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As always, we begin our analysis by reviewing the relevant law, N.C.G.S. 20-138.1: “A person commits the offense of Impaired Driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this state: While under

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Drugged Driving – or Drug DWI – is a form of “Impaired Driving,” under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1. This is the same law that the State uses to convict drunk drivers. In other words, the same law governs drunk driving and drugged driving. But, operating under the influence of drugs, and operating under the influence of alcohol, are two very different things.

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Business Card for Attorney Derek R. Fletcher
Serious cases require serious representation.
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Free resources to access Federal & State opinions • Free access to Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Law.
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FLETCHER LEGAL IS A CHARLOTTE-BASED LAW PRACTICE DEDICATED TO HELPING OUR CLIENTS NAVIGATE BOTH THE JUDICIAL PROCESS, AND LIFE’S MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS. We constantly push the limits of what’s possible when it comes to integrating technology into solo practice with the goal of reducing client fees and expanding access to law. We believe in treating people the way we want to be treated.

WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, BUT RESULTS AREN’T EVERYTHING. We believe that relationships are key, and we only accept clients that we feel we can have a successful partnership with to reach the best results. We believe that legal emergencies rarely occur during business hours, and that it is essential for clients to have Attorney Fletcher’s personal cell phone number.

WE ACCEPT CLIENTS, NOT CASES, AND WE GO WHERE WE ARE NEEDED, ACROSS ALL 100 NORTH CAROLINA COUNTIES. We stick to what we’re good at, continually pushing the envelope and streamlining process steps. We always set our clients up for the best possible outcome.

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THE PROBLEM: OVERWHELMING COMPLEXITY. Harvard Google (or “searh” the internet phrase “free caselaw research tools. Call me after your first year down the Rabbit Hole! It’s overwhelming, distinguishing differences and identifying the appropriate occasions on which each tool should be best wielded is not easily ascertainable. I’m not listing every free case law search here – I’m creating the very most effective, free caselaw workflow model. 

THE SOLUTION: K.I.S.S. (or “KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!). The order outlined, for the purposes mentioned below, are how and why these specific tools are to be used in order to maximize free state and federal case law sources. There isn’t some massive scientific study on it or anything, and it is only my opinion – but it’s a damn good one! I find it unlikely that the case law you require cannot be obtained from one of these few sources included.

HOW WE HELP. DIFFERENTLY. You don’t need every free caselaw research tool – many overlap, are repetitive, and simply unnecessary. Below, you’ll find Google Scholar, courtlistener.com, Harvard Law School’s Caselaw Access Project, Cornell University’s Law Library, NCAppellateCourts.org, and the BlueBook Quick Style Guide. The Descriptions beneath each entry describe the optimum occasions for using each tool. Best of luck, and please make contact if I may ever be of service.
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  • U.S. Supreme Court Opinions –1791 to present.

  • U.S. Federal District, Appellate, Tax, and Bankruptcy Court Opinions –1923 to present.

  • U.S. State Appellate and Supreme Court Opinions –1950 to present.

  • Scholarly articles, papers, and reports.

  • Patents: U.S. Patents –1790 to present; European Patent Office and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patents –1978 to present.


  • Google Scholar is more than just case law: it contains scholarly research, patent information, and governmental reports. Search by keyword or case citation.

  • After executing a search, narrow results using filters in the left-hand margin. Available filters include limiting by jurisdiction and court.

  • The “How Cited” feature lists other cases in the Google Scholar database that either cite your case or are related to the case you’re currently viewing.

  • Google Scholar is a great place to begin your research, but considered less authoritative that other online legal sources like CourtListener or LII.


  • U.S. Supreme Court Opinions – 1791 to the present.

  • U.S. Federal Appellate Court Opinions – 1920s to the present for most circuits.

  • U.S. Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court Opinions – coverage dependent on district.

  • U.S. State Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions – coverage dependent on state (>84,000 North Carolina Opinions going back to the mid-1800’s.


  • Authorities List for each case opinion.

  • Links to Cited Opinions.

  • “Cited By” feature providing links to other opinions that cite the opinion you’re currently viewing.

  • Project RECAP Archive provides free access to billions of PACER documents.

  • Quickest New Case Uploads – From Court to Database.


  • All state court opinions.

  • All federal court opinions.

