The NC DWI Guy

James Minick
The NC DWI Guy

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):

  1. The blood or breath alcohol concentration (or the fact that the driver refused).
  2. A list of all prior convictions of implied‑consent offenses or driving while license revoked.
  3. Whether the driver had a valid drivers license or privilege to drive in North Carolina as indicated by DMV records.
  4. A statement regarding whether any other charges against the defendant were pending.
  5. 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.
  6. The name and agency of the charging officer and whether the officer is available.
  7. Any reason why the charges are dismissed.

N.C.G.S. § 20-138.4(b).

The Result

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.

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