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If you have recently received a "drinking ticket" for an alcohol-related charge, it is far too easy to consider the charge unimportant, thinking that it will resolve itself over time, or that it will simply go away with time. This, however, is untrue. Here in North Carolina, even misdemeanor drinking infractions will remain on your record indefinitely (unless you petition for an expunction), and you won’t be able to have your record expunged for a full five years after your sentence is completed (or, in felony cases, you’ll have to wait a full 10 years after your sentence).

That’s why, when dealing with charges of this nature, you need an experienced advocate on your side that you can trust to help you obtain the just outcome that you deserve. A drinking ticket attorney may be able to help you lessen your charges, earn a not guilty verdict, or have the charges dropped altogether. In addition, hiring an attorney may help you to have a lighter sentence if you are convicted of the charge at hand.

Here at Cummings and Kennedy, we strive to aid our clients in defending themselves against unfair charges, unjust prosecution, and undue sentencing. We do our utmost to attain a favorable outcome for your specific case. We’ll work with you to ensure that you understand your options and court proceedings, and we’ll act with your best interests in mind.

We provide drinking ticket attorney services for folks throughout Carteret County, and we defend against prosecution of a number of charges, including DWI, boating while impaired, public intoxication, intoxicated and disruptive in public, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, fake ID, underage possession, and underage DWI charges. You can learn more about each of our specific defense services below, or, if you’d like to reach out to us to learn what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to call to get a free initial consultation.

Drinking Charges We Defend

As criminal defense attorneys, we defend against a variety of drinking charge cases.


If you’ve been charged with a DWI here in Carteret County, then you may be confused about the charges that you face, and the court proceedings that are to follow. In North Carolina, DWIs are considered a serious offense, and they can land you with a serious sentence. Read on to learn about what you can expect if you’ve been charged with a DWI, and why it may be best to hire representation — you can also find additional information on our dedicated DWI defense attorney page.

What to Expect

DWI offenders can expect a range of sentences, if they are deemed guilty by the court. Depending on the number of infractions an individual has committed in the past, a judge may sentence a defendant to between 24 hours of imprisonment to 2 years of jail time. In addition, a judge may issue a fine, usually between $200 and $4,000, as well as community service. Your license will be suspended temporarily after a DWI (anywhere from 30 days and beyond). Plus, DWI offenders will have their charge and any convictions recorded on their record. Misdemeanor convictions cannot be expunged within 5 years of a sentence, and felony DWI charges cannot be expunged within 10 years of a sentence.

Don’t Defend Yourself

Since DWI offenses come hand in hand with severe consequences, as we just mentioned, it’s often best to hire an attorney in order to defend your rights. An attorney will work for you, aiming to reduce your sentence, your charges, or to have your charges dropped altogether. In some instances, a DWI may be knocked down to a reckless driving charge, which carries far fewer consequences.

Visitors and residents here in North Carolina are often unaware of boating while impaired laws in the state, and they’re often shocked at the consequences that can come from a seemingly innocuous offense. That said, North Carolina does have strict BWI laws, and if you’ve had a BWI infraction here in Carteret County, you’ll be facing court time, and the possibility of a harsh conviction. The attorneys here at Cummings and Kennedy strive to protect you from unjust sentencing and unfair charges. We’ll work on your behalf to ensure that you understand the court proceedings ahead of you, and we’ll ensure that you are protected from unjust prosecution.

Feel free to read more about what you can expect if you’ve been charged with a BWI, and why it may be best to hire representation — you can also find additional information on our dedicated BWI defense attorney page.

What to Expect

If convicted, BWI offenders usually receive sentences where the offender must pay up to $1,000 in fines, and must spend up to 60 days in jail. Most BWI offenses are considered class II misdemeanors, although felony convictions may be possible if the defendant has had multiple infractions in the past, or if the defendant is accused of other crimes (such as serious injury by impaired boating, aggravated serious injury by impaired boating, death by impaired boating, aggravated death by impaired boating, and repeat death by impaired boating). Such convictions hold far more penalizing sentences.

Don’t Defend Yourself

If you’re facing a BWI or any of the aforementioned BWI-related charges, then it may be best to hire a defense attorney to avoid the maximum fines, jail time, community service time, and/or classes that you may be required to take. Depending on the details of your case, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether, or you may have your charges reduced (perhaps to a disorderly conduct charge). Regardless, we’ll work with you to try to obtain a favorable outcome for your situation.

