In my experience with North Carolina Criminal Defense I have the opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life and see cases that range from common to the very strange. One of the experiences I deal with often is trying to explain to someone how it is their conduct was considered to be in violation of some North Carolina Traffic Law or Criminal Law. While some people hope to just offer an explanation which could help them possibly avoid the conviction, some people are convinced that they should not be convicted because they were justified in their actions. In my talks with various DWI Defense Lawyers Raleigh and /north-carolina-criminal-defense/, it would seem my experience is not unique (not that I necessarily expected it to be). It seems that, regardless of the laws, some people just believe their conduct should have been excused simply because they feel they were right in their actions. Now, let me distinguish this from situations where the Defendant has a valid defense. Where the law, whether by statute or case law, states that the Defendant has an applicable defense, then those Defendants are correct in their assertion that they conduct was excusable. However, for others, there is not valid defense for their action, or at least not one that they fall squarely within. Because, regardless of the Defendant’s ‘good intentions’ or lack of knowledge, the court usually does not make exceptions to violations of the law. Perhaps some examples in this discussion would help clarify what I mean. An associate of mine is representing an individual who is facing a Raleigh DWI Charge. The Defendant in this case was one of two passengers in a vehicle. Though he was intoxicated, he was not driving. However, at some point, the driver of the vehicle stopped the car in the middle of the road and walked away. With approaching traffic, the Defendant hopped in the Driver’s seat and pulled the vehicle over to the shoulder. Unfortunately for the Defendant, the approaching traffic was a Police Officer, who eventually cited him for violating North Carolina Driving While Intoxicated Law. There is a defense called “Necessity” whereby, if the Defendant can prove to the court that his actions, though unlawful, were necessary to preserve the health and/or life of themselves or another from immediate danger, they may have their violation of the law excused. In the contrary, I was fortunate to observe a speeding ticket trial where the Defendant was ‘pro se’ (meaning he was representing himself). In this case, among many other things, one of the things the Defendant was arguing to the Judge was that his speeding was excusable under the concept of Necessity. Though the Defendant was very passionate about the necessity for his speeding (I want to say it was 50+ in a 25 MPH zone) his argument was not very convincing. You see, his ‘necessity’ was that he needed to get to a doctor’s office where a family member was being seen for a broken bone and there was a rambunctious 2 year old family member who was hard to control in the waiting room. This, the Judge determined, did not rise to the level required for a necessity defense. And it’s not just ‘Necessity’ which some people argue. The most common one I hear is for those cases where I serve as their Raleigh DUI Lawyer. The Defendant was okay to drive, though their blood/alcohol level was a .08 or above: unfortunately, the law does not make a distinction between the two. In fact, in North Carolina, .08 is written right into the North Carolina DUI Statute, stating that a .08 blood/alcohol concentration is prima facia evidence of violating the NC DWI Law. So, even if the DWI Defendant was driving perfectly, never showing any signs of impaired driving, but happen upon a DWI Checkpoint and the Police Officer’s decide the driver is potential impaired and therefore have them blow or give blood, they can be convicted, regardless of how well they were able to drive. I guess I am saying all of this to say that, though you may have the best intentions, you may not be able to avoid a conviction if your conduct was unlawful, so tread carefully. If you are facing traffic, dwi or criminal charges in North Carolina, contact a local attorney for best advice on your case (if it’s in the Research Triangle Area, contact the Matheson Law Office).
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