Raleigh Criminal Defense Law Firm
Apex Criminal Defense Attorney


Criminal Law Blog


Apex Criminal Law Blog

Law Offices Of Wiley Nickel, PLLC

What Kind of Traffic Violations Do The Law Offices Of Wiley Nickel Handle?


The most common traffic violations our firm handles are speeding tickets.  Our clients sometimes worry that a speeding ticket on their driving record will negatively affect them on their criminal record. This is not true. In North Carolina you are unable to expunge tickets from your driving record, however, a simple ticket under 20mph over the speed limit is not something to be afraid to have on your record. There are a few ways that an attorney can resolve your ticket to keep your ticket from affecting you. Our clients are almost always most interested in keeping points off of their license and insurance policy and our office can explain and offer the best outcomes for your unique situation.

As far as speeding is concerned, any driving that is performed above the posted speed limit can result in a speeding ticket being issued. Most of these tickets are infractions.  However, it is a Class 3 Misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle either greater than 15 above the speed limit or greater than 80 miles per hour. You need an attorney to help you through this process and keep points off your insurance and/or your driver’s license.

A conviction for a speeding ticket can affect both your insurance and your license. If you want to obtain the best result possible then give us a call today. We practice in Wake County, where in the last 6 months it is possible to have certain moving violations reduced to the non-moving violation of “improper equipment.” Every situation is unique, in order for us to give you personalized information on your specific case, please call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel at (919) 373-2288 for a free consultation.

Wiley Nickel
What to Do If You Have Been Arrested For Possessing a Controlled Substance in Wake County

The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act dictates which drugs are considered controlled substances in North Carolina. Under this list, any substance that has “a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, or a lack of accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision” is included. This means that possessing recreational drugs and prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes punishable in North Carolina.

This list includes marijuana, codeine, heroin, and oxycodone. Under NCGS 90-96, it is prohibited to possess, manufacture, create, sell, or deliver any controlled substance. If you have been charged with possessing a controlled substance in Wake County, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel at (919) 373-2288 for a free consultation.

If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for the 90-96 program, which allows you to have the charged dismissed after completing court-mandated classes. You may also be eligible to have the charges expunged after dismissal.

If this is not your first offense, contact Attorney Wiley Nickel or Attorney Kristi Haddock to discuss what your options are in Wake County at wiley@wileynickel.com or kristi@wileynickel.com. 

Wiley Nickel
Can I Be Charged With a DWI If I Haven’t Been Drinking?

Alcohol does not necessarily need to be involved to be charged and convicted with a DWI in North Carolina. Based on NCGS 20-138.1, “a person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State . . . while under the influence of an impairing substance.”

An impairing substance can be alcohol or a controlled substances, including illegal and legal drugs. Essentially, any drug that impairs one’s ability to drive can be considered an impairing substance.

These substances may not necessarily register on a breathalyzer, but North Carolina officers can still arrest you if they suspect that you are under the influence of an impairing substance. Instead of requiring a breath sample, the officer may request a blood sample. If you refuse to give one, the officer may apply for a warrant to take blood. In some situations, blood may even be taken without a warrant if the officer can prove exigent circumstances existed.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Wake County, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel in Cary, NC, for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located off of the Harrison Ave. exit of I-40 on Weston Parkway. We serve all areas of Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and Wake Forest. Call us at (919) 373-2288 for more information about how we can help you with your DWI case. 

Wiley Nickel
Old Traffic Tickets Can Stop You from Getting a Concealed Handgun Permit in Wake County

Old traffic tickets can prohibit you from getting a Wake County concealed handgun permit.  If you have an unpaid traffic citation or did not show up to court for an old speeding ticket your application will not be approved until it is resolved.  If you have an old criminal case or an unserved warrant that can also block you from getting a permit.  Many people might not realize that they have an unpaid ticket or had missed court for something as minor as an expired registration or bad tags ticket in Wake County, North Carolina.

If you received an email from Permitium, LLC it’s likely a legitimate email and there is something that needs to be resolved before your handgun application can proceed in Wake County.  Until the issue is resolved your application will not move forward.  These letters and emails are sent by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Records and Permits Division as part of some sort of agreement with Permitium, LLC.

