Common Misconceptions about DUI Charges

Nestled in Wake County is Raleigh, a bustling city where the NC driving while impaired laws are strictly enforced.  DUI-lawyers-Raleigh-NC-1-300x169

The consequences of a DUI charge are far-reaching, touching not only the legal realm but the personal and professional lives of those accused of “drunk driving.”

The process can be intricate and occasionally overwhelming, particularly for those with little to no prior experience with criminal charges and the court system.

In trying times, we think compassion and clarity are essential.

The Fanney Law Firm is a dedicated criminal defense law firm in Raleigh, North Carolina, committed to shedding light on the complexities of DUI cases and your legal rights.

At our core, we believe in empowering clients with information.

The journey through a DUI charge is undeniably challenging, but with the right guidance, a path to resolution becomes clearer.

This post will help demystify some of the most common misconceptions about DWI charges in Raleigh and provide information that will help address these very serious allegations head-on.

Myths about Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Field Sobriety Tests

Misunderstandings about Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and Field Sobriety Tests are common.  A lot of people have opinions about “drunk driving” charges.  

While friends and family may be well-meaning when they provide advice, a lot of what is shared is either inapplicable to North Carolina or just flat out wrong – John Fanney, DWI Lawyer Wake County NC 

One prevalent myth suggests that if your BAC is below 0.08%, you’re safe from charges.

However, in North Carolina, there is more than one way the State (the prosecutor / Assistant District Attorney) may prove a violation of N.C.G.S. 20-138.1, the NC DWI law.

Standardized Field Tests for DUI:  Are they reliable? 

Even if your BAC is below .08, if you exhibit signs of “appreciable impairment,” you can be charged with impaired driving in NC.

You do not need to be drunk or “drunk driving” to be charged. The law also does not refer to the offense as DUI or DWI.

Another common misconception is that consuming certain foods or beverages, like a big dinner or strong coffee, can rapidly reduce your BAC.

In reality, it takes time for alcohol to be both absorbed and eliminated from the human body.

As for the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), some believe they are the ultimate, unerring determinant of impairment.

SFSTs have their limitations.

Results are subject to a range of external factors, and they may, in appropriate circumstances, be subject to inquiry and legal challenges.

As compassionate criminal lawyers, we enjoy helping clients understand the legal landscape and providing the tools you need to make informed decisions.

We look out for your best interests. 

Our goal is to develop a personalized defense strategy, tailored to the unique nature and circumstances of the charges against you.

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the act of getting behind the wheel comes with certain responsibilities, both explicit and implied.

One such understanding is the concept of the NC “implied consent” law.

Can you drive after a DWI arrest in NC? 

Essentially, by driving on North Carolina roads, you agree to submit to an evidentiary breath or blood test if there is probable cause to believe you are driving while impaired.

But what happens if you decline this test?

Choosing to refuse a breath test (or blood test) carries consequences, some of which are very negative.

One immediate consequence is the potential suspension of your driving privileges.

The overall duration of this suspension varies, but a refusal, or what DWI defense lawyers may refer to as a Willful Refusal, can result in a swift and mandatory revocation of your driver’s license.

The Willful Refusal and license suspension laws in North Carolina are notoriously complicated. That’s one reason it is a really good idea to immediately retain an experienced DWI defense attorney.

Moreover, your decision to decline (refuse) the evidentiary blood or breath test can also have implications in the courtroom. Criminal Lawyers in Raleigh

While a Willful Refusal doesn’t directly prove guilt, it can be presented in court as evidence of consciousness of guilt.

In other words, the prosecution may argue that your refusal indicates the guilty knowledge of the results the test might have shown.

As such, being informed about these possible outcomes is crucial.

Knowledge is power, especially when navigating the intricate landscape of the legal world involving DWI charges in North Carolina – John Fanney, Raleigh DUI Lawyer

What you need to know about the “breathalyzer”

The terminology surrounding breath testing, relative to DWI charges in Raleigh NC, and throughout North Carolina, can be a source of confusion.

It’s important to understand the distinctions and implications of the different types of alcohol breath testing devices used in North Carolina.

Should you take the PBT? 

Historically, many people have heard of and continue to refer to the breath-testing device as a “breathalyzer.”

However, that specific device is no longer in use within the state of North Carolina.

Today, when law enforcement requests a breath test to determine alcohol concentration after an arrest, the evidentiary machine they utilize is the Intoximeter EC/IR II.

