North Carolina law enforcement and district attorney offices aggressively pursue driving while impaired (DWI) charges. Raleigh in particular take an aggressive stance, and the Wake County District Attorney office does not negotiate DWI charges. Punishment in the event of a conviction ranges anywhere from community service to three years in custody. Thus, our firm aggressively defends our clients.
Attorney Landon White manages the firm’s DWI defense practice. He has received extensive training in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drugged Driving. Landon White’s training comes from a former police officer who trained current officers in SFSTs and current drug recognition experts (DREs).
Potential DWI Defenses. A successful DWI defense begins with a thorough analysis of the evidence for weak spots or mistakes with the prosecution’s case against you. Challenges and defenses could lead to the dismissal of the DWI charge or suppression of evidence.
Justification to Stop the Vehicle. A stopping officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity to stop a vehicle. This is more than a hunch that criminal activity is afoot.
Checkpoints. A checkpoint is an unconstitutional seizure that will only be allowed if reasonably administered. Checkpoint plans and the actions of the officers present at the checkpoint should be scrutinized.
Justification to Arrest the Driver. An arresting officer must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed in order to make an arrest. If the officer did not properly administer the SFSTs they are not reliable and insufficient to support the arrest. Normal driving and normal behavior is indicative of lack of impairment, undermining probable cause to arrest. To make an arrest the arresting officer needs more than an odor of alcohol or an admission to drinking.
Other Violations of your Rights. Various other areas throughout the DWI investigation could lead to suppression of evidence, such as the BAC number, or dismissal of the DWI.
Not Guilty. The State has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high bar that cannot always be met, even if the State overcomes the pretrial challenges above. A BAC of .08 or above does not preclude a finding of not guilty.
Drugged Driving. North Carolina charges, prosecutes, and punishes driving while impaired due to a controlled substance the same as driving while impaired due to alcohol. Proving drugged driving cases is more difficult than proving an alcohol DWI case. If a stopping or arresting officer suspects impairment due to drugs he should call a DRE for a full DRE evaluation. Driving while impaired due to a lawfully prescribed medication can still lead to DWI charges.
Punishment. Punishment for a Level 5 DWI can be as low as fines, driver license suspension, and community service. Aggravated Level 1 punishment could be as high as 3 years in custody. Contact Landon White for a free consultation to discuss your DWI and anticipated punishment.
Driving Privileges. When an arrestee registers a BAC of .08 or above or refuses the Intoxilyzer there is a 30-day civil revocation suspending driving privileges. Following conviction a driver license suspension could be 12 months, 4 years, or permanent. Limited driving privileges are available in most cases, though some with conditions such as an ignition interlock device or a period without driving privileges. Contact Landon White for a free consultation to discuss your driving privileges.