Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “How can an attorney help me with my DWI?”
It can happen to almost anyone. You are on your way home when you are stopped by police. A typical traffic stop can turn into DWI charges rather quickly. Suddenly, you find yourself in a difficult and terrifying situation. DWI, driving while impaired, is a serious charge. If convicted, you could face serious penalties that might impact every aspect of your life for years to come. When faced with this situation you may wonder what options are available to you and whether you can fight DWI charges. A skilled DWI attorney in North Carolina will assist you in defending these serious charges and help you resolve the matter as favorably as possible.
DWI, driving while impaired, is a charge that you may face when the police believe that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel. It is also commonly called driving under the influence, DUI. The police must determine whether to charge you with DUI. In order to charge you, the police must have probable cause to believe that you might be driving while impaired. Law enforcement typically uses several methods to make this determination. They often begin by simple observation. If they notice something such as slurred speech or the strong smell of alcohol, they will investigate further.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Standardized field sobriety tests, SFSTs, are simple tests that the police conduct to help them determine a level of impairment. There are several SFSTs that the police commonly conduct in possible DWI stops.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
- Walk and Turn (WAT)
- One-Leg Stand (OLS)
The HGN test requires you to follow a small light as the police move it across your line of vision. The WAT test is where you take nine steps, heel to toe, turn, and walk back in a straight line. The OLS test requires you to hold one leg out in front of you while you count. The tests are designed to show law enforcement possible impairment. Keep in mind that these tests are not used as scientific proof of impairment.
The police will ask you to take a breath test. A preliminary breath test, PBT, is the type of fast test completed at the scene of the traffic stop. With a PBT, the police ask you to blow into a portable breath test unit to obtain a reading. The legal limit for those over the age of 21 is 0.08% BAC. Blood alcohol concentration is the percentage of alcohol present in the bloodstream. The PBT test is not as accurate as the regular breathalyzer test that they perform at the police station. Keep in mind that if you refuse FSTs at the traffic stop the police may still bring you to the station for suspicion of DWI. The refusal of a standard DWI breath, blood, or urine test may result in separate charges or penalties.
What to Do About DWI Charges
DWI charges are serious and therefore, it is usually in your best interest to fight the charges with help from a skilled DWI attorney in North Carolina. It is a good idea to contact an attorney as soon after your arrest as possible. You do not have to answer questions from the police without an attorney present.
Regardless of the situation, your lawyer might be able to help. In some cases, the police did not gather the evidence of your impairment properly and it cannot be used against you. Sometimes, the test was conducted improperly or the results were not adequately evaluated. In some instances, there are medical or physical conditions that caused you to fail a particular FST. There are other issues that could make it possible for the charges to be reduced or withdrawn.
If you were charged with DWI, do not delay. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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