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Do I Have to Go to Court for a DWI Charge in Charlotte, NC?

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in DWI on Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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In every state, driving while impaired (DWI) while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This means if you’re 21 years or older and you’re driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent, you’ve violated a North Carolina law. If you’re under 21 years old, you’ll face charges for a DWI for driving with any amount of alcohol in your system.

Consult an experienced Charlotte DWI attorney for whatever action you take regarding your DWI. The legal process can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the penalties associated with driving while impaired. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our lawyers can analyze the facts specific to your case and explain how the law applies to your DWI charge.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation today by reaching out online, or calling (980) 237-4579.

When Do I Need to Go to Court for a DWI in North Carolina?

If you’ve been assigned a court date related to your DWI charge, you’ve already been booked and processed at the county jail. You may have been released on bail or under your own recognizance. Either way, a condition of your release was that you attend all future court dates. If you don’t show up, you will face further penalties.

It’s essential to be in court for every hearing unless your attorney specifically tells you that you don’t have to attend. For your initial court date, your attorney may be able to appear on your behalf through a waiver of appearance. You may not have to appear at your first court hearing if you get permission. However, you must attend future hearings unless attorney tells you otherwise.

Where to Go for Court after a DWI

Your first court hearing will be on the first floor of the District Court for Mecklenburg County. After that you will have one or more status conferences on the fourth floor. Your attorney will not be able to review evidence and interview the officer in your case until your case progresses to the fourth floor. If your case involves a felony DWI, it may be transferred to another court altogether. However, misdemeanors will stay in the district court. You will likely have to appear at all the status conferences.

Each case is different. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be a pretrial motion hearing before your trial. You will have to appear at this hearing. Then, you will have to appear in trial if your case progresses to that level. Your attorney will present defenses and work to have your charges dropped or you found not guilty. However, if convicted, then sentencing will occur immediately after trial.

What Happens if I Miss a Court Appearance?

If you don’t appear at your first hearing, there will almost certainly be a warrant issued for your arrest. In most cases when the judge issues a warrant for your arrest, they will also increase your bond, which complicates securing your release after being picked up on the warrant.

If you don’t go to your court appearance and are subsequently arrested, your bail will likely increase as well, sometimes doubling or tripling. Being convicted of failing to appear can carry jail time and/or a $200 fine. In addition, you could have your driver’s license suspended.

Additional Consequences of Missing a Court Appearance

A warrant for arrest is part of the court record and is therefore accessible to anyone who searches for data about you. You might encounter problems with anyone who checks your background, such as:

  • Landlords
  • Loan officials
  • Admissions employees
  • Employers or potential employers

Can a Failure to Appear Warrant Be Stricken?

If you’ve had a warrant for arrest issued for not appearing at a court date, you may be able to have it stricken by appearing in court to explain why you failed to appear. In some cases, your attorney is permitted to appear in court on your behalf.

There is no guarantee that your warrant for arrest will be stricken, as the request is a legal process. If you have prior incidents – especially previous instances of failing to appear – on your record, the road ahead will probably be more difficult.

Call Our Charlotte DWI Lawyers Today

Regardless of what stage your DWI case is in, it is important to have the help of a skilled attorney as early in the process as possible, to ensure the best possible defense is mounted on your behalf. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we can help you with any difficulties you encounter while facing a DWI charge in the Charlotte area. Dealing with the court system can be a daunting experience. With our experienced lawyers, you know your case is in good hands.

Call us at (980) 237-4579, or use the online form to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today.