Charlotte Criminal Defense DWI Attorneys | Mecklenburg DUI Lawyers
Charlotte DWI attorney Gael Gilles of Gilles Law, PLLC is a criminal defense attorney in Charlotte, NC. Mr. Gilles understands what is at stake for his clients charged with DWI, and will fight for them from start to finish. Given the high stakes involved when a client is charged with DWI in North Carolina, Mr. Gilles takes a team approach to DWI defense. Strategizing with other veteran DWI defense attorneys (see DWI attorneys below), Mr. Gilles will leave no stone unturned. Mr. Gilles offers DWI clients aggressive and zealous representation with a team approach.
If arrested, you need answers and basic information from an experienced Charlotte DWI attorney. We are local Charlotte DWI lawyers who can help. Here, we tell you what to do now. First, we explain how to get your license back so you legally drive. Next, we review the DUI process and what to expect. Of course, for more specific legal advice, we will sit down with you and personally review your case. If you choose us, we will determine if the State can prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Our first goal in every case is to defeat the charges if we can. If that is not possible, we work to lower your punishment level and mitigate the harm.
Over the next few months and after several court appearances, we get all the evidence against you. Then, we carefully review every aspect of your case from beginning to end. More specifically, we look at police stop, field sobriety tests, arrest, Miranda warnings, and breath testing. Finally, we sit down again with you and go over everything. Once you know your options, you decide what is best for you and how to proceed. While we make recommendations, you make all important decisions about your case.
Getting Your License Back
First things first. The most immediate concern is usually how to get your license back. Charlotte is a large metropolitan city, and our light rail is still incomplete. We understand your apprehension. Accordingly, our first priority is getting your license. There are two options to get back on the road.
DMV Suspension Hearing
The fastest way is to file for a DMV suspension challenge hearing. But timing is critical here. You have just ten (10) days after arrest to pursue this option. Otherwise, it is lost. In this proceeding, the State of North Carolina must be given up to three (3) days to respond. In many cases, this right is waived, and we move forward with your petition before a District Court judge. Once signed, your driver’s license (NC resident) or driving privileges (if from another State) are restored in full. No restrictions. No limitations. And best of all, no additional costs. We include this option as part of our attorney fee.
Limited Driving Privilege (LDP)
The next option is to petition for a limited driving privilege ten (10) days after your arrest. But there are additional costs required here. First, you have to obtain a substance abuse assessment and pay the provider $100. You do not have to complete the treatment, just the assessment. In addition, your insurance carrier provides a Form DL-123 showing current vehicle liability coverage. Along with these certificates, we prepare the necessary documents for submission to a District Court judge. Once signed, we file your petition paperwork and a $100 fee to the State of North Carolina. This LDP becomes your license for the next twenty (20) days. But remember, this is a restricted license for use only while going to work, church, or AA meetings. Finally, thirty (30) days after arrest, you pay another $100 to the DMV to “restore” your driver’s license to full status.
Our Mecklenburg County DWI Lawyers
The information on this website is intended to persuade you to consult an experienced Charlotte DWI attorney. At a minimum, you should meet with our lawyers. North Carolina DWI laws are very complex and harsh, even for a first offense. Whether you ultimately decide to plea or go to trial, we guide you through the court process so that you can make good decisions after all options are explained. If you do go to trial, our seasoned attorneys fight for you in court. For your consideration, here are our credentials:
What to Expect from Your Charlotte DWI Attorney
First, your lawyer should be personally available to you. Certainly, lawyers are busy and cannot take calls while in court. But, with smart phones and email, there is no excuse to not get back to clients promptly. Everyone is busy. We live in fast times. While routine matters are handled by paralegal staff, some questions need the attorney’s experience and judgement. After all, that is what you are paying for. We expect this basic courtesy when we hire individuals. As a result, we practice what we preach and provide every client with our cell phone number and email address. Call us now and see the difference.
First We Listen
Next, lawyers should be quiet and first listen to their client’s questions and concerns. While pretty basic, many lawyers still talk over clients and never get around to actually listening. Many clients come to us because the other lawyer dominated the conversation with brilliant oratory. But, they never stopped to listen about the particulars of their situation. Before any lawyer can give advice, they need to first hear your story. By contrast, we start all meetings by asking you what are your first concerns. Then, we explain NC DUI law and the process. Some prefer to ask questions immediately. But others like to ask as we go through our presentation. After all, many clients have no idea what to ask until we explain what to expect. Don’t worry. We understand.
Then We Give Clear Answers
After first listening, lawyers should then give clients clear answers to their questions. Of course, not every question can be answered. For example, most clients want to know “what are their chances?” There are too many variables to give an answer at this point in the case. Even after all evidence is reviewed, no lawyer can ethically guarantee a result or outcome. However, they can guide you and make recommendations. And, even if you do not like an answer, your lawyer should be honest and candid. Even if it is bad news, most clients want the truth. That way, they can prepare for what may be coming. We give our clients a full and complete breakdown of their case. Sometimes, the news is favorable. Other times, it is not. Either way, you remain in charge and make all important decisions. Call our firm now for answers to your questions.
Felony or Misdemeanor
A first time offense DWI, without accident or injury, is a misdemeanor, not a felony. And in most cases, you are NOT facing any jail time. Depending on the punishment level, you have to pay a fine, court costs, and perform community service. In addition, your driving privileges in North Carolina are suspended for one (1)year. But, depending on circumstances, you should be eligible for a limited driving privilege. Try not to worry. We explain how to get you back on the road. If you live in another State, there may be additional consequences affecting your license there. Please consult your home state’s Department of Motor Vehicles for more information. We can help you if you live in North Carolina or South Carolina.
