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Brevard DWI Defense Lawyer

Brevard DWI Defense Attorney

Celebrating a special occasion or enjoying time out with friends and family can be fun when done responsibly. However, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol could become a serious problem if you are pulled over by law enforcement. Driving while impaired could result in a number of penalties against you. However, DWI also puts the safety of you, your passengers, and others at risk of injury or death.

At Edwards Law, PLLC, our DUI lawyer knows that, because of these safety concerns, North Carolina takes these charges very seriously. However, we also understand that every situation is different, and the circumstances of your case may not be as they appear. Our criminal defense team takes time to review your case and look for common errors in DWI charges. That way, we can ensure that your rights are protected.

Brevard DWI Defense Lawyer


For many people, hearing the terms “driving under the influence” or “drunk driving” is common. However, DUI is simply a form of impaired driving. Alcohol impacts the central nervous system, causing a person under the influence to lose normal control of their physical and mental behaviors. To make the laws more encompassing for other substances or situations that may have the same effect, they were changed from driving under the influence to driving while impaired (DWI). This change simply expanded the definition of what “under the influence” meant.

Driving While Impaired Laws

Driving while impaired is covered in North Carolina’s General Statute 20-138.1, which states that it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or public area designated for a vehicle:

  • While influenced by a substance that causes impairment
  • If you have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol
  • With any trace of Schedule 1 controlled substances within one’s blood or urine

Most commonly, your blood alcohol content (BAC) is used to determine whether you should be charged with DWI. If you are over the age of 21, you are legally allowed to consume alcohol. However, to do so while operating a motor vehicle, your BAC must be .08% or below. If you are caught driving with a BAC above this limit, you will likely be arrested for DWI. If you are under the age of 21, you may not have any amount of alcohol in your system. If you are in control of a commercial vehicle, your BAC may not be above .04%.

DWI charges can occur for reasons beyond alcohol. If your driving appears to be impaired and you are under the influence of any illegal drugs, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications, you may still be charged with DWI. Impairment could also occur if you are found operating a vehicle with a mental or physical disability that limits your ability to safely operate that vehicle. Often, impairment is measured by:

  • Your ability to stay within the lines on the road
  • Whether you are slurring your words
  • Whether you have the ability to walk in a straight line

Types of DWI Charges in North Carolina

Facing any type of DWI charge can leave you feeling helpless and filled with more questions than answers. However, understanding the type of DWI charge that you face can help you and your attorney navigate the complex legal system and help you build a defense that works for your case. In some instances, your charges could be reduced or dropped. Types of charges you could face include:

  • DWI first offense
  • DWI second or third offense
  • Felony DWI
  • Boating under the influence
  • Underage DUI and DWI
  • Drugged driving
  • DWI with a CDL
  • DWI while on probation
  • DWI on a scooter

Each type of charge carries different penalties, and the severity of your impairment could determine the type of penalties that you could receive.

Penalties for DWI in North Carolina

North Carolina utilizes a sliding scale for penalties issued to those convicted of DWI. Under this scale, a Level 5 DWI is the lowest level and is applied when a person has a .09% BAC or less and was following all other traffic laws at the time of arrest. If convicted, penalties could include:

  • Up to sixty days in jail
  • Probation
  • Up to $200 in fines
  • The potential to lose driving privileges for 12 months

Depending on other aggravating and mitigating factors, those penalties could be increased. Aggravating factors include:

  • A BAC above .15%
  • Accidental injury or death associated with the DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Invalid license at the time of the DUI
  • Previous DUI convictions
  • Speeding in the process of attempting to evade police
  • Driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit
  • Passing a school bus at the time of your DUI

Mitigating factors include:

  • Only showing slight signs of impairment when a BAC test was not available
  • A safe driving record
  • A BAC below .09%
  • Obeying all other traffic laws at the time of your DUI
  • Impaired by prescription medication you took without violating the prescription
  • Voluntarily submitting to a mental health test

Based on the determination of these factors, a judge could:

  • Increase the potential fines to as much as $4,000.
  • Sentence you to years in jail.
  • Revoke your driving privileges, which could impact your ability to obtain certain types of employment.

In addition to the legal penalties, your criminal record could impact where you live or your future educational opportunities.

Common Defenses for DWI

The right DWI defense for your case will be determined by the circumstances of your DWI and the evidence you face. Sharing honestly with your criminal defense attorney about what happened can help them determine the defense options that you have. Common types of DWI defense include:

  • Absences of reasonable suspicion. Whenever you are stopped, an officer must have reasonable cause to do so. This means that they must be able to prove that a moving violation or other criminal action occurred.
  • Inaccurate field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are issued by police officers who feel that the person they are interacting with may be impaired to drive. However, without proper training, the officer may not be able to accurately administer the test or identify any accurate results. Calling into question the training of the officer may be a viable defense.
  • Inaccurate breath test. A breathalyzer test is commonly used to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol. However, these tests are not always accurate nor do they work as intended. Understanding how the test was administered, the calibration of the machine itself, and where common issues might arise can help you challenge these results.
  • Invalid blood test. Blood tests can detect many influences on the human body, However, if the blood is not drawn or stored properly, or is contaminated in some way, the results of the blood test will not be accurate.
  • You were not driving. To be charged with DWI, you must be physically driving the vehicle. For example, you are parked on the side of the road, but the vehicle is off. Even if the key is in the ignition, you cannot be arrested for DWI because the vehicle is not in motion.
  • Your civil rights were violated. Law enforcement has a responsibility to uphold certain policies and procedures that help protect the rights of the public, even those they are arresting. Any violations could see a dismissal of your case.

While these types of defenses are the most common, your attorney can better inform you of the defenses available after consulting with you and reviewing the evidence of the case.

FAQs About Brevard DWI Defense Laws

How Can I Get Out of a DWI in North Carolina?

Dismissing DWI charges can be difficult, but not impossible. Factors that affect the outcome of your case include:

  • The evidence against you
  • Whether your civil rights were upheld
  • How accurately law enforcement followed policies and procedures
  • Any other convictions on your criminal record

Your attorney can determine if any of these might apply to your situation.

Do I Need a Lawyer for DWI in North Carolina?

Many think that they can handle their criminal defense on their own, as they hope to save money. Any time you face a criminal accusation, you should seek the help of a skilled and experienced attorney. The prosecution may try to take advantage of an individual who handles their own case by forgoing negotiations or plea bargains.

How Much Does a DWI Cost in North Carolina?

The minimum fine for a DWI charge in North Carolina is $100. Depending on the circumstances of the charge, and the level your DWI is charged at, a conviction could result in much higher fines and court costs. Determining what potential fees you may be assessed should be discussed with your attorney.

For How Long Do You Lose Your License After a First DUI in North Carolina?

The level at which your DWI is charged will determine the potential penalties you receive, including how long your license may be suspended or revoked. For most first-time DWI offenses, your driving privileges will be impacted for one year. A second offense will increase that time to 4 years, and a third offense could permanently revoke your privileges.

Brevard DWI Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges of any kind can be difficult. At Edwards Law, PLLC, our criminal defense team can help you make sense of your circumstances. After a consultation with us, we can help make sense of the charges you face and begin building a defense strategy that fits the unique elements of your case. You don’t need to face your charges alone. Contact our offices today and speak with an attorney who can put the needs of your case first.

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