Facing a possible criminal conviction for a DWI in North Carolina can be overwhelming, particularly if it is the first time you have been arrested. A criminal defense attorney in your area can review your case and prepare a defense strategy to reduce your sentence or have your charges dropped entirely.
Are DWIs misdemeanors or felonies in North Carolina?
Driving while intoxicated is generally classified as a misdemeanor, ranging from Level V (the least serious) to Level I (the most serious). A Level V DWI conviction can result in up to $200 in fines and a minimum of 24 hours in jail (but up to 60 days maximum). The judge may limit the jail term to 24 hours if the driver completes community service and does not drive for 30 days.
However, drivers with three prior DWI offenses within the past seven years can be charged with a felony and will face a minimum of one year in jail and/or rehabilitation.
How can I defend against DWI charges?
The specific strategy used to defend against your DWI charges will depend on the circumstances of your case. Your attorney will review all the facts of your case to determine which defense strategy will work best for you. These are some of the common defenses used in DWI cases:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion – If an officer stopped your vehicle, they must have reasonable suspicion that you were engaged in criminal activity. If the officer did not see you violate a traffic law or drive recklessly, or otherwise engage in illegal behavior, they may not have had reason to pull you over, and therefore, any evidence collected during the traffic stop would be inadmissible.
- Improper administration of tests – Officers must abide by certain protocols when administering field sobriety tests and breath and chemical tests during a DWI stop. Failure to follow these protocols could render the test results inaccurate and inadmissible in court.
- Improper calibration of breath test devices – Breathalyzer devices are sensitive and need to be calibrated properly before use. Failure to properly maintain the device could result in inaccurate blood alcohol concentration results.
Being arrested for a DUI does not mean that you will be convicted. An attorney specializing in DWI defense can help fight for you in court.