Call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC to help you clean up your record and deal with old traffic or criminal cases so you can proceed with a concealed handgun permit application.    We handle old traffic and old criminal cases in the Raleigh, NC area. Our office is located in Cary, NC at 2401 Weston Parkway.  You can reach us at 919-373-2288 for a free consultation.

Wiley Nickel
Driving After Consuming Under 21: A Zero-Tolerance Offense

North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in his/her system.  Driving After Consuming Under 21, also called a “baby DWI” or “provisional DWI,” is a serious charge that can result in significant criminal and DMV consequences.

N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3 makes it unlawful for a person less than 21 years of age

(1)    to drive a motor vehicle

(2)    on a highway or public vehicular area

(3)    while the person

(a)    is consuming alcohol,

(b)   has any alcohol remaining in his or her body, or

(c)    has any controlled substance remaining in his or body.

It is important to note that if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 or the officer finds other evidence of impairment, you may also be charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI), which has much harsher criminal and DMV consequences.

Driving After Consuming Under 21 is a Class 2 misdemeanor, meaning a judge could impose a substantial fine, probation, and/or jail time.  Furthermore, a conviction under N.C.G.S. § 20-138.3 results in a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension.  A limited driving privilege may be available during the one year suspension period for drivers who were at least 18 years old at the time of the offense and meet other eligibility requirements.  

In Wake County, some judges offer an opportunity to “earn” a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) following a Driving After Consuming Under 21 conviction by requiring completion of community service hours and/or substance abuse treatment, for example.  If a PJC is granted, then the judge will not impose any fine, probation, or jail time, and no license suspension will result from the conviction.  Therefore, it’s imperative to have an experienced attorney who can help you achieve the most favorable result possible in your case. 

If you have been charged with Driving After Consuming Under 21 or DWI in the Wake County, call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC at 919-373-2288 for a free consultation with our experienced Raleigh DWI lawyers.

Wiley Nickel
What is Trespassing?

In North Carolina, a person may be charged with first degree trespassing if the individual enters and remains on the premises of another without permission which is so enclosed as to demonstrate clearly an intent to keep out intruders, or enters and remains in a building of another without permission. First degree trespassing is a class 2 misdemeanor. For instance, a field enclosed by a fence with a "no trespassing sign" could qualify under this statute. Trespassing in this manner on public facilities, like electric power plants or water facilities is a class A1 misdemeanor. A class A1 misdemeanor carries much more serious penalties, such as the possibility of 60 days in jail even for first time offenders. 

A person may be charged with second degree trespass if they enter the premises where they have previously been told that they cannot enter, even if they had lived on that property before. For example, if you are asked not to return to a particular store like Walmart and later return you could be charged with second degree trespassing. It is common for those charged with larceny to also be trespassed. The second degree trespass charge is a Class 3 misdemeanor. 

If you have questions regarding trespassing, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation at 919-373-2288. You may also contact the attorneys directly by emailing Kristi@wileynickel.com or wiley@wileynickel.com.

Wiley Nickel
Criminal Charges from Fake IDs

With the summer in full swing, and many students on summer break, there is a higher chance of getting into trouble because students now have unfettered free time. A common area of trouble for young adults is the obtaining and use of fake ID's to purchase alcohol or represent themselves in a way that is not true. A fake ID can be its own charge and can also lead to alcohol related charges for many in North Carolina. Often an underage person’s use of fraudulent/fake identification can lead to charges that are purely alcohol-related, such as the unlawful purchase or consumption of alcohol by an underage person. But other criminal charges may stem directly from the use of a fake ID in North Carolina.

North Carolina G.S. 18B-302(e) makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to use fraudulent identification to do any of the following:

(1) enter or attempt to enter a place where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed,

(2) obtain or attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages, or

(3) to obtain or attempt to obtain permission to purchase alcoholic beverages.

A conviction under G.S. 18B-302(e) triggers a mandatory one-year revocation of the person’s driver’s license.

In addition, North Carolina G.S. 20-30(3) makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to display or represent as one’s own a driver’s license not issued to the person displaying it. The DMV may suspend a person’s driver’s license for up to one year for a conviction of this offense. A person who provides fraudulent identification for another person’s use also could face criminal charges in North Carolina. A person who allows someone else to use a driver’s license or other identification that was issued or given to that person violates G.S. 18B-302(f) if the person who is allowed to use the license or identification violates or attempts to violate the law barring the purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by someone under 21 years of age. A violation of G.S. 18B-302(f) is a Class 1 misdemeanor and triggers an automatic revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for one full year.

