Jackson County Criminal and Traffic Law
Since 1998, Curtis Sluder has been defending your rights in Criminal and Traffic Court
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- Jackson County Criminal and Traffic Defense
- DWI/ Impaired Driving in Jackson County
- Traffic Cases in Jackson County
- Criminal Cases in Jackson County
Jackson County Criminal and Traffic Defense: Jackson County Justice Center, 401 Grindstaff Cove Road, Sylva, North Carolina
Jackson County is in the 30th Judicial District of North Carolina. The 30th District encompasses Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Graham, Macon, Clay, and Cherokee counties. This is a large district, but we deal with the same group of judges and District Attorneys in each county on a regular basis. The elected District Attorney, Ashley Welch, was an assistant District Attorney under Mike Bonfoey for several years, and prior to her service in the 30th District, she was an assistant DA in Henderson County, under DA Jeff Hunt. I met Ashley when she first started practicing in Hendersonville, and am glad to see her taking the reigns of the 30th District. In my experience she is a fair minded individual, and look forward to working with her and her assistants as they develop policies and practices.
Typically, Jackson County holds criminal and traffic court on Monday and Tuesday each week, and Friday is typically “MTV” (Motor vehicle) day. Friday MTV court is a “drop in” court, starting at 9, but ending at noon. District court starts each day at 9:00, although the District Attorney handling court is usually available as early as 8:30. If we are representing you on a traffic case, often we will have a “waiver of appearance” for minor cases, meaning you will not have to be in court. If you have a more serious case and we are not representing you by waiver, please be in court by 9:00 and have a seat. Typically, District Criminal or Traffic court will be held in the main courtroom on the second floor of the Jackson County Justice Center, 401 Grindstaff Cove Road, Sylva, NC.
The Curtis Sluder Law Firm frequently handles cases in The 30th District, particularly in Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties. Some of the cases we regularly represent defendants on are traffic and criminal matters, such as speeding, reckless driving, DWI, and driving on revoked licenses. We also represent many defendants on other felony and misdemeanor offenses, such as drug charges, assaults, weapons charges, and related criminal offenses. The Curtis Sluder Law Firm has focused on traffic defense and criminal law in Jackson County since 1998, and was the first law firm in Western North Carolina to have a dedicated traffic practice. We has defended thousands of cases involving criminal offenses, traffic charges, and other infractions occurring in Sylva, Cullowhee, Cherokee, and other parts of Jackson County since 1998. Contact us to discuss your case. We offer free consultation by telephone. Please call us to see how we can help protect your interests and defend your rights.
DWI/Impaired Driving in Jackson County
Almost no case is taken as seriously as Impaired driving in North Carolina. Most persons charged with serious felony charges in North Carolina have far more options available to them than persons charged with DWI. Even if you have no record at all. This is simply a result of the overly aggressive DWI lobby led in North Carolina by MADD, continually pressuring the legislature to enact stricter penalties for Impaired Driving. Since 2007, each session of the legislature has enacted some form of new legislation making DWI a more serious crime and chiseling away at the Constitutional Rights of the defendant. If you are charged with DWI, you need an experienced, informed, aggressive attorney on your side.
Even though I expect the district attorneys office in Jackson County to be fair and reasonable, the very political nature of DWI makes it a difficult charge to defend. DWI in North Carolina does not get “pleabargained” to lesser offenses. North Carolina Law requires the district attorney to prepare a lengthy written explanation for any change to, or dismissal of, any “implied consent” (alcohol- related) charge. This long written form is then filed as a public document that the “courtwatchers” have access to and keep tabs on. Of course, this means that as a practical matter no elected official is going to make any modification or dismissal of a DWI charge except in the most rare circumstance. Therefore, when you are charged with a DWI, you can expect that the case is going to proceed “as charged”. You will either be found guilty, or not guilty, of what you are charged with.
At the Curtis Sluder Law Firm, we aggressively look for any error made by law enforcement, magistrates, or other individuals involved in your case. We start by critically examining the reason you were stopped based on the most current legislation and case law. The officer must have made initial contact either through a consensual encounter, reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, or a properly conducted license check. If the contact phase passes scrutiny, we explore all known factors that may or may not have given the officer probably cause to make an arrest. This includes proper field sobriety tests given according to standards established by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Other factors the officer considered in forming his opinion of your condition and decision to arrest are also explored in depth.
