Driving while impaired (DWI) is a serious charge in North Carolina and across the country. If you are found guilty, you will face numerous penalties that could have a negative impact on your life for years to come. Getting arrested for DWI is likely one of the worst experiences of your life. DWI laws are tough and are meant to deter people from getting behind the wheel when they are impaired. With such high stakes, you may realize that one of the best ways to resolve your DWI case is by getting the charges dismissed.
Understanding DWI Charges
First, it is important to understand DWI charges in North Carolina. North Carolina General Statutes 20-138.1 outlines DWI charges. You may get charged with DWI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, for driving with any amount of controlled substance in your system or driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance. North Carolina has a zero-tolerance law in place for drivers under the age of 21. Those drivers can be charged with DWI for having a BAC over 0.00%. Commercial drivers cannot have a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What happens if I am convicted of a DUI or DWI in Charlotte North Carolina?”
Can a DWI Charge Get Dismissed?
DWI charges are not often dismissed. One of the ways that a judge might dismiss DWI charges is if the police made mistakes during the traffic stop or arrest process. The police must have a legitimate reason to pull you over in the first place. This is called reasonable suspicion. A police officer cannot simply park outside a local watering hole and pull over cars for no reason. There are, however, many legitimate reasons why the police may stop a vehicle. Some of these include:
- Failure to maintain your lane
- Driving too closely to the vehicle ahead (tailgating)
- Driving with a malfunctioning headlight, taillight, or turn signal
- Crossing over the centerline of traffic
- Going through a red light
- Improper lane changes
- Causing a traffic accident
If you can prove that the police stopped you for anything other than reasonable suspicion, you might be able to seek a dismissal of DWI charges.
If there is not enough evidence to prove the DWI, the charges might be dropped. The police must obtain evidence in a lawful manner. When evidence is obtained unlawfully, your attorney may make a motion to suppress. When evidence is suppressed, it means that it cannot be used in the case against you. For instance, the law protects you from unlawful searches. If the police conducted an unlawful search, the evidence they obtained may not be used against you in your case. Without enough evidence, the state will not be able to prove the DWI case, and therefore, they may drop the charges.
What if I Have a Good Driving Record?
Many people are under the false belief that if they have a good driving record, the judge will dismiss DWI charges. That is not true. The judge will not dismiss DWI charges simply because you have a clean driving record. However, a good driving history could be beneficial when it comes to your sentence if guilty. You may get a more lenient sentence by showing mitigating factors, such as the fact that you have never had a previous DWI conviction.
DWI charges are serious and require a strong defense. If you were charged with DWI, you need help from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your case 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 face 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 defense of those facing criminal charges.
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