Being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated can be a nightmare scenario. You may wonder how you’ll navigate the court system and if your driver’s license will be taken away. Whether or not it’s your first offense, you deserve a fair process in court.
Getting pulled over by the police is always intimidating. However, what might have been an uncomfortable, yet brief traffic stop turns into a nightmare when you realize an officer thinks you have been driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you are arrested, your life will change immediately. You must learn about your rights during a criminal case and figure out how to navigate your local court system. However, you do not have to do all of that alone.
Experienced and trusted North Carolina DWI lawyer Jonathan Breeden will thoroughly explain and protect your rights. He will review your situation thoroughly to prepare for the worst possible outcome in your case, while also building a strong defense to fight for the best possible outcome.
North Carolina law states that a person commits a DWI/DUI offense when they drive a vehicle on any public road or area in the state:
If you are 21 years old or older, then your BAC limit is .08 percent. If you are younger than 21 years old, then any alcohol in your blood can lead to a DWI charge. If you have a commercial driver’s license and you are in a commercial vehicle at the time of the stop, then your legal limit is .04 percent.
Also, keep in mind you can be charged with a DWI for being impaired by an impairing substance. This includes controlled substances, prescription medications, and over-the-counter drugs. You could face a serious DWI charge without a drop of alcohol in your system.
When you are pulled over by the police and suspected of a DWI/DUI, the best way to protect yourself is to understand your rights and invoke them. When you are interacting with the police, before or after an arrest, you have the right to:
If you refuse an official breath test after you have been arrested for a DWI, you can be punished civilly. The most common penalty is to have your driver’s license revoked for up to one yearafter refusing one of these tests.
If you refuse a warrantless blood test, you can only face civil – and not criminal – consequences. You may have your driver’s license revoked, but you cannot face an additional penalty for a DWI after a chemical test refusal but you can still be charged with DWI if the officer has enough other evidence to establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence. However, if the police obtain a warrant requiring you to provide a blood sample, your refusal could lead to a number of legal issues and penalties.
During a traffic stop, police officers may ask you to submit to one or more field sobriety tests (FSTs). There are three FSTs that have been standard by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
You have the right to refuse to take any of these tests. Unlike with chemical tests, North Carolina’s implied consent law does not apply to these FSTs. You cannot be penalized for refusing to take an FST. However, if you did not know this and submitted to one or more FSTs before your DWI arrest, contact North Carolina DWI lawyer Jonathan Breeden right away.
Before you can be sentenced for committing a DWI in North Carolina, the judge must determine whether there are any mitigating, aggravating, or grossly aggravating factors present in your case. Mitigating factors are those that can minimize the consequences of your conviction. They include:
Aggravating factors are those that make your situation worse and can increase your penalty, including:
Grossly aggravating factors are much more serious than aggravating factors, and can lead to a more serious charge and harsher punishments. These types of factors include:
The level of the DWI offense determines the potential punishment. All DWI convictions carry a minimum of a one year suspension of your driver’s license.
When you have been charged with a DWI offense, you need to speak with an experienced and skilled North Carolina DWI lawyer about the defenses that may apply to your case. You may be able to argue that the original traffic stop was a violation of your constitutional rights. Similarly, if you were arrested during a roadblock, there may be evidence that it was not a legal DUI check point. Based on the evidence against you, your DUI lawyer also may be able to challenge the results of a BAC test, or one or more FSTs.
Facing a DWI charge is a serious situation. However, there are many ways to fight for your exoneration or to minimize the impact of a conviction. For more information on potential DWI defenses, contact attorney Jonathan Breeden today. Contact Breeden Law Office online, or call (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 661-4970