At Austin Law Firm located in Indian Trail, North Carolina we defend clients throughout Union, Mecklenburg, and Anson Counties in a wide variety of criminal and juvenile law matters. Firm member Leah Catherine Austin is a former prosecutor who served as an Assistant District Attorney and head of the Anson County District Attorney's Office. As a result of this experience, Ms. Austin's clients have a distinct advantage because she is intimately familiar with the inner-workings of the local District Attorneys' offices and local courtrooms. In addition, Ms. Austin is knowledgeable about the different personalities of the local prosecutors and judges, allowing her to appropriately tailor presentation of her clients' cases in plea negotiations, courtroom proceedings, and at trial.
We handle a wide variety of criminal matters including:
- Driving While Impaired (DWI)
- Drug Crimes/ Possession Charges
- Traffic Offenses/Speeding Tickets
- Misdemeanors & Felonies
- Juvenile Law
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
In North Carolina, it is a crime to drive while impaired by the influence of alcohol or drugs or to drive with an open container in the passenger area of the car. If a law enforcement officer suspects you are driving while impaired, you will be asked to take a chemical test of your breath or blood. If you refuse to take a chemical test or submit to a test which shows that your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher, your driver's license will be immediately revoked for a minimum of 30 days to one year, or more in some cases. Drivers under the age of 21 may not have any concentration of alcohol or drugs in their system, and violations of the law will result in a mandatory one-year driver's license revocation.
Punishments for DWI convictions increase for multiple offenses. A first conviction will result in a one-year driver's license revocation period; a second conviction which occurs within three years of the first will result in a four year revocation period; a third conviction which occurs within five years of prior convictions will result in a permanent revocation; and a fourth conviction is considered a felony if the prior three convictions occurred with the past seven years.
Drug Crimes/Possession Charges
The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act sets forth a variety of drug crimes including possession, sale, trafficking, and manufacturing of illegal and controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs obtained without a legal prescription. Convictions for violations of the Act vary depending upon the type of illegal drug, the amount possessed, sold, trafficked or manufactured and range from Class 3 misdemeanors, resulting in 1 to 20 days imprisonment and/or a fine, to Class C felonies, resulting in imprisonment for at least 4 to 6 years and potentially longer where there are prior convictions or aggravating circumstances.
Traffic Offenses/Speeding Tickets
In addition to DWI, there are a number of other traffic offenses which can result in a driver's license suspension and criminal charges. These offenses include hit and run, vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide, excessive speeding, driving on a suspended license, and accumulation of multiple moving violations within a short period of time.
Misdemeanors & Felonies
North Carolina has a structured sentencing system for persons convicted of misdemeanor and felony crimes which provides for increasing amounts of jail time as the severity of the crime increases and for repeat offenses. The sentencing system also provides for enhanced sentencing (increased punishments) where "aggravating" circumstances are involved, and decreased sentencing where there are "mitigating" circumstances. Examples of aggravating circumstances include where a law enforcement officer was injured or killed during the commission of a crime and where the crime was committed for the purpose of evading lawful arrest. Examples of mitigating circumstances include a positive employment history, a good reputation in the defendant's community, and a reasonable belief by the defendant that his or her conduct was legal.
Misdemeanor crimes involve less serious and dangerous offenses than felony crimes, and usually carry punishments involving fines and/or limited jail sentences ranging from 1 to 150 days. Felony crimes carry much more significant punishments, including mandatory jail sentences ranging from a few months for a Class I felony to life without the possibility of parole for a Class A felony.
We handle a wide variety of juvenile law cases, including civil Division of Social Services cases involving abused and neglected minors and juvenile criminal/delinquency matters.
Juvenile criminal defense differs from adult criminal defense in many respects. When minors are arrested for the alleged commission of crimes, they are subject to the juvenile justice system, which focuses on juvenile delinquency prevention, treatment and intervention. North Carolina's Juvenile Code provides for a different set of law enforcement, hearing, evidentiary, and disposition/sentencing procedures, as well as a number of community programs that provide an alternative to placement in a youth detention center. Accordingly, if your child has been arrested for or accused of criminal activity, it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in handling juvenile defense matters. At Austin Law Firm, we understand that your child's future is on the line and will work with you to defend your child's rights and freedom to the fullest extent of the law.
Seek Experienced Criminal Law Lawyers
At Austin Law Firm, we have extensive experience defending clients in a wide variety of criminal and juvenile law matters. If you or a family member have been arrested for or accused of criminal conduct, it is important to contact experienced lawyers right away. Contact Austin Law Firm now at (704) 821-6697 to speak with us about your case.