Once the decision to arrest has been made, the information that may have been presented to the magistrate is reviewed, rights forms are examined to be certain you were afforded your rights prior to an intoxilizer test. Procedures must have been followed in administering the test, and certain legal requirements must be met in allowing for your release from custody after your arrest and initial appearance before the magistrate has been completed.
There are hundreds of possibilities to explore in every DWI case- and this is just the guilt or innocence aspect of the case. Drivers license implications, DMV penalties, sentencing requirements, and costs also factor into each case. At the Curtis Sluder Law Firm, we have the experience garnered from daily representation of defendants for over 15 years, as well as experience from prosecuting cases for the State. We strive to master new laws and follow the appellate courts decisions as they relate to criminal, traffic, and impaired driving cases on a regular basis. We involve ourselves in routine Q&A sessions with other top attorneys across North Carolina on a regular basis to stay on top of the latest developments. We continue to build on our experience with DMV, law enforcement, the District Attorneys Office, our Honorable Judges, Magistrates, fellow attorneys, clerks, and other court officials and liasons to make our clients experiences as successful as possible.
Traffic Cases in Jackson County
Traffic cases in Jackson County are usually scheduled for Friday MTV (Motor Vehicle) court, or Monday – Tuesday Traffic/Criminal court. We represent most traffic cases by written waiver, which means we inform you of the likely options for your case, possible outcomes, our plan of action in your case, and you allow us to go to court on your behalf, meaning you do not need to take a day off work in order to attend court to handle your traffic cases. This is especially important for persons who were ticketed while passing through western North Carolina, as well as residents with other obligations. Rest assured that your presence is not necessary, though, and if things do not go as we planned in court, we will continue the case and contact you about any new developments that may have arisen. Representation in traffic matters usually incur a fee from as little as $100, and we typically save you far more than that by preventing possible insurance increases.
Driver License Points
North Carolina uses two different point systems for Traffic Cases. Drivers license points, and Insurance points. Drivers license points are assessed for each traffic violation, and are tabulated by the NC DMV. When a driver accumulates 12 drivers license points in a 3 year period, The NC DMV suspends the license of the driver. After you get your license back, you can only have 8 points in three years or you lose your license again. When a driver has accumulated 7 points, they may be eligible for a DMV based “Driver Improvement Clinic” for a one time reduction of 3 points from their license.
Insurance points are assessed based on convictions on the drivers official record, or accidents requiring the insurers attention. The points assessed are regulated by the North Carolina Safe Driver improvement Program (SDIP points) A more complete list of point assessment is located HERE. As an example, a speeding ticket for 80-65 would result in 4 SDIP insurance points. This results in an 80% increase in insurance rates. This increase is assessed each time your insurance renews, for three years. If you currently pay $300 every 6 months, after on ticket for 80-65, your insurance would increase to $540, or $240 more. This continues for the next 6 renewal periods for a total insurance increase of $1440. We can usually modify the charge you are convicted of to prevent the assessment of insurance points, drivers license points, or both, depending on the circumstances of each case and your record. For a legal fee as low as $100-200, you can save $1440 or more.
Commercial drivers, drivers who hold a CDL or drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle, often have special circumstances and more severe repercussions for traffic offenses. Many offenses carry double, or enhanced, drivers license points when operating a commercial vehicle. Some options available to non-CDL drivers may not be available to commercial drivers. And this is true of not only “Class A” CDL holders, but “Class B” CDL drivers as well.
Commercial drivers also have to be concerned with their Federal CDL points, or CSA points. CSA points are assessed based on the original charges, so we make a special effort to secure dismissal whenever it is possible, and modification of charges when that is not possible. We understand how “major violations” harm a commercial driver more than a non CDL driver. We go to great lengths for every client, but understand the peculiar circumstances CDL drivers face. Although traffic charges are difficult to win at trial, we have tried successfully several CDL driver cases. Occasionally we can get permission to enter a not guilty plea and have a “trial by waiver”, but usually the defendant will need to be present in court for a trial.
Non CDL Drivers
Non CDL Drivers are concerned with driver license points, of course, but we understand that the bottom line for most drivers is in the pocketbook- We go over all available options with each client, and try to find the best cost saving option to prevent insurance increases. Different options may be best suited to different clients, depending on their family, other drivers on the policy, prior record, and the amount of driving they do. If you have negative prior entries on your driving record, we may need to come up with creative options to keep you licensed and minimize your insurance. Our extensive experience in Haywood County representing traffic defendants is your best bet for keeping your insurance rates low.
