St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl: Doing it Safely

As St. Patrick’s Day fast approaches in Charlotte, NC— most people are getting ready to hit the streets for Rich and Bennett’s annual bar crawl. This coming Saturday, March 16th is a day we write down in our calendars— prepping for weeks in advance to make sure that we spend the day with good company, drinks, and a solid schedule for bar hopping. While the objective of the day is to drink and be merry— there is some strategy that goes into doing it well… 

St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl: Drink Smart 

Start your day with a solid breakfast 

bar crawl
Don’t forget to pick up your bar crawl shirts at any prepay event, or the morning of the crawl, to avoid pesky cover charges!

1: You know what they say about breakfast… it’s the most important meal of the day. The morning of your St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl is no different. In fact, it’s even more important than usual. You already know what your day looks like: boozy. So, set yourself up for success by putting a good layer of food on your stomach. We suggest something like avocado toast, potatoes, and bacon or sausage. You want something of substance; not too greasy, and filling enough to soak up that alcohol— but not drag you down. After all, longevity is the main objective. 

2: Don’t take liquor lightly… 

If you’re doing the Rich and Bennett’s St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, you might be familiar with the annual specials: $4 16 oz. Bud Lights, $5 Tullamore Dew, and $5 New Amsterdam. You might have noticed that 2/3 of those drink specials are liquor. Therefore, it might be tempting to start your day with a few vodka or whiskey drinks. However, as we’ve mentioned, longevity is the goal. If you want to make it until that 10:00 p.m. mark, or even carry on until the bars close— save those liquor drinks until later in the day… Or maybe skip them altogether. 

3: Stick with the group

While we have plenty of rules on how to drink smart and make your buzz last— realistically, we all know there comes a time when you’re going to feel those drinks. Therefore, it’s important that the people you start with, are the people you stick with throughout the entire St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl. At the very least, make sure you stay in groups of two or more. Being drunk, surrounded by green, and all by yourself? This is not only ill-advised, but it also has the potential to be very dangerous.

4: Lastly, get home safely 

The most important thing you can do in terms of planning your St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl— is to make plans for your ride home. Find a hotel in the city, ride the Light Rail, take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or set a designated driver. Whatever your plans are, make them in advance. Don’t find yourself stranded without a plan. Instead, take some time out from making those Jell-o shots, and have a serious conversation with your friends. Making plans for the end of the night ensures your safety, gives you peace of mind, and limits your chances of ending up with a DUI charge.

Have fun, be safe, eat, and enjoy your holiday weekend!

New Representation: Finding your Attorney

No matter your case, an attorney is an asset to your team. However, what happens when your attorney isn’t meeting your needs? If you feel ill-informed, out-of-the-loop, or as if you’re begging for their time and attention— then your attorney might not be right for you. But, how do you make the determination that you need new representation? And how do I pick an attorney who is going to give me the peace of mind and information that I’m looking for? 

Need New Representation? When your Attorney isn’t a Good Fit… 

Are your questions being answered? 

The biggest question is this: are you getting the peace of mind you need to carry on through this process and feel confident? If your answer to this is ‘no’, then you might need new representation. An attorney is there to answer your questions quickly, provide you with clarity, and help you to understand what it is that your end goal is— and how you’re going to get there. Every case is different, and will move at a different pace. However, your attorney should have the ability to answer your questions quickly and easily. 

Are you up-to-date and informed? 

Have you gone weeks without an update on your case, or are you have to chase down your attorney to get some information? If so, new representation might be worth considering. Your case is important to you— no matter the nature. Whether a divorce, personal injury case, motorcycle accident… Whatever it may be, you want to know what’s going on. So, if you find yourself answering “I don’t know”, to the question of how things are going, you might consider sitting down with another attorney for a consultation. After all, you are more than free to explore your options. 

Are your needs being explored? 

What you want exactly might be difficult to obtain, such as full compensation or a high spousal support settlement. However, it is your attorneys job to explore your wants and needs. Keep in mind that you are hiring an attorney to do a job for you. You most certainly value their opinion, expertise, and predictions. But, your representation also has a responsibility to work for you, and what you want. However, keep in mind that what you want is not always what you will get…  

Seeking out new representation can be scary. Especially if you are a little further into the case itself. But, don’t let the idea of a difficult transition keep you from getting what you deserve out of the court case…

MADD SC DUI Study | SC Criminal DUI Attorneys

While a new MADD SC DUI study supposedly shows conviction rates are too low, is this really news? Rather than look at each case individually, MADD seems to promote only those figures that helps its cause. However, what about the Constitutional rights of the accused? After all, in this age of video everywhere, is it too much to ask police to record a DUI arrest?

So a MADD SC DUI study shows laws are too tough?

madd sc dui studyBecause the State makes the laws, they have all the power, money, and resources. While they try to make it seem fair, it really is not to any individual facing a criminal charge. However, as the burden of proof is always on the State, we should expect more, not less, video in cases. Furthermore, video is everywhere we go recording everything we do now. So when it really matters, we should demand video proof. After all, video protects everyone, not just the police from frivolous lawsuits. But most importantly, given the permanent consequences of a DUI conviction, it protects the individual charged with a serious crime. Rather than focus on conviction rates, let’s focus on whether the police make proper arrests.

So how can video transparency ever be bad?

Because video recording is so pervasive now, why is making sure the police record a DUI arrest even an issue? Rather, South Carolina is the only State that actually has mandatory video laws. Apparently, it is easier to make arrests in the shadows. While that may please groups like MADD, it takes away important protections for anyone stopped by police. Frankly, everyone should feel better with everyone’s conduct recorded. While we fully support and are grateful for the work police do, we believe full transparency is always better. And even if a few manage to “beat the system,” it is better than convicting someone wrongfully accused.

