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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for April, 2011

More than 200 people were arrested or charged with crimes during the 2011 Azalea Festival

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

According to news reports, more than 200 people were cited for crimes or arrested during the 2011 North Carolina Azalea Festival.  WECT (the NBC television affiliate in Wilmington) cited Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement as the source of that report.  They said that the charges ranged from drug trafficking to underage drinking, fake identification (fake ID), and carrying concealed weapons without a permit.  The story stated that:  ALE states 269 charges were made on 218 people, including 17 fake identification violations, 53 charges of possession of alcoholic beverages by an underage person, 36 drug charges including trafficking in opium, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.  ALE also tested local businesses for selling alcohol to minors.  The WECT story also said that the NC Highway Patrol also conducted two DWI checkpoints during the Azalea Festival due to the large influx of tourists.  The story said that First Sgt. Troy Pope with Highway Patrol reported that a total of 68 people were cited for DWI, while 498 people were cited for other violations.
The Star News (the main news paper in Wilmington NC) reported that the N.C. Highway Patrol had arrested 68 people for driving while intoxicated (DWI / DUI) Saturday and Sunday morning at checkpoints, according to Sgt. Matt Hardee.  Sgt. Hardee said that “Booze It and Lose It” checkpoints were set up on Martin Luther King Drive and on U.S. 74/76.  According to the story, Sgt. Hardee also said that the arrests bring the total number of DWI arrests to over 2000 since January, 2010, and 276 in just this year in New Hanover and Brunswick counties.
When a law enforcement office arrests a person for DWI, there are legal procedures that must be followed, and if the requirements are not met, and if challenged, it can result in the acquittal (a finding of not guilty or a dismissal of the charge) of the accused.
We always counsel people against drunk driving, which is a very serious crime.  But if you have been accused of any crime, Collins Law Firm can help.  We are available 24/7 by appointment.  If you have been accused of a crime, call us for a consultation at:  910-793-9000.

64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This weekend, April 6-10, 2011, is the 64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC, New Hanover County. The Festival is an annual celebration of Wilmington’s gardens and culture.  The festival covers five days of entertainment which includes: a parade, street fair, circus, concerts, pageantry, and all that is Southern. Beginning in 1948, the Festival has blossomed into an extended weekend celebration that attracts more than 250,000 people annually to the region including and surrounding New Hanover County, NC.
This year the festival includes a concert by the Avett Brothers!  The Avett Brothers is a folk rock band from Concord, North Carolina, comprised up of brothers Scott Avett and Seth Avett, who play the banjo and guitar respectively, and Bob Crawford who plays the stand-up bass.  When tickets went on sale for this show, they sold out within days.  The Avett brothers have quite a loyal following, and many people from around the Southeast will be coming to the Azalea Festival for the first time to see the show.
The Festival also includes the 127th annual Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars. The name refers to its dome interior which replicates a celestial nighttime sky. Billed as “the world’s largest circus under the big top,” the circus boasts costumed characters, acrobatics, death-defying stunts and an international cast of entertainers with their trained and exotic animals. However, the circus comes with some controversy.  According to bornfreeusa.org, the Cole Brothers Circus has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Cole Bros. Circus numerous times for failure to provide veterinary care, adequate shelter from the elements, and proper food and water, as well as failure to handle animals in a manner that prevents trauma and harm and ensures public safety.  In past years, protesters have greeted patrons at the entrance of the parking lots with pictures of animal cruelty related to the circus.  This year, the protesters will also likely be back.
While the Azalea Festival is a fun family friendly event, drinking alcohol is part of many of the events, and in the revelry many people will be charged with alcohol related crimes including open container, driving while impaired  or driving under the influence (DWI/DUI), fake i.d. or counterfeit identification, underage drinking, and aiding and abetting these and other crimes.
If you are charged with any type of crime in our area, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a consultation about what we can do for you. In many cases, we are able to negotiate with the charging officer and the district attorney’s office to have a defendant perform volunteer service in order to have the charges dismissed.  Sometimes, that volunteer service can be served on the beach picking up trash, and helping keep our beautiful beaches clean, including Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Topsail Beach, Wilmington Beach, and Kure Beach.

Litter on the Beach

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Spring is here, and people across the Southeast are thinking about going to the beaches in Southeastern North Carolina and planning trips.  We have beautiful beaches in our area.  In New Hanover County, there is Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Wilmington Beach, and Kure Beach. In Pender County, there is Surf City and Topsail Island.  In Brunswick County, there is Sunset Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, Caswell Beach, and Ocean Isle Beach.

There are many efforts to prevent littering, and many make the news in our region.  In Wrightsville Beach, the Cleaner, Greener Wrightsville Beach committee has proposed a list of ideas to help prevent littering.  They proposed the following steps:  to develop a visual image for regular signage and holiday banners to remind visitors to keep Wrightsville Beach clean; create a logo that can be included on T-shirts (possibly signage and banners, too) to identify beach sweep volunteers and solicit volunteers to educating the public about cleaner, greener efforts; color code recycling containers and consider additional recycle locations on the beach strand; maintain the Green Tab on the town’s website through IT manager, Raquel Ivins; work with the Wrightsville Beach Merchants Association and Mayor David Cignotti coordinating with their litter awareness efforts; and study and use results of the Cleaner Greener Survey in developing ideas and plans.

Another program is North Carolina Big Sweep.  They finished first in the voting in the MillerCoors River Network competition.  The first prize is a $30,000 grant.  The statewide non-profit group says the money will be used to coordinate cleanups in all 100 counties in North Carolina and to implement a litter awareness campaign.  WWAY has partnered with Big Sweep on annual beach clean-up programs in the area.

Our beaches are beautiful, and we should all help to alleviate littering.  Littering on most of our beaches is a crime – a misdemeanor, and a conviction for littering can remain on one’s criminal record for life unless steps are taken to prevent it.   If you are charged with littering, or any other crime in our area, Collins Law Firm can help prevent the consequences of being charged, such as court appearances, and convictions and the subsequent consequences of a conviction such as fines, court costs, probation, etc.  We have been doing so for over a decade.

One way we often help avoid convictions for such crimes as littering is to negotiate with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to have a client perform a number of hours of volunteer service.  Often that volunteer service can be picking up litter on the beach.

If you have been charged with littering, or any other crime in our area, call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a consultation about what we can do for you.