Winston-Salem Criminal Defense Attorney 2021-02-17T14:42:49Z WordPress /wp-content/uploads/sites/1100415/2020/06/cropped-Favicon-32x32.png On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[What do you know about mitigation and traffic violations?]]> 2021-02-17T14:42:49Z 2021-02-17T14:42:40Z mitigation and other alternate outcomes when you receive a speeding ticket. You do not have to feel trapped in an unfortunate situation.

Defining mitigation

With mitigation, you make a deal with the court and prosecutor to reduce your ticket amount. You may request the option either during or before your scheduled hearing, but check with the court to determine the most opportune time. Depending on the court, you may have to write your mitigation request. Mitigation offers several outcomes:
  • Have more time to pay the required fine
  • Pay all or a portion of the ticket, but the violation does not affect your driving record
  • Receive a lesser fine
  • Enroll in a driving class rather than pay the ticket
No matter the result, you must offer proof that you deserve a reduced penalty.

Exploring other outcomes

If mitigation does not work, or if you feel the alternative does not represent a viable option, you may have other avenues to explore. You may have the option of taking a driving course instead of paying your ticket, but this may only work if you have no other moving violations on your record. You could also ask about deferral, wherein you receive a ticket dismissal after paying your fine and not receiving another traffic violation for a pre-determined period. Could mitigation help with your traffic ticket? Learn how to protect your rights by understanding your rights.  ]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[How should you approach your felony on a job application?]]> 2021-02-06T00:44:30Z 2021-02-08T00:44:05Z tips for discussing felonies with potential employers. Protect your chances of landing a great job while showing companies you make a great candidate.

Practice honesty

Even if you skip an application question about your criminal past, today's employers may easily conduct a background check and see your charge for themselves. Be honest when speaking about your federal crime. What if the application does not include a question about convictions? Reveal the truth during the interview, so you present yourself as an honest job candidate.

Do not shy away from specifics

Do not say you have a felony charge and leave it at that. Instead, explain the circumstances that led to your encounter with law enforcement. How much time did you spend in jail or prison? Are you still on parole? Mention how many charges and convictions you have. The fewer, the better.

Do not minimize

You already know a felony does not carry the same weight as a misdemeanor, so do not brush the charge off as something minor. Everyone makes mistakes, but the most important thing is to show you learned from your criminal past and use it to improve your present and future. Share what your conviction taught you and how it makes you a better person and job candidate. Downplaying your felony may give hiring managers the impression that you do not take the matter seriously and still have things to work on. Having a felony does not immediately disqualify you from every job. Learn how to take control of your job prospects and your criminal past.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[Do you qualify for Forsyth County Drug Treatment Court?]]> 2021-02-06T00:42:03Z 2021-02-06T00:41:55Z drug court if you have pending DUI, drug possession or related charges.

Drug court eligibility

You may be eligible for drug court if you live in Forsyth County, are age 18 or older, and meet the criteria for probation. You cannot enroll in drug court if you appear on the sex offender registry. The drug court coordinator will also consider the extent of your substance use issues and your commitment to engage in addiction recovery. Other factors include your housing situation, whether you have pending cases in other counties, and whether you have trafficking charges beyond drug sales to support your own substance use.

Program requirements

If you qualify for drug court, you must spend at least a year completing the requirements of the program. Your court-supervised probation period will include regular appearances before the drug court judge, a treatment plan tailored to your substance use and mental health needs, individual and group counseling, and regular drug testing. Upon successful program completion, you will be eligible for a waiver of your probation fees and other penalties, including jail time if applicable. You can start the drug court process if you have pending charges by asking your attorney to submit a referral form to Forsyth County Drug Court.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[What does your BAC really mean?]]> 2021-01-23T02:45:20Z 2021-01-23T02:45:14Z Low level intoxication Healthline looks at a general guideline to different BAC levels and how drunk you may feel. First, it is important to note that many factors affect this. Your age, weight and gender are a few things that you have no control over. Other impacting factors can include underlying health conditions and medications you take. The amount and type of food you eat before drinking also influences how quickly alcohol saturates the blood. Because of this, BAC levels only offer a general estimate on how drunk a person feels and how they may behave. Low level intoxication often kicks in anywhere from 0.01 to 0.05 percent BAC. At this state, you may feel completely normal despite being only 0.03 percent away from hitting the legal limit. Lightweights may begin feeling the effects early, though.

