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Concord North Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

Recovering from a Mother’s Day traffic accident

Recently, people across the country celebrated Mother’s Day, a time when people honor their mother. During the holiday, many people took their mothers out to eat or enjoyed other activities with them. Sadly, some may have been involved in an accident, which can bring an end to celebrations and leave those involved with significant trauma. Depending on the severity of a crash, a driver and his or her passengers may be permanently scarred from a physical, emotional, or economic standpoint. As a result, victims of auto accidents that were caused by a reckless driver should firmly stand strong for their rights.

There are a number of reasons why accidents happen during Mother’s Day and all other times of the year. Some people drink alcohol during these holidays and over the weekend, such as those who are celebrating Mother’s Day at a family party. Unfortunately, some make the poor decision to get in their car and take to the road even though their blood alcohol level has exceeded the legal limit. On the other hand, some accidents are caused by stress or a lack of familiarity with a particular area. For example, a driver may not be familiar with the roads because they are visiting their family to celebrate the holiday.

How can narcolepsy cause an accident?

People cause motor vehicle crashes for many reasons, but some drivers are especially dangerous on the road, such as those who have become dangerously tired or are drunk. Some people, such as those who are suffering from narcolepsy that has not been treated, are especially likely to cause a motor vehicle wreck. Unfortunately, drivers who do this put innocent lives at risk, in addition to their own life. Moreover, these accidents also leave victims with injuries and it is essential for those who are struggling with narcolepsy or any other health condition that affects their performance behind the wheel to seek treatment.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, those who have untreated symptoms of narcolepsy have a greater chance of being involved in a motor vehicle collision. For example, these symptoms include losing control of one’s muscles or falling asleep suddenly, which can be incredibly dangerous while behind the wheel. With that said, the NINDS also notes that those who take the proper medication for narcolepsy are actually less likely to find themselves in a motor vehicle crash.

Auto accidents while traveling

There are certain times when the likelihood of a car accident may be higher, such as when hectic festivals are taking place or road conditions have deteriorated due to snow. Sometimes, people decide to drive while they are on a business trip or sightseeing. Unfortunately, this can increase the chances of a crash, especially if someone is not familiar with the roads in a particular area. Whether a driver gets behind the wheel in another part of the country or overseas, various hurdles may arise.

With an international driver’s license, many people enjoy having the ability to drive in other parts of the world. However, all sorts of hazards may be present and they may not have familiarity with certain driving responsibilities. For example, someone may not be accustomed to a large number of scooters on the road or they might have difficulty reading signs due to a language barrier. Furthermore, those who are traveling may be suffering from jet lag, very tired and even disoriented, which can further affect their driving abilities.

Factors that affect BAC

Many drivers in North Carolina are aware that the legal BAC limit in the state is .08. However, there are a variety of factors that affect this limit which means that some can drink more than others before reaching the legal limit. Knowing what these factors are may help you make smarter choices when it comes to drinking, especially if driving is involved. 

According to Loyola Marymount University, the number of drinks you have makes a big difference in blood alcohol content. However, even the type of drink plays a factor in BAC. Hard alcohol tends to have a greater effect than wine or beer. Plus, a mixed drink at a restaurant may only contain one shot of liquor while a mixed drink at a friend's house may contain a lot more. 

Understanding North Carolina "drugged driving" charges

You may, like many others, assume that the only way to get a DUI/DWI in North Carolina is to have a few too many alcoholic beverages and climb behind the wheel. If that is the case, your assumption would be wrong. North Carolina has an "impaired driving" statute that encompasses much more than just being under the influence of alcohol.

The impaired driving law, found at North Carolina General Statutes Section 20-381.1, provides that a driver can be charged with impaired driving if he or she drives with the presence of any metabolites of any Schedule 1 controlled substance in his or her body. The statute importantly does not require actual intoxication or impairment to be caused by these substances. Their mere presence alone in a blood or urine sample is sufficient. 

Driving in unexpected weather conditions

There are all sorts of dangers that can increase the probability of a motor vehicle accident, from traffic congestion to negligent driving. However, drivers should be especially vigilant when it comes to driving conditions and inclement weather. In fact, poor weather conditions can appear suddenly and may even catch a driver off guard. From strong wind, fog, and heavy rain to snow and ice, there are various weather-related hazards that can cause a crash.

Sometimes, the weather can change abruptly, and a driver may find themselves operating a vehicle in weather conditions they were not expecting. For example, someone may be driving while it is raining, and the rain may turn into freezing rain as temperatures drop, covering the road in ice. Or, a driver may have difficulty behind the wheel due to strong winds that knock down trees and blow other debris onto the road, or heavy snow that begins falling and causes cars to swerve into other lanes. Sometimes, driving may not even be possible due to a sudden storm, such as driving at night when a blizzard kicks in.

Did the police have a legal reason to pull you over for DWI?

You went out with your friends for a fun night out after a long week. After a couple bars, you get in the car to head home. Even though you had a few drinks, you feel clearheaded and confident that you can safely drive. After a few minutes on the road, you hear a siren and see police lights in your rear-view mirror. Now, you start to fear the possibility of driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. But did the police have a legal reason to suspect DWI?

Addressing underage DWI charges

People from various walks of life may be charged with drunk driving, whether they knowingly got behind the wheel while heavily intoxicated, accidentally drove while under the influence, or were even falsely accused of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Moreover, each case is unique and there are a number of factors, such as the driver's age, which can come into play. For example, a driver who has not yet reached 21 may be charged with drunk driving due to a zero tolerance policy, even though they have a very small amount of alcohol in their system.

As a young person, underage DWI charges be very unsettling. Teenagers who find themselves in this position may have concerns with regard to their parent's reaction, as well as the different ways these charges could affect them later on (college, applying for a job, etc.). Moreover, underage drunk driving charges can also result in harsh penalties such as the loss of driving privileges and costly fines. Aside from the perspective of a young driver, these charges can be extremely unsettling for parents also. Some parents may be concerned about their child's behavior and the different ways their future could be negatively impacted by the charges as well.

Self-driving cars and liability

The latest fatality caused by an Uber self-driving car has caused some North Carolina drivers to ask the question, who is ultimately responsible if a fully automated car gets in an accident? In the past years, other test runs involving self-driving cars have resulted in crashes which points out the technology is not quite ready for these vehicles to make it on their own. Once they are, many people agree that the car manufacturers will be liable for any property or medical damages.

According to Scientific American, experts seem to have come together to concur that once a computerized driver takes the place of a human one, those who make the hardware and software need to take responsibility for mistakes and malfunctions. Carmakers seem to be on board with this as well, as they argue that self-driving cars are so much safer than other ones. Studies have shown that equipment such as crash-imminent braking systems, Pilot Assist and parallel-parking technology can significantly reduce the number and severity of accidents on the road.

Refreshing reminder: DUI cases can be successfully defended

When people talk about or think about drunk driving charges, it is unlikely they are considering the various defense strategies that the accused could utilize. Instead, their mind probably wanders to the stigmas and the sensationalism that surround DUIs and the topic of drunk driving. This is understandable, given the way drunk driving charges are portrayed in the news and in the world of entertainment.

But there really are DUI cases where the accused has a viable case to make, and the strategies they use can directly contribute to the damage in a particular case being reduced.

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