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North Carolina Alcohol Laws

Alcohol Laws - Carolina Felony or Misdemeanor Criminal Charges

What are the Consequences of Carolina Alcohol Charges?

Police lineThe attorneys at our law firm regularly get that question from clients seeking legal representation. When people call, they occasionally assume there is only one kind of alcohol charge, not understanding that this phrase means different things to different people.

In facing criminal charges, it's understandable clients might put the cart before the horse. Since they don't know what to expect in court, and are scared to death about the consequences of allegations of criminal charges, they forget to tell us exactly what type of charges we're talking about.

"The best criminal defense lawyers I know, the ones who really know their craft, understand that the practice of law involves so much more than a knowledge of law books or statutes. After more than 25 years fighting criminal charges in court, I am convinced the attorney-client relationship, the trust developed as part of legal representation, starts first with meeting people at their point of need."
- Bill Powers, Criminal Defense Attorney

That attorney- client bond therefore begins during the first phone conversation or office visit. It starts by asking questions, understanding clients may assume the defense lawyer already knows all about the charges.

Alcohol DrinksDefense lawyers start by figuring out the nature and extent of criminal charges, felony vs. misdemeanor, whether they're for crimes of violence, possession charges, or district court or superior court matters, and then formulating a legal strategy.

It also helps to understand one client may be referring to DUI or DWI impaired driving charges when they mention "Alcohol Charges." A parent calling on behalf of their high school kid, or college student looking at Title IX charges, may be thinking about Underage Possession of an Alcohol Beverage.

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Still other clients seeking legal representation may have only been issued a ticket or "Uniform Citation" for Open Container or illegal transportation of alcohol, and they need legal help.

"And at least in the Carolinas, when people refer to Alcohol Charges, we have to keep in the back of our minds as defense lawyers they may be talking about corn mash and a still kept out back for 'medicinal purposes.'"
- Bill Powers, Defense Lawyer

Alcohol Charges - What Is the Impact of Alcohol to Criminal Charges?

There are some striking statistics about alcohol and crimes that the general public often fails to recognize, but are common knowledge among defense attorneys. The relationship between alcohol and criminal charges is nothing less than shocking.

"Alcohol and drugs are the most common precursors to getting arrested and being charged with criminal cases. It outpaces any other single factor including economic background, education, and other societal malady. We waste time talking about the 'causes of crime' if we fail to ignore the 800 lb elephant in the room: Alcohol and Alcoholism."
- Bill Powers

  • Approximately 80% of people facing criminal charges abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Almost 50% of defendants in prison or jail are clinically addicted
  • When arrested, 60% people charged with misdemeanor or felony cases test positive for controlled substances at the time of arrest

According to the US Department of Justice, consumption of alcohol is related to 40% of all violent crime. 37% of convicted offenders presently incarcerated in jail or prison report "drinking at the time of the arrest."

MORE INFO: Sex Offenses - Rape, Statutory Rape, and Indecent Liberties

Criminal Background checkMore than any legal or illegal drug, alcohol is more closely tied to crimes of violence, including Murder, Manslaughter, Sex Offenses, Statutory Rape, Indecent Liberties, Sex Crimes, Domestic Violence, Assault on a Female, Child Abuse, Assault on a Child, and spousal abuse. **Make no mistake, alcohol is a substantial contributing factor to non-violent criminal charges like larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, and crimes of "dishonesty or theft."

It is estimated in the almost 3,000,000 violent crimes in the United States (on an annual basis), victims of crime report they believed the person accused of criminal charges "had been drinking."

  • Approximately ½ of all homicide and assault cases are committed when the criminal defendant, the victim (or both) had consumed alcohol
  • In violent crime cases, the person charged is substantially more likely to have been drinking than taking legal or illegal drugs / controlled substances
    • Robbery Charges are the one exception to that statistic, where use of alcohol, controlled substances, and mental health issues may all be contributing factors
  • Domestic violence charges excluding spouses (Assault, Battery, Assault on a Female) account for 118,000 incidents of reported crime(s)
Alcohol Charges: Impaired Driving, DWI-DUI Charges in the Carolinas

Arrested manIf you were arrested for DWI, you're in the right place. Please use our website, and our hundreds of YouTube videos, blog posts, statutory law citations, and legal reference materials as a source of information.

Then call us.

We will take the time to review the Carolina alcohol laws and how they may affect your DWI case and driver's license.

Our law firm and defense attorneys are more than willing to sit down with you, in person, and discuss your legal options.

DWI defense attorney Bill Powers of the Law Offices of Powers Law Firm can answer the specific questions you have about criminal charges, DWI laws, and the effects of felony or misdemeanor charges to your criminal record.

It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol (alcoholic beverage) in your vehicle. Clearly, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, and possession of heroin may also serve as a legitimate basis for arrest.

If you were under 21 and had ANY blood alcohol content that registered on a breath, blood or urine test, you can be arrested for a Provisional Impaired Driving Violation under North Carolina General Statute N.C.G.S. §20-138,3 due to the state's Zero Tolerance law.

Call the experienced criminal defense lawyers at our firm now: 704-342-4357

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Client Reviews
I am so fortunate to have had Bill Powers on my case. Upon our first meeting, Bill insisted that through the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal that I remain resilient. He was available to answer questions with researched, logical, truthful answers throughout our two year stretch together... J.R.
Bill Powers and his firm were a true blessing. If anyone is contacting an attorney, it's more than likely not from a positive life experience. If there was a rating for "bedside manner" for lawyers he'd get a 10/10 for that as well. The entire staff were helpful... K.C.
Bill Powers’ staff has handled several traffic citations for me over the years, and they exceeded my expectations each and every time. Would highly recommend anyone faced with a traffic citation or court case contact his office and they will handle it from there. M.C.
Bill and his staff are flat out great. I (unfortunately) was a repeat customer after a string of tickets. These guys not only took care of the initial ticket for me, but went the extra mile and reduced my problems from 3 to just 1 (very minor one) on the same day I called back! I would recommend them to anyone. A.R.