Timothy Vanderweert
DWI Attorney At Law

Experienced. Professional. Successful. It's Why Our Clients Rate Us So Highly.

Timothy Vanderweert, BA, MA, JD

Timothy Vanderweert is a 1990 graduate of the School of Law of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he attended as a Van Hecke Scholar. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Vanderweert earned degrees in the humanities from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr. Vanderweert has practiced law since 1990. He devotes his legal practice exclusively to DWI/DUI and traffic cases. During that time, Mr. Vanderweert has represented more than 20,000 clients. These have included numerous DWI cases that presented challenging legal issues and significant obstacles, and he has successfully defended many clients who were advised by others to simply plead guilty.

For aggressive and determined defense representation, turn to Timothy Vanderweert, Attorney at Law.

For a free initial consultation with Timothy Vanderweert about a DWI case in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, contact us today.

Donna Kay Smith, BA, M.Ed, M.Div, CRC

Donna Kay Smith is a graduate of Penn State University in State College, PA with a BA and M.Ed in Rehabilitation Counseling. She also obtained an M.Div from Duke University in 1996. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and spent 12 years with the Chapel Hill Police Department as a victim advocate and crisis counselor.

 Other work experiences include work as a court liaison for victims of domestic violence, director of agencies which specialize in drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, homelessness, and volunteer care-giving. She has worked as a rehabilitation specialist/case manager for workers compensation insurance companies, and has been self-employed as a consultant to non-profit agencies.

 She brings her management experience and skills in drug and alcohol use and experience as a court liaison and with the police department to her role as paralegal and office manager for the Vanderweert law firm.

How to Hire a DWI Attorney

Don't kid yourself: Hiring an attorney to defend you against a charge of DWI/DUI may be the most important decision you'll ever make. A conviction for DWI in North Carolina has far-reaching consequences: loss of license, jail time, financial hardships, the stigma of having been convicted of "drunk driving" and all of the problems that come along with explaining a DWI conviction to employers/spouses/professional colleagues/friends.Competent DWI Defense Takes Work. It Takes Time. It Demands Experience And Expertise.Yet many people seemingly entrust their DWI defense to attorneys with little or no practical experience or expertise in successful DWI defense. They make their decision based on a flashy website, or a brochure sent through the mail, unrealistic promises or a discounted price for representation. 

One of the legal profession's 'dirty little secrets' is this: a lot of general practice attorneys see your DWI as a quick and easy way to separate you from your money without having to do much of anything but plead you guilty and keep you driving in some capacity. Many DWI defendants entrust their defense to flashy law firms with exceptional 'credentials' only to find themselves actually represented by low-paid, inexperienced associate attorneys learning how to practice law at the defendant's expense.

What To Look For When Hiring A DWI Attorney


 Someone once said that "experience is the name that people give to their previous mistakes." It's true. Lawyers learn by doing. In learning their craft, they learn hard lessons, often at the expense of the people who hire them. The truth is this: I am a much better attorney after having practiced for 28 years than I was after 2, or 5, or 10, or 15 years. At this point in my career, after representing thousands of people with DWI's just like you, I've pretty much seen it all. I know what works....and what doesn't. I've learned that good, really good, DWI defense, is the result of dedication to the specific expertise required of DWI law coupled with the experience of having done it time and time again. 

I've seen the most ridiculous claims by attorneys, attorneys practicing law for a few years claiming they've represented hundreds of DWI clients. Those claims are almost certainly false, designed to impress you - former Assistant DA's who take credit for every DWI that came through the DA's office while they were there, or letter-writing traffic court attorneys claiming every $100 speeding charge they ever had reduced as a "successful defense."  - Be critical of their claims: Do they specialize in DWI defense, or do they claim to do all sorts of different law? How many years have they been practicing? How many DWI cases have they personally tried? Ask them: If I hire you, will you be trying my case, or will it be an inexperienced associate in your office? Finally, ask yourself this: do I want my defense to be a learning experience for my attorney, or should I entrust my defense to an experienced, competent attorney who won't be learning at my expense?

So, when deciding who to entrust your DWI defense to, first ask yourself what specific experience does this attorney have in representing DWI defendants? How many years have they practiced? How many DWI trials have they personally defended, and how do they intend to win my case?


Attorneys practice all sorts of law. They may defend criminals, or represent people in personal injury cases, or write Wills, or do Real Estate closings. Many attempt to do all of these and more, including representing people charged with DWI. Unfortunately for their client, that's almost always a recipe for disaster - ignorant and incompetent representation, like asking your general practitioner to perform heart surgery. Yes, they've both gone to law school and both are licensed to practice law, but that's where the similarities end. I've watched something similar happen in court more times than I can count - a general practice attorney screwing up a winnable DWI defense...and the client completely ignorant of the harm done. My practice is DWI Specific. In other words, it's really all I do. Yes, I occasionally take other criminal cases, usually from former DWI clients who come back to me with other legal issues, but for the most part I do DWI's. That's it. It has allowed me to learn what works and what doesn't, what various Judges expect and what they dislike, the arguments that work and the arguments that don't. It's these subtle aspects of DWI defense that make all the difference, that may make the difference between you winning or losing, between you losing your license or continuing to drive, you going to jail or walking free.

 The vast bulk of my practice is DWI defense. While I will occasionally take on other criminal charges - speeding and DWLR charges, general criminal charges - I typically do so only for former DWI clients who specifically ask that I represent them. DWI defense is what I do, and I do it as well as it can be done.
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