If you have been arrested for driving while impaired (DWI) in Raleigh, you need to take your situation seriously. Not only can a DWI conviction lead to thousands of dollars in costs and fines, along with possible jail time, but it can also affect your insurance rates, your academic eligibility and in some cases even your ability to land a job. To avoid the life-long consequences that can come with a conviction for DWI, it is imperative that you present the strongest possible defense in plea negotiations and at trial.
Potential Defenses to DWI in North Carolina
There are many possible defenses to DWI charges in North Carolina. Depending on the facts of your case and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, your defense lawyer may be able to argue one or more of the following:
Faulty Breathalyzer Test Results
Breathalyzers are designed to test blood alcohol content (BAC) based on breath samples from the deep lungs. As a result, police officers should wait at least 15 minutes from the time of arrest before administering breathalyzer tests. If you recently had alcohol in your mouth (including breach fresheners and mouthwash), the breathalyzer may read the alcohol content of the breath in your mouth rather than the breath in your lungs. This is not an accurate measure of BAC.
Faulty Field Sobriety Test Results
If a police officer suspects that you may be alcohol-impaired after pulling you over, he or she may ask you to complete a number of different field sobriety tests. However, the police cannot force you to take these tests. If you were forced to complete a field sobriety test, this may have been a violation of your rights.
In addition, only certain types of field sobriety tests have been proven to be scientifically reliable. These are the:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test
- Walk-and-Turn Test
- One-Leg Stand Test
If your arresting officer failed to follow proper procedure with these tests, or if he or she used any other form of field sobriety test, the results may be invalid for proving that you are guilty of DWI.
Unlawful Search or Seizure
Search and seizure are complex areas of Constitutional law that provide crucial protections for criminal defendants – including individuals charged with DWI. If the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause, these could be grounds to have your charges dismissed. To learn more, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.
These are just a few examples of the many possible defenses to DWI. Before making any decisions about your case, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer for a thorough evaluation of your defense options and legal rights.
Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC | Raleigh DWI Lawyers
The criminal defense lawyers at Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC provide experienced legal representation for individuals facing DWI charges in the Raleigh area. To schedule a consultation about your DWI defense, call (919) 833-3114 or contact us online today.