And G.S. 20-30(2) makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to counterfeit, sell, lend to, or knowingly permit the use of a driver’s license by a person not entitled to its use. DMV may suspend a person’s license for up to one year for conviction of this offense. Those who sell fake identification are not exempt from being charged, and can face more serious consequences. The sale of a simulated driver’s license is a Class I felony, which carries much longer sentences than lower levels of charges.  

If you are charged with having a fake ID contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC.  We are located in Cary, NC and handle cases in Wake County.  You can reach our criminal defense lawyers at 919-373-2288 for a free consultation.

Wiley Nickel
Why are Police Officers Allowed to Conduct Checkpoint Searches?

Over this recent holiday weekend, the police had checkpoints in every North Carolina county, in order to head off potential drunk drivers or drivers under the influence. How much power do the police have in these checkpoints?

DWI checkpoints in North Carolina may seem like they infringe on your Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches seizures. However, the United States Supreme Court held in the 1990 case of Michgan Dept. of State Police vs. Sitz that checkpoints are in fact constitutional. The court found that the benefit of stopping drunk drivers was greater than the burden of temporarily stopping drivers who went through the checkpoint, giving the police wide latitude in these situations.

When the officer approaches your car, you should roll down the window to hand the officer your driver’s license and registration if requested. If the officer suspects that you have been drinking or that there is a motor vehicle violation, she may ask you to pull over for further investigation. You do not have to answer any questions she asks you, such as if you have been drinking or where you are coming from.  If the officer has reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking, she may ask you to perform roadside sobriety tests, such as the one-legged stand, the walk and turn, or the HGN test. You do not have to do these tests, but your refusal to do so can be used against you in court. But, without results from these tests, the State will have to overcome the burden that the officer had probable cause to arrest you.

Even without these tests, if the officer believes you are too impaired to drive, she may arrest you. She will then ask you to step into an onsite bus to submit to a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to take this test, you will lose your license for one year in North Carolina. However, you have the right to request that someone be present with you at the test to witness it. The officer will allow the person 30 minutes to arrive before giving the test. If the person does not arrive after 30 minutes, the officer will go on with the test.

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated due to a checkpoint stop, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel to discuss how we can help with your case. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC is located in Cary, NC near Harrison Avenue and Weston Parkway. For a free consultation call attorney Wiley Nickel or attorney Kristi Haddock at 919-585-1486 or email at wiley@wileynickel.com or kristi@wileynickel.

Wiley Nickel
Will My Child be Charged as an Adult?

Whether your child is charged with simple assault as a result of a school yard fight, property damage, possession of a drug or alcohol, larceny, or another charge, your actions to make the best of a bad situation are extremely important. These charges could have a substantial impact on jobs, college applications, and other areas for years to come.  North Carolina is a state that does treat 16 and 17 year olds as adults in criminal matters, although there is a new bill to raise the minimum age of criminal charges to 18 years old. Governor Cooper has already given support for the bill, and although there has been debate on the budget, the legislators have also stated that a veto is possible, making the bill likely to pass.  

Until this bill passes, 16 year old kids are treated as adults, but there are a number of diversion and deferral programs available. The charge may be dismissed as a result of successfully completing one of these programs. 

One of these programs offered by Wake County is the Teen Court Program, allowing kids and teens 9-17years old to participate to earn a dismissal. The Teen Court program requires the defendant to stand before a jury of their peers and accept sanctions that they impose like community service, writing an apology letter, and paying restitution. Volunteer teens act as the attorneys, and the only adult involved in the hearing is the judge. Successfully participating and completing all of the sanctions imposed results in a dismissal of the charges, which is a less severe alternative than going to court. Teen Court, and the new proposed bill, represent a shift in North Carolina to change how juveniles are treated in criminal cases, and show an effort to give minors an alternative than criminal charges and jail time. 

Once your case is over, you should consider getting the charge expunged.  There are special rules for offenders who were under 21 years old at the time they were charged with a crime. So, regardless of the outcome of your case, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC  to learn how we can help you restore your child's record by getting an expunction.

Wiley Nickel
How Long will Cases Stay on my Record?