During roadside stops, officers may use a handheld screening device.

While colloquially some also refer to that as the “Breathalyzer,” its proper name is the AlcoSensor or the AlcoSensor FST.

The reading from the AlcoSensor FST isn’t admissible in court to demonstrate a numerical value or impairment.

However, a positive reading for the presence of alcohol can serve as a foundation for probable cause, potentially leading to an arrest.

Furthermore, the notion of “Willful Refusal” extends beyond just breath tests.

In North Carolina, drivers can also be requested to submit to blood tests.

Both breath and blood tests are tools law enforcement may use to prove an alcohol concentration, the BAC – John Fanney, DWI Lawyer Raleigh NC 

Being informed about these distinctions and nuances is not merely a matter of legal technicality; in the realm of DUI charges, a solid understanding of the processes and terminology can significantly impact one’s experience and legal journey.

Is there a difference between DUI and DWI?

In many parts of the country, terms like “DUI” (Driving Under the Influence) or “DWI” (Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired) are commonly used to describe impaired driving offenses.

Over the Limit, Under the Arrest:  What You Need to Know 

However, in North Carolina, the legal terminology is distinctively straightforward in N.C.G.S. 20-138.1

The simplified term “impaired driving” is intended to encompass any driving under the influence of alcohol or being appreciably impaired by drugs, medications, or any other impairing substances.

North Carolina aims to comprehensively address the range of situations where a driver’s faculties may be compromised or “appreciably impaired.”

Potential Penalties for a DUI Conviction

Navigating the potential consequences of a DUI conviction in Wake County, and throughout North Carolina, can be an overwhelming endeavor, filled with both immediate and long-term implications.

For first-time offenders, penalties might appear less severe compared to individuals with multiple offenses.

However, even a single conviction for driving while impaired can have lasting ramifications.

Jail time is a possibility in certain circumstances, particularly when the state can prove the existence of Grossly Aggravating Factors.

Is your license REVOKED? 

In any DWI judgment, there are ordinarily court costs and fines, which can strain personal finances.  Community service, which itself carries the potential for a substantial fee, may be required as part of the restorative process.

Beyond the immediate legal consequences, a DUI conviction can also cast a long shadow on a person’s driving record, resulting in skyrocketing insurance premiums.

But the implications don’t stop at the legal and financial domains.

Over time, a DUI conviction can hinder job prospects, as potential employers sometimes view a conviction on a background check unfavorably.

Finding a DWI Lawyer in RaleighCriminal Defense Lawyers in Raleigh

Selecting a DUI defense attorney is an important decision.

We firmly believe it’s advisable to seek legal counsel with substantial courtroom experience. The complexities of DWI cases regularly lead to a trial, so practical trial skills are necessary.

It’s normal to have a lot of questions, such as, “How long have you been helping clients with DWI charges in Raleigh NC?”

This gives insight into the lawyer’s experience and familiarity with local courts and regulations.

Raleigh Lawyer John Fanney has more than 30 years of experience helping people in Wake County.  

Additionally, inquiring about our approach to DUI defense makes sense.

Every case is unique, and understanding an attorney’s strategy can provide clarity on how we will handle your charges – John Fanney, DWI Attorney 

Lastly, we think it’s a good idea to discuss fees and payment structures upfront.

DWI defense can be intricate and time-consuming.

As criminal defense lawyers who genuinely care about our clients, we understand the stress and financial burden legal fees can bring.

Our mission is to provide a level of transparency and upfront information to help you make an informed decision.

At Fanney Law Firm, we strive to empower our clients with knowledge. We are here to zealously advocate for your rights.

Additional Thoughts:

Navigating the complexities of the NC DUI laws and the consequences of an impaired driving charge in Wake County is no small task.

The intricacies of the legal system, coupled with the emotional weight of facing any type of criminal charge, can feel overwhelming.

You don’t have to walk this path alone.

Seeking guidance and clarity is not a sign of weakness, but rather a step towards empowerment.

While every situation is unique, being well-informed can serve as a beacon, guiding you through uncertain times.

Our compassion stems from a desire to help, to illuminate the legal labyrinth, and to stand beside those in need.

We firmly believe that everyone deserves a fair chance and the opportunity to be heard.

Retaining legal counsel can provide peace of mind, knowing that someone is advocating for your best interests.

Please give us a call now to schedule a time to speak with an attorney. The consultation is free of charge.  

Helpful Information about Criminal Charges and DWI in Wake County NC 

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