Common Driving While Impaired (DWI) FAQs

If you or a family member have been arrested for a charge of driving while impaired (DWI), you are probably wondering what the charge means and whether you have options to fight it. While you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you, here are a few common DWI FAQs. 

How is a DWI determined?

When an officer pulls you over for erratic driving and suspected DWI, he will likely ask you to perform a field sobriety test to assess your physical and mental capabilities. There are standard tasks an officer may ask you to perform, such as walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet, and the officer must comply with the procedures in place to administer these tests.

After the field test, the officer will likely ask you to take a chemical test to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level. If you are over twenty-one and have a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will likely be charged with a DWI. If you are under twenty-one years old, any level of alcohol detected could result in a DWI charge. 

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test or another form of chemical testing? 

While you can refuse a chemical test, it will likely result in the loss of your license for one year. That is because North Carolina has something called implied consent, which means that any person who drives a vehicle in the state gives consent to chemical testing when charged with a DWI. You can appeal the revocation of your license with the DMV and there are also limited circumstances where you might be eligible to get back limited driving privileges, each of which should be discussed with your attorney. 

Can I get my charge reduced from a DWI to something lesser?

In North Carolina, you will generally not be able to reduce your charge from a DWI to something lesser, such as reckless driving. If found guilty, you will be guilty of a DWI. However, your attorney can help you evaluate potential ways to fight your charges. 

Can I get a DWI expunged from my record? 

Under the current laws, a DWI conviction (whether it was the result of a guilty plea or a conviction at trial) is not eligible for expungement. This means it is even more important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney when faced with a DWI charge, as you have a better chance at relief if you fight the case from the very beginning. 

Contact Jeremy Cotten

If you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina, Attorney Cotten can help. He has served hundreds of clientsthrough Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties and is ready to meet with you to discuss your case. Give him a call or head to the main page to speak with a legal assistant 24 hours a day.