Euphoria and excitement stages

The stage of intoxication known as euphoria happens anywhere between 0.03 and 0.12 percent, well above the legal limit. As you can see, this is a huge range of BAC levels. This is also known as the "tipsy" stage. In other words, you are likely to hit 0.08 percent before you ever become drunk. The stage known as "excitement" occurs when you become drunk. This ranges from 0.09 to 0.25 percent. By the time you leave tipsiness, you are well over the legal limit. Some with higher tolerance may still feel tipsy in the drunk stage. Others with lower tolerance might feel drunk in the tipsy stage. Because it differs so much, experts believe no one should drive after drinking, even if it was just one drink.  ]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[What should I know about the CFAA?]]> 2021-01-12T02:55:24Z 2021-01-12T02:55:16Z here is a rundown of some of the important aspects of this law.

The CFAA protects many electronic devices

At first, the CFAA just extended protection over computers used by financial institutions and the U.S. government. In later years, Congress amended the law to protect just about any computer in the United States. This does not just include personal computers, but desktop computers, smart phones and tablets.

Second convictions can be severe

Some first time offenses under CFAA, such as acquiring national security information, can land you in prison for up to ten years. However, chances are you might serve a sentence of one to five years for most CFAA offenses. But if law enforcement charges you for committing the same offense a second time, you might face a prison sentence of 10 or 20 years at the maximum depending on the charge.

Other laws may apply

The federal government has passed additional laws over the years that address computer crimes. Some of these laws duplicate the offenses listed in the CFAA. For instance, the Stored Communications Act protects data that rests in a computer just as CFAA does. You might have to deal with SCA as well as CFAA in a federal hacking case, which may increase the charges you have to fight as well.

Some hacking is legal

The key factor in whether hacking a computer is illegal comes down to consent. Some businesses hire people to hack into their systems to test the strength of their computer security. In such circumstances, this hacking would not be a crime under CFAA. You would run into trouble if you penetrated a computer or computer system without the authority to do so.  ]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[What you need to know about Death by Distribution]]> 2021-01-04T23:17:40Z 2021-01-06T23:17:16Z charge alleged drug dealers with felonies if someone dies after ingesting meth, cocaine or opioids bought from them.

Similarities with prior laws

This law does not represent the first North Carolina attempt to levy the blame for opioid deaths on dealers. In 1999, the state passed a similar law. At the time, it required prosecutors to prove an intent to harm or malice. Now, prosecutors may not need to prove either of these to bring a successful charge. North Carolina intends to hold not just street-level dealers liable; another law may apply to doctors. The STOP Act requires doctors to use a database with a statewide reach to determine if the patient recently filled the prescription in another location.

Conflicts with existing laws

The Death by Distribution law does not occur harmoniously with all existing laws. CNN points out that it may even contradict the Good Samaritan law. At the very least, it might prevent people from stepping forward out of fear of facing charges akin to second-degree murder or kidnapping. Research backs CNN’s concern. It points to a pattern of people feeling less willing to call emergency services when they encounter overdose incidents. This could lead to more people dying from overdoses because they might not receive life-saving treatment in time.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[Understanding the driving point system in North Carolina]]> 2021-01-04T23:15:37Z 2021-01-04T23:15:30Z North Carolina DMV point system to avoid an unexpected license suspension.

Point-based suspension

Getting 12 points in three years results in a license suspension for 60 days. After the suspension, the driver's record resets to zero points. After the first suspension, a driver can receive a subsequent suspension after eight points within three years. A second suspension lasts six months, while a third or additional suspension for points lasts a full year.

