What Evidence is There in DWI Cases?
You may be surprised to learn that failing a breathalyzer test is not the only way to be charged with driving under the influence. In fact, there are a number of ways that someone can be charged with DWI, and some of them do not even require you to test above the legal limit for alcohol. If you have been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, it is important to understand the charges against you. One of the most important elements to understand is the evidence that the state plans to present against you. Once you understand what the state’s argument is, you can plan your legal case strategy around rebutting it. This allows you to play an active and empowered role in your own defense. Below we will review the different types of evidence that the state can present in a DWI case, as well as how to defend against them. Of course, no two cases are alike, and this information is meant to apply generally. If you have questions about your specific case, you are welcome to contact Coastal South Law to schedule a consultation.
Evidence of Appreciable Impairment
Under North Carolina law, there are two ways to prove impairment. One is with a breathalyzer test result over .08 and the other is with evidence of “appreciable impairment.” This evidence may include things like field sobriety tests, eyewitness accounts, the smell of alcohol, erratic driving behaviors, or other actions or behaviors that would represent to the officers that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As you can imagine, these forms of evidence can be highly speculative and subjective. For instance, people can fail field sobriety tests for many reasons that are entirely unrelated to alcohol. Reciting the alphabet backwards or counting may be almost impossible for someone with a language barrier or cognitive or developmental disorder. Likewise, someone could fail to balance on one foot due to a disability, injury, the kind of shoes they are wearing, uneven ground, or even an ear infection. It is important to challenge such forms of evidence as they can create the false and unreasonable impression that you were intoxicated. Eyewitness accounts can also be biased and inaccurate and are important to challenge, particularly if the witness has a history of providing false or inaccurate information to the police. A lawyer can review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine your strongest argument and the best path forward to a dismissal, reduced charge, or successful outcome.
Talk to a North Carolina DWI Lawyer
If you are facing charges for DWI in North Carolina, it is important to consult with an experienced DWI and criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you reach out, the sooner your attorney can start working to develop the strongest possible defense for your case. You do not have to fight this battle alone. Contact Coastal South Law today and schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.