It's possible that you have heard a rumor that criminal charges disappear after a certain amount of time, but this is simply false. This will stay on your record, and will be available for employers to see on background checks if they decide to go with a full criminal record check. 

That's not to say that that criminal charges can't be expunged. Certain charges can be expunged, if you initiate the filing of paperwork for a request of expunction

If you have any questions regarding expunging a charge from your record, or you need help in expunging a charge from your record, you can call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation at 919-585-1486. You may also email the attorneys directly at Kristi@wileynickel.com or wiley@wileynickel.com.

Wiley Nickel
Huge Changes for North Carolina Expungement Law!  Second Chance Bill Passes!  Ratified by Governor Cooper.

In a rare show of bi-partisan unity the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 445 by a vote of 47-2 and the House passed it by a vote of 103-2.  The law will dramatically improve state law surrounding the clean-up and expungement of North Carolina criminal records. For many North Carolinians this will be a very important second chance and will allow many to move past that one non-violent crime/mistake and rejoin the work force.

This bill will provide a meaningful second chance to many first time offenders in North Carolina who now find it difficult to seek employment or gain admission to colleges and universities because of one mistake that they might have made as a youthful offender and for which they have paid their debts to society.

Before SB 445 a person could likely only be granted one expungement in their lifetime. This bill would allow a person to obtain more than one expungement if the charge was dismissed or resulted in a verdict of not guilty. The bill would also reduce the time a first time offender of a non-violent misdemeanor has to wait before seeking an expungement after a conviction from 15 years to 5 years. The bill would reduce the waiting time for a person convicted of a first-time nonviolent felony from 15 years to 10 years. If a first-time convicted offender was later charged and convicted of another crime then a North Carolina District Attorney would be able to take the charge for which they received an expungement under consideration in sentencing that individual for the second offense.

Specific changes include:

  • Reduces the wait time for expungement of a first-time nonviolent felony from 15 years to 10 years.
  • Reduces the wait time for expungement of a first-time nonviolent misdemeanor from 15 years to 5 years.
  • Provides for expungement of all dismissed and “not guilty” charges if the person has not been convicted of a felony.  It used to be just once in a lifetime.  Now there's no limit.
  • Provides North Carolina prosecutors with electronic access to records expunged on or after December 1, 2017.
  • Treats a conviction expunged on or after December 1, 2017 as a prior record if the person re-offends.

This is important legislation will make a real difference in the lives of thousands of North Carolinians who have paid their debts to society and turned their lives around. It also allows many who were wrongfully accused of crimes in the first place to clear their name.  As an example if you had a drinking ticket dismissed in college and then were charged with a totally bogus assault charge that was immediately dismissed you can now go back and get the bogus assault charge erased through the expungement process on December 1, 2017.  This will mean a job for many people who are just trying to get past one stupid mistake or who have had more than one dismissed case or not guilty verdict.  It will also generate a lot of revenue for North Carolina because of all of the new expungement petitions that will be filed this year.

This bill will go into effect on December 1, 2017.  This is a major new change for North Carolina Expungement Law. If you want to know if you qualify for a North Carolina expungement contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation.  You can reach us at 919-585-1486 to discuss your eligibility for an expungement.  Our office is located in Cary, NC and we handle expungements throughout the state of North Carolina.  You can also contact expungement lawyer Wiley Nickel directly at wiley@wileynickel.com to discuss an expunction.

What does It Mean to be Charged with Drug Paraphernalia?

This is a word that is used a lot in criminal contexts, and is often lumped together with drug charges. What is paraphernalia? 

Paraphernalia is a term that can apply to any materials that are used to grow marijuana, but can also apply to rolling papers if they were going to be used as papers for joints, baggies that hold marijuana, or a bowl with residue of marijuana.

Rather than a Class I misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, there is a specific charge for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, which is a Class 3 misdemeanor. The Class 1 misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is governed by North Carolina General Statute § 90-113.21, while the Class 3 misdemeanor is governed by North Carolina General Statute §90-113.22A. This differentiation in the statutes governing marijuana drug paraphernalia has also lowered the misdemeanor level for the marijuana paraphernalia. Generally, this charge will result in lower punishments, with fewer potential days in jail, and generally lower fines. 

If you have any questions about drug paraphernalia, or marijuana possession, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC. You can call the Offices for a FREE consultation, or contact the attorneys directly by email. 

