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If You’ve Been Charged with a First DWI Offense

If you’ve been charged with a first DWI offense in North Carolina, you may think you have little hope of beating it and may be tempted to simply take your legal knocks. The fact is, however, that no DWI case is ironclad, and the authorities don’t always act within the confines of the law. The consequences of a conviction are serious, which makes working with an experienced North Carolina DWI attorney your best interest.

The DWI Charge

When a motorist drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, they meet the criteria for driving while intoxicated (DWI), but it’s not quite that simple. If a motorist’s ability to drive safely has been negatively affected by alcohol – even if they are below the legal limit – they can face DWI charges.

DWI charges in North Carolina are classified by high levels from I to V, with low level I being the most serious. The judge hearing the case considers both aggravating and mitigating factors in order to determine the charge level.

Common aggravating factors include:

  • A BAC of .15 percent or higher
  • A prior DWI conviction
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving at least 30 miles per hour over the speed limit
  • Driving with a revoked license

Mitigating factors, on the other hand, can include:

  • A BAC that doesn’t exceed .09 percent
  • The voluntary pursuit of alcohol treatment
  • A safe driving record
  • Among others….which is why you should consult an attorney

A first offense that doesn’t include aggravating factors is likely to be classified at a lower level (4 to 5) and is less likely to require jail time.

Fighting the Charge

In order to bring a successful DWI charge against you, the state must hit several primary marks that include all the following:

  • The police needed a reason to pull you over in the first place. This involves having a reasonable and articulable suspicion that you were impaired or were otherwise engaging in an illegal act.
  • From here, the police try to administer voluntary field sobriety test and voluntary roadside breathalyzer tests.
  • Blowing over the limit can lead to a DWI charge.

Along the way, however, there is room for error. For example, if the police stopped you on a whim – rather than in response to a reasonable suspicion – your breathalyzer results may not be admissible. There is also the matter of the test itself, and any of the following can cast doubt on your results:

  • The officer wasn’t adequately trained to conduct the test.
  • The machine wasn’t calibrated correctly. 
  • The machine wasn’t maintained properly.
  • The results were lost
  • You have a health concern that affected your results.

An Experienced North Carolina DWI Attorney Can Help You Bring Your Strongest Defense

If you’ve been slapped with a first DWI offense, you have every reason to fight the charge, and the DWI Defense attorneys at Greenwood Law – proudly serving Winston-Salem and all of North Carolina – have the experience and drive to fiercely advocate for your case’s optimal outcome. Learn more by contacting or calling us at 336-661-8788 today.

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