North Carolina takes drunk driving very seriously. With some of the strictest laws in the US, a DWI is a difficult charge to defend, and even more difficult to dismiss. But with the right legal representation, good fact investigation and a strong defense, a DWI can, in some circumstances, be dismissed. Here’s what you need to know.
Was The Arrest Conducted Correctly?
A police officer must follow specific, proper procedures for a drunk driving (or any) arrest. He or she must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull a vehicle over, and be able to prove that you were, indeed driving while intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
There are some occasions where an officer made multiple mistakes in the arrest and the DA dismisses the case, but those are very rare. If you’re not lucky enough to have the charge dismissed by the DA before trial, you’ll have to fight in court.
If the arresting officer mishandled the arrest or made other mistakes that are crucial to the arrest and criminal case, a judge may decide to dismiss the case completely. But you must have all the facts of your case documented, along with any evidence. Mistakes like:
- Failing to read your Miranda rights (right to remain silent, to have an attorney, etc.)
- Acting in a disrespectful and/or intimidating manner
- Displaying any improper conduct toward you during your arrest
- Improperly administering a breathalyzer or field sobriety test
Evidence That Disproves The Officer’s Claim And Creates Doubt
Again, the police officer must have probable cause to pull you over and begin an arrest. His or her testimony carries a lot of weight in court. However, details are important here. For instance, if the officer did not actually witness you driving the car while inebriated, there may be some doubt involved, and the case could be dismissed.
Witnesses who can corroborate your story can also be helpful. If bloodshot eyes are the only evidence of your “intoxication,” they could indicate another condition such as allergies or fatigue (or crying.) Without additional evidence, such as an odor of alcohol, a field sobriety test, or a blood alcohol level test, the prosecution can’t positively prove that you were driving and intoxicated.
One medical condition that can actually raise BAC is Candida albicans. That’s a scientific name for yeast overgrowth in the gut. In advanced cases, yeast overgrowth can actually cause detectable levels of alcohol in the blood without a drop of alcohol consumed. Candida can be diagnosed by a simple blood test and is easily treated and eradicated with antifungals and diet. But left untreated, candida can cause symptoms that could lead an officer to believe you’re actually driving drunk.
This is where you’ll need a good criminal defense attorney at your side, both before and during the trial. Your attorney can request evidence from the police department from the arresting officer’s records, including any video. He or she can also investigate other evidence before the trial that can prove your innocence.
You Can’t “Plead Down”
In some states, a DWI can be reduced to a lesser charge, like reckless driving. However, North Carolina doesn’t allow reductions of DWI. In fact, under N.C.G.S. 20-179.4, DWI charges are actually more difficult. Unless the state can’t produce a witness, such as a police officer or other witness that can prove that you’re guilty, your case will go to trial.
Get Help From Raleigh’s DWI Attorney
An experienced DWI attorney can review your case, examine details, investigate and find out the exact circumstances of your case before you go to court. That’s why it’s important to have someone who knows how to defend someone in a DWI case and bring a successful outcome.
Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who will prepare a strong defense and make sure you receive a fair trial under the law. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 for a free consultation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.