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North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

What should I expect during a field sobriety test?

Police conduct field sobriety tests as a part of their drunk driving investigations. Police usually will not conduct a field sobriety test until after they have established a suspicion of intoxicated driving. The field sobriety test offers police additional information pertaining to a driver's state of intoxication. Results from these tests can be especially valuable to police in cases of drugged driving where an alcohol Breathalyzer test will not reveal whether someone is intoxicated or not.

If you were pulled over by a police officer and he or she witnessed signs of inebriation, such as red eyes, slurred speech and/or the smell of alcohol, the officer could conduct the following types examinations during the field sobriety test:

  • Balancing on one foot: Intoxicated people have trouble with their balance. Police may ask you to stand on one foot for as long as you can.
  • Reciting the alphabet backward: It can be hard to recite the alphabet backward while sober. It's next to impossible to do this when someone is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
  • Gaze tests: Police may ask you to follow a light with your eyes without moving your head. Something happens to an intoxicated person's eye control and this test may reveal that someone was too drunk to drive.
  • Walking heel to toe: Having you walk along a straight line from heel to toe could be another indicator of inebriation.

Managing the client who won't keep their mouth shut

Every lawyer has one of them: The client who can't keep quiet. Who won't follow commonsense guidance. Who opens their mouth even when it's clearly in their best interests not to. Who seemingly has no filter-and who, with every word, backs himself (or herself) further into a corner.

For some of the nation's most established Washington lawyers, that client also happens to be the political leader of the free world. 

The legendary instability in Trump's stable of lawyers

President Trump's personal legal team has undergone near-total turnover in recent months. Senior attorney John Dowd resigned in March, and Ty Cobb is set to retire at the end of the month.

Dowd, who took the lead on Mueller's Russia probe, had strongly advised Trump against sitting down with investigators. He advocated a more cautious approach -- written interrogatories and, perhaps, pre-recorded video testimony rather than a free-for-all interview that would give Trump yet another opportunity to put his foot in his mouth (this time with more drastic consequences than just public ire). Apparently spurning this advice, Trump insisted in the press that he wanted to sit down with investigators for an interview to clear his name. Dowd resigned shortly thereafter. As one commentator put it, he was "unwilling to be the lawyer dumb enough to let that happen."

Underage drinking and underage drinking and driving

Underage drinking is a common issue throughout the United States. Because all forms of drinking and driving endanger the public, lawmakers throughout the country have created strict state laws to govern the activities of drivers, establishing criminal penalties and fines for those convicted of driving while intoxicated. These laws are especially strict for anyone under the legal drinking age. In the state of North Carolina, for example, so-called "zero tolerance" laws make it illegal for motorists under the age of 21 to drive with any quantity of alcohol in their systems.

That said, underage drinking continues in spite of the law, as the following statistics indicate, and this results in numerous instances of underage drinking and driving:

  • In 2015, 7.7 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 said that they had drunk more than "just a few sips" of alcohol within the previous 30 days.
  • Eleven percent of the alcohol drunk in the United States is consumed by individuals between the ages of 12 and 20.
  • Young people don't drink as often as adults; however, when they drink, they drink more by engaging in "binge drinking." Binge drinking tends to involve consuming over four to five drinks within a few hours.
  • Approximately 5.1 million underage drinkers reported that they had binge drunk at least once within the last 30 days.
  • Approximately 1.3 million young people reported that they had binge drunk at least five times within the last 30 days.

What are some common defenses against drug crime allegations?

Ever since the United States began its war on drugs, state and federal governments have been vigilant in policing the nation to eradicate instances of drug possession, drug sales, drug manufacturing and other violations pertaining to controlled substances. However, just because you were accused of one of these crimes does not necessarily mean that you'll be found guilty.

Here are a few useful defenses against a drug crimes charge:

What does the "Golden State Killer" case mean for genetic privacy?

It's a story that seems straight out of a CSI episode: A cold case involving a string of rapes and murders. A crime-scene DNA sample that sat in a freezer for decades. A forensic criminologist who thought outside the box to dig deeper. And a new technology that led him right to the suspect's doorstep.

Law enforcement using ghost cars to enforce drunk driving laws

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has a new kind of vehicle in its arsenal. They're describing it as a "stealth weapon" to be used in combat against intoxicated drivers. The vehicle looks like a normal Dodge Charger used by the state police. The only difference is that it's black and has glow-in-the-dark lettering.

According to a colonel with the Highway Patrol, "A ghost patrol car has the exact same markings as our traditional patrol car." They say that one ghost car will be featured in each of its eight troops. The option to drive the vehicle will be offered as a reward to high-performing officers. One trooper who will get to use the car in Vance County stressed that saving a single life by using the ghost car will be the best reward he could ever possibly receive.

4 tips when using a designated driver

Every night that you go out with your friends to have a good time, you should always choose one person who will stay sober. This person shouldn't drink a drop of alcohol the entire night, and he or she should be available to drive everyone home if necessary. Yes, it's quite a responsibility and even could be seen as a "drag," but being a designated driver means that you could be the person who saves your friends lives -- or at least prevents them from getting arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense.

A lot of people try to use a designated driver and fail, however, so here are four vital tips to keep you on the right track:

2 black men victimized by discrimination in Starbucks arrest

Everyone has heard stories of racially motivated arrests, and most people know that they're a problem. However, when these incidents are recorded on video, they have a much stronger effect on the public. Whether it's a false arrest for a drug crime, a jaywalking crime or trespassing, these incidents should not go unnoticed. Public outcry and protests may be the only way for all Americans to receive equal treatment by law enforcement.

In the instant case, which happened in Philadelphia earlier this week, two black men arrived at a Starbucks to attend a business meeting. However, their associate had yet to arrive, and so they waited before ordering coffee. While the men were waiting, however, a Starbucks employee called police to have the men arrested, saying that they weren't paying customers and that they refused to leave when asked.

Could someone get arrested for drunk driving 4 times in 2 days?

The idea of being hit with a drunk driving charge twice in one year is feasible. Even the idea of being hit with a drunk driving charge twice in one month is feasible -- especially if a North Carolina resident is struggling from an alcohol problem. However, the idea of getting arrested for driving while intoxicated four times within the span of a 48-hour period is absolutely inconceivable. Nevertheless, this is exactly what happened to a man in a northeast state.

It all started on a Sunday in 2014, when a 53-year-old man was arrested for drunk driving. The next day, on Monday, he was arrested three more times. Oddly enough, three out of the four times he was arrested happened after he drove into a tree with his vehicle.

What is mail fraud?

If you were accused of "mail fraud," you might not consider it to be a serious offense. It just doesn't sound very bad in terms of the various types of criminal charges one could be accused of. However, this common criminal charge could have serious criminal consequences -- especially because of the way it can serve to elevate any other criminal act connected with the mail fraud to the level of a federal crime.

Mail fraud usually employs the use of the U.S. Postal Service in a criminal way. A mail fraud charge is one of the easiest ways for the federal government to claim it has jurisdiction over your criminal court proceedings.

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