If you were stopped by a police officer and arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, we recommend calling a DWI lawyer from Goolsby Law Firm, PLLC right away. DUI charges should always be taken seriously, but there is no need to panic. By contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, you have someone who is on your side and there to protect your rights.
For more than 25 years, Thom Goolsby has fought hard for those charged with DWIs. He will carefully examine the evidence in your case and develop a strategy to obtain the best possible outcome, whether that is having the charges dropped, winning an acquittal at trial or negotiating a plea bargain.
North Carolina DWI/DUI Laws
Under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) §20-138.1, you can be charged with a DWI if you drive any vehicle on any street, highway, or public area:
- While under the influence of an impairing substance;
- After consuming enough alcohol to bring your blood alcohol concentration to 0.08% or more; or
- With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in your blood or urine.
Most likely, you thought you had to have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) at or above 0.08% to be convicted of a DUI. But the law makes it clear that this is only one way in which you may be charged — and it applies only if you are at least 21 years old and driving a personal vehicle.
If you are under 21 years old, then you cannot have any alcohol in your system while you drive based on NCGS §20-138.3. If you have your Commercial Driver’s License and are driving a commercial vehicle at the time, then under NCGS §20-138.2, the BAC limit is 0.04%.
Additionally, you do not need any alcohol in your system to be charged with a DWI. A Schedule I substance, which include heroin, Ecstasy, opiates, cocaine, and GHB, and any other impairing substances, including marijuana, can lead to a conviction.
Whether it is your first DWI or a subsequent offense, DWI charges should always be taken seriously. Attorney Thom Goolsby can aggressively defend you.
North Carolina’s Implied Consent Law
The way in which the police determine if you have drugs or alcohol in your system and whether you should be charged with a DUI is through one or more chemical tests. You may think you can simply refuse these tests and then the police will have less evidence against you. It is true that you can refuse a breath, urine, or warrantless blood test. However, there are civil and criminal consequences for doing so.
Based on NCGS §20-16.2, you have given your implied consent to chemical tests by driving in the state. If you are arrested for a DWI, the police officer will inform you of North Carolina’s implied consent law and ask you to submit to a breath test. The officer will also inform you that if you refuse to take the chemical test, you will have your driver’s license suspended for at least one year.
In some cases, the officer may provide you with notice of the implied consent law at the traffic stop and then ask you to blow into a roadside breath test, better known as a breathalyzer. It is your choice whether you comply or not.
If you are not arrested and not given the implied consent law notice before you are asked to take a roadside breath test, you can refuse without any fear of civil or criminal consequences.
During or immediately after a DUI arrest, we recommend you ask to call a DWI lawyer and do so as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can walk you through whether it benefits you to submit to the test or refuse. Refusal does not guarantee that you will avoid charges or a conviction since the refusal itself can be used as evidence against you in court.