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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for December, 2011

Do not Drink and Drive this New Year’s Eve

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Every year, many people start off the New Year facing the consequences and expense of a DWI/DUI arrest.  Unfortunately, holiday festivities often even take a deadly turn when a person chooses to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel.

In an effort to remove impaired drivers from the roads, State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced on December 2, 2011 that state and local law enforcement officers will be out in force as part of the Holiday “Booze It & Lose It” campaign.  Checkpoints and stepped-up patrols will be conducted through Monday, January 2, 2012 across North Carolina.  This means that an increased police presence is to be expected.

Collins Law Firm always urges people not to drive while impaired.  If you consume alcohol, we encourage you to have a designated driver or to take a taxi home.  However, if you are charged with a DWI/DUI, underage drinking, or any other crime in or around Wilmington, NC in New Hanover County, Brunswick County (Bolivia, NC), or Pender County (Burgaw, NC) and need a lawyer or attorney to represent you, call Collins Law Firm at: 910-793-9000 for a confidential consultation.

By Jana Collins, Office Manager

Blagojevich Conviction

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

On Wednesday, December 7, 2011 Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for18 corruption charges, including the scheme to peddle the vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama.  He will have to report for prison on February 16, 2012 to a facility to be named later.  In addition, he was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

Blagojevich was a democratic State Representative before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago, and he served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009.

Blagojevich was arrested on December 9, 2008 on federal corruption charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.  As a result thereof, he was impeached for corruption and misconduct in office by the Illinois House of Representatives on January 9, 2009 by a 114–1 vote.

With this sentence Blagojevich will join George Ryan, a Republican who was governor from 1999 to 2003, who is serving a prison sentence.  Ryan was convicted of corruption in 2006 after a scandal involving the illegal sale of government licenses, contracts and leases by state employees.

Two other former Illinois governors have been sent to prison, and several others have gotten in trouble with the law:  Otto Kerner Jr., a Democrat who was governor from 1961 to 1968, was convicted in 1973 on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury and related charges, and Dan Walker, a Democrat who was governor from 1973 to 1977, pleaded guilty to bank fraud, misapplication of funds and perjury in 1987and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

However, with this 14 years sentence, Blagojevich received one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state with a history of crooked politics.

By Jana Collins, Office Manager

Court Costs – New Impaired Driving Fee

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011 the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina has enacted a new, additional court cost specific to impaired driving offenses, which took effect on December 1, 2011.

Unlike most changes to court costs which were enacted during the past years and which typically took effect for costs assessed or collected on or after the effective date of the enacting legislation, this cost applies only to convictions for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011. The fee may not be assessed for offenses committed prior to that date.

The new fee of $100 is to be assessed in addition to all other costs applicable to the case; it does not replace any other costs. E.g., it is assessed in addition to the Chapter 20 fee of G.S. 7A-304(a)(4b), not in lieu of it. The cost is to be assessed only upon conviction, so the fee should not be assessed unless the defendant is convicted of one of the following offenses:  Impaired driving, G.S. 20-138.1; Impaired driving in commercial vehicle, G.S. 20-138.2; Operating a commercial vehicle after consuming alcohol (second or subsequent convictions, only), G.S. 20-138.2A; and Operating a school bus, activity bus, or child care vehicle after consuming alcohol (second or subsequent convictions, only), G.S. 20-138.2B.

Because it is a court cost under G.S. 7A-304, waiver of this fee requires that the court make a finding of just cause for the waiver, pursuant to G.S 7A-304(a).

Collins Law Firm regularly represents people charged with impaired driving offenses with court appearances in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick County.  If you were charged, you should contact a lawyer or attorney at Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a consultation.

By Jana Collins, Office Manager