Need an Attorney on New Year’s Eve in Durham, NC?

Happy New Year’s Eve! Goodbye 2019, hello 2020! Tonight is one of our busiest night’s of the year. Not only are we celebrating the start of a new year, but we find that Durham, North Carolina has a tendency to amp up the need for an attorney. If one of those legal needs is you, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (919) 672-8330.

New Year’s Eve and the wee hours of New Year’s Day are some of the busiest times for legal assistance at our firm for a variety of reasons. For one, many people enjoy welcoming in the new year with celebratory drinks, but not everyone makes the wisest decisions at the end of the night. Secondly, the police department tends to put all hands on deck to provide traffic reinforcement, so you may see additional cops on the roads. In fact, Durham police have already announced that they’ll be looking for four fatal driving maneuvers this holiday, including:

1. New Year’s Eve Drunk Driving

If you plan to drink tonight, please allow yourself some time to sober up, bring a designated driver or call a ride to get you home safely. There are plenty of buses, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts throughout the Durham area, so there should be no excuse for getting home safely. One drink within 90 minutes can leave some people legally impaired (i.e., registering a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher).

If you choose to drive yourself home, remember that police checkpoints, visible and hidden, will be all over the road; thus increasing the chances for you to be arrested. This police presence is necessary and appropriate to assure everyone’s safety, but even if you manage not to get caught by the police, it’s really dangerous to drive any motor vehicle after having had more than one drink during a 90 minute period. No “buzz” is worth the risk.

2. New Year’s Eve Distracted Driving

In addition to drunk driving, police will also be looking for distracted drivers. Distracted driving is any kind of driving that takes your eyes of the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving. New Year’s Eve provides the perfect recipe for all of those situations to occur, especially if you find yourself watching your phone for details on the next party or trying to calm any drunk passengers in the back seat. Distracted driving is an impairment that is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

3. New Year’s Eve Speeding

New Year’s Eve is not necessarily the most unsafe day of the year to drive. In fact, it’s the 5th unsafest day (with Thanksgiving being the unsafest day), but drunk or distracted driving paired with speeding can be a recipe for disaster. Police will be posted all over the city looking for easy targets. Don’t make their job any easier by speeding.

4. New Year’s Eve Seat Belts

Finally, if you’re caught in a traffic stop, police will be making sure that all drivers and passengers are following the law by wearing their seat belts. North Carolina law requires all people in a car (including the back seat!) to be properly buckled up. It’s the law! Be fairly warned, waiting until you see a cop on the side of the road to buckle up is not going to cut it. Cops will be posted around the city noting infractions and then signaling to another officer down the road to pull cars over. Your safest bet is for everyone in your vehicle to wear their seat belt at all times.

While we always encourage you to make safe decisions behind the wheel, we particularly stress safe driving tonight. Beyond being a danger to yourself and others, you’re much more likely to get arrested on New Year’s Eve than any other night of the year. For more information, or to set up a free case evaluation, give us a call and ask for Kevin E. Jones at (919) 672-8330. Happy New Year!

5 Ways to Keep Domestic Violence Out of Your Holidays

While the holidays are often romanticized to be spent with family, gathered around a warm fire, opening gifts and sharing kisses under the mistletoe; the reality looks nothing like a Hallmark movie. The stress of planning get-togethers, buying presents, and the general hustle and bustle of the season can prove to be too much for some people. In fact, according to Durham police, domestic violence calls dramatically increase during the holidays.

Today we’ll discuss five causes of domestic violence and hose to keep it out of your household this Christmas.

domestic violence

1. Emotional Stress

Relationships can be stressful enough on a normal day, but the holidays can be particularly trying. When people are off work and spending more time than usual in close proximity with the “ones they love,” it’s easy for arguments to take hold.

Keep arguments at bay by recognizing when you’re at your breaking point and take time to recharge. Drive the long way home to decompress. Avoid high traffic areas. Go to the gym. And, if you feel stressed, angry, or frustrated, leave the situation and go outside before doing something you’ll regret later. It is nearly impossible to feel compassion and rage at the same time, so do yourself (and your partner) a favor and walk away.  Once the anger subsides, you can return inside to try and express your feelings in a calm, non-confrontational way.

2. Financial Burdens

The additional pressure of buying presents, going on trips and hosting parties can really add up during the holidays and turn normal financial struggles into a pressure cooker.

