Conviction on DWI charges for alcohol intoxication in North Carolina require that the prosecution prove you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. BAC evidence often comes from breath testing via Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer devices.
DWI convictions can mean serious short- and long-term ramifications, so simply having a BAC or .08 or more absolutely doesn't mean that you should "roll over without a fight." You should fight vigorously against any criminal charge to minimize the consequences you could face.
Some of the potential penalties associated with a DWI conviction include:
- Jail time
- Loss of driving privileges
- Huge fines
- Much higher car insurance rates
- Forced installation of an ignition interlock device
Ways to challenge DWI evidence
An experienced criminal defense attorney can find ways to poke holes in the prosecution's case against you by challenging the validity of the evidence. There are several reasons why DWI evidence could be inadmissible.
- Calibration and maintenance: was the Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer properly calibrated? These machines are very sensitive, and able to detect even minute amounts of alcohol. The caveat is that they must be properly maintained according to manufacturer specifications, and calibrated correctly to ensure an accurate reading.
- Reliability: were there issues with the brand or model number of device in the past? Defense attorneys in Boston, for example, were able to show that Breathalyzer results were unreliable because the machines hadn't been properly used and calibrated. Thousands of old and pending DWI charges and convictions have been called into question.
- Reasonable suspicion: was the underlying stop of your vehicle valid? Unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity, there is no reason to pull you over. Were you speeding? Did you change lanes without signaling? Did you fail to stop at a sign or red light? If the stop itself was illegal, evidence obtained during it can be thrown out.
- Training: was the officer performing the test adequately trained on the device's operation? These machines may initially seem somewhat simplistic, but they are actually complex and highly technical. Without proper training, the results might be inaccurate.
These are only a few ways in which a skilled defense attorney can challenge evidence obtained in a North Carolina DWI case. If you are facing charges, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer today.