Driving while impaired (DWI) charges can have serious consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. With the right strategy and the help of an experienced DWI defense attorney, you may be able to get your DWI charges dismissed or reduced.
The DWI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker are providing tips on how to get a DWI dismissed in NC. From understanding the legal process to building a strong defense, we’ll cover everything you need to know to increase your chances of a successful outcome.
If you’re facing a DWI charge for drunk driving in North Carolina, read on to learn how you can potentially get your case dismissed and move on with your life.
Understanding DWI Charges
DWI occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If a police officer arrests you for DWI, it’s important to understand the charges, potential consequences, and legal defenses available to you.
Types of DWI Charges in NC
There are several types of DWI charges in North Carolina, including:
- Level 5 DWI: This is the least severe DWI charge and applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
- Level 4 DWI: This charge applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher and aggravating factors, such as reckless driving or driving with a revoked license.
- Level 3 DWI: This charge applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher and two or more prior DWI convictions within the past seven years.
- Level 2 DWI: This charge applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher and aggravating factors such as causing serious injury or death to another person while driving under the influence.
- Level 1 DWI: This is the most severe DWI charge and applies to drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher and aggravating factors such as causing serious injury or death to another person while driving under the influence and having three or more prior DWI convictions.
Consequences of a DWI Arrest and Conviction
The consequences of a DWI arrest and conviction in North Carolina can be severe and life-changing.
They can include:
- License suspension
- Jail time
- Ignition interlock device
- Increased insurance rates
What Percentage of DWI Cases are Dismissed in NC?
According to statistics from the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, in 2019, 26.9% of DWI cases were dismissed. However, this does not necessarily mean that these cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence or other factors that could lead to a successful defense.
Choosing the Right DWI Defense Attorney
When facing a DWI charge, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the right DWI defense attorney. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system, build a strong defense, and potentially get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Qualities to Look for in a DWI Defense Attorney
When it comes to looking for the perfect DWI defense lawyer to represent your case in court, there are several qualities to look for, including:
- Experience: Look for an attorney who has experience specifically in DWI defense. They should have a proven track record of success in representing clients in DWI cases.
- Communication skills: Your attorney should be able to communicate clearly and effectively with you throughout the legal process, keeping you informed of your options and the potential outcomes of your case.
- Knowledge of the law: Your attorney should have a deep understanding of North Carolina DWI laws and how they apply to your case.
- Attention to detail: DWI cases can be complex, so it’s important to choose an attorney who is detail-oriented and can thoroughly review all evidence and documentation related to your case.
- Compassion: Facing a DWI charge can be a stressful and emotional experience, so it’s important to choose an attorney who is empathetic and supportive throughout the legal process.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a DWI Defense Attorney
If this is your first experience with a criminal case or the first time you’ve had to secure legal representation for charges against you, it can seem overwhelming considering all the people and law firms in your area who might take your case.
When meeting with potential attorneys to represent you for your DWI charges, we suggest asking the following types of questions to determine if a lawyer is a right match for you and your case:
- What is your experience in handling DWI cases? Can you provide examples of successful outcomes in similar cases?
- What is your strategy for defending my case? Can you explain the steps you will take to build a strong defense on my behalf?
- What are the potential outcomes of my case, and what are the factors that could impact the outcome?
- What are your fees, and how do you structure your payment arrangements?
- How often will you communicate with me throughout the legal process, and what is the best way to reach you if I have questions or concerns?
Importance of Hiring a Local Attorney with Experience in DWI Defense
When choosing a DWI defense attorney, it’s important to select someone who is familiar with the local court system and has experience working with local judges and prosecutors. This can give you an advantage in building a strong defense and negotiating a favorable outcome. Additionally, a local attorney will be more familiar with the specific nuances of North Carolina DWI laws and how they are applied in your area. This can help ensure that your defense is tailored to the unique circumstances of your case and has the best chance of success.
Building a Strong Defense
When facing DWI charges, it’s important to build a strong defense to potentially get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Case
One of the most important steps in building a strong defense is gathering evidence to support your case.
This may include:
- Witness statements: If there were witnesses to the incident, it’s important to obtain their statements to determine if they observed anything that could support your defense.
- Surveillance footage: If there is any surveillance footage of the incident, it can be reviewed to identify any discrepancies in the police report or to support your version of events.
- Medical records: If you were injured in the incident or required medical attention, medical records can be used to support your defense.
- Breathalyzer or blood test results: If there are any discrepancies in the breathalyzer or blood test results, they can be used to question the accuracy of the test and potentially support your defense.
Examining Police Reports and Witness Statements
Police report and witness statements can provide important information that can be used to build a strong defense.
Some factors to examine include:
- Accuracy of police reports: Police reports should be reviewed to ensure that all details are accurate and that there are no discrepancies or errors.
- Field sobriety tests: If you were given a field sobriety test, it’s important to review the test results to determine if there were any errors or inaccuracies.
