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Winston-Salem Personal Injury Law Blog

Are you facing a traffic violation? Our law firm can help

Receiving a traffic citation can seem fairly innocuous but, in certain situations, one may incur a hidden cost that is not easily foreseeable. If a traffic violation causes an individual to lose their driving privileges because their driver's license got suspended, the repercussions could be financially disastrous. The legal team at Wood & Rabil, LLP understands the adverse ramifications of a traffic violation. We have the necessary experience to help those facing a traffic violation.

Many people may be under the wrong assumption that paying a traffic violation's fine will resolve the issue. But, our attorney will agree that paying the fine is analogous to pleading guilty. Additionally, receiving a moving violation may cause the driver to get points added onto their driver's license, and missing a court date for a moving violation may cause the driver to have their license suspended and thus lose their license and their driving privileges altogether. This, in turn, could lead to a job loss indirectly if the driver can't get to their job or directly if their job requires that they have a valid driver's license.

Sleep apnea increases the risk of car accidents

A new study found that not getting enough sleep can lead to the dangerous effects as drunk driving. The study found that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea had a higher risk of getting in a car accident compared to individuals without the condition. 

Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are at risk for getting into a car accident due to feeling sleepy during the daytime. The researchers said that daytime sleepiness is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Daytime sleepiness is a serious issue for drivers, making them potentially dangerous on the road.

Distracted driving can result in violation of North Carolina law

North Carolina residents may have heard or read that a recent study determined that distracted driving, particularly by teen drivers, resulted in more car accidents and injuries than previously thought. In fact, according to a spokesperson of AAA Carolinas this most recent survey found that car accidents caused by distracted teens were four times more frequent than what they were originally thought to be.

Though many teenagers do not think of the consequences of their actions until it is too late, our North Carolina readers should know that, given the increase in car accidents due to distracted driving, nearly 40 states, including North Carolina, have enacted laws which prohibit texting while driving. Presently, a North Carolina state senator has proposed a bill to make it illegal for all drivers in North Carolina to even have or hold some kind of mobile device when driving a car.

I was charged with a crime, what are my rights?

Being charged with a crime can be one of the most stressful events that you can go through and knowing your rights can make all the difference. Regardless of whether you are being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, your legal rights are the same.

Arguably, one of the most important and well-known rights is the right to remain silent. Those individuals who have been charged with a crime do not have to answer any questions posed to them about the case or charges. If, however, one decides to waive that right, anything that one says will be on the record and can and most probably will be used against him or her.

Teenage distracted driving extends beyond text messaging

North Carolina motorists may attribute some teen driving behaviors to inexperience, but efforts to deal with driving distractions are important because of the significant surge in recent years of cellphone use. Text messaging is considered to be one of the riskiest behaviors, but educational initiatives are making strides to point out the dangers of this type of activity. Similar action could be important for addressing further distracting behaviors used by teen drivers.

In a recent study, a significant percentage of the teenagers who were surveyed admitted to doing certain things that may turn their attention from the road while behind the wheel. Some said that they work on homework while driving. Others admitted to putting on makeup or changing contact lenses, while 27 percent reported that they sometimes change clothes or shoes while they are driving. These multitasking behaviors are dangerous and pose the risk of causing car accidents. However, the focus on cellphone use and text messaging may fail to emphasize the importance of careful attention needed for safe driving in other situations.

What are the penalties for shoplifting in North Carolina?

Generally, under current North Carolina law, shoplifting occurs when a person willfully hides goods available for purchase and intended to be sold in a store. The act of concealing or hiding merchandise constitutes the act of not purchasing those items. This is known as willful concealment of goods and is considered shoplifting. Additionally, tampering with antishoplifting devices and altering the price of an item is also falls under the current North Carolina concealment of merchandise statute.

If a shop owner, a peace officer or a loss prevention employee of the shop has a reasonable suspicion that one is concealing merchandise, they may detain an individual. If a minor is involved in the act of shoplifting and is detained, attempts must be made to contact the parent or guardian of the minor. If the shop owner chooses to bring criminal charges, an individual alleged to having shoplifted potentially faces a Class 3 misdemeanor charge.

Fault due to negligence in North Carolina auto accidents

The state of North Carolina uses the contributory negligence common law defense, which prevents anybody from filing a lawsuit in an accident if they were negligent in any way that contributed to the accident. This means that even if investigators determined that one driver in the accident was 90 percent at fault and another was 10 percent at fault, neither driver could file a lawsuit against the other.

Many other states use comparative negligence instead, allowing parties to collect even if they were partially at fault in the accident. The court will simply reduce the amount of damages the party recovers by their fault percentage. This means that if a person would receive $100,000 for damages and contributed 30 percent to the accident, that person could only recover $70,000.

Will a North Carolina criminal charges affect immigration status?

Having a criminal record can have detrimental effects on an immigrant's application of being granted permanent residency or citizenship. The existence of a criminal record may not necessarily derail an immigrant's petition for permanent residency or for citizenship but that determination depends entirely on the nature of the criminal charge, criminal record and whether the person was convicted or not.

In North Carolina under the Advising defendant of consequences of guilty plea statute 15A-1022, a superior court judge cannot accept a plea of guilt from a person charged with a crime unless certain conditions have been met. The judge must speak to the person facing a criminal charge and inform them that they have the right to remain silent.

Are you or a loved one facing an underage DWI charge?

Many North Carolina like to have a good time every now and then, and that can include drinking alcohol. But drinking and driving is illegal in all U.S. states, and if pulled over by law enforcement for driving while under the influence can carry serious penalties. Still, a onetime mistake brought on by being arrested while under the influence should not mean a lifetime of misery. We all deserve a second chance especially if one is a minor or underage.

If your loved one who is underage is charged with driving under the influence, you need a legal team that has the skill and experience to protect and fight for their rights. This becomes especially important when you realize that the potential penalties that are meted out by the justice system can be exceedingly punitive when prosecuting underage driving while intoxicated versus a regular DWI charge. For example, an underage DWI is very likely to be prohibited from gaining limited driving privileges like any normal teenager until after they have reached 18 years of age.

What is considered drug paraphernalia in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina state law, the term drug paraphernalia can be ascribed to any tools and equipment that can be fabricated with the intention of being used to infringe the Federal Controlled Substances Act. This can include but is not limited to any sets that are used for the purpose of planting, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is classified as a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived.

Drug paraphernalia can also refer to materials and products that can be used to process, test or analyze controlled substances such as test and analysis equipment that can identify or analyze the strength or purity of any controlled substances.