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Hendersonville DUI Defense Lawyer

Hendersonville DUI Attorney

A DWI charge places your reputation and future at risk. If you happen to be working as a professional driver, your chances of being hired could be significantly reduced. A DWI charge can also cause you to incur financial costs you had not planned. Worse, the back-and-forth processes involved with the charges might damage your reputation and career.

This is why you need a top criminal defense attorney in Hendersonville, NC. At Doug Edwards Law, we offer you a well-planned legal strategy to ensure that you retain your job, professional license, and freedom. We strive to ensure that we minimize the fines and the likelihood of having you receive a jail term.

Reach us today at (828) 702-8743 for the best professional Hendersonville DUI Defense Lawyer.

Table of Contents

What Is the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit in North Carolina?

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. According to the law in North Carolina, you must have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08% if you are driving a personal car. The limit for commercial vehicles is 0.04%.

Before taking a blood alcohol content test, the officer must have probable cause that makes them believe that you had been drinking. The law requires that, in that case, you submit a blood, urine, or breathing test to show the amount of alcohol in your system. You can decide to defend the test results according to the circumstances involved.

What Penalties Can I Face for a DUI in North Carolina?

Notably, North Carolina DWI law has strict punishments for impaired drivers and more strict laws for DWI repeat offenders. The kind of punishment one receives is determined by the seriousness of the DWI offense.

The most severe DWI offenses are where an individual is a repeat offender, an impaired driver who causes harm to another person through a crash, or an impaired driver who was transporting young children.

First Time Offenders

First-time offenders, like any other offender, are at risk of losing their licenses. Most of the time, this suspension is likely to go on for at least a year. The circumstances will determine whether you qualify for a limited driving permit after some months of suspension. If you had refused to take an alcohol content test, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to impose an additional license suspension of 30 days.

It is possible to get a jail term if you are a DWI first-time offender. The jail term period solely depends on the aspects involved in your case. Where your case does not include any aggravating factors, you will likely receive a level 5 sentence. A level 5 sentence has a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 120 days. In some instances, the judge may decide to give a community service or a probationary sentence instead.

Repeat Offenders

According to North Carolina law, you are considered a repeat DUI offender if you are charged with another DWI offense within seven years after your previous offense. If a grossly aggravating factor is involved, the jail sentence will be at least seven days but less than one year. If more than one grossly aggravating factor is involved, the minimum sentence becomes 30 days and a maximum of ten years. It is essential to note that a previous DWI conviction counts as an aggravating factor.

Suppose you are a second-time offender and were previously involved in a breathalyzer refusal at the time of the arrest. In that case, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to impose extra punishment. Your license gets confiscated, and your driving privileges are suspended for four years.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in North Carolina?

If an officer suspects that you are driving when impaired in North Carolina, they have the right to ask you to pull over and ask you to take a field sobriety test to determine your blood alcohol content. You have the right to refuse to take the test. Unfortunately, that subjects you to the implied consent law that causes you to face constant consequences.

Implied Consent Law in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the implied consent law dictates that every individual who drives a vehicle within the state automatically subjects themselves to a chemical analysis if they are suspected to be driving under the influence.

Police officers have specific procedures that they must follow when administering the tests. First, they must inform you about the test orally and in writing. You also have the right to get an attorney or a witness when taking the test. The witness or attorney must arrive within 30 minutes after the officer gives you the test notice.

Refusing to Take a Test

The law gives you the right to refuse a chemical test. Unfortunately, that subjects you to civil or criminal consequences. In civil penalties, your driving license gets revoked automatically for one year. In case you are later found innocent and your charges are dismissed, the revocation remains effective since it is a civil penalty. According to the aspects involved, you might have the privilege of a hearing which may reinstate your limited driving privileges.

Regarding criminal consequences, the refusal does not cause any additional criminal charges. The prosecutor, however, may use your refusal to impose a test on you during the DWI case. Fortunately, since prosecutors must prove beyond doubt that you went against the law, refusal leaves them with little evidence to prove that you had gone against it.

What Is a Felony DUI In North Carolina?

A felony DUI in North Carolina refers to a situation where one is caught driving when impaired, had been convicted three or more times for impaired driving, and has committed the crime within a range of 10 years from the time they had been earlier convicted.

