BAC of 0.14 vs. 0.15: Why is this important?

The distinction between a 0.14 blood alcohol content vs. 0.15 blood alcohol content, is critical if convicted of DWI in NC.  If 0.15 or higher, defendants could face not only a 45-day waiting period before having any ability to drive, but they may also be required to have an Ignition Interlock System installed on their vehicle.  **This situation discussed below will assume there are no outside factors other than being arrested for DWI for the first time.  Other factors, especially prior DWI convictions, can further complicate the issue.  

45-Day Waiting Period

Upon the gavel hitting the bench, no driving for 45 days, period.  If you are found guilty of DWI and a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or greater is accepted into evidence, there is a mandatory 45-day waiting period before being eligible for a Limited-Driving Privilege.  This is crucial for individuals that need to drive, especially for their job or for family purposes.  If there is any way to fight against the BAC being admitted into evidence, this is where attorneys prove their value.  NCGS 20-139.1 states, specifically in b(2) and b(3) that preventative maintenance needs to be performed according to standards, and that the two (2) sequential BAC readings shall not be off by more than 0.02.  These issues, as well as a host of others, are what attorneys routinely verify and argue about during trials and pre-trial motions.

Ignition Interlock System Installed on Vehicle

Additionally, adding insult to injury, the DMV requires that anyone blowing a 0.15 or higher BAC to install an Ignition Interlock System on their vehicle for a period of one (1) year.  See the following government form, Officer’s Affidavit, that routinely gets sent to the DMV after a DWI charge:  Affidavit  Number 12 is the notable box here, and if it is checked and submitted to the DMV, it may not even matter if one is convicted or not.  The DMV is it’s own entity and could require the defendant to install an Ignition Interlock System anyway.  This machine requires an initial blow to start the vehicle, and random blows during the drive.  In additional to being considered embarrassing, there is also a monthly cost, as well as an installment cost.  Not only that, but if the system traces alcohol at any time, it may trigger a violation that could suspend your license, unless a hearing is requested.

In summary, 0.14 vs. 0.15 is a huge distinction.  This could save embarrassment, cost, a long suspension, and could even be the difference between being found guilty or not guilty.

Attorney Ryan T. Smith