  • All territorial court opinions for American Samoa, Dakota Territory, Guam, Native American Courts, Navajo Nation, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

  • CAP’s earliest case is from 1658.

  • CAP’s most recent cases are from 2018.


  • Maintained by Harvard Law School, the Caselaw Access Project includes all official, book-published U.S. Case Law, including all U.S. State Case Law, through June, 2018.

  • Search by case name, abbreviation, decision date, docket number, reporter, court ID, or jurisdiction.

  • Perhaps CAP’s best use is for researchers using its API’s and Bulk Data services.


  • All opinions of the United States Supreme Court since 1992.

  • Over 600 earlier U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

  • 10 Years of opinions of the New York Court of Appeals.

  • The full United States Code.

  • The Code of Federal Regulations.

  • All of the Federal Rules.
  • Important secondary sources, including: a 6,000+-entry legal dictionary.

  • An encyclopedia that contains a series of “topical” pages that serve as concise explanatory guides and Internet resource listings for roughly 100 areas of law.


  • The “Granddaddy” of free law online, LII is maintained by Cornell University’s Law School Library and first became available in 1992.

  • Aside from publishing judicial opinions, Federal Rules, and U.S. Code, LII contains a collaborative legal dictionary called WEX.

  • Many free law projects around the world are modeled on LII. It’s completely free (not even ad-supported), and there’s no subscription or fees required for access.


  • All electronically filed documents with the NC Supreme Court and NC Court of Appeals since 1998.


  • Electronically filing documents with the North Carolina Supreme Court and North Carolina Court of Appeals.

  • Obtaining Records, Supplements, and Briefs to all electronically filed North Carolina Appellate Court Cases.


  • Inside front cover of the Bluebook: Contains Quick Reference Guide to Law Review Footnotes–this is the format used for academic legal citation.

  • Table of Contents: Highlights the non-academic legal citation rules (Bluepages), academic legal citation rules (white pages), and tables.

  • The Bluepages: Contains rules and introduction about the basic legal citation for practitioners and law clerks. More difficult citation questions may require you to consult the white pages.

  • Rules 1-9: Contain general rules of citation and style for use in legal writing.
    Rules 10-19: Contain rules for specific types of materials, such as cases, statutes, and secondary sources.


  • Rules 20-21: Contain rules governing citation of foreign and international materials.

  • Tables T1 – T16: Contain overall general rules that should be consulted in connection with any of the Rules 1-21 where needed.

  • Index: Use the Index to locate rules of citation you are looking for.

  • Inside back cover of the Bluebook: Contains Quick Reference Guide to Court Documents and Legal Memorandum-this is the format used for non-academic legal citation.

  • Outside back cover of the Bluebook: Contains an outline of the Bluebook contents.
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Although we travel across the entire State of North Carolina – to each and every District and Superior Court – we are based in Charlotte. You could say that our home base consists of the following:

Serving: Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan, Cleveland, Lincoln, Stanly, Davidson, Catawba, and Anson Counties, as well as Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Lake Norman, Mooresville, Troutman, Statesville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Harrisburg, Weddington, Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Monroe, Wadesboro, Wingate, Polkton, Concord, Kannapolis, China Grove, Salisbury, Lexington, Thomasville, High Point, Denver, Lincolnton, Newton, Conover, Hickory, Belmont, Lowell, Mt. Holly, Lowesville, Gastonia, Dallas, Bessemer City, Kings Mountain, Shelby, Pineville, Midland, Locust, Albemarle, Rockingham, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington.


SERIOUS CASES REQUIRE SERIOUS REPRESENTATION. If you or someone you know has questions restoring their firearm rights, or to begin the process of restoring your gun rights now, call FLETCHER LEGAL at 704-747-7262, shoot that number a text, step into our virtual lobby for a video call, or book an appointment now for your free case evaluation. Fletcher Legal has helped clients restore North Carolina firearm rights, appeal from pistol purchase denials, and challenge concealed carry decisions. We conduct independent investigations in every case we take, which reduces denials, and ensures a smooth hearing.
VIRTUAL SERVICES REDUCE CLIENT EXPENSES. Schedule an appointment today to speak with Attorney Fletcher, either by video call, text message, or phone call. We offer flexible payment arrangements, independent investigations, and 24 x 7 emergency services. Book an appointment online now to begin building your defense.
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