While “public intoxication” isn’t an infraction in and of itself (in fact, it’s legal to be intoxicated in public in the state of North Carolina), there are a number of charges that relate to public intoxication, including intoxicated and disruptive in public charges, disorderly conduct charges, and resisting arrest charges. Read on to learn about these specific charges, what you can expect if you’ve been charged with a public intoxication charge, and why it may be best to hire representation — you can also find additional information on our dedicated public intoxication defense page.

Intoxicated and Disruptive in Public

This charge may be issued if an individual is considered “disruptive” and intoxicated while in public. An officer may accuse you of being intoxicated, and they may arrest you and place you in a “shelter” or “health-care facility” under North Carolina’s statute G.S. 122C-301. You may also receive a criminal citation, which will likely be a misdemeanor offense.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct arrests and citations may be made for a variety of reasons which may or may not have to do with intoxication. For instance, an individual may be issued a disorderly conduct citation if they engage in a fight, if they use provoking language, or if they refuse to leave an establishment (among many other possible infractions). Again, most disorderly conduct charges are misdemeanor offenses, although violent infractions may have harsher consequences.

Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest is an infraction that is commonly associated with public intoxication, and it is often paired with either of the aforementioned infractions (i.e. disorderly conduct and intoxicated and disruptive in public).

What to Expect

With most of the aforementioned charges, you can expect to face a misdemeanor charge (often a class II misdemeanor), and you may be issued up to 60 days of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines (among other contingencies), if you are convicted of the charge. You may face more or less severe sentencing based on the specifics of your case and the charges held against you.

Don’t Defend Yourself

Regardless of the charges held against you, it may be in your favor to hire a defense attorney. We’ll help you to navigate court proceedings and your upcoming trial. We strive to help you to reduce your charges, lessen your sentence, or to have your charges dropped altogether.

Again, you can learn more about how we help to defend against these public-intoxication related charges, including intoxicated and disruptive in public charges, disorderly conduct charges, and resisting arrest charges.

If you are below the legal drinking age in North Carolina, even having one beer can turn into a criminal case. If you have recently been charged with an alcohol-related criminal charge when under the legal drinking age, (no matter whether it was for underage possession, attempting to purchase liquor with a fake ID or if you were accused of public intoxication), it can be difficult to know what you should do next. We defend young individuals who have been charged with an underage drinking infraction, striving to save them from unjust prosecution and a marred record. Again, we defend those who face fake ID charges, underage possession charges, and charges for which you may be tried as an adult (e.g. DWI charges).

Fake ID Charges

It may be tempting to buy a few beers with a fake ID, but that infraction can be costly if you’re caught, charged, and convicted. Using a fraudulent ID can result in a loss of a license, as well as a misdemeanor II charge. A fake ID charge may be issued if an individual under the age of 21 attempts to use any of the following (quoted from North Carolina G.S. 18B-302):

“(1) A fraudulent or altered drivers license.

(2) A fraudulent or altered identification document other than a drivers license.

(3) A drivers license issued to another person.

(4) An identification document other than a drivers license issued to another person.

(5) Any other form or means of identification that indicates or symbolizes that the person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcoholic beverages [...]”

Underage Possession Charges

It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. Under North Carolina’s statute, G.S. 18B-302, it is illegal for:

“(1) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess malt beverages or unfortified wine; or

(2) A person less than 21 years old to purchase, to attempt to purchase, or to possess fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages; or

(3) A person less than 21 years old to consume any alcoholic beverage.“

Again, these are misdemeanor infractions, and an individual convicted of an underage possession charge can expect to face fines and possibly jail time. Convicted individuals may be eligible to enroll in a first-time offender program to avoid harsher sentencing.

Underage DWI

North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who have consumed alcohol while underage. Legally speaking, those under the age of 21 cannot have consumed a drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Officers may pull you over and request a drug or alcohol screening (to which you are legally required to comply under North Carolina’s “implied consent” laws). Underage DWI charges may be especially severe for minors, since they may face the same penalties as a normal DWI, if their case falls under the bounds of this infraction, as well as an underage DWI infraction. To avoid severe consequences, it may be best to hire an attorney.

Why hire a Carteret County criminal defense lawyer?

In some situations, it might be tempting to just pay the fine associated with the ticket and to move forward. It, however, is important to realize that if you pay this fine, you are pleading guilty – the offense won't simply go away. Instead, you will be forced to live with the blemish on your criminal record for the rest of your life – and this should not be something that you have to deal with.

At Cummings & Kennedy, we recognize that though this is typically a misdemeanor, it should not be treated as a minor offense. In many cases, cases involving drinking tickets could also be tied into other criminal charges, such as disorderly conduct. We have the experience that you need to ensure that your legal rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Have you received a drinking ticket? Contact Cummings & Kennedy as soon as you can.