Wiley Nickel
Welcome to the Office Emily Orr!

The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel is proud to announce the latest addition to our team!

Emily is a North Carolina native, who was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.    She is proud to be a Western Carolina University Alum, where she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in Criminal Justice in 2013.  Before joining our team, Emily was a Deputy Clerk with the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court for the past two years where she gained valuable knowledge of criminal courtroom procedures.  The areas she was most heavily involved included: Domestic Violence, DWI, and District Criminal Court. 

As the office manager and legal assistant, Emily will likely be the first person you will speak with at The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel. Her duties at the firm include answering and making calls to clients, sending out contact emails, following up with clients after their court date, and prepping paperwork and files for the attorneys.

Summer is here, let us help you stay out of trouble.

With the summer in full swing, Raleigh is full of great activities, breweries and concerts to enjoy. With a few tips in mind, you can enjoy the Summer months without unwanted encounters with law enforcement officers.

(1)  If you are drinking and don't look 21, ALE can approach and ask for your ID. It is illegal to consume alcohol under the age of 21. If you are under 21, you are likely to be targeted at events like concerts at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) agents often patrol these events looking for underage drinkers. In North Carolina, NCGS 18B-302 dictates that anyone under the age of 21 is forbidden from consuming any alcoholic beverage. Furthermore, it is illegal to use a fake I.D. to purchase alcohol, and also illegal to buy alcohol for a person under 21. Many do not realize that a charge for using a fake ID can lead to a license suspension!

(2)   If you’re going to drink at a brewery pay attention to the % alcohol concentration. Breweries are an awesome place to gather with friends, but the higher percentage beer can lead to trouble. Be aware of the percent alcohol content of the beverage you select. If you are driving home, take note that even 1 or 2 beers with a high percent can take you over the 0.08 legal limit. A charge of Driving While Impaired (DWI) will cause an immediate 30 day suspension of your license. A DWI can be very costly and requires several court appearances.

(3)    You have less rights to privacy when in your car. We see a huge number of tickets issued outside of concert venues like Red Hat, Lincoln Theatre and the Ritz for marijuana possession or possession of drug paraphernalia. Law Enforcement often patrols those parking lots and a smell of marijuana coming from your car can easily lead to a citation or arrest.

Charged with a DWI, underage drinking, or marijuana charge? Call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation with attorney Kristi Haddock or attorney Wiley Nickel.

Kristi Haddock
A High School Fight: Does it Relate to Assault?

Recently, there has been a video circulating online of a student committing an assault at a high school in North Carolina. The video lasts less than a minute, but shows a seemingly vicious assault. After viewing a video like this, you may have some questions about assault, and how it is punished. 

In North Carolina, the crime of assault is defined in the North Carolina General Statutes, and even describes varying circumstances and degrees of assault. For example, there are heightened punishments for assaults committed on school or sports officials while in the course of their duty. So, if a parent of a student on the high school basketball team assaults the basketball coach, it will be treated differently in court than a simple assault. 

You will also have to keep in mind that in the criminal context, assault and battery are lumped together, as opposed to civil matters, where assault and battery are two different torts. If you have any questions regarding assault, or have received a recent charge of assault, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC. You will receive a free consultation over the phone, or you can contact Attorneys Kristi Haddock or Wiley Nickel by email. 

Wiley Nickel
Larceny v. Robbery – What is the difference?!

To be found guilty of Larceny the State must prove that you (1) took (2) personal property (3) in the possession of another AND (4) carried that property away (5) without the consent of the possessor AND (6) with the intent to deprive the possessor of its use permanently (7) knowing that you are not entitled to it. Larceny of property valued less than $1,000 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Where as, Larceny of property valued at more than $1,000 is a Class H felony. 

Larceny is a lesser included offense of Robbery. Which means you can only be found guilty of one or the other arising from the same offense. There are two types of Robbery, both which are felonies. A person may be found guilty of Common Law Robbery (which is a Class G Felony) if the State proves that they (1) committed larceny (2) from the person or from the person's presence (3) by violence or intimidation. A person may be found guilty of Armed Robbery (which is a Class D Felony) if the State proves that they (1) committed or attempted to commit larceny (2) from the person or from the person’s presence (3) by possession, use, or threatened use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon (4) that endangers or threatens the life of a person. 

