DWI – Limited Driving Privileges

“I was convicted or pleaded guilty to a charge of Driving While Impaired (DWI) in North Carolina, am I eligible for a driving privilege?”   The Answer: “It Depends.”

Eligibility for limited driving privileges depends on a myriad of factors.  The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles regulates the issuance, revocation, and suspension of North Carolina Drivers’ Licenses.  However, the North Carolina Legislature authorizes judicial discretion to issue Limited Driving Privileges. This post specifically addresses basic, post-trial Limited Driving Privileges (LDP) for Impaired Driving.

At the outset, to generally be eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege after a DWI conviction, you must be sentenced at a Level Three, Four, or Five, under G.S. 20-179, and not be deemed a ‘Refusal’.  A person is deemed a refusal when they willfully refuse to submit to a chemical analysis.  Additionally, the following conditions must be satisfied pursuant to the statute:

  • The person was revoked only under G.S. 20-17(a)(2).
  • At time of the offense, the person held a valid license or a license that had been expired less than one (1) year.
  • The person was not convicted of an offense involving impaired driving within the preceding seven (7) years.
  • Subsequent to the offense, the person was not convicted or does not have any unresolved charges pending against them involving impaired driving.
  • The person obtained and filed a substance abuse assessment.
  • The person has filed proof of financial responsibility (i.e. DL-123/proof of insurance).

As the name implies, a Limited Driving Privilege is just that, limited.  The Privilege authorizes the person to drive for the following limited purposes during their respective revocation period:

  • Work or Education;
  • Maintenance of Household;
  • Community Service; and
  • Alcohol/Drug treatment pursuant to the substance abuse assessment.

NOTE: Limited Driving Privileges are typically authorized for Standard working hours, specifically 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Judges may authorize a limited driving privilege for nonstandard hours with supplemental documentation.

As aforementioned, this post provides a general overview of basic limited driving privilege eligibility.  There are nuanced circumstances for limited privilege eligibility for cases involving a driver under the age of twenty-one (21), ignition interlock drivers, refusal drivers, and drivers with out of state convictions.  Any Driving While Impaired case is complex and rife with intricacies.  Please make sure your rights are protected and advocated by an experienced DWI attorney.

Blog author Michael Haigler practices in Charlotte, North Carolina at Dummit Fradin. Mr. Haigler was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Mr. Haigler represents clients in the following areas of law: Criminal Defense, DWI, Traffic Law, Family Law, and Civil Litigation.  Dummit Fradin has offices throughout North Carolina. If you or someone you know, need legal assistance, contact Dummit Fradin at (704) 319-7200.  For additional information, please visit http://www.nclawyer.com/.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers many different ways to file your application:

  • You may file an online application by visiting http://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html.
  • You may go into your local SSA Field Office and apply in-person.
  • You may call 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and apply by telephone.

Whichever method you choose, it‘s important to have the following information at hand as it will make completing your application much easier:

Information about you:

  • Your full legal name (as it appears on your Social Security card)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth and place of birth
  • The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse(s) as well as the dates and places of marriage and/or dates of divorce
  • Names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of your minor children
  • Your bank account number and routing information (for direct deposit of benefits)
  • The name and contact information of a reliable person who knows about your medical condition(s) and can answer questions about your health and functioning

Information about your medical condition:

  • Detailed information about your medical impairment(s), injuries, or conditions (exact names of medical conditions, treatments and impairments, complicating factors, etc.)
  • Contact information about your medical providers, and dates you saw them
  • The names and dosages of the medications you are currently taking
  • Information about any medical tests you have had, such as where you had them done and which doctor ordered them

Information about your jobs:

  • A list of all the jobs that you have had in the 15 years before you became unable to work, the dates you worked at those jobs, and the amount of money you earned per hour/pay period/year in each job
  • Information about any workers’ compensation claims, black lung claims, short/long-term disability claims, VA service connected disability claims, or any other benefit claims that you have filed or intend to file

Documents you may need to provide:

  • Original or certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence
  • S. military discharge papers
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the most recent 1 to 2 years
  • Marriage certificates and/or divorce decrees

Blog author Frederick W. Fleming is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability. He practices at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, which has offices throughout the state of North Carolina, focusing on Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, Products Liability, and Eminent Domain claims. For more information, visit: www.farrin.com.

