Have you recently been charged with a criminal traffic offense in North Carolina?
When most people hear the phrase “traffic offense,” they imagine a speeding ticket or running a red light – fairly mild offenses when compared to something like robbery or domestic abuse.
However, if you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense, you need to understand that the consequences can be incredibly severe. You need to fight back against the charges, and you need to do so with the best possible strategy. Below, we’re going to cover a variety of potential defenses that you may be able to employ depending on the specific traffic charge you face and the individual circumstances of your situation.
First, though, let’s talk a bit more about what exactly criminal traffic offenses are.
Criminal Traffic Charges in North Carolina
As mentioned above, these types of offenses are different from minor traffic violations. To be charged with a criminal traffic offense, a driver must have caused injury, a real threat of injury, property destruction, or a real threat of property destruction. The various criminal traffic offenses covered under NC state law are listed below.
If your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or more, you can be charged with DWI. This crime is a misdemeanor for up to three offenses. You can face jail time, fines, and loss of driver’s license if convicted.
Failure to stop at accident
You are required by law to stop at the scene of an accident in which you are involved. If you flee, you could face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. You must provide your driving information to the other driver, or if the other vehicle is not attended, you must leave a note with your driving information.
If you drive with willful recklessness or a high speed that poses a hazard to other people or property, you could be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.
If you have three or more prior DWI convictions in seven years, you may be charged with a felony that requires one year in jail.
Hit and run
If you are involved in an accident that seriously injures or kills another person, you cannot leave the scene of the accident without facing a Class H felony charge. If convicted, you’ll serve at least eight months in jail.
If you kill someone with a vehicle, you could spend between 15 months and 40 years in prison. The punishment will vary based on certain details: gross negligence, DWI or DUI, or leaving the accident scene.
Defenses to Criminal Traffic Charges in North Carolina
The best defense strategy for you will depend upon the traffic offense for which you’ve been charged. A skilled attorney will use the most viable defense for your case.
Reckless driving defenses
You can question the witness testimony, debate the accuracy of your speedometer or the police radar gun, or argue that the situation was an emergency. Any of these defenses may help get your charges reduced or dropped.
Hit and run defenses
Perhaps you didn’t realize you had been involved in an accident and you made a mistake. Or you may have left a note that was not found, and you can support your defense with witness testimony. An experienced attorney may be able to get your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor or potentially have them dismissed.
The police must follow proper procedure with the breathalyzer and field tests. If they made errors, your case may be dismissed. Alternatively, you could have a medical condition that produced false positive results. Your attorney will know which defense will work for your DWI charge based on the specific details of your case.
Vehicular manslaughter defenses
Since this is a serious charge, you need a knowledgeable attorney who can repress evidence and refute witness accounts to try to reduce your manslaughter charge.
If you are facing criminal traffic charges, contact an experienced North Carolina defense lawyer today. A qualified attorney will protect your rights and fight for you.