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Statesville Legal Blog

Beware of North Carolina's many sobriety checkpoints this summer

Just before Memorial Day, various organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission all launched their 9th annual "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign. It kicks off several months of stepped-up law enforcement across the state. They aim to curb driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) rates.

Law enforcement officers with these different state agencies were slated to set up their first of many sobriety checkpoints, which started over Memorial Day weekend. They're then expected to also set them up on what have historically been some of the summer's three of the busiest weekends for alcohol-related crashes both on the water and roadways. These weekends include June 28-30, July 5-7 and Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Not all traffic stops are lawful

North Carolina motorists are often pulled over by police because they run red lights, speed or forget to activate their turn signals. Some of these can also be signs that a motorist is intoxicated from drugs or alcohol. It's possible for someone in Statesville to be stopped for having a broken headlight, expired tags or a potentially hazardous mechanical defect. Not all stops are lawful, however.

If a police officer sees you swerving your car, driving without your headlights on, weaving in and out of traffic, then they may have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).

When can police lawfully perform a search and seizure?

Many criminal charges in North Carolina stem from traffic stops. They often start with a motorist being stopped for a relatively minor traffic infraction. If an officer suspects that you may have drugs or weapons, as an example, in your vehicle, then they may ask you if they can conduct a search of it. How you respond to this question can greatly impact the course of your case if criminal charges are ultimately filed against you.

When a police officer first approaches your vehicle following a traffic stop, they'll often approach your car and ask if you know why they pulled you over. You're under no obligation to respond to the questions that they pose. You may definitely want to steer clear of saying anything that would incriminate yourself. Making small talk with them may put them at ease and motivate them to issue a warning instead of a ticket.

What are some signs that a drunk driver may be operating a car?

When most people in Statesville hear the phrase "impaired driving," most probably first think of a drunk person operating a vehicle. It's not a new phenomenon. It's been a problem for decades. When coupled with drugs, fatigue and cellphone use, the roads that we all travel along become even more dangerous. Although laws exist prohibiting motorists from driving while impaired, many take to the road hoping that they won't get caught.

If you've ever wondered what tips off a police officer that a motorist may be intoxicated, certain ways in which they operate their vehicle can definitely raise red flags.

Business partnership conflicts can be minimized

There are many benefits to running your business with a partner. It allows you to share the startup costs and workload with someone else. It can also be a way for two individuals with different skill sets to come together. While this can help them succeed, it may also cause them to fail.

As many as 70 % of partnerships fail. Two of the reasons they do aren't all that surprising.

Can you really afford a DWI conviction?

Whether you were celebrating with friends, having a quiet dinner with a loved one or meeting a coworker for drinks after work, a DWI arrest on the way home may have brought an unexpected end to the day. However, it is only the beginning of your troubles.

Even if this is your first offense, it is nothing to take lightly. You may be feeling embarrassed and a little foolish, but if you do not take the charges seriously, you may also be feeling financially strapped for quite a while into the future. In addition to the potential for severe penalties such as jail time and loss of driving privileges, you face the possibility of spending many thousands of dollars in fines, fees and other expenses directly resulting from a DWI conviction.

Why should you plan your estate while expecting your first child?

When North Carolina parents find out that they're expecting a child for the first time, they often research what pregnancy is like, think about setting up a baby registry or pick out potential names for the child. It's unlikely that planning for their estate is at the top of their list of priorities. It should be though.

Expecting parents in Statesville should speak with an estate planning attorney before their baby comes home. When they do, they should be prepared to draft a will, to name an executor of their estate and to set up a power of attorney and trust.

A Mount Airy man is arrested, charged with assault with a gun

A 23-year-old Mount Airy resident was arrested in Statesville after pointing a gun at two individuals before fleeing police on May 5.

Officers with the Iredell County Sheriff's Department were summoned to a local rodeo that Sunday evening after the man reportedly pointed his gun in the direction of two attendees. They apparently identified who they believed was responsible for having done that. Officers located the man's vehicle and found him inside.

Did the police violate your Miranda rights during your arrest?

You've heard them stated on TV and in movies hundreds of times: "You have the right to remain silent . . ." But the first time you hear the Miranda rights directed at you by a police officer, your mind can be so jumbled by nerves that you might unintentionally waive your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

But there are other considerations in the matter. Under the law, the police have limited wiggle room when delaying the reading of a person's Miranda rights. Let's examine two of those potential exceptions.

Doctor shopping can lead to criminal charges

At one time, when you heard the words "drug addict," you may have thought of someone lying in an alley or hiding in an abandoned building with track marks on his or her arms. It may not have occurred to you that you would ever have your own struggle with addiction.

The public is only recently learning how dramatically and personally the opioid epidemic can affect the average person. Often beginning after an injury or surgery when a doctor prescribes strong pain medication, it is shocking how quickly one can come to depend on the painkillers soon after recovering from the initial injury. This dependency may lead you to do things you never would have imagined to obtain your drug of choice, including doctor shopping.

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