Impaired Driving in Raleigh, NC
In the state of Wake County, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or while under the influence of an impairing substance. If a commercial motor vehicle is involved, the legal BAC limit is 0.00. A DWI conviction is punishable by mandatory substance abuse counseling, fines, jail time, probation and/or license suspension.
Typically, there are three key issues in a DWI case, any or all of which can be challenged by a defense attorney:
1. The Stop (did the police have reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to stop the vehicle?)
2. Probable Cause (did the police have probable cause to arrest the driver for impaired driving
3. Evidence of Impairment (breath or blood test)
Having an experienced Raleigh criminal defense attorney on your side can make a critical difference in the outcome of your DWI case.
North Carolina DWI Laws
State statutes outline punishments for the following DWI offenses:
- Impaired driving
- Operating a commercial vehicle, school bus, child care vehicle, or student activity bus after consuming alcohol
- Possession of alcoholic beverages while operating a commercial vehicle
- Driving a motor vehicle while impaired and under the age of 21
- Habitual impaired driving
- Transporting an open container of alcoholic beverage
A DUI offense in North Carolina is either a misdemeanor or a felony death by vehicle. Some of the factors that may affect sentencing include BAC at the time of the arrest, prior convictions, and whether anyone was killed as a result of the DWI.
The First Conviction of DWI
Upon a first conviction of DWI, with no grossly aggravating factors present, the defendant might face the following punishment:
- one year suspension of license
- 24 hours of community service or one day in jail, whichever the defendent chooses, although the statute allows for up to 60 days in jail
- supervised or unsupervised probation for one year, depending on the judge
- court costs and a fine up to $200
- obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with any treatment recommended
- a 12-point insurance premium increase, which amounts to a jump of 400%
First time DWI offenders are eligible to obtain a limited driving privilege to drive to work and for basic household purposes during certain hours. If the intoxilyzer shows a breath alcohol concentration of .16 or higher, the statute requires that the offender install an interlock device. The interlock is a device the driver of the vehicle must blow into upon startup.
The Repeat DWI Offender
Upon a second conviction within seven years for DWI, the offender must be sentenced to seven days in jail and may be sentenced up to two years in prison, depending on if there are other grossly aggravating factors present. Upon a second offense, the offender is not eligible for a limited driving privilege.
Factors which add to the severity of a DWI offense include:
- a child under age 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense
- the defendant’s driver’s license was in a period of revocations for a previous DWI offense at the time of the present offense
- the defendant’s driving was especially careless and reckless
- the defendant was involved in an accident that resulted in bodily injury
Underage Drinking and Driving
A conviction for any amount of alcohol on an underage driver’s breath results in a one year loss of license.
Contact Curtis R. High, Attorney at Law
When you’ve been arrested for DWI, there are a number of possible defenses to explore and various factors to consider. At each step of the legal process, Curtis R. High can provide the legal representation you need to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact Mr. High a Raleigh DWI attorney today to schedule a consultation.