• Coastal South Law

Who Has the Burden of Proof in a DWI Case?

When you are charged with DWI in North Carolina, it is easy to feel like the writing is on the wall. In reality, there is still a lot that has to happen in order for your charges to become a conviction. Even after you are charged, you remain innocent until proven guilty. In order to be found guilty of a DWI, the prosecution must establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution is not able to convince the members of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of driving while under the influence, then they have not met their burden of proof and you cannot be found guilty of DWI. Understanding the burden of proof and the role that it plays in arriving at an acquittal or conviction can help you determine the best strategy for your case moving forward.


Why Does the Burden of Proof Matter?


The prosecution’s ability to meet its burden of proof is what determines whether or not you will be convicted of DWI. This means that the more you are able to do to keep them from meeting their burden, the more likely it is that you will be found not guilty and that your charges will be dismissed. If an experienced criminal defense attorney can convince the state that they will not be able to meet their burden, then the state may offer a plea deal to a lesser charge. In the event that your case goes to trial, your attorney will likely develop your case strategy based on how best to prevent the prosecution from meeting their burden of proof.


The Elements of a DWI Case


In order to succeed in convicting you of a DWI charge, the state must prove all elements of a DWI charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This means proving both that you were under the influence and that you were driving or in control of a vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to argue or establish that the results of the chemical test were unreliable or flawed. This can keep the prosecution from reaching their burden of proof on that factor. On the other hand, perhaps you were not the one driving the car when you were pulled over, or you were sitting in a car but not driving it or in possession of the keys. All of these facts could become the basis for arguments that could keep the prosecution from reaching their burden of proof on the element that you were in control of the vehicle while intoxicated.


Talk to a North Carolina DWI Attorney


If you are currently facing DWI charges in Southeastern North Carolina, it is critical that you talk to an experienced North Carolina DWI Attorney as soon as possible. The DWI Attorneys at Coastal South Law will review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best strategy for you moving forward. Our lawyers will help you navigate the criminal court process and will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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