Criminal cases in Jackson County, NC
Typically, a district court criminal charge in Jackson County will be scheduled of a Monday – Tuesday session of criminal court on the second floor of the Jackson County Justice Center, located at 401 Grindstaff Cove Road, in Sylva, North Carolina.
A district court criminal charge can be initiated by an arrest or by a citation. If the defendant is arrested, he is taken before the magistrate to have bond and other conditions of release set. Often, an unsecured bond or a small secured bond is set for misdemeanants. The defendant is given a court date if released on bond. If the defendant is taken into custody and cannot make bond, then they will be taken before a District Court Judge within a few days in order to appoint counsel or to schedule a bond hearing. Once this is done, they are given a new court date and afforded an opportunity to speak with a lawyer (who will often make a bond motion to reduce or unsecure the bond, so that the defendant can be released and better assist in defending their case. Once the court date arrives, the defendants lawyer may further investigate the case beyond what he was able to do prior to the court date, negotiate with the District Attorney, point out weaknesses in the states case, and try to arrive at an agreeable pleabargain. If no acceptable pleabargain can be had, then the case may be called for trial.
A trial in district court begins with the District Attorney arraigning the defendant, or formally announcing the charge, and the defendant, through his or her attorney, entering a formal plea of not guilty. The state then begins to call the witnesses to the stand in order to testify against the defendant. This usually consists of law enforcement officers testimony, or victim testimony, but can include other relevant witnesses and expert testimony, such as laboratory analysts from the State Crime Lab. Once the State witnesses have testified, we get our opportunity to cross examine the witnesses- This is where we may try to pin them down to a specific account of the facts, question their ability to accurately observe the situation, secure testimony of investigatory methods they did NOT use, question their credibility in many cases, and discredit their original testimony where possible and useful.
This process repeats for each state witness. Once the state feels they have presented their case adequately, the State “Rests”. If I feel the state has not adequately proven their case at this point, I make a motion to dismiss- that is, even if the Judge accepts everything testified to by the State Witnesses, the State has not adequately proven the case based on the law. If the judge grants my motion at this point, which is fairly rare, the case is dismissed. If not, we then call any witnesses we wish to testify on our behalf. The state, of course, gets the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses as we did earlier. Once all testimony has been heard, including any rebuttal witnesses or re-called witnesses, closing arguments are made before the Judge, and the Judge then issues his or her verdict.
After the verdict has been entered, if it is guilty on any of the charges, then the case proceeds to the sentencing phase.
Jackson County Directory (Close Tabs)
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
Substance Abuse Assessments
Smoky Mountain Center Access Specialist
Call 800-849-6127 and then press 3 after connection.
Assessments will be done at Meridian in Jackson
County, Haywood Substance Abuse (IOPT) in Waynesville, or Mountain Youth Resources in Franklin. The
Access Center is open 24/7 and they will do a ten minute screening before scheduling an assessment
appointment. They can immediately pull up the available assessment appointments and schedule you within
3 -14 days.
Mountain Youth Resources, Franklin, Mike Neidig, Phone: 828-524-3833
Mountain Youth Resources, Sylva, Christine Mercier, 151 DeSoto Trail, Phone: 828-586-8958
Recovery Education Center, 828-631-3973
Does not do substance abuse assessments themselves, but is located in Meridian and will refer you to the
Smoky Mountain Center Access Specialist to set up assessment appointments.
Pavillion Phone: (828) 625-8210. Fax: (866) 700-1213 Lake Lure, NC.
Life Center Phone: (800) 345-6998. Fax: (276) 236-8821 Galax, VA.
ARP Phoenix – Residential programs
Neil Dobbins Center Phone: (828) 253-6306. Fax: (828) 210-1404
Contact: Leslie Misler 277 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Detox, Inpatient 3-7 days. Accepts some insurances.
Mary Benson House Phone: 828-252-5280
450 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
30 days or more. Services for pregnant women, women and children
Mission Hospital – Copestone Phone: 828-213-4055
Primarily psychiatric, but has a Dual Diagnosis program.
