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What are the possible consequences of an out-of-state DWI/DUI?

You have a DWI/DUI conviction in another state. Maybe you got it before you moved to North Carolina. Perhaps you were on vacation or away at school. Whatever the situation, many people believe that a DWI/DUI outside of the state where they live doesn't "count" on their record.

They may also believe that if they get a DWI/DUI in another state, their convictions in their own state won't have any impact on the potential consequences. In most cases, those assumptions are wrong.

Breathalyzers known to give false readings

In North Carolina, if police suspect you of driving under the influence of alcohol, they may pull you over and ask you to submit to a breath test. You may think you do not have the right to say no to a Breathalyzer examination, but you do, and you may want to, as these machines can give false readings. Just know that refusing this sobriety test does have its consequences.

How exactly does a Breathalyzer work? What can cause a false reading? Is it possible to fight breath test results? All are questions with pretty straightforward answers.

Know the law around North Carolina polling places

When you go to the polls on Nov. 6 (or sooner, if you're voting early), there are a number of laws that govern your behavior and that of others. Of course, things that are illegal anywhere else are also illegal at polling places. A man was recently arrested at a polling location in Charlotte where early voters were casting their ballots. He allegedly harassed a campaign volunteer and threatened to assault him.

According to officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), the man was shouting racial slurs at the campaign worker. He reportedly displayed what turned out to be a BB gun that he was carrying in a holster.

Why aren't DUI checkpoints a violation of your rights?

As the end of the year approaches, you're likely to see some DUI or "sobriety checkpoints" on the roads here in North Carolina and wherever your holiday travels take you. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations (not to mention the football games that accompany them) are occasions for serious drinking for many people. Law enforcement agencies set up these checkpoints as a deterrent to potential drunk drivers and to catch people who are behind the wheel when they shouldn't be.

Despite complaints that these checkpoints are a violation of people's Fourth Amendment right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," these checkpoints have been ruled legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.

How do you choose the right executor?

Choosing an executor is one of the most crucial decisions you'll make as you develop your estate plan. If you don't designate an executor, the court will appoint someone to handle those responsibilities. Most people prefer to choose someone they know and trust.

Before you make that decision and ask someone to take on the responsibilities of your executor, it's essential to understand what those responsibilities typically involve. Following are the most common tasks of an executor:

  • Paying the estate's bills and taxes
  • Distributing assets as you've designated
  • Representing the estate in court as needed
  • Selling or distributing the home and other properties as you've designated and maintaining the properties until then

Know your rights and responsibilities when stopped by police

Interactions with law enforcement officers can be frightening and stressful. People often aren't thinking clearly when they're stopped by police. It's essential to remember that you have rights as well as responsibilities. This is true whether you're a U.S. citizen or not. If you understand those rights and responsibilities, you can keep your interaction from escalating to something more serious and adding to your potential legal problems.

Most people know their basic rights, commonly referred to as their Miranda rights, just from having watched television. One of these is "the right to remain silent." However, if you exert that right, tell the officer that's what you're doing. Whatever you do, don't lie.

76 arrested in drug operation on North Carolina tribal land

Last month, federal officials announced that 76 people here in North Carolina were arrested in an undercover drug operation that involved multiple law enforcement agencies. The purpose of the sting was to apprehend people engaged in drug trafficking on and around tribal lands — specifically, those belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — and to work to break up the drug distribution networks in that area.

The reservation targeted is known as the Qualla Boundary. It sits on about 56,000 acres of land near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Should you choose 'per stirpes' or 'per capita' distributions?

When you begin working with your attorney on your estate plan, you'll be hearing a lot of terms that you're probably unfamiliar with. It's crucial to understand what they mean.

One of these terms is "per stirpes." Another is "per capita." Both are used to describe how assets are bequeathed to heirs and other beneficiaries in wills and living trusts.

The dangers of certain drugs you may be taking for granted

Do you have a chronic pain issue that affects your quality of life? If so, you are definitely not alone in your struggle, as many North Carolina residents wake up every morning knowing that the day that lies ahead is likely going to include personal, physical pain. Perhaps you suffered an injury in a car accident and now live with the residual effects, or maybe you have an underlying health condition that causes pain in one or more parts of your body. 

If your condition does not keep you from carrying out your daily duties, you may find it necessary to take medication to alleviate discomfort, at least to the point that you can go to work, take care of your children or perform other typical tasks that you tend to encounter on an average day. Doctors often prescribe drugs to help people who have chronic pain; however, not every person using such drugs has a valid prescription to do so. Prescription drugs unfortunately can lead to addiction and legal problems

Some important considerations for your estate planning

Estate planning involves more than drawing up your will, trust and other documents. It involves making crucial decisions about who will handle your affairs not only after you're gone, but if you become incapacitated to the point where you're unable to make decisions for yourself or take care of your personal and financial obligations.

Further, if you have a substantial estate, there are actions you can take while you're still alive and well to reduce the tax burden on your loved ones and allow them to keep more of the assets you've worked hard to accumulate and ultimately pass along.

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