Someone stole my identity! How do I get the fraudulent accounts off my credit report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (known as “FCRA”) requires that consumer reporting agencies, or “CRAs,” block from your files any information resulting from identity theft.  This includes fraudulent accounts, false names, false addresses, and the like.  To get a fraud block in place, you must send the CRA documentation.  Your documents must include (1) proof of identity; (2) an “identity theft report”; (3) a list of the fraudulent information; and (4) a statement that the fraudulent information does not relate to any transaction of yours.

Proof of identity ideally includes your full name, full Social Security Number, date of birth, and full current address.  Copies of a driver’s license, Social Security card, and current utility bill in your name should, all together, be adequate.  If you have changed addresses recently, also provide proof of the recent prior address.

To obtain an “identity theft report,” report the identity theft to police.  Give them a list of the fraudulent accounts and request an investigation.  The resultant police report listing the accounts will likely suffice as an “identity theft report.”

Sign an identity theft affidavit that lists the fraudulent information that needs to be blocked.  In the affidavit, you should also state that the information is unrelated to your transactions.  The FTC publishes a form affidavit that you can use:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0094-identity-theft-affidavit.pdf.

Now, write a cover letter requesting a fraud block. Send it and your documents to each CRA that is reporting fraudulent information.  Use Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and keep copies of what you sent!  The CRA must block identified information within four business days.  If it declines your request, it must tell you why within five business days.  In that event, contact a consumer lawyer for additional advice specific to your situation.

Blog author Suzanne Begnoche practices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and represents consumers with issues in the following areas of law:  Collection harassment; Credit reporting; Identity theft or other financial fraud; Security breach; Debt collection lawsuit and  Post-judgment exemption processes.  For more information, visit http://www.begnochelaw.com/.

I Was Injured, Received Medical Treatment For My Injuries and Filed The Bills With My Health Insurance. Later, I Received A Questionnaire From My Health Insurance Carrier: Should I Fill It Out and Why?

The short answer is “yes.”  Perhaps more important is for you to understand why you should fill it out.  You should fill out a questionnaire and return it to your health insurance carrier according to their instructions and in a timely manner because 1) you probably have an obligation to do so (either by contract or by law); and 2) your failure to do so could result in your health insurance company’s refusal to pay some of your medical bills.

 Why are they asking me all of these questions anyway?  Great question, but a full and complete answer could be the subject of an entire hard-bound book.  Instead, let me try to break it down into two main reasons.  First, your health insurance carrier is probably trying to identify whether there are other parties or types of insurance that may apply to, or be responsible for, payment of the medical expenses related to your injury.  For example, the questionnaire likely has a question about whether you were “on the job” when you were injured.  If you were on the job when you were injured then it is possible that workers compensation insurance may be obligated to pay for the medical treatment necessary to treat your injury.  Another example is that the questionnaire might ask you whether you were involved in an automobile collision and, if so, the names of the other drivers involved and the identity of the company providing automobile liability insurance company for each vehicle.  This scenario brings us to the second main reason why health insurers send out questionnaires about medical treatment received for injuries: certain types of health insurance plans may be entitled to reimbursement for the money they pay for your medical expenses for injuries caused by the negligence of a third party.  Health plans established pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (sometimes referred to as ERISA plans) may be entitled to be reimbursed from funds that you recover from a settlement or a lawsuit against the negligent third-party.  Other health insurers may also be entitled to reimbursement, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or the NC State Health Plan.