Western Carolina Treatment Center, Inc. Phone: (828) 251-1478 Fax: (828) 251-5227
573 Merrimon Ave. Suite 1B Asheville, NC 28804
Fellowship Hall Phone: (800) 659-3381. Fax: (336) 621-7513
www.fellowshiphall.com Greensboro, NC
Detox, Inpatient, Outpatient, Partial Hospitalization
Swain Recovery Center P hone: (828) 669-4161, Fax: (828) 669-4164
932 Old U.S. 70, Black Mountain, NC 28711
22 bed facility; 16 adult, 6 adolescent.
FIRST Phone: 828-669-0011, Fax: 838-669-0589
32 Knox Road – PO Box 40 – Ridgecrest, NC 28770
st Step Farm Men’s Admission: 828-665-5604, Women’s Admission: 828-667-0303
P.O. box 1450, Candler NC 28715
Supervised living for adult substance abusers. 22 bed facility for men; 15 bed facility for women. Must be a NC
resident. Asked to stay 90 days up to one year. Does not accept insurance.
Next Step Recovery Phone: 828-350-9960
Transitional living for men and women
The Lifeboat Phone: (828) 277-1718 Fax: (828) 277-1727
400 Caribou Road Asheville, NC 28803
Laurelwood Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services of NE Georgia Medical Center
Phone: (800)848-3649. Fax: (770) 538-7102 Gainesville, GA.
Peachford Phone: (770) 455-3200. Fax: (770) 454-5589.
Inpatient, Partial, and Outpatient treatment
Ridgeview Institute, (Metropolitan Atlanta) 770-434-4567 (Access Center 800-329-9775 Ext. 3200)
3995 South Cobb Rd. Smyrna, GA Private and nonprofit addiction counseling for ages 11- 60+. Inpatient and
intensive outpatient programs. Accepts insurance.
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Phone: 828-298-7911 ext. 5526
1100 Tunnel Rd., Asheville, NC 28805
Residential is 30 days or less
Pardee Hospital Phone: 828-696-4669 for client referral/intake.
800 North Justice Street, Hendersonville, NC 28791.
Accepts most insurance (managed care, Medicaid, Medicare). Offers medical detoxification for dependency
with alcohol, opiates, and benzos.
Synergy Recovery Phone: (866) 667-7191 Fax: (336) 667-6859
118 Peace St., Wilkesboro, NC
Detox and treatment
Balsam Center Phone: (800) 849-6127 (Smoky Mountain Center). Fax: (828) 454-9242.
Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center (ADATC) Phone: (828) 257-6200
www.jfkadatc.net Black Mountain, NC,
Single portal through Smoky Mountain Center- 1-800-849-6127
R.J. Blackley Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center (ADATC) Phone: 919-575-7928
http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dsohf/services/blackley/index.htm serving Central NC
Sliding scale, 80 bed facility
Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center (ADATC) Phone: (252) 830-3426
Psychiatric facility that treats Dually Diagnosed (substance abuse plus other mental illness) adults
Mountain Treatment Center 260 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 255-8655, Fax: (828) 255-8591
Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization, Accepts military insurance
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Phone: 828-298-7911
Asheville Institute, Inc. Phone: (828) 253- 7066, Fax: (828) 253-0335
70 Woodfin Place, Asheville, NC 28801
LGBT services, DWI services; self pay or private insurance
Pavillion Phone: (828) 625-8210. Fax: (866) 700-1213
Lake Lure, NC.
Alcohol Drug Education School (ADETS) providers
ADETS is an intervention for DWI offenders who have not been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, but
may be at risk for such problems.
The ADETS providers for Haywood and Jackson counties are…
Jennifer Clemons Phone: 828-400-2002
1088 Brown Avenue
Waynesville, NC 28786
Mountain Area Recovery Center – West
414 Hospital Drive Clyde, NC 28721
Contact: Beverly Hill
Mountain Youth Resources, Inc.
151 Desoto Trail
Sylva, NC 28779
Contact: Audrey Coleman
WNC Family Counseling and DWI Services
416 South Main Street
Waynesville, NC 28786
Contact: Yvonne Gilbert
Hebron Colony Ministries www.hebroncolony.org
Phone: (828) 963-4842, Fax: (828) 963-4735
Hebron Colony (Men’s Residential Program); Grace Home (Women’s Residential Program)
Bethel Colony, www.bethelcolony.org_
1675 Bethel Colony, Lenoir, NC 28645
Phone: (828) 754-3781, Fax: (828) 754-5370
Alcoholics Home, Inc., House of Prayer, www.alcoholicshome.org
Phone 1-336-882-1026, Fax 336-884-1447
Phone: 1-919-658-3534, Fax: 1-919-658-3508
Miracle Lake, Inc.
