St. Patrick's Day and DWIs in North Carolina

Posted by Josh Valentine | Mar 10, 2020

Historically, there tends to be an increase in impaired driving over St. Paddy's Day. The police are out in force looking for impaired drivers so make sure that if you plan to go out drinking, you have a way to get home safe. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a number of suggestions for drivers to get home safe after a night out drinking, including: 

  • Designate a sober driver, 
  • Use public transportation, or
  • Use Lyft, Uber, or a taxi to get home. 

Increased DWI Patrols on St. Patrick's Day in North Carolina

The North Carolina Highway Patrol and other agencies regularly participate in St. Patrick's Day drunk driving awareness campaigns. These campaigns, like the “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, are supposed to educate drivers about the dangers of impaired driving and let them know that police patrols will be looking for drunk drivers around the holiday and the weekend prior to St. Patrick's Day. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, over half of all nighttime fatalities on St. Patrick's Day involved drunk driving. As a way to reduce DWI-related fatalities, law enforcement may increase patrols or set up roadside checkpoints to identify impaired drivers and get them off the road. 

Troopers or the police look for indicators of impaired driving or any traffic violation to justify a traffic stop. Traffic violations that may be a reason to get pulled over may include: 

  • Leaving a parking lot at night with headlights off,
  • Failure to properly signal a lane change, 
  • Rolling through a stop sign, 
  • Going over the median markers, or
  • Swerving. 

After the police or officer stops the vehicle, they may further look for any other indicators of drug or alcohol use, including: 

  • Odor of alcohol on the driver's breath,
  • Open bottles of alcohol in the vehicle, 
  • Smell of marijuana from the driver, 
  • Slurred of speech,
  • Bloodshot eyes, or
  • Contradictory statements about where the driver was coming from or where they were headed.

Losing Your License After a DWI Arrest 

Among the penalties for a DWI are a fine of up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours, up to a maximum of 60 days in jail. However, for many people, the hardest part of a DWI conviction is losing their license to drive. An administrative license suspension can make you lose your driving privileges even before you get your day in court. If you have been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, act quickly to preserve your chance to challenge the administrative license suspension.  

North Carolina DWI Defense Attorneys

At Caulder & Valentine Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped drivers and their families deal with criminal driving charges to stay out of jail and keep their driver's license. Contact us today in Shelby for a consultation.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar