If you face DWI charges in Raleigh, you’re doing the right thing.
Researching criminal defense lawyers and considering your legal options is a good idea.
Clearly, the consequences of a conviction for driving while impaired can be a big deal.
It’s more than just insurance points or even a license revocation by NC DMV (Department of Transportation / Division of Motor Vehicles).
Convictions involve community service, court costs, fines, the potential for probation, and alcohol treatment.
There also is a social stigma associated with DWI charges in North Carolina.
No one plans on getting arrested for “drunk driving.” Even clients have strong opinions about DWI charges and an arrest for driving under the influence.
As such, it’s understandable to ask, “Can I get my DUI charges dismissed?”
The answer depends on a series of factors and a careful review of Reasonable Suspicion, Probable Cause, and the Fourth Amendment.
Will they dismiss my charges if I have a clean record?
Generally speaking, no.
While a clean driving record or good criminal record certainly doesn’t hurt, neither are generally considered to in-and-of-themselves be a sound legal basis to get your charges thrown out or “dismissed.”
North Carolina is a tough state for impaired driving. Prosecutors and judges don’t just dismiss allegations of DWI in Raleigh simply because you’re a good person – John Fanney, Raleigh DWI Defense Lawyer
Frankly, in some ways, DWI charges are more difficult to get dismissed than some felony offenses. They require more paperwork and are subject to scrutiny.
That is not to say there aren’t legal defenses to DWI charges.
It’s important not to confuse equitable remedies with legal remedies.
Was the Stop Valid?
DWI lawyers tend to analyze their cases, and defenses, using the same framework by which police officers investigate impaired driving.
It’s imperative for your DWI defense attorney to understand how and what police officers are taught. It requires more than a basic, big picture understanding – John Fanny, DWI Lawyers in Raleigh, N.C.
Generally speaking, police officers are required to be “reasonably suspicious” that a crime is “afoot.” Defense lawyers, judges, and prosecutors alike refer to that as Reasonable Suspicion.
It’s something more than a hunch or unspecified or unparticularized belief.
Suspicion of criminal activity, relative to DWI charges in North Carolina, are predicated on real, objective facts.
Defense lawyers may ask the question, “What drew the officer’s attention to your vehicle?”
- Were you speeding?
- Did you have trouble maintaining lane control?
- Were you weaving within your lane?
- Were you following other vehicles too closely?
- Were you changing lanes abruptly?
- Were you involved in an accident?
- Did you respond to red lights or green lights in a timely fashion?
- Did you fall asleep behind the wheel?
All that and more may be enough for a legal finding of Reasonable Suspicion.
On the other hand, the Court (the Judge who decides legal issues in North Carolina) would likely listen very carefully to things like:
- He looked strange
- Something just didn’t seem right
- She looked like someone who I stopped before for drunk driving
- It was a holiday and everyone drives drunk on holidays
- I was near a bar and wanted to see if they had been drinking
If the police officer fails to set forth legitimate facts, enough to establish Reasonable Suspicion to the satisfaction of the Judge, that “stop” of your vehicle would be deemed illegal or improper.
Evidence obtained due to an illegal stop may be subject to a Motion to Suppress. In the right instance, for lack of evidence DWI charges can be dismissed.
Suppression of evidence issues are subject to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
If the police stopped your vehicle without sufficient legal grounds, whether it be for Probable Cause to Stop or Reasonable Suspicion, evidence including dexterity tests and even Breathalyzer results may ultimately be suppressed in the right circumstances.
DWI defense lawyers may refer to that as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” It’s technically and more formally called the Exclusionary Rule.
If there is not a legitimate, sufficient legal basis to stop you, your Raleigh defense lawyer may choose to file a pretrial Motion to Suppress evidence.
Pursuant to the NC DWI laws, legal issues involving Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause, are required to be made “pre-trial” or before the case-in-chief begins.
While a legal fiction, matters decided pretrial do not trigger another legal protection under the Constitution known as Double Jeopardy.
Challenging Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The next line of inquiry for defense attorneys may involve an analysis of whether sufficient Probable Cause to Arrest existed.
Once again, if the charging officer did not possess Probable Cause, evidence of driving while impaired may be suppressed.
Probable Cause issues also trigger the Exclusionary Rule in North Carolina.
Without evidence of impairment, charges are logically dismissed when appropriate.
As such, careful consideration must be given in reviewing the bases for arrest.
That often involves an analysis of the “SFST’s” or Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
The three most common “DWI dexterity tests,” as promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or “NHTSA” are the:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or “HGN Test”
- One Leg Stand (balancing on one foot)
- Walk and Turn (heel to toe test)
Once again it is extremely important that your Raleigh DWI defense lawyers understand the reasons and nuances behind DWI field sobriety tests.
I’ve spent years studying and teaching the SFST’s to defense lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals. Our focus on Probable Cause mandates a scientific level review of the alleged evidence of impairment – John Fanney, Raleigh Criminal Lawyer
DWI Charges: Legal Information
- DWI: Murder, Manslaughter, and Felony Death by Vehicle Charges
- When is Drunk Driving Murder in North Carolina?
- Should I blow?
- Should I hire a lawyer for DUI in Raleigh?
Raleigh DWI Defense Lawyers
The consequences of a conviction for driving while impaired mandate a careful, thorough investigation of your DWI charges.
Our team of DWI defense lawyers is dedicated compassionate legal representation, empathy for good people who may have made a bad mistake, and providing sound legal advice.
The answer to the very reasonable inquiry, “Can I get my DWI charges dismissed?” lies in hard work and dogged attention to the specific facts and circumstances of your DWI arrest in Raleigh.
We offer a free initial consultation.
Everything you tell us is also confidential. If you have questions about the possibility of getting your DUI charges dismissed, call Raleigh DUI attorney John Fanney today at: 919-617-7009
You may also email John Fanney directly at: John@FanneyLaw.com