People get behind the wheel after drinking for many reasons. In some cases, the driver didn’t even realize he was impaired, or thought enough time had passed and he was safe to drive. Sometimes, a person just makes a bad choice. Regardless of what led to the arrest, facing driving while impaired (DWI) charges in North Carolina is a serious matter, even if it’s your first run in with the law. State laws are strict when it comes to drunk driving, and law enforcement is increasingly vigilant. During just one night’s checkpoint in Mecklenburg County during the summer of 2016, officers cited 31 drivers in a 4-hour-period and arrested seven people for DWI. If you have been charged with drunk driving, however, there may be legal options available to help you minimize the negative consequences and move forward with your life.
The lawyers at the law offices of Browning & Long, PLLC are here to help you do just that. Todd Browning and Howard Long have represented many individuals charged with a DWI and have helped achieve outcomes that meet their personal and legal goals. Their years of experience as assistant district attorneys make them uniquely prepared to offer effective guidance and form a plan that will help you mitigate your situation. If you are facing a drunk driving charge, call our Charlotte office today at (980) 207-3355 to learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and your future.
BAC, Sobriety Tests, and DWI Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina law denotes drunk driving charges as driving while impaired, or DWI. The law largely defines impairment as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. For those under 21 years old, any amount of alcohol in one’s system would constitute driving after consuming by a person under 21, an implied consent offense similar to impaired driving. Additionally, anyone affected by alcohol or drugs while driving could also be charged with DWI.
Typically, law enforcement officers will conduct field sobriety tests at the time the vehicle is pulled over to determine if the driver is impaired. These tests can vary, but often examine motor skills, attention and focus. Many times officers will ask a driver to participate in a breath or blood test, or even a urine sample, once arrested. Refusal of this test can result in the immediate loss of licensure for a period of time.
Unfortunately, the system is set up in such a way that it can be very difficult to pass, and refusal to comply with the tests most often results in loss of licensure and/or arrest. Despite this, these tests are very subjective. As such, it is possible to dispute the results with the help of a skilled attorney with the knowledge of local DWI law. If you or someone you love has been arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, the attorneys at Browning & Long, PLLC may be able to help. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form for a prompt response from a member of our team.
Penalties For Drunk Driving Charges and DWI Conviction
The consequences of a DWI conviction in North Carolina can be severe and long-lasting. Even first time offenders can face strict penalties. The law allows a range of punishment for a DWI offense, including:
- Loss of driving privileges.
- Installation of an ignition interlock system on your vehicle.
- Reduced threshold for BAC in the future.
- Vehicle seizure.
- Jail time.
In addition, many people charged with a DWI also experience employment, school, military, and other long-term consequences. Social embarrassment also plays a role for many of those facing drunk driving charges. However, not every DWI case will result in these severe outcomes. Our skilled attorneys can help you evaluate your situation and determine how to proceed. We can decide on viable legal options that can minimize these negative outcomes to help you protect yourself and your livelihood.
How Our Charlotte DWI Attorneys Can Help
A skilled lawyer can help DWI clients fight their charge and achieve the best possible outcome for each unique case. The legal team at Browning & Long, PLLC work hard to address each case with a personalized and creative approach. We can offer guidance and dispute the charges on your behalf, including addressing:
Field Sobriety Tests
As previously mentioned, the field sobriety tests can be subjective. Many of the different aspects of the tests can be disputed in court. Our legal team will work to examine your field tests and determine how best to approach them.
Level of DWI Charge and Sentencing
DWI charges in the state are rated from Aggravated Level 1 to Level 5, with Aggravated Level 1 being the most serious charge. The details of the arrest and the consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors can play a role in the determination of the severity of the DWI. These factors can include gross impairment, reckless driving, and excessive speed. Mitigating factors would have an opposite effect. A prior safe driving record, slight impairment, and complying with previous court orders could be mitigating factors.
Driving Privileges and License Suspension After DWI
State law often dictates an immediate suspension of driving privileges when arrested for DWI. The time frame for reinstatement can vary, depending on a number of factors. The legal team at Browning & Long, PLLC can help you take prompt action to protect your driving privileges as much as possible, by contesting the revocation or seeking certain limited privileges. This process is very detailed and any mistake can delay one’s ability to get back behind the wheel.
If You Have Been Arrested for DWI in Charlotte, We Can Help You.
There are many factors to consider when facing a DWI charge in North Carolina. The legal team at Browning & Long, PLLC understands just how important each of the personal, social, financial, employment, and criminal repercussions can be for each of our clients. Whether a misdemeanor or felony case, we will put our experience and knowledge to work for you, seeking the best possible outcome to help you move on from this frustrating and scary charge. If you or someone you love has been charged with DWI, call our Charlotte office today at (980) 207-3355 to speak with Todd or Howard about your unique case. If you prefer, take a moment to fill out our online contact form for a prompt response from a member of our legal team.
Whether it's your 1st offense or a repeat offense, let us help you protect your rights and minimize any negative consequences. When you reach out to us, you can expect to get answers to all of your questions and honest legal advice about your specific situation.