The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
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Brad Interview Transcript 3

BH – Brant Hart

BS – Brad Smith

BS: Yeah, I think that the biggest thing that just a typical DWI conviction costs you is money. It costs you money in court costs which you know are now $180, over the decade or so that I've been doing this I think when I started court costs were around $75 and then they have greatly increased over the last ten years where they are now $180. The judge has the ability to institute a fine on you. That fine can be substantial, it can go over $1,000. But the biggest cost this leads to for motorists is a drastic increase in their insurance premiums, their insurance surcharge rate rather. North Carolina department of insurance regulates all companies that sell insurance in North Carolina, specifically automobile insurance. The insurance regulations tell an insurance company based on a point system how much they can raise a person's insurance surcharge based on a driving while impaired conviction. If you get a DWI your insurance company has the ability to raise your rate 400% for a three year period of time. It is called the experience period. The biggest thing that a DWI charge is going to cost you is it is going to hit you in the pocketbook. Because when you go to apply for an insurance policy because you have the driving while impaired conviction on it they have the ability to raise your rate, and that rate change would normally be somewhere around a 400% rate increase.

BH: Okay, and I would like to remind everybody that you are listening to the legal forum. My name is Brant Hart and right now I am talking with Brad Smith from Arnold & Smith and Brad I believe you are located at 200 North McDowell Street, The John Price Carr House, and what's a phone number that people can reach you if they need your particular services?

BS: Brant our office number is 704-370-2828, our web address is

BH: Okay, and the next question would be what should a person expect to pay for a good attorney to handle a DWI situation?

BS: Well Brant, I know what I charge, and generally what I charge for a driving while impaired charge. I think the biggest thing to say is, legal fees are not like going out and buying a television. You go in and there is a Sony on the wall or a Panasonic and this is what they cost because lawyer's legal fees are based on time. And every case that comes into the office, I guess one of the most exciting things about what I do is no case is the same. So usually when you are coming in to talk to a lawyer what I always say you should never do is hire a lawyer over the telephone. You should usually always come in, sit across the table from them and speak to them directly because you have got to remember that the person that is going to be representing you in any sort of matter is generally the person that is going to be speaking for you, and representing you in court and out of court and I think probably the most responsible thing to do if you ask somebody to do something like that is to sit down and speak with them face to face and make sure you are comfortable with them taking on that role. Along with the meeting sort of comes the attorney's or my ability to assess sort of the time commitment that the case is going to take. That's generally how you assess a legal fee. It's generally not something where I can say it costs this amount of money because again each case is different each case requires sort of a different time commitment and the fairest way to approach that is to sit down with somebody, assess their case, talk with them see what their expectations are see what they want to do and then usually assign a fee based on that discussion.

BH: Okay Brad, and of course the next question we have here is certainly important because of the fact that even though we are right here in Charlotte we have a lot of listeners in South Carolina because a lot of our listeners live in the Rock Hill Fort Mill area based on where our radio tower is. So what I need to ask next is are DWI cases the same county to county and state to state. What might be different in South Carolina for our Rock Hill listeners then what our Charlotte listeners might have to deal with.

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