If you were charged with Larceny, call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation. Our attorneys are also available by email at Kristi@wileynickel.com or Wiley@wileynickel.com. 

Wiley Nickel
How do Moving Violations Affect My License?

Moving Violations can have a number of different effects on your license, and can have impacts on your insurance as well. However, depending on the level of your license, the impact can change. 

There are 3 levels of licenses for non-commercial drivers in North Carolina. They are: Limited Learners Permits, Limited Provisional Licenses, and Full Provisional Licenses. 

While many people are familiar with the penalties associated with violations of having a Full Provisional License, many of those same penalties apply to lower levels of licenses too. For example, a speeding ticket can result in the addition of more time to a Learners Permit, meaning that the young driver has to hold the permit longer without any more violations before obtaining the Limited Provisional License. 

There are times, depending on the severity of the offense, that a Learners Permit or Limited Provisional License can be suspended. These suspensions range in the amount of time that they will last, depending on the individual circumstances. 

If you have further questions about the levels of driving licenses, or about how moving violations affect your level of license, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC. The attorneys at Wiley Nickel can explain and work to help your situation.  

Wiley Nickel
What types of crimes are considered crimes of "Domestic Violence?"

Under North Carolina law, domestic violence extends to more than incidents involving spouses. It also includes other personal relationships like dating relationships, people living together who are members of the opposite sex, parents and their children, current or former household members, etc. 

Crimes like Assault on a Female or Simple Assault are common in the Domestic Violence courtroom. However, other charges such as Injury to Personal Property may also be considered crimes of domestic violence if the alleged victim and the offender have a personal relationship. The North Carolina General Statutes have made it so that a crime of domestic violence has harsher collateral consequences such as the loss of gun rights. So, it is important to have a zealous attorney in your corner. 

If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is the State of North Carolina's burden to prove each and every element of the charge. If you have questions regarding your charge, and how to proceed call the attorneys at the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation or set up an appointment to meet in person at our Cary office. 

Wiley Nickel
What are Collateral Consequences?

After a trial and conviction, if a person serves their sentence, does this mean that their debt to society has been repaid? Not necessarily. Collateral consequences can be imposed on an individual, even after their jail time or fine has been served/paid. Often, a defendant does not have to be warned about these additional penalties. These additional penalties are also known as civil disabilities, and are separate from criminal proceedings.

Depending on the charge, these penalties can include revocation of licenses, or even loss of financial subsidies. Some of these penalties are discretionary, but others are mandatory and will occur immediately after a conviction. Collateral consequences are governed by North Carolina statutes. There are tools to help see potential collateral consequences as well. If you have any questions regarding a charge, or any potential collateral consequences, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation. 

Wiley Nickel
I blew less than a 0.08, but was still charged with DWI! What now?

Can I be charged with DWI even though I blew less than 0.08? Yes, North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1 states that a person may be charged with DWI if they operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while under the influence of an impairing substance OR with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher at any relevant time after driving. 

So, this means the law governing DWI's in NC covers offenses both above and below a blood alcohol concentration of .08. The State may attempt to prove a case of DWI without any blood alcohol content at all, by proving "appreciable impairment." This means that they must prove that your physical and mental faculties were appreciably impaired by alcohol or another impairing substance like marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs. The good news is it is much more difficult for the State to prove a case without a BAC of 0.08 or higher. 

Blood alcohol content also can impact the level of DWI at sentencing. DWI's are broken down into 6 classes of severity which are measured based on "mitigating" and "aggravating" factors. A blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher is considered an aggravating factor. A BAC of .15 or higher also triggers the ignition interlock requirement through DMV. The worst level DWI is an Aggravated level 1, which is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment. For a Aggravated level 1 punishment, the court must find 3 "grossly aggravating factors" such as serious injury caused by the impaired driving, prior DWI within 7 years or having a child under the age of 18 in the car at the time of offense. The lowest level, level 5, has a maximum punishment of 60 days imprisonment with the minimum punishment being 24 hours of community service. 

A DWI can be very costly and has long-standing repercussions on your permanent record. It is important that you put yourself in a position to best fight for your interests.

If you were charged with DWI in Wake County, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a no-cost consultation. Our attorneys, Wiley Nickel and Kristi Haddock have experience fighting DWI charges and are ready to help. Our office is located in Cary, near the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Weston Parkway. 

Wiley Nickel