Types of violations

Aggressive driving, the most serious violation, carries five points. Following another vehicle too closely is another five-point offense. Motorists can receive four points for reckless driving, leaving the scene of a collision that caused property damage, failure to yield to a pedestrian or driving on the wrong side of the road. Common three-point violations include failure to yield to another car, running a stop sign or red light, failure to stop for a siren, driving without insurance, failure to report an accident, and speeding in a school zone. In addition to these tickets, drivers can receive an automatic suspension in North Carolina for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, street racing, or driving at least 15 miles per hour over the limit in a 50 mph or higher zone. Driving with a suspended license is also grounds for another suspension. Drivers have the right to appear in court and contest these tickets. Doing so may result in reduced points and fines.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[Breaking down breath testing devices]]> 2020-12-22T20:50:32Z 2020-12-22T20:50:26Z Reviewing how alcohol gets on your breath The exact type of alcohol you ingest when you drink is ethanol. Being a water-soluble compound, ethanol is able to pass through membrane surfaces through a process known as "passive diffusion." This allows the ethanol you ingest to pass through the linings of the organs of your digestive system and enter into your bloodstream. Once in your blood, the ethanol then makes its way through your body via the veins, eventually ending up in your lungs. In your lungs, it comes in contact with oxygen, causing a small portion of it to vaporize into a gas (which then exits your body when you breathe).

Understanding your blood-to-breath ratio

It is this concentration of alcohol on your breath that breath testing devices measure. According to the Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, these devices assume a static blood-to-breath alcohol content ratio of 2100:1. In reality, however, your actual blood-to-breath ratio can vary between 1500:1 and 3000:1, which lends credence to challenges of the accuracy of breath tests. You can find more information on challenging DUI charges throughout our site.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[What are the North Carolina driver’s license restoration laws?]]> 2020-11-26T20:15:35Z 2020-11-26T20:15:28Z restore their licenses must fulfill several requirements beforehand. If you lost your license due to a DWI conviction or other traffic offense, there are a few steps you may need to take before you can restore your driving privileges.


After a DWI, DUI or multiple traffic offenses, the state may suspend your license for a period of time, depending on the severity of the infraction. Restoring your license usually comes with a variety of fees which may be added to other costs, such as:
  • License renewal
  • Service fees
  • Additional DMV fees
Once your suspension is complete, you can apply to restore your license for a fee of $70. The state typically allows you to make these payments online for convenience or if you moved to another state and need to release its hold so you can apply for a new license elsewhere.

DWI restoration

A DWI charge can seriously affect your driving privileges in North Carolina, but in some cases, you may recover them depending on the charges, such as whether the suspension is the result of a first offense. Once the suspension passes, you can contact your local DMV and request the restoration for a fee of around $140. Services fees may not apply if you surrendered your license to the state before the suspension period began. This includes a surrender to the judge during the trial or sentencing phase of your case.]]>
On behalf of The Law Offices of J. Darren Byers, P.A. <![CDATA[A threat to your freedom]]> 2020-11-19T02:17:09Z 2020-11-19T02:17:09Z Expect strategy Because investigations are such an investment, you should probably be very careful if you find yourself the target. Federal law-enforcement agents are more than simply good researchers. They are good students of human behavior. There are many different strategies they might use. For example, they could potentially approach you as allies, asking for you to uncover the criminal activity of one of your associates. Remember, that is their job — and it is unlikely they really need your help. If they are asking you, it could be a strategy to convince you to incriminate yourself.

Protect your rights

The greatest thing you can do for yourself and for your country is to protect your civil rights. Law-enforcement agents might try to convince you otherwise, especially if you are under investigation. Civil rights are what makes this country great. They are what stands between you and unnecessary consequences due to abuse of government power. When you protect them, you protect freedom — your own and that of our society. Federal investigations are not violations in and of themselves. However, it is important to hold those in power accountable for how they collect information about us. Also, if you suspect you are the subject of an investigation, please consider your rights before making any statements.  ]]>