To keep financial burdens from turning into abusive behaviors, work together with your partner to come up with a holiday budget. More importantly, remember that yelling or getting angry about your financial problems won’t make them go away. Rather, spend some time on financial planning and effective budgeting.

3. Holiday Spirits

We’ve all enjoyed unwinding with a few drinks at the company Christmas party, but when a couple of drinks turns into using alcohol to cope with the stress of the holidays, it can become a treacherous slope. The more alcohol you consume, the less you will be able to control your anger.

If you know that you become an angry drunk, avoid drinking completely this holiday season. You can still attend the holiday parties, but don’t feel pressured to drink in order to have a good time. No time like the present to give sobriety a shot. Furthermore, if you’re already feeling anger, frustration or sadness this season, seek help from a counselor or AA group.

4. Road Rage

Contrary to popular belief, no one let all the idiots loose just as you left your driveway. It just so happens that all of Durham is out shopping for Christmas gifts as the exact same time, which can lead to congested roads and short tempers. If you’re already feeling the holiday pressure, one episode of road rage can drive home with you, leading to domestic violence behaviors.

Don’t let other drivers’ actions or poor driving affect your “holiday spirit.” If you feel yourself getting angry, roll down the window and take in some fresh air, or pull over. Even better, avoid roads that you know will be congested. It may take you a little longer to get home, but it’ll be worth it if you have a better attitude.

5. Lack of Time

No matter how much we all try, the holidays have a way of sneaking up on us and then taking over our schedule. Between work, parties, school, and shopping, it can be tough trying to adjust to holiday schedules. Combine that with a lack of sleep, and your normal stress level can be heightened to new levels of anxiety which can lead to anger and domestic violence.

Make sleep a priority. A lack of sleep increases your ability to get irritated and can cause anger, frustration, and resentment towards the people you love. While it may feel as though you have a lot to do in a very little amount of time, don’t forget to save some time for yourself and your family to make memories for the future.

Domestic violence is one of the major reasons that couples file for divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce in an abusive situation, contact Kevin E. Jones today. We can help get protection orders in place as well as ensure that you remain safe throughout the divorce process.

Avoid Getting a DWI this Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means the holidays are officially in full swing. You might have a few days off. You may have big plans to knock out your Christmas shopping list. And for most, you’ll be piling your family in the car to drive to Grandma’s house where the entire family will gather around the dinner table to enjoy recipes that have been handed down from one generation to another.Thanksgiving DWI

Yes – Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Unfortunately, even the best Thanksgiving traditions can go sideways. For example, if you plan to participate in an annual tradition of Blackout Wednesday, you may find yourself experiencing something way worse than a hangover: a DWI charge.

 

With that in mind, we’d like to remind you to stay safe this Thanksgiving, and not to drink and drive. However, if you do end up in trouble, we’re here to help. Call us today at (919) 672-8330 to learn more.

What is Blackout Wednesday?

Blackout Wednesday is the night before Thanksgiving, often celebrated amongst friends and out-of-town family members who may not see each other often, full of pre-holiday parties and binge drinking that can lead to over-intoxication and bad decision-making. Since most people have Thanksgiving Day off, why not “celebrate?” Other names for this unofficial holiday include (Black Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, Wacky Wednesday, Whiskey Wednesday, Big Wednesday and a variety of other names. And while we don’t recommend you go so far as to “blackout” and suffer a form of memory loss due to binge drinking, having a good time in most cases is legal. Until it isn’t.

Studies have shown that Blackout Wednesday is the top drunk driving night of the year in some parts of the country. As such, you may find that the Durham Police Department has increased patrolling of local roads and highways to catch drunk drivers. You may even find sobriety checkpoints and unmarked police cars blending in with the normal traffic to prevent accidents.

Of course, while this additional presence seems noble, it also means that some police officers may employ illegal or unconstitutional methods to make a Thanksgiving DWI arrest. If you are arrested, ask for an attorney right away. If you take steps to protect yourself in the beginning, it will help your case in the long run.

Thanksgiving DWI Statistics

Authorities have known for years that Thanksgiving weekend is among the deadliest weekends of the year, and there are a number of reasons why. For example, cooler temperatures often create weather-related hazards that cause car accidents without the presence of drinking. There are also more drivers on the road and an uptick in the number of heart attacks. However, the biggest cause of death over Thanksgiving is drunk driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2017, there were 23,551 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation. Of the fatal accidents, almost half of those were not wearing safety belts, and another 40% involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.

