Being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be very scary and confusing. After the North Carolina General Assembly reduced the legal limit from .10% to .08%, many people received a rude awakening. What should you do first? Will you lose your license? What may happen to you? Contact us immediately at (704) 552-4444 to get things under control.
The prosecution has the burden of showing that there was reasonable suspicion for the police officer to stop your car and investigate. Additionally, the prosecution must show that there was probable cause for them to arrest you. Even if the State is able to meet these burdens, they still have to prove each and every element of DWI beyond a reasonable doubt. First, it must be proved that you were driving. Second, that you were driving on a public street or highway. Third, that either you were under the influence of an impairing substance, or that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at or above the North Carolina legal limit of .08% at any relevant time when operating a motor vehicle. The prosecution must prove that your physical and/or mental abilities were impaired to an appreciable extent by the use of an intoxicating substance while you were operating a motor vehicle. Only an experienced attorney should guide you through this process. Winning a small battle can win the war in terms of receiving a verdict of "Not Guilty."
The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can largely affect your life after being charged with DWI. Due to the "Implied Consent" law of North Carolina which requires all licensed drivers to submit to a chemical test if law enforcement officers believe drivers are driving while under the influence of an impairing substance, refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test can cause your license to be suspended for one (1) year. Under North Carolina General Statute §20-16.5(e), receiving a .08% or higher can suspend your license for thirty (30) days from the date of your arrest. Subsequently being convicted of DWI can further suspend your license for up to three (3) years, and even permanently suspend your license. In addition to losing your license privilege, you may face extremely harsh criminal penalties, including jail time.
A DWI charge will result in an initial 30-day civil revocation of your driving privilege. This revocation typically begins on the day of the Charlotte DWI stop (or sometimes the next day if the stop occurs late at night). For a first time DWI conviction, your driving privileges will be suspended for 1-year upon the date of conviction. That said, there are Limited Driving Privileges available to mitigate these harsh effects. There are two (2) types of driving privileges in regard to Driving While Impaired. The first privilege, commonly known as the "20-Day Privilage," allows clients to get driving privileges after the 10th day of the 30-day revocation. The second privilege is for post-conviction, as DWI convictions result in a 1-year suspension. To get a limited driving privilege, it must be shown that you meet the eligibility requirements of NC law. If the privilege is granted, the hours of your privilege are typically 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM unless exceptions are made based on employment.
An ignition interlock device is used as a punishment and deterrent to those who reach a certain level upon being convicted of DWI. This device measures the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver, requiring the driver to blow into the device before starting the car. The car will not start if the driver's BAC is over a certain level. Additionally, the driver must give breath samples during the drive, preventing another person from giving the initial blow to start the car. In North Carolina, an ignition interlock device is required if you are convicted of DWI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. The NC DMV will not allow you to obtain a NC driver's license, or even obtain a driving privilege, until the ignition interlock system is installed in your car. This device is costly as there can be an installation fee as well as monthly fees.
If you have been arrested for Driving While Impaired (DWI), you should immediately contact RTS Law Group, a criminal defense firm that defends DWI's on a daily basis. The reality is that North Carolina is an extremely strict state in regard to the laws and penalties involving impaired driving (even if the impairing substance is a lawfully prescribed medication). A DWI conviction can result in fines, the loss of your driver's license, a significant increase in your insurance premiums, and potentially jail time, even for a first offense. Repeated DWI convictions could result in an extended prison sentence. Additionally, this complex area of law is extremely time-sensitive. Protect yourself by contacting RTS Law Group immediately @ (704) 552-4444.