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Attorney Carilyn Ibsen's Blog

about Criminal Defense in North Carolina and South Carolina


Sunday, March 24, 2013

DWI/DUI- The Details Matter

A criminal defense attorney in Mecklenburg County often  will receive a  phone call from someone recently arrested for DWI/DUI. A common question asked is whether there is any chance the case will just get "thrown out".  The simple answer is no- cases are not thrown out. Rather, a good criminal defense attorney will use their knowledge and skill to chip away at a case and get specific items of evidence excluded or suppressed. Successful evidence blocking can lead to a not guilty or a dramatically lesser sentence.

I  recently had success at suppressing the result of a breath test given by a client arrested for DWI in Mecklenburg County. Although at first glance the client's breath result seemed correct- the officer affirmed he observed the client for 15 minutes prior to the test, the results were within .02 of each other and each sample was given within the statutory time. However, calibration logs I pulled from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human services website showed the machine was not calibrated within the statutory time. My motion to suppress was granted.

I handled another case where my client submitted to a blood test after arrested for DWI. This test was taken at a hospital and the blood was subsequently examined by the Mecklenburg County Crime Lab. The result was significantly over .15. However, I found an issue with the chain of custody. After the appropriate motion was run, this evidence was also suppressed.

Success with DWI/DUI's  in Mecklenburg County require a careful review of the evidence. This evidence is often found in small details that effective criminal defense attorneys take the time to look into.

Mecklenburg County Criminal Law Updates Provided By the Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen PLLC 


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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Time to Swab?

North Carolina law requires the collection  of a person's DNA upon the arrest of certain offenses, including those arrested for criminal charges in Mecklenburg County. This is upon arrest and not conviction. You can read the North Carolina statute here

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week surrounding a similar law in Maryland. Click here for a summary of the case. Justice Alito acknowledged the importance of this case:
"I think this is perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this Court has heard in decades..This is what is at stake: Lots of murders, lots of rapes that can be solved using this new technology that involves a very minimal intrusion on personal privacy."
A minimal intrusion on personal privacy isn't necessarily the concern. Unlike the case where a catheter was used to test for marijuana use, having the inside of your mouth swabbed is not much of an intrusion. The intrusion is the government having a person's DNA sample before being convicted of any crime. Justice Scalia  had an interesting point after hearing that Maryland obtained 42 convictions based upon samples taken from people arrested in their state
"Well, that’s really good. I’ll bet you if you conducted a lot of unreasonable searches and seizures, you’d get more convictions, too. That proves absolutely nothing."
 It is an interesting term for the Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment. Between this case and the Court  hearing whether blood draws can be taken without a warrant, the Fourth Amendment is being challenged  this year.

Mecklenburg Criminal Law Updates Provided By Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen PLLC (888)543-2427

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