DWI, Traffic Offense & DMV Hearings
You can fight DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges, even if you blew a 0.08 or higher on a breathalyzer test. Depending on your situation, there may be a variety of strategies that you can use. The criminal defense lawyers at Crosswhite, Crosswhite & Johnson, PLLC know how to explore the details of your circumstances and help you decide on a sensible course of action. We help individuals in Statesville and surrounding communities throughout North Carolina fight the charges against them. Many of our clients come from Mooresville, Taylorsville, and Mocksville, as well as other areas of Alexander and Davie Counties.DWI Convictions Can Lead to Serious Consequences
State law makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above. When you have been charged with DWI, the impact may be felt immediately. You will lose your license for 30 days before you are even allowed to plead your case, but an attorney can help you seek a work license or a limited driving privilege.
If you are found guilty of DWI, you will be punished under North Carolina’s six level system of drunk driving laws. Penalties range from probation and a fine of $100 all the way up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the most aggravated offense. Your driving privileges may be revoked for up to a year, and insurance costs can soar by as much as 400 percent.
Incarceration can lead to the loss of your job and your home, and it can strain personal relationships. A DWI conviction also means you may have to explain your criminal record when you apply for future jobs, and you may have more difficulty securing some positions. It can take years to get your life back to normal. However, a skilled lawyer can work to reduce your penalties, negotiate a lesser charge, or potentially obtain a verdict of “not guilty,” depending on your situation. There are a number of important defenses that a DWI attorney can assert on your behalf.Defenses to Charges of Impaired Driving
The initial police stop that resulted in your arrest might have violated your rights. North Carolina recognizes the principle of “implied consent,” which provides that any driver must submit to a blood alcohol test. However, in order to pull you over, police must have something called a “reasonably articulable suspicion” that you are committing an offense. This must amount to more than a mere guess or hunch. Although police are allowed to set up DWI roadblocks, these stops must be properly executed to be valid.
When police arrest you, they must have evidence that led them to suspect that you were most likely engaging in criminal activity. This suspicion could be based on field sobriety tests, which are easy to misinterpret, and dashboard camera footage may show that these tests were incorrectly conducted.
Your breathalyzer test also may have been improperly administered. Most people are given a portable breathalyzer test and then a second test on an Intox EC/IR II breath test (an “Intoximeter” test). The prosecutor must prove that all tests were correctly performed by trained officers, using properly maintained and calibrated equipment. Officers must administer these tests more than once and provide a resting period between them. If the results vary by more than 0.02, the tests must be run again.
When police fail to follow proper procedures, evidence against you can be suppressed, and your charges may be reduced or dismissed. Moreover, you should know that the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that, most importantly, the law does not require you to prove that you are innocent of the chargesMitigating and Aggravating Factors
Even if you are found guilty, you can potentially make arguments to reduce your penalty under North Carolina’s “five-level” system of DWI sentences. Your attorney may be able to illuminate any mitigating factors that apply to your case, such as a voluntary submission to the blood alcohol test, a slight degree of impairment, and a safe driving record. The prosecutor may choose to highlight any aggravating factors that are relevant, such as a high blood alcohol concentration, injuries caused by your driving, and the presence of a minor or other vulnerable person in your vehicle. These issues may directly influence the severity of your punishment.Seek Capable Legal Guidance When Facing DWI Charges in Iredell County
The DWI attorneys of Crosswhite, Crosswhite & Johnson, PLLC work hard to defend your rights across Iredell County, as well as in other areas including Charlotte and Winston-Salem. Considering the serious potential consequences of a conviction, you should make sure to enlist a legal team that has considerable experience in fighting these types of charges. Schedule a free consultation by calling Crosswhite, Crosswhite & Johnson, PLLC at (704) 873-7233. You can also use the contact form on this site.