What are the Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Durham, NC? 

The best way to stay safe is to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. Period. You’re legally allowed to have a drink on Thanksgiving Eve, but please do so responsibly by doing the following:

  1. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before your first drink.
  2. Use public transportation, a taxi, rideshare service (such as Uber or Lyft), or your community’s sober ride program to get home safely.
  3. Crash at a friend’s house (within walking distance).

If you do get charged with a DWI this Thanksgiving holiday, the penalties can be stiff. The moment you are arrested, NC’s Civil Revocation Law requires a driver to hand over his or her license when charged with a DWI. For a first-time offender, the suspension will likely be for 30 days, but there are some instances in which limited driving privileges can be granted. Either way, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney to help you determine if you’re eligible for limited driving privileges as well as to help navigate through the license revocation process.

Some of the other typical penalties include:

  • Up to 10 years of jail time
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Lifelong ignition interlock requirement. For repeat offenders, you may be required to install a device in your car that will confirm that you have not had any alcohol (via breathalyzer test) for the car to even turn on.
  • The list goes on…

Being accused of DWI at any time can alter a person’s life, but especially during the holidays. If you are facing alcohol-related charges in Durham, NC, you need someone willing to protect you. Kevin E. Jones has a proven track record of success defending clients against DWI charges. Call (919) 672-8330 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

distracted drivingIf you have a problem “disconnecting” from your phone, you’re not alone. We live in a plugged-in world. We keep our cell phones within arm’s reach and often take our laptops to bed. With so many work and family commitments, attempting to multi-task has become the norm. Granted, the media and medical professionals have been telling us for years that too much screen time is bad for our eyes, our brains, and our mental health, but when a driver decides to multi-task behind the wheel, the end result can be tragic.

 

With the increase of drivers on the road this holiday season, we encourage you to keep your eyes, hands, and mind on the road to avoid a big lump of coal in the form of legal trouble in your Christmas stocking. As such, today we’ll be discussing types of distracted driving and the law.

Types of Distracted Driving

Police typically look for three main types of distraction when they are on patrol:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving

We often blame cell phones for distracting drivers, but there are other equally dangerous activities that can distract you while you’re driving. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, and/or mind off the road is fair game. These include:

  1. Programming your navigation system
  2. Adjusting the radio
  3. Eating or drinking while driving
  4. Personal grooming such as applying make-up or shaving
  5. Attending to children or other passengers

Distracted Driving in North Carolina

While North Carolina does not completely ban cell phone use while driving for voice communication, most other activities using your handheld devices are classified as primary offenses. Illegal driving distractions pertaining to the use of electronic devices include:

  • Pressing multiple buttons on a handheld device to communicate or browse the internet
  • Reading email or messages received or stored by the handheld device, with the exception of contact information
  • Using any features of the device that require the use of either hand, such as smartphone applications

Texting while driving is also unlawful throughout the entire state on public streets and highways, with a few exceptions, including when:

  • The driver is fully stopped or parked.
  • The driver is a law enforcement officer, member of a fire department or an ambulance driver and is texting or using a device to perform official duties.
  • The driver is using a navigation system like a GPS.
  • The driver is using voice-operated devices or other hands-free technology.

Therefore, it is important for you to be mindful while driving and avoid texting while driving as it is one of the most dangerous forms of distractions on the road.

Distracted Driving Penalties in North Carolina

For most licensed drivers in North Carolina, distracted driving penalties include a $100 fine and an infraction conviction. Texting and driving violations do not accumulate demerit points on driving records and are not something that patrolling officers are specifically looking for. However, drivers must be aware that there may be other penalties and charges as a result of distracted driving. For example, distracted driving can lead to reckless driving convictions and vehicular homicide charges if an accident results in a fatality.

Durham attorney, Kevin E. Jones, can help you if you find yourself with a distracted driving citation, traffic violation, injury and other legal matters in an ethical and proper manner.  Don’t let your health, finances and overall wellbeing suffer because you’re unaware of your legal rights. Contact Kevin E Jones before making any final decisions.  Things happen and many people go without the proper representation when they need it most. Don’t be just another number. Call now for help from our lawyer.