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Raleigh Criminal Law Blog

About Federal DWIs

North Carolina residents and those visiting our state should know that in certain situations, driving while impaired can be charged as a crime in federal court. Specifically, individuals can be charged in federal court with DWI or other criminal charge if the alleged offense occurs on federal land. North Carolina is home to numerous military bases and national parks including the Outer Banks where the federal government has jurisdication over criminal offenses that would otherwise be prosecuted in state court under state law. For this reason, federal courts in NC maintain busy dockets for DWI and other misdemeanor prosecutions.

Although a DWI charge in federal court is prosecuted in accordance with the North Carolina criminal statute, the federal system can be very different from the state criminal justice process and an attorney experienced in federal representation should be consulted. For example, federal procedures are used which can be more formal than the rules used in state court. Also, a federal DWI case occuring on a military base will generally be prosecuted by a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) who is often a military officer. Because there are fewer federal courthouses across North Carolina, an individual charged in federal court may have to travel further than he or she would in the state court in order to appear on their appointed court dates. 

Dysart Willis has represented numerous defendants charged with DWI and drug charges occuring on various military bases as well as national parks. Members of the military with a federal DWI or other criminal charges can face unique consequences and it is important to have an attorney that can identify these issues. If you have questions or would like to discuss your case, our attorneys are available to help. 

10-year prison sentence for man convicted of $27 million fraud

A federal court has sentenced a 54-year-old man who founded a North Carolina electronic waste recycling company to 10 years in prison for defrauding investors and franchise owners. A news release from the U.S. attorney's office totaled the amounts owed to victims at $27 million. The offender had been convicted in December 2017 on charges of money laundering and conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud.

Evidence presented at trial showed that the man used about $5 million a year to finance his son's activities as a NASCAR driver. The son drove a vehicle displaying a logo for his father's company in the Camping World Truck Series. Kyle Busch Motorsports canceled the son's $6 million contract in 2015.

Joint investigation leads to dozens of drug arrests

A joint operation involving several law enforcement agencies has led to the arrests of 76 people in North Carolina. The undercover effort was led by the Opioid Reduction Task Force, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Other agencies involved include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Cherokee Indian Police Department along with state and local law enforcement. The joint operation has resulted in the seizures of over 18 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 3.8 pounds of Fentanyl and heroin, more than 100 kilograms of cannabis and more than 270 Oxycodone and Fentanyl tablets.

According to law enforcement, these seizures combined are worth in excess of $1.82 million. Five illegal firearms were also seized in connection with the investigation, and twelve people face federal drug charges. The cases against people who have been arrested will begin with initial federal court hearings.

North Carolina sex offender seeks prison release with lawsuit

A 45-year-old man currently held in Caswell County jail has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Alamance County Superior Court for clerical errors related to his latest conviction. He wants damages of $850,000, removal from the sex offender registry and release from prison because the court should have recorded his crime differently.

Authorities had sentenced him to seven to 10 years in prison after he gave the sheriff's office a false address in 2013 when registering as a sex offender. According to his legal complaint, court records should state that he attempted to "forge or submit under false pretense the information and verification notice required under Article 27a" instead of "failure to report a new address".

Feds bust 16 in drug conspiracy case

According to authorities, 16 people have been issued federal drug conspiracy charges in connection with a drug trafficking ring in western North Carolina. The charges were listed in a federal criminal indictment which was filed on Aug. 23 and unsealed on Sept. 13.

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly participated in a drug trafficking ring for about four years. The ring primarily distributed cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine in Catawba County, but the conspiracy reportedly extended all the way to California, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Mexico.

NC woman sentenced for identity theft scheme

A recent North Carolina case highlights how simple identity theft can lead to an extensive criminal enterprise involving multiple federal offenses. The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced in September that a Raleigh woman would be sentenced to 96 months in prison for profiting from stolen financial information.

The case in question resulted in a 13-count indictment brought in federal court. Ultimately, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one of aggravated identity theft for her role in the schemes. In addition to the 8-year sentence followed by 5 years of supervised release, the offender was ordered to pay restitution. Two co-conspirators also pleaded guilty in the case.

Students may see mixed signals about marijuana use

With marijuana use becoming more socially acceptable throughout the country, penalties for its use by college athletes have been reduced. Additionally, in what appears to be a new fad, middle and high school students are also using pot in e-cigarettes. On the other hand, marijuana use has only been legalized in a few states, and North Carolina is not one of them.

The NCAA tolerance policy

Woman sentenced to 42 months on drug charges

On Sept. 6, a federal judge in North Carolina sentenced a woman to 42 months in prison for selling illegal drugs. After she leaves prison, she will serve five years of supervised release.

Court documents show that the defendant was accused of selling crack cocaine to an undercover operative six times between June 20 and Aug. 14, 2017. Apparently, she contacted her personal drug dealer to acquire around 280 grams of crack for the operative. She was then arrested by deputies from the Nash County Sheriff's Office.

North Carolina man sentenced for selling cocaine

A 53-year-old North Carolina man was sentenced to a prison term of almost six years on Aug. 29 for possessing 28 grams of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The sentence was handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh. Reports indicate that the man will serve five years of supervised release after completing his 71-month custodial sentence.

The man was taken into custody in May 2017 after the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office were told by an informant that he was selling drugs out of his Shallotte residence. Deputies are then said to have confiscated a small quantity of illegal narcotics from one of the man's customers during a traffic stop. Deputies say that they subsequently recovered an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine and $571 in cash from the man and found marijuana, digital scales, $920 in cash and both powder and crack cocaine in his home.

Doctor who prescribed excessive opioids sentenced to 20 years

A medical doctor who formerly worked in Lumberton received a 20-year sentence to federal prison after convictions on 20 counts of distributing the prescription narcotic oxycodone unlawfully. He came under official scrutiny for his prescribing practices in 2013, when a pharmacist complained to the North Carolina Medical Board about the doctor's large number of opioid prescriptions.

The U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case said that the complaint cited a suspiciously high number of patients living in places that made their association with the doctor unlikely. After more complaints were filed in 2014 and 2016, the doctor lost his medical license.


Our Results

  • Client was charged in federal court with the felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. After negotiation with the US Attorney's Office, the felony gun charge was dismissed and our client...

  • Our client was charged with statutory rape and faced mandatory registration as a sex offender if convicted. We were able to work with a forensic expert and the district attorney's office to negotiate a guilty plea..

  • Client charged with Felony Assault on a Police Officer, misdemeanor assault, and resisting an officer. After a jury trial where multiple police officers testified about the incident, our client was found not guilty ..

  • Client investigated by federal law enforcement for possessing child pornography. Ryan began representing the client during the investigation and ultimately the client was not charged with any crimes...

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