For the reasons discussed above, your health insurance company treats the questionnaire, and the information it seeks to get from you through the questionnaire, very seriously.  It may play a role in their decision whether to pay some or all of your medical bills.  If you fail to provide the information to your health insurance carrier in a timely manner, your health insurance carrier may have the ability to deny payment of your medical bills.  This could leave you responsible for the payment of hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

So, if you were recently injured and sought medical treatment and then later received a questionnaire from your health insurance carrier, you should fill it out and send it back to them according to the instructions stated along with the questionnaire in a timely manner.  Of course, if you are represented by an attorney with regard to your injuries, you should notify him or her that you have received the questionnaire.  If you have specific questions about the questionnaire, you should seek the advice of counsel.

Blog Author Ann Ochsner practices law at the Whitley Law Firm. When you have been injured, there are laws that protect your rights and interests. The Whitley Law Firm in North Carolina has a great respect and concern for the law, for the concepts of fairness and justice, and for their seriously injured clients.  They have offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, New Bern, Jacksonville, Kinston, and Greenville and represent clients throughout the entire state in all types of civil matters, including personal injury cases (auto accidents, slip and fall injuries, motorcycle accidents, dog bites), workers’ compensation matters (workplace accidents and injuries) and social security cases. For more information, visit http://www.whitleylawfirm.com/ or call 1-800-598-0456.

9-year-old stabbed to death by 13-year-old brings attention to criminal juvenile court system

VIDEO: Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What is an expungement?”

A very sad case out of Michigan recently made headlines involving a 13-year-old boy on trial for murder. The case is especially tragic because the 13-year-old stands accused of killing a 9-year-old, stabbing him to death at a neighborhood playground.

The case garnered significant attention when it happened last year. The defendant was 12 at the time and has since been deemed an adult in the juvenile court system. Under Michigan law, this means that the boy, if convicted of murder, will serve out a sentence until he reaches 21 in the juvenile system, at which point he will be resentenced as an adult.

So far, a jury has been selected and preliminary matters are nearly complete. Experts believe opening statements will begin tomorrow and the case will progress the rest of the week. Two issues that will be central to the case involve the boy’s age and his mental health.

What’s the age of criminal responsibility in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, one year can make the difference between whether a young offender is sent to the juvenile justice system and receives help and hopefully makes a recovery, or is banished to the adult court system and receives only punishment. The law says that those between the ages of 6 and 12 who commit any offense are to remain in the juvenile court system, with no option to transfer the case to the adult system. This changes at 13, in North Carolina, 13 to 15-year-olds who commit certain felonies (B through E) begin in the juvenile system, but have an option to be transferred into the adult system depending on the particular facts of each case. For those 13 to 17-year-olds who commit A felonies, the law mandates that they be assigned to the adult justice system.

North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of being one of only two states that prosecutes 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. This applies to all criminal issues, whether minor traffic violations or serious felonies. Many have urged legislators to have this increased to 18, something they say will better protect children from adult criminal records and from being placed in dangerous jails and prisons with older, more seasoned criminals. Giving adult criminal records to teens makes it that much more likely that the kids will become frequent flyers in the criminal justice system, introducing them to the system at a young age rather than placing them in the juvenile system and attempting to teach them tools to avoid recurrent problems.

Though some believe that older teens are sufficiently mature to handle adult criminal punishment, researchers appear to be coalescing around the idea that a teen’s brain still has a lot of growing up to do. Brain scans indicate that cognitive development does not finish until a person is around 25. Sixteen and 17-year-olds are far closer to children, mentally, than adults, despite their size or swagger. At this age, the children are still developing and changing and, as a result, are highly receptive to behavioral modification. Research has even shown that in states where teens are charged as juveniles, the adolescent crime rate actually decreases, with teens getting intervention and treatment to address the source of the problem rather than simply receiving punishment.

Blog Author Brad Smith is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of criminal defense, DUI / DWI defense and traffic defense. Mr. Smith was born and raised in Charlotte. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney before entering private practice in 2006. In his free time, Mr. Smith enjoys traveling, boating, golf, hiking and spending time with his wife and three children. Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

Source: http://wlns.com/2015/08/31/jury-selection-to-start-in-murder-trial-of-13-year-old-boy/