DWI Arrest Protocol
By the time you read this material, you spent the night in jail, probably for the first and only time in your life. After release, you feel like this is just a “bad dream.” What just happened surely cannot be real. After all, all you did was have dinner and drinks with friends or a few beers at the game. You felt fine to drive and would never take chances with your license or safety. You are on your way home and suddenly see “blue lights” in your rearview mirror. Or, in other cases, you come up on a DUI checkpoint. Regardless, you present your license and answer truthfully that you had had something to drink that evening. Nevertheless, when the officer smells alcohol on your breath, everything changes.
Next, you get out of your car and try to perform “field sobriety tests.” Although you have never done these “tests” before, you try your best and think you may have even “passed” them. However, even though you did everything asked, the officer is now placing you under arrest for “driving while impaired” or DWI. Wait. This should not be happening. You are a good citizen and responsible driver. It does not matter. You are taken to the police station and then offered “breath testing.” You agree thinking you will be cleared by the machine. But whether your result is 0.06 or 0.16, you are going to be charged and prosecuted. And if you dare exercise your right to refuse breath testing, the police get a warrant, take you to a hospital, and draw your blood even against your will.
Arrest Is Different from Conviction
Being accused is much different from being convicted. Because DWI is a criminal offense, you are presumed innocent under the law. And the State of North Carolina must prove you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” You have to prove anything. The State must prove you were (1) driving, (2) in the county where charged, and (3) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or greater. If there is no BAC level, the State must prove “material and appreciable impairment” while driving. An experienced Charlotte DWI attorney evaluates all legal and factual issues in your case. The entire DWI process must be scrutinized and challenged if there are errors in procedure. From the initial police stop, roadside field sobriety testing, arrest, Miranda warnings, to breath testing, every aspect has to be considered. Only then can you make the best decision for your particular situation.
DWI Defense Strategy
The defense of a DWI case is a structured process. First, we collect the written evidence. There will be a number of reports and other filings given to you after arrest. Next, we personally interview the arresting officer and any other police on scene. Then, we subpoena all video evidence. Here in Charlotte, we have “in car” video recording equipment. There are also “body camera” recordings as well. Once we have all State’s evidence, we thoroughly review everything.
As your Charlotte DWI attorney, our job is to evaluate the State’s case and any legal or factual issues. In our experience, how you appear in the videos can make or break your case. Jurors are people. Everyone knows what “drunk” or “impaired” looks like and sounds like. Our lawyers prefer video evidence because it eliminates the “he said, she said.” While a breath machine gives a “number,” a recorded video can cause a jury to question that reading. And a question from a single juror is “reasonable doubt.”
If you want a trial, we go to court. While most cases resolve by plea, a Charlotte DWI attorney must prepare every case for trial. At our firm, we prefer a jury trial if trying a case on the merits. Because District Court is in front of a judge only, we usually argue legal motions there. But for factual issues, we believe a jury trial is your best option. Almost everyone has a negative bias towards DUI, juries can be tough. However, we still believe jurors want to be fair. After all, they would want the same if facing a DWI arrest. At trial, we argue the State’s evidence does not prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Better make sure your lawyer is willing to fight in court. If not, you should hire another attorney.
Choosing a Charlotte DWI Attorney
The first critical decision you have to make is which DWI lawyer to hire. After you get released from jail, go home and get some sleep. You have been up all night and are exhausted. It is difficult to make good decisions when tired. Instead, after you get some rest, start your own research. With so many attorneys available, everyone knows a “good lawyer.” Friends and family give recommendations. This is a great place to start but don’t stop there. Rather, review several firms before choosing one.
Carefully compare the credentials of different Charlotte DWI attorney law firms. Then, personally meet with those that impress you and ask them tough questions. Get a feel for whether they are a right fit for you. Once you complete your research, hire the Charlotte DWI attorney that gives you the most confidence but also puts you at ease. At a minimum, come meet with our lawyers. We will give you some initial answers and options to consider. You are going to feel better after you talk with us. Call now.
Gilles Law takes a team approach when dealing with your DWI
(Gilles Law, PLLC is an independent law firm that works jointly with Robert Reeves PC which is also and independently owned an operated law firm.)
Robert J. Reeves
Charlotte DWI Attorney Robert J. Reeves is an aggressive but compassionate advocate for his clients charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County. We have dedicated our North Carolina criminal practice to helping you and your family get through this ordeal. Mr. Reeves has practiced law for over 27 years and is licensed in North Carolina (1996) and South Carolina (1989). He is an accomplished trial litigator in both criminal and civil courts.
In his DUI practice, Mr. Reeves has completed training and received certificates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in DWI Investigation and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). This is the same training that police officers undergo. Mr. Reeves is a proud member of the National College for DUI Defense and National Trial Lawyers Top 100. You can reach Mr. Reeves directly for a free consultation. He makes himself personally available to clients, even after regular business hours in the evenings and weekends. Knowing what to expect will help reduce the sense of dread you are feeling.
Charlotte DWI attorney Aaron Leee graduated from the Charlotte School of Law in 2012. He focuses his law practice on defending DWI, traffic tickets, and DMV licensing issues. DMV regulations are complex. But Mr. Lee assists clients with license suspension hearings, post trial LDP matters, and out of state license holds. In his DWI practice, he works with Mr. Reeves in reviewing evidence and arguing Motions in court. Like Mr. Reeves, he is personally available to clients. Call now for answers to your DMV questions.
Gilles Law, PLLC is an independent law firm that works jointly with Attorneys Robert J. Reeves and Aaron Lee.