In North Carolina, even a first-time DWI conviction may result in steep consequences. Depending on the severity of the reported offense, penalties may range from 24 hours to two years in jail, suspension or revocation of driver’s license and fines in the amount of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Receiving a DWI may also lead to much higher insurance rates and create a lasting obstacle to pursuing educational, career, housing or other opportunities.
Driving while intoxicated puts everyone on the road at risk, and the steep penalties the law imposes are an important deterrent for irresponsible drivers. However, with the stakes of a DWI conviction so high, it is also essential that police officers handle every DWI arrest with all due diligence. Unfortunately, faulty DWI charges are all too common.
1. Lack of probable cause
An officer must be able to show that he or she had reasonable cause to suspect that a driver is breaking the law to make an arrest in the first place. While even a minor traffic violation may be reason enough to make a stop, the officer must be able to point to some specific cause for the arrest.
2. Faulty testing equipment
Recent investigations have found that breath-testing equipment may not provide accurate results. Whether the result of poor equipment maintenance, faulty calibration, a faulty device or simple human error, alcohol breath tests are far from infallible.
3. Inaccurate reporting of the incident
Traffic officers may make dozens of stops each day, and they may not always have the time, patience or resources to give each case the close attention it deserves. Even a small reporting error may lead to the dismissal of a charge, but in some cases, an error may reveal negligence, incompetence or even dishonesty on the part of the officer.