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What does a DWI charge mean for you?

| May 15, 2020 | criminal law

When faced with a difficult situation, one of the best actions you can take is to become more informed. Especially when it comes to accusations of criminal activity, it is important to know your rights, why authorities may have suspected you of a crime, what the potential consequences are and much more.

If a police officer recently stopped your vehicle and you ended up under arrest for drunk driving, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. You may have felt that the accusations were unfair or that the officer did not give you the opportunity to explain your side. Nonetheless, authorities brought a criminal charge against you, and now you wonder what that means.

Facing a DWI charge

In North Carolina, a DWI charge can result if authorities believe that you were driving while impaired by either drugs or alcohol. If the officer suspected alcohol, he or she may have requested that you participate in a breath test. Under state law, if you refuse such a test, you can lose your driver’s license immediately for 30 days. Whether you knew this or not, you may have complied and provided a breath sample.

If the results indicated a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher, the law considers you legally drunk. It is important to note, though, that a BAC reading of this level does not mean an automatic conviction. In fact, many courts do not allow roadside breath tests as evidence in cases because of their unreliability. Still, officers use these tests to obtain probable cause to make an arrest.

Are you going to jail?

The consequences of a DWI charge can depend on a number of factors. First, the court must find you guilty of the charges, and if that happens, you could face fines ranging from $200 to $4,000 and jail time from 24 hours up to two years for misdemeanor charges. A minimum of one year behind bars is a requirement for a felony DWI conviction.

Of course, the possibility does exist that the court will not convict you of a DWI charge, and this could happen for a number of reasons. The information presented in your criminal defense could play a major role in the outcome of your case, so you certainly want to ensure that you understand your options. Having legal counsel dedicated to working effectively and efficiently could also help you work toward the best outcome possible.