Some of the DWI felony offenses considered by the court include;

  • Habitual impaired driving
  • Impaired driving when using a commercial vehicle
  • Involuntary manslaughter that was caused by impaired driving
  • Vehicular homicide caused by impaired driving
  • Death or severe injury caused by impaired driving
  • Any similar offense committed in another state or country

Felony DWI Penalties

If you are convicted of a Felony DUI in North Carolina, you are subjected to a compulsory prison sentence of between 12-59 months. There is also a possibility of having your license suspended permanently. The vehicle you were driving at the time of the arrest could also be seized. Authorities may also require you to go through an alcohol treatment program before being paroled.

Some of the other charges you are likely to face include:

  • Aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle
  • Misdemeanor death by vehicle
  • Felony death by vehicle
  • Felony serious injury by vehicle, aggravated felony death by vehicle

Common Defenses in DUI Cases

In North Carolina, a police officer must stop you with probable cause. Officers cannot stop you based on mere feelings or a hunch. They must have facts proving that a crime was committed, was being committed, or was likely to be committed. Here are the most common DWI defenses that your Hendersonville DWI defense lawyer might use.

Inaccurate Field Sobriety Tests

Three main sobriety tests are used in North Carolina to determine probable cause for arrest. These include the blood test, urine test, or breath test. However, there are other optional tests that officers might rely on. Examples of these tests include the one-leg stand and the walk and turn test.

Our Hendersonville DWI defense lawyers will point out instances where the tests are scientifically invalid, or the standard procedures were ignored.

Inaccurate Breath Test

Most officers use breath tests, also known as breathalyzer tests since they are easy and quick. A breath test shows the number of ketones your body gives off as it processes the alcohol. However, the results given by the machine are subject to error due to external factors.

Lack of Proper Administration or Tampering with the Blood Test

Blood tests are supposed to give the most accurate results, yet common mistakes in the chain of custody could cause wrong results. Blood quality, for example, is likely to deteriorate and give incorrect results if it is not stored or handled correctly, causing fermentation.

Violation of Civil Rights

The highway authorities have a proper procedure that must be followed during an arrest. If the officers who arrested you did not follow the procedures, that becomes a potential ground from which your case can be dismissed.

You Were Not Driving the Vehicle

In some cases, the officer might be required to prove that you were driving the car before you can be charged for any offense. Suppose the officer cannot prove that you were driving the vehicle beyond doubt; in that case, your case will likely be dismissed.

How Can a Hendersonville DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?

There are many ways our Hendersonville DUI defense lawyers can help in your case. The skilled DWI lawyers at Doug Edwards Law know the probability of innocent individuals getting penalized or jailed wrongly. Pointing out the loopholes that could cause you to be wrongly charged is extremely important.

In other situations, our attorney will ensure that you are given lighter charges than you would have if you represented yourself. Some of the different ways our attorneys can help with your DUI defense include:

Investigating Your Case

A DWI lawyer from Doug Edwards Law will review the arrest reports to confirm that all protocols were correctly followed. Any instance where the proper procedures were violated could lead to the dismissal of the case.

Flawed Chemical Tests

Your lawyer will also look at the tests taken at the point of arrest. Any faults such as a breathalyzer that is not well maintained or an indication that proper procedures were not followed in the lab could cause the available evidence to get dismissed.

Plea Bargains

Often, the prosecution aims to get a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser sentence. Negotiating with a prosecutor, however, is very difficult, especially when you face harsh charges. We can help determine if a plea bargain is the best option in your case and help secure a favorable deal.

Get Experienced Legal Defense for DUI Charges in North Carolina!

You will likely face some severe consequences if found guilty of a DWI offense. With the busy modern-day life, you might not have the time to engage the prosecutor directly or take the time to find fault in the case to defend yourself. Besides, you may not have the experience needed to represent yourself successfully, which is why you need the help of a skilled DWI defense attorney.

Defense attorneys are well trained and hence stand a better chance of navigating the complexities of DWI charges. It takes a high level of expertise to dismiss DWI charges successfully or lessen the punishment. At Doug Edwards Law, we are the best at reducing our clients’ charges and even getting the charges dropped.

To access the best DWI charges defense in Hendersonville, please reach us at (828) 702-8743. We offer free case reviews.

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