- Witness statements: Witness statements should be examined to identify any inconsistencies or discrepancies in the police report.
Working with Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses can provide valuable testimony to support your defense.
Some examples of expert witnesses include:
- Toxicologists: Toxicologists can be used to question the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results.
- Accident reconstruction experts: If there was an accident involved in the incident, an accident reconstruction expert can be used to provide testimony regarding the cause of the accident.
- Medical experts: If you were injured in the incident, a medical expert can provide testimony regarding the extent of your injuries and how they may have impacted your ability to operate a vehicle.
Challenging the DWI Charges
Challenging DWI charges can be a complex and difficult process, but it is often the most effective way to potentially get the charges dismissed or reduced.
Questioning the Legality of the Traffic Stop
Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed in order to initiate a traffic stop. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or violated your rights in some other way, it may be possible to get the charges dismissed.
Challenging the Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are often used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is impaired. However, these tests can be inaccurate, and there are many factors that can affect a driver’s ability to perform them. Challenging the accuracy of field sobriety tests can involve examining the test results, questioning the officer’s administration of the tests, or calling into question the validity of the tests themselves.
Challenging the Results of Breathalyzer and Blood Tests
Breathalyzers and blood tests are often used to measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and determine if they are impaired. However, these tests can be inaccurate, and there are many factors that can affect their accuracy. Challenging the results of breathalyzer and blood tests can involve questioning the accuracy of the tests themselves, examining the conditions under which they were administered, or calling into question the validity of the testing equipment.
Negotiating with the Prosecution
Negotiating with the prosecution is a common strategy in DWI cases. It involves working with the prosecutor to potentially get your charges reduced or dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea or some other form of concession.
Plea Bargaining Options
Plea bargaining is the most common form of negotiation in DWI cases. It involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge or agreeing to a lighter sentence in exchange for a reduction or dismissal of the original charges. The specific plea bargaining options will depend on the circumstances of your case and the discretion of the prosecutor.
Factors that Can Affect Plea Bargaining
There are several factors that can affect the outcome of plea bargaining in DWI cases, including:
- The strength of the prosecution’s case: If the prosecution has strong evidence against you, they may be less willing to negotiate.
- Your criminal history: If you have a prior criminal history, the prosecution may be less willing to offer a favorable plea bargain.
- The severity of the charges: The severity of the charges can impact the likelihood and terms of a plea bargain.
- The discretion of the prosecutor: The prosecutor has discretion in determining whether to offer a plea bargain and what terms to offer.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Accepting a Plea Bargain
Some potential benefits of accepting a plea bargain include:
- Avoiding a trial: Accepting a plea bargain can help you avoid the stress, time, and expense of a trial.
- Reduced charges: A plea bargain can result in reduced charges, which can have less severe consequences than the original charges.
- Certainty: Accepting a plea bargain can provide a degree of certainty about the outcome of your case.
However, there are also potential drawbacks to accepting a plea bargain, including:
- Admitting guilt: Accepting a plea bargain involves admitting guilt, which can have personal and professional consequences.
- Reduced bargaining power: Accepting a plea bargain can reduce your bargaining power in future legal proceedings.
- Limited options: Accepting a plea bargain may limit your options for appealing or challenging the outcome of your case.
Ultimately, the decision to accept a plea bargain should be made in consultation with an experienced DWI defense attorney who can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.
Going to Trial for a DWI Case
If negotiations with the prosecution fail, going to trial may be necessary to fight DWI charges.
Here are some things to consider when going to trial for a DWI:
- Preparing for trial: Preparing for trial involves collecting evidence, identifying witnesses, and developing a strong defense strategy. It’s important to work with an experienced DWI defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and build a strong defense.
- The trial process: The trial process involves selecting a jury, presenting evidence, and making arguments to the judge or jury. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the trial process and what to expect.
- Potential outcomes: The potential outcomes of a trial include DWI sentencing such as a not guilty verdict, a guilty verdict, or a mistrial. It’s important to understand the potential consequences of each outcome and how they may impact your life.
Can I Represent Myself in a DWI Case?
While it is technically possible to represent yourself in a DWI case, it is generally not recommended. DWI cases can be complex and involve a lot of legal and scientific terminology. Additionally, the consequences of a DWI conviction can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. It is important to have an experienced DWI defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and build a strong defense.
Don’t Let a DWI Arrest Ruin Your Future: Contact our Experienced DWI Defense Attorney Today for a Free Consultation!
If you’ve been arrested for a DWI it’s important to act quickly so that it doesn’t ruin your future. The consequences of a DWI conviction can be severe, and it’s important to take action to protect your rights and build a strong defense.
Our experienced DWI defense attorneys at the Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker are here to help. With years of experience representing clients in DWI cases, we have the knowledge and skills to fight for your rights and potentially get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (919) 439-5104 or filling out the contact form below to get started.