Basic Steps That Happen in Your DWI Court Case

DWI Cases in North CarolinaIf you have been charged with driving while impaired (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) in North Carolina, you may be facing criminal charges for the first time. It can be more frightening going through the process of fighting your charges if you do not have an idea of what will happen in your criminal case. Here, we explain the basic steps that you can expect to happen after your arrest.

What You Need to Know About Your North Carolina DWI Case

After your arrest, you will be required to submit to a chemical test under North Carolina’s implied consent law. If you refuse to take this test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. You will also be booked where you will be fingerprinted, searched, and have your belongings confiscated until your release from jail. Then you will be placed in a holding cell until you are no longer impaired or until your first hearing. Here are the steps that will occur in your criminal case:

  • Arraignment. Your arraignment will be the first court hearing in your criminal case. At that hearing, the judge will read the charges against you, and you will enter a plea. In addition, the judge will set the bail amount that you will need to pay to be released from jail. You may also be released on your recognizance, which means that an order requiring you to attend other court hearings is issued, and you are released on your promise to come to these court hearings without being required to post bail.
  • Preliminary hearing. This is a court hearing where the prosecutor presents the evidence of your intoxication to show that there is sufficient evidence to convict you. The judge makes a ruling at the end of the hearing on whether there is enough evidence against you to continue the case. In some cases, a person charged with DWI may waive this hearing.
  • Pre-trial motions. Before your case goes to trial, your attorney may file pre-trial motions, such as to dismiss the case against you or to suppress evidence that was improperly collected. The specific motions filed in your case—if any—will depend on the circumstances of your arrest.
  • Plea bargaining. Depending on the facts of your case and your defenses, you and your attorney may decide that it is in your best interests to try to enter into a plea agreement. This may result in the charges against you being reduced in exchange for your guilty plea or an agreement on the reduction of your sentence.
  • Trial. If your case is not dismissed and you do not enter into a plea bargain, your case will be set for trial in front of a jury or the judge. At that hearing, the prosecutor and your attorney will present testimony and other evidence and give opening and closing statements as to why you should or should not be found guilty. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury would deliver a verdict.
  • Sentencing. There will be a sentencing hearing if you enter into a plea agreement or are found guilty. Your sentence will be based on whether this is a first, second, third, or additional offense, and a number of aggravating, grossly aggravating, and mitigating factors. You could face a jail sentence, a hefty fine, probation, suspension of your driver’s license, and more.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Representing Yourself in Your DWI Case

You face harsh penalties if you are convicted of DUI or DWI in North Carolina, and a conviction will also result in a permanent criminal record that can affect your life on a long-term basis. Because of this, you cannot afford to try to represent yourself and just plead guilty. You need the assistance of an experienced drunk driving attorney who can build a strong defense to the charges you face—whether you are guilty or innocent. To learn how we can help you and what to expect in your criminal case, start an online chat to schedule your free case evaluation.


Howard W. Long, II
Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer
Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment

Our Approach To DWI Cases

Simply being charged with DWI in North Carolina often results in your driver’s license being revoked for a minimum of 30 days. However, we can typically get your driving privileges reinstated almost immediately. We do this by either, first, challenging this civil license revocation, or second, getting you a limited driving privilege.
Defend My Case
Whether you realize it or not, a considerable amount of evidence exists regarding your DWI charge, much of which is vital to an effective defense of your case. We will review your court file, subpoena necessary documents, videos, and notes, and file the appropriate pretrial motions in a timely manner.
Defend My Case
As former prosecutors, we are aware of all the potential defenses that may be available to you. We do not automatically assume you intend to plead guilty and face the harsh consequences associated with a DWI conviction. We pledge we will examine every possible defense and take your case to trial if it is in your best interest.
Defend My Case
While it’s our goal to win every DWI case we have, it’s simply not possible for any attorney to win every time. If you are ultimately convicted of DWI, we will help you take every step possible to reduce the potential penalties, such as avoiding jail time, keeping you driving, reducing monetary costs, and more.
Defend My Case