial driver carries with them, especially if they have passengers in the vehicle or if they are transporting potentially dangerous cargo.
A DUI lawyer will also mention that the rules on having 0.08% as the prohibited BAC limit apply only if the driver is a first-time offender. In the event that a previous offender is allowed to drive again, he or she must not be caught having a BAC of 0.04% while driving. The penalties are considerably higher for second and third DWI offenses.
Clearly, not everyone is knowledgeable about the complex details of a DUI charge. This is why if you have been charged with a DUI offense, you need a reliable DUI lawyer who knows and understands relevant driving laws, driving violations, and their corresponding penalties.
In fact, even if this is your first time being charged with a DWI, looking for a DUI lawyer should be your first priority. Do not take your charges lightly just because it is your first offense. You could still face severe penalties depending on your BAC levels and the circumstances of your case. Always reach out to a DUI lawyer when you are charged with a DUI to see if a legal representative can help you get your charges reduced or eliminated.
The Need for a Trusted DUI Attorney Even for a First-Offense DUI in Asheville, NC
DUI lawyers can provide valuable legal advice when it comes to complicated drunk driving cases, especially those that merit the highest penalties.
A DWI sliding scale is employed in North Carolina to classify offenders, even those with first-time charges. There are five levels in this sliding scale, with Level 5 being the least serious and Level 1 being the most. Based on this scale, if an offender is found guilty, they will have to take care of both criminal penalties and administrative liabilities.
A DUI lawyer is nevertheless indispensable even you have had no prior DWI offenses. First offenses can lead to up to two years in prison and fines of up to $4,000. Furthermore, license revocation is almost always a consequence of a DWI charge. To reinstate the license, an offender must undergo an alcohol assessment, the terms of which are usually determined by the court.
The following sanctions apply for first-offense DUI:
First-time offenders are usually classified as Level 3 to Level 5 on the sliding scale. The level of each offense will dictate the punishment. For Level 5, which is the least serious, you may be imprisoned for at least 24 hours to a maximum 60 days. Level 4 offenses can start from 48 hours to 120 days. For Level 1 offenses, you may have to spend anywhere from 30 days to 2 years in prison.
A DUI lawyer in Asheville, NC will also explain that the sentences may depend on the court handling the case. The court may elect to no longer have you serve prison sentences, although you will still be paying fines. As a first-time offender, you may have to pay up to $4,000 for the most severe cases of DUI. The least serious offense usually requires a fine of only $200.
With a trusted DUI lawyer, you will also learn that a judge may enact probation instead of a sentence, although this probation usually applies to less severe offenses. Probation may carry with it a shorter prison sentence, but also community service and enrollment in a rehabilitation facility.
Your DUI lawyer will also talk to you about the administrative sanctions you are expected to follow as a result of your first offense. This will involve revoking your license for 30 days, especially if your BAC test reveals a result of 0.08% or higher. In some cases, the license may remain revoked for a full year. The NCDT or North Carolina Department of Transportation usually handles civil suspensions while a court takes care of criminal suspensions.
Convictions often result to license revocations by the NCDT for a year. This is often troubling, as it may mean not being able to even drive your car to and from work for a year. Your DUI lawyer, however, may advise you to seek out the limited driving privilege for first-time offenders in North Carolina. Available for an application only after ten days of the conviction, this privilege allows you to drive for certain hours during the day.
Given the immensity of DUI penalties in North Carolina, you need to hire legal counsel who will explain the details of your first-time DUI offense. Specific penalties also apply to second-offense and third-offense DWI charges throughout the state.
Some Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Drunk-Driving Lawyer in Asheville, NC
When it comes to choosing a DUI lawyer, there may be a few things you will want to ask prior to hiring them. Experience in handling civil and criminal cases are still important, but this should not be the only thing that you consider. Asking the following questions to a lawyer could lead to answers that will better inform your hiring decision later on:
How long have you been handling criminal law cases?
How long have you been handling DUI charges?
How often will you be available for meet-ups and updates?
How often will you show up in court?
Are you affiliated with relevant organizations and/or professional associations?
Do you typically practice your profession in my county?
Have you had a prior working relationship with my prosecutor?
Is it possible for my case to come down to a plea agreement? May I be a candidate for probation instead of a conviction?
Which facts in my case will work for me and which are those that don’t?
By asking these questions, you learn more about your DUI attorney, their background, experience, and availability. Just as importantly, you are also showing your DUI lawyer that you are earnest about getting the best possible outcome from your case.
It’s also important to talk about fees from the very onset. Although the possibility of paying criminal penalties will make you want to hire the lowest-paying defense counsel possible, this is not always a good route to take. DUI lawyers that charge absurdly low fees may be too good to be true.
It is best to remember that committing to a good defense will require valuable experience and honest work. A reliable attorney will want his or her hard work to be well compensated.
Five Essential Factors to Consider When Hiring a DUI Attorney
Without a doubt, there are more than a few experienced and highly-trained DUI lawyers in Asheville, NC. When it comes to a DWI offense, however, who you need is more than just an expert in their field.
Your DUI lawyer should be someone you can fully trust with regarding the details of your case, your concerns and apprehensions, and the outcome of your DWI charges. With a DUI conviction resulting in a significant amount in fines and possible imprisonment, you simply cannot take any risks with an overpromising DUI lawyer who cannot and will not be there for you.
Some of the valuable qualities to consider when hiring a DUI attorney include availability, communication abilities, investigative skill, and compassion.
One of the most vital characteristics your DUI lawyer should possess is commitment. A DWI charge will require that you sit down with your counsel, work out the facts of your case, prepare a defense, gather and examine all evidence, and identify the best legal recourse possible. You cannot accomplish all this with an inconsistent DUI lawyer who does not show commitment from day one.
A lawyer will have to speak for you in front of police enforcers, court officers and judges, witnesses, and other relevant individuals and parties. You need a DUI attorney who will do their best in representing you verbally and legally in the most advantageous way possible.
Your DUI lawyer should also be able to scrutinize the crucial aspects of your specific DUI charge, including criminal and administrative penalties, and explain to you in simple terms what it all means. You will not want to be drowned with too much legal jargon and still understand none of the vital information in the process.
The evidence is crucial in your DWI case in Asheville, NC. Your trusted DUI lawyer needs to identify which evidence, such as tests, camera footage, witness accounts, and other reports, may or may not be used against you. A committed attorney has to possess reliable resources in carrying out such investigative efforts.
Empathy and compassion
A DUI lawyer has to exhibit both understanding and confidence in your case. A lawyer without compassion will badger you with accusing questions or bargain for a plea deal immediately, even before they have the time to examine your case completely. In simple words, your DUI attorney should believe in the merits of your case, without overpromising on exact results.
Hire the North Carolina DUI Lawyers Who Are Committed to Your DUI Defense Case
Whether you are a first-time offender or a third-time transgressor, hiring a DUI lawyer is essential when it comes to fighting for your rights. North Carolina DUI laws are stringent no matter what the level and type of DUI offense. A conviction often carries administrative and criminal penalties, including revocation of license, fines of up to $4,000, and imprisonment of anywhere from one day to two years, or even more.
Without the help of reliable legal counsel, it is possible for an otherwise simple case to go through a needlessly difficult and stressful process. This is not something you would want. Get in touch with a DUI lawyer today to obtain the legal support necessary for your DUI case in Asheville, North Carolina.