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Raleigh Criminal Defense Law Blog

Acetone: not just your average nail polish remover ingredient

You've probably seen the word acetone listed as an ingredient on nail polish remover, a staple supply found in many home cabinets in North Carolina. Professional salons use acetone often for dissolving nail polish as well. By now, you're likely wondering what any of this has to do with the criminal justice system and why it's the topic of a post on a legal blog. The answer has to do with chemical testing often administered in suspected drunk driving situations.

Various types of breath testing machines exist that police officers may use to test whether alcohol is present in your bloodstream. A brand name of one such test with which most people are familiar is Breathalyzer. In fact, the popularity of this particular brand means that it's often used as a colloquial term for chemical breath tests in general. If a police officer asks you to take a breath test, you should know a few things ahead of time about acetone.

Remaining in charge of your future when accused of a drug crime

It is often impossible to predict what the future may hold. Your plans for the road ahead might include a college education, which you could already be in the process of obtaining. Perhaps you have already acquired an intern position within your chosen field; the future may be looking brighter every passing day. What happens to these plans if you suddenly find yourself facing criminal charges?

Your recent success might have warranted a celebration with friends, and where there is a college party, chances are, there could be alcohol and drugs. If police show up to this event for any reason and become suspicious of drug activity, you and your piers could wind up in handcuffs, prompting immediate concerns about the potential consequences to your future.

What is the purpose of the standardized field sobriety test?

Movies and television shows depict police officers making drunk drivers touch their noses, say the alphabet backwards and other tasks to determine whether they are intoxicated. In real life, these do not fall under the standardized field sobriety tests because their accuracy is highly questionable.

Instead, in the 1970s, a battery of three tests called the Standardized Field Sobriety Test was created. Supposedly, the accuracy of the SFST is high enough to provide probable cause to police for DUI arrests and evidence of impairment for prosecutors. Understanding the purpose of the tasks that make up the SFST comes in handy in defending you against drunk driving charges.

Hey, slow down! The radar gun evidence isn't infallible

It's easy to lose track of your speed when you drive around with your college buddies. Before you know it, you could find yourself handing your license and registration to the police officer holding the radar gun a few miles back that you failed to see. Did the officer give you a speeding ticket? Don't be in a hurry to pay it, especially if you received your ticket based on a radar gun. Those devices aren't infallible.

Many people who get speeding tickets simply pay them without giving them a second thought. However, depending on how fast the radar gun said you were going, a significant amount of points could end up on your license. If you accumulate too many points, you could discover that you could lose your license for a period of time.

I lost my driving privileges. What are my legal options?

Losing your driving privileges is more than just an inconvenience. It can have a direct impact on your job, your ability to have an active role in your kids' lives and your overall quality of life. If you lost your license as the result of a drunk driving offense in North Carolina, you would be wise to seek legal counsel regarding the best way for you to protect your rights and restore your driving privileges.

A license suspension is a disruption of your life. If you cannot drive, you may have trouble getting to work, picking your kids up and going back and forth to school. Fortunately, even after a license suspension, you may be able to apply for limited driving privileges.

How far can police go when they pull you over?

The reasons are not always evident why a police officer may want to search your car during a routine traffic stop. It may be that your car or clothing match the description of someone wanted for a crime. It could be the officer thinks you are acting suspiciously even though you may simply be nervous. Or the officer may want to search your car because you are young, and that alone may raise an unreasonable level of mistrust.

If a police officer doesn't have probable cause, he or she needs one of two things to search your vehicle: a warrant or your permission. Without probable cause, it's not likely a judge will issue a warrant. This is why the police will take advantage of your nervousness to trick you into giving them permission to search your vehicle.

Beware: alcohol-related risks on your college campus

Whether you're in your first or final year of college, you've probably already learned many new things since arriving at your North Carolina campus. Hopefully, you've made some new friends and have progressed toward your goal of earning a degree in a particular field of study. If you're involved in your school's sports program or other extracurricular activities, you've likely been able to call home to share various stories of excitement and success.

A drug conviction can seriously impact your college goals

You probably looked forward to college for a number of reasons. Certainly, you had a plan for your future, and the degree you would earn is imperative to reaching your goals. However, no doubt you also anticipated the friends, the freedom and the parties that college promised.

Unfortunately, friends and parties may have not only jeopardized your future, they may have jeopardized your freedom. You realized this when the police arrested you on drug charges.

Hi Mom, it's me and I'm in jail

Having to make this type of phone call is probably the last thing you want to do while you're home from school for the holidays. While this may be true, you're probably just like hundreds of other college students in North Carolina who are looking forward to hanging out with friends, maybe watching a game, eating some hot wings or having a few cold beers.

It's all good, although you might want to think ahead so the latter does not lead to the former. For starters, did you know there are certain days designated as the most dangerous travel days in the nation?

What is auto-brewery syndrome?

For some people, drunk driving can be a more common problem than for others. North Carolina drivers suffering from auto-brewery, or gut fermentation, syndrome can become intoxicated without ever drinking alcohol. It may sound impossible, but this condition has been discovered in extremely rare circumstances and is being studied increasingly as more people realize their bodies may be producing alcohol in their guts.

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