As in many states, DWI (driving while impaired) laws in North Carolina have become increasingly strict. Law enforcement has two options to prove an individual was driving while impaired. The first is to test the level of alcohol in the driver’s blood. This is referred to as the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. A BAC of .08 or higher is considered legally intoxicated. If the driver is under the age of 21 and shows the presence of any alcohol, he or she will be arrested for DWI. The second option open to law enforcement officers is to prove the driver’s physical and/or mental condition are “appreciably impaired” by alcohol, drugs or some combination thereof. This is typically done using various tests done at the scene. Refusal to submit to the tests will result in an immediate revocation of driving privileges.
A DWI can involve alcohol or drug charges or both. When a person is arrested for DWI he/she may immediately lose his or her driving privileges. Additionally, if convicted the loss of driving privileges for one year is mandatory. An experienced DWI attorney is needed to analyze the legality of the traffic stop, the evidence against you, and any other contributing factors. The result of a conviction has long ranging impact upon your life and great care should be taken not to ‘just plead guilty’. If you have had a prior DWI it is crucial you seek immediate legal advice from a DWI attorney as with any such charge, first, second or third, there is a chance of real jail time.