Many people wonder if a district attorney (DA) will dismiss a DWI in North Carolina, if it is the person’s first offense or they have a perfect driving record. In North Carolina it is extremely rare for a DA to dismiss a DWI charge or reduce a DWI to a lesser offense. The reason for this is that North Carolina law requires the prosecutor to explain a dismissal or reduction of a DWI charge in open court and in writing. N.C.G.S. § 20-138.4(a).
What types of charges does this law apply to?
The DA must explain a reduction or dismissal of: (1) any implied consent related offense (including a DWI); and (2) a driving with revoked license (DWLR) charge where the reason for revocation is a prior DWI. These offenses are the only misdemeanors that require such an onerous process for the DA to take a dismissal. Felony larceny, assault, resisting officer, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a felon could all be dismissed by the DA without any explanation to a judge.
What type of information is included in the long form dismissal?
The written explanation must contain (AOC-CR-339):
- The blood or breath alcohol concentration (or the fact that the driver refused).
- A list of all prior convictions of implied‑consent offenses or driving while license revoked.
- Whether the driver had a valid drivers license or privilege to drive in North Carolina as indicated by DMV records.
- A statement regarding whether any other charges against the defendant were pending.
- A list of the elements that the prosecutor believes can be proved, and a list of those elements that the prosecutor cannot prove and why.
- The name and agency of the charging officer and whether the officer is available.
- Any reason why the charges are dismissed.
The impact of North Carolina’s strict requirements for dismissing or reducing a DWI, is that DA’s hands are tied in regards to a DWI in a way that they are not in relation to most other types of charges. As a very small percentage of DWIs are dismissed or reduced by the DA, your best chance for keeping a DWI off of your record is to fight the DWI in Court. To give yourself the best chance of fighting a DWI, call an attorney an talk with him or her about your case.