Our office continues to be available by phone, email and video conferencing during the hardships of COVID-19. The North Carolina Courts have issued a mandatory continuance of all non-emergency cases until at least June 1. Please call us to discuss your case or charges. We are ready to help.

Can I Get the District Attorney to Dismiss My DWI Charge?

Many people wonder if a district attorney (DA) will dismiss a DWI in North Carolina, if it is the person’s first offense, or if 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.

We cover this topic in more depth here.

If I’m over the legal limit, am I automatically guilty?

No, you are not automatically guilty. As with any other charge, in order to be guilty, the prosecutor must show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be done o by proving each element of a charge. Although this may be easier if the prosecutor has evidence that you were above the legal limit, that does not mean that your case cannot be defended. 

What are some defenses to use in a DWI case?

In general, an attorney can challenge your DWI charge by focusing on three different points of the DWI process, the stop and the arrest. 

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In focusing on the stop, a police officer must be able to show that there was a reason to stop you. Without a legitimate reason, a police officer cannot stop you. If your attorney can prove there wasn’t a valid reason, your charges may be dismissed.
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In focusing on the arrest, the state must show that there was probable cause for your arrest. If the state cannot show that there is enough reliable information that exists to support a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime, there is no probable cause. Probable cause is established when looking at the totality of the circumstances; the way you were driving, officer observations, and performance on field sobriety tests and chemical analysis test. Without probable cause, an arrest is invalid and your charge will be dismissed.

We write more about defending a DWI here.

How can a lawyer help you on your DWI case? Here are just a few ways:

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Guide

An experienced DWI attorney will help you navigate the laws and consequences surrounding your charge. At the end of the day, you are trying to reach the best possible outcome on your case. A lawyer can help you achieve that outcome by giving you the strategy, the game plan to moving forward.

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Information

If you have a question about anything related to your case, you need an attorney that has the answers and is responsive. Your lawyer is in the business of providing information.

Ultimately you call all of the shots on your case. Should you plead guilty or take the case to trial? Your choice. Should you switch insurance companies? Your choice. Should you wear a continuous alcohol monitoring device before court. Your choice.

While you call the shots, your attorney’s job is to explain the options available and the pros and cons of each. To make informed choices about your case, you want an attorney that provides you with the best possible information.

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Driving

The driving consequences surrounding a DWI in North Carolina are convoluted and an attorney worth his salt can explain these clearly. An attorney can also help you apply for pre-trial and post-conviction limited driving privileges.
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Evidence

Gathering evidence related to your case may be critical to determining whether or not to take your case to trial and deciding what attack points you have in your defense. Obtaining discovery (the sharing of information between the State and the Defendant) is often like pulling teeth in North Carolina.

Your attorney will know how to request and obtain video (from the breath intox room at the jail, the dash camera, and body camera), officer reports, and other forms of evidence that may be necessary to defending your case.

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Trial

If your case goes to trial it is essential to have an experienced DWI trial lawyer defending you to give you the best chance of success. It’s important to start your journey with an attorney that has trial experience so that you can properly evaluate your best options at each stage of the case.

An attorney that has never tried a DWI is going to have a more difficult time advising you on your chances of success at trial, as well as helping you prepare for court.