First, take a deep breath. Next, contact an attorney. Seriously. Whether its Dysart Law or another firm, it is in your best interest to get a lawyer involved as soon as possible to ensure that someone is looking out for your legal interests, explaining the process, and helping you with license and driving privilege concerns.
Following your arrest, you will either be eligible for pre-trial release and assigned a court date or assigned a bond, which can either be secured or unsecured. In the event of a bond, a friend or family member can either post the amount or contact a bondsman for assistance. If the bond amount is unaffordable, a hearing may be scheduled on the first court date so a judge can reconsider the amount based on your individual circumstances.
In the event that you have received a 30 or 45 day civil revocation of your license pursuant to North Carolina implied consent statutes, you may be eligible to have your driving privileges restored on a conditional basis 10 days after your arrest date. The ability to obtain a limited driving privilege requires completion of a qualifying substance abuse assessment, a form from your insurance company, payment of court fees, and the filing of necessary forms with the court. Once approved by a judge, the pre-trial limited driving privilege will customarily allow you to drive for work purposes and for the maintenance of your home.
After the 30 or 45 day civil revocation period has passed, you will be able to have your license returned upon payment of a restoration fee. Once restored, you will have full driving privileges as your DWI case moves forward.
The day of your court date is often the first opportunity you and your attorney will have to learn about the information collected by the State including the evidence that may be introduced at trial. This information, including police report(s), statements by witnesses, affidavits, and breath/blood reports can too often require several court appearances to collect. For that reason, I often tell my clients that when a case is new, there will often not be anything substantive that happens at court other than getting a new court date. While the process can be slow, it is important to let your attorney ensure that all necessary information is obtained and analyzed in order to develop an effective case strategy.
Depending on the case, motions may be filed and argued, the matter can be tried, or a plea may be the best option. Regardless of the strategy, your case will eventually be resolved. In the event of a finding of guilt or a plea, it is important to have an experienced attorney to ensure that you are in the best possible position if sentencing occurs. This can involve the completion of community service, a substance abuse assessment, and taking any recommended drug and alcohol education classes. Being proactive can mitigate the severity of a judge's sentence and save you money in court fees.
While a driving while impaired charge may be one of the scariest events you face, trust that Dysart Law has experience in this field and can guide you through the process with proficiency. If you have any questions regarding a DWI or any other legal matter, please contact our office to arrange a free consultation. We're here to help.