While some will disagree with us, we welcome respectful debate. Seems like these days people cannot disagree without getting ugly. So share your views with us, but please do so with a kind disposition. But most importantly, be safe on the road. Get home to what really matters.

DUI Free Consultation | Criminal Defense Attorneys

While many criminal lawyers charge, we offer a free consultation. Why? Because we are interviewing for a job. Consequently, we meet with clients at no charge in DUI and DWI cases.

Free Consultation for DUI and DWI

Because DUI defense is serious business, we first have to convince you to hire our firm. So how do we do that? First of all, we go over our professional credentials and DUI experience. Before you can trust our advice, you must first have confidence in what we tell you. Hence we want you to know that we focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI defense. In addition, we work hard to stay current on effective trial strategies. Of course, every case is different, and DUI defense is very complex. However, this is what we do, and we do it every day.

After we tell you about us, we turn our focus to you and what happened. Because every fact is important, we listen very carefully and make detailed notes. While we see certain patterns in every case, little things can sometimes make a big difference in outcome. As a result, we look for particular facts that favor your case. In addition, we also look for things that are bad and then find a good reason to explain. However, juries don’t seem to focus on every detail. Rather, they decide guilt based on common sense and experience. And we all know what “drunk” or “impaired” looks like and sounds like.

Video Evidence Explained

During our free consultation, we talk about lots of things. But the most important part of DUI is what video evidence is available. While South Carolina requires video evidence, North Carolina does not. However, in either State, juries look hard at how you appear and how you sound. As a result, we focus on every detail but really concentrate on things you do on video. For example, how do you walk normally? Furthermore, how do you sound and stand while on video? While the State prefers to talk about their roadside tests, we talk about your normal behavior. In the end, juries decide on what they see and hear for themselves.

Because we practice DUI defense most every day, it is second nature to our attorneys. However, it is a lot of information to hear, especially for the first time. Try not to worry. After all, that is why you would hire us. Regardless, you are going to know much more about how we do our job by the end of our meeting. Then you will be in a good place to decide who is the best DUI attorney for your case. Call us now and let’s start your defense.

Proper Breathalyzer Testing | How Long to Blow | Criminal Defense DUI Attorney

Proper Breathalyzer Testing | How Long to Blow | Criminal Defense DUI Attorney

While breath testing is part of every DUI arrest, most don’t know what to expect. As a result, we explain proper breath testing guidelines.

Proper Breath Testing Procedure

Because a BAC level is important to the State, proper breath testing procedure is also important to us. While we question any BAC reading, not following manufacturer’s testing guidelines can suppress the result. Here in South Carolina, we use the DataMaster DMT machine manufactured by National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc. And like most breathalyzers, it is a box containing a computer motherboard and a printer. During testing, breath somehow turns into a number. Just how it becomes a number is something of a mystery that no one can fully explain. But here is what we do know.

In order to get a valid sample, the manufacturer’s manual directs a steady blow of air. In addition, the manual states to not “blow hard.” However, that guideline has changed as being “not helpful.” So what is the proper breath testing procedure now? Rather than guess, we still go with the slow, steady blow. After all, it’s just common sense that forcing additional air under pressure will change the outcome. Furthermore, we are already dealing with very small numbers (0.01). Therefore, any significant change in input could affect output. And that can create reasonable doubt as to the result.

BAC Reading or Video Evidence

Because we trust our own eyes and ears over any machine, we rely on video evidence. In addition, we see too many cases where the client’s behavior on video does not match a high BAC. Rather than just argue the machine, we also focus on how someone looks and sounds. Hence everyone knows how people act when “drunk” or “impaired.” So at trial, we create reasonable doubt when the BAC and video conduct are different. And that’s how juries decide guilt or innocence. Call now and let’s start your defense today. You’re going to feel better after we talk.

Felony DUI | SC DUI Attorney

Felony DUI Arrest Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with any DUI offense is always serious, and a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. But, a DUI is a misdemeanor and usually only requires payment of fines, ADSAP, SR-22 insurance, and loss of driving privileges for six (6) months, subject to a provisional license. However, if you are drinking while driving and someone is seriously injured or killed, you can be charged with a felony DUI that could result in years of time in state prison, up to 25 years. No one ever expects something really bad to happen. It is all too possible for an average, law-abiding citizen to find themselves in serious legal trouble from just one bad mistake in judgement. This is why you should never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. A DUI can be the least of your worries if you become in an accident on the way home, even if someone else hits you. Even if it is a passenger in your car, you could be charged with felony DUI if anyone is seriously injured as a result of an alcohol related accident.

I am reminded of a real case out of Charleston, South Carolina. It involved a young woman who was just starting her life as a Registered Nurse (RN). She had recently married and was beginning her nursing career helping others. After work one afternoon, she and several fellow nurses went out for a drink before heading home. She had only consumed two (2) alcoholic beverages and had a relatively low BAC level. While driving home, she was in a hurry and made the fateful decision to try to pass another car on a curve. As she began her pass, she struck another vehicle head-on and killed several people inside, including a child. She was also very seriously injured but survived the crash. Because she had a blood level of 0.07%, she was charged and plead guilty to felony DUI. She was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison. Her life, while not completely over, was substantially put on hold. Her nursing career was over. Her marriage may not last for the ten years she will be away. All of this pain for a moment of bad judgement. She was a nice girl from a good family. She had never been in any legal trouble before in her life. Now, she will spend years in a women’s prison. She could not believe it. Her husband and family could not believe it either. But it happened to her. And it can happen to anybody. Even you.