If you have been charged with a DWI, and the State subsequently got a warrant (or your consent) to take a sample of your blood, you are unfortunately facing a long waiting game before the DWI blood results come back from the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Lab in Raleigh. DWI blood results in North Carolina have been taking longer and longer to get back from the lab due to an inadequate number of chemical analysts in the SBI Lab handling an increasingly high number of DWI blood cases.
DWI Blood Results Timeline
In Buncombe and surrounding counties it is currently taking about 18 months to 2 years for blood results to come back from the SBI lab. At your first court date, which is typically 1-3 months after the DWI arrest was made, the prosecutor (a.k.a. assistant district attorney) will ask the judge for a continuance since the DWI blood results are not back. The prosecutor’s hands are pretty well tied in making these continuance motions, because many times the DWI blood results may be the sole (or at least chief) evidence of impairment. The prosecutor will do the same thing at your next court date, and the next court date, and the next court date, until either the DWI blood results are back or the district court judge presiding denies the Prosecutor’s motion to continue.
Speedy Trial Concerns in a DWI Case
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a public and speeding trial.” At Minick Law, P.C. our DWI team believes the guarantees to a speedy trial are not met where the State of North Carolina is allowed to continue a case for more than a year while awaiting evidence. Unfortunately, many counties in North Carolina do not recognize continuing your case for more than a year as a violation of your speedy trial guaranty.
Asheville Compared to Surrounding Areas
Some judicial districts are not putting up with the failings of the SBI lab. In Haywood county, some DWI blood cases have been dismissed as early as 8 months after the arrest date. McDowell County has adopted a similar approach. In Henderson County DWI blood cases are being allowed to be continued for about a year before they are marked as last continuance for the State. However, in Buncombe County a DWI blood case may be continued by the State of North Carolina for up to a year and a half or longer.
If you have been charged with a DWI, and are awaiting a blood result, you need legal representation on your charge. Please call Minick Law, P.C. – Your North Carolina DWI Center today to get a free DWI consultation with an attorney.