North Carolina is a wonderful place for motorcycle enthusiasts, with long stretches of highway and a relatively temperate climate. However, that relaxing ride can really take a turn for the worst if you are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Some people are surprised to learn that the same rules that apply to driving vehicles also apply to motorcycles. Motorcyclists, just like commercial drivers, and drivers of standard passenger vehicles, owe a duty of care to all other drivers on the road, and that duty is violated when they break the law and drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .08. However, you may find that it is easier to be charged with a DWI while riding a motorcycle than it would be if you were driving a vehicle. While you should never drive while even mildly intoxicated, the balance and coordination required to ride a motorcycle can quickly reveal signs of impairment that highway patrol and state troopers are unlikely to miss.
Can I Get a Motorcycle DWI if My BAC Was Under .08?
While many people cling to the belief that they are legally protected against charges of DWI provided they can blow below a .08 on a breathalyzer test, this is not the case. While having a BAC higher than .08 is one sure-fire way to be charged with DWI, you can be charged even if your BAC is below a .08. This can occur if officers observe you driving erratically, or in a way that creates probable cause for them to believe that your driving is being influenced by alcohol or another substance. This means that even if your BAC is a .02, you may still be charged with a DWI if you were swerving, driving with your headlights off, going in the wrong direction, or otherwise driving in a way that would lead them to believe you were driving while impaired. Alcohol is not the only means of charging for impairment either. If you are taking illegal drugs or even prescription drugs that impact your ability to drive, those substances would not show up on a breathalyzer test. In that case, the police will usually place you under arrest and have you submit to a blood and/or urine test at the station to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system. Even prescription drugs that are legally prescribed can be the basis for a DWI if they impair your driving. These laws uniquely impact motorcyclists because impairment tends to be far more obvious when someone is on a motorcycle and needs to maintain their balance and concentration. Weaving, wobbling, and missing traffic signal changes are all red flags to police that a motorcyclist may be under the influence.
Contact Coastal South Law
If you have been charged with a motorcycle DWI in North Carolina, it is important to take action and schedule a consultation with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law as soon as possible. Our lawyers will work to have your charges dismissed or reduced, and will fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you.