Christian Counseling and Training Center, www.miraclelake.org
Phone: (423) 263-2583, Fax: (423) 263-1855
Christian Love Ministries
(Men’s Program) Phone: (828) 837-7086, Fax: (828) 837-4648
(Women’s Program) Phone: (828) 835-3895, Fax: (828) 837-4648
Clerk of Court
State of North Carolina Clerk of Court, Sylva, NC
Ann D. Melton, Clerk of Superior Court
Court Administration, Services and Resources – www.nccourts.org/County/Jackson/Default.asp
If you are selected for jury duty, please call 828-631-6405 after 5:30 p.m. on the evening prior to your service date to verify that your appearance will be required, or if there is a time change.
Jackson County Sheriff
Jackson County Detention Center:
399 Grindstaff Cove Road, Sylva, NC
Newly elected Sheriff, Chip Hall took office as Sheriff of Jackson County on Monday, December 1, 2014.
Sheriff Hall is a veteran of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office where he started his career in 1988 as a detention officer, and was later assigned as a patrol deputy while quickly moving up the ranks before becoming Chief Deputy. Sheriff Hall is also a retired volunteer from the Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department where he served 25 years. Sheriff Hall is a devoted family man where he is supported by his wife, Selena and their two children. (From the Jackson County Sheriff Department web page)
Jackson County Sheriff department maintains a weekly arrest report here Arrest Report
You can conduct an inmate search here Current Inmate Search
Sylva Police Department
Sylva Police Department
755 West Main St
Sylva, NC 28779
Western Carolina University Police
Western Carolina University Police
114 East University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
he Western Carolina University Police Department (WCUPD) is comprised of professional commissioned police officers and support staff. WCUPD officers receive the same level of training as municipal and county law enforcement officers. Officers are required to complete a minimum of 602 hours of training at a regional police academy and pass a statewide examination to become certified as a police officer in the state of North Carolina. All WCUPD police officers are certified through the North Carolina Department of Justice.
WCUPD officers are authorized to carry firearms and enforce laws and make arrests on University property and adjacent roadways. WCUPD works closely with the Sylva Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Carolina Highway Patrol to enhance the safety and protection of members of the university community and the surrounding area. The Department also works closely with the Office of Student Community Ethics and the Residential Living Department in enforcing the Student Code of Conduct.
Jackson County Points of Interest
Towns in Jackson County
The county has four incorporated towns – Webster, Sylva, Dillsboro and Forest Hills – and several well-defined communities with post offices, including Cashiers, Glenville, Tuckaseigee, Cullowhee, Balsam, and Whittier.
Jackson County is also known for its educational institutions. It is home to Western Carolina University, which began in 1889 as Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School, grew into a major regional university and is a now member campus of the University of North Carolina. In addition, the county includes Southwestern Community College, a top-ranked two-year school that offers a college transfer as well as a variety of technical degrees and certifications.
Named for President Andrew Jackson, its first county seat was at Webster, though that changed some 60 years later when Sylva became the governmental seat.
This area was part of Cherokee Nation territory at the time of European encounter. The trust land known as Qualla Boundary extends into part of Jackson County and is the base for the Federally recognized tribe of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. They contribute to the high proportion of Native Americans among the county population.
The county was organized in 1851 from parts of Haywood and Macon counties. The original county courts were held at the Dan Bryson home in the community of Beta in Scott Creek township, and moved to Webster the following year. In 1861 parts of Jackson and Henderson counties were combined to form Transylvania County. In 1871 parts of Jackson and Macon counties were combined to form Swain County. In 1913 Sylva became the county seat.
Jackson County is served by three main roads: the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway runs east-west across the northern half of the county and connects the county seat of Sylva to Waynesville and Asheville in the east and Cherokee, Andrews and Murphy in the west. North Carolina State Highway 107 connects Sylva andWestern Carolina University to Cashiers in the south. U.S. Highway 64 traverses east-west across the southern part of the county connecting Cashiers to Brevard in the east and Highlands in the west.