North Carolina drivers who are convicted of driving while intoxicated often face harsh penalties including fines, driver’s license revocation and even jail time. Because of the considerable financial and personal costs associated with a DWI, it’s critical that individuals facing a DWI charge secure legal representation.
In North Carolina, if a police officer suspects a driver is impaired, he or she can pull a driver over and conduct a roadside field sobriety test. Police officers readily pull drivers over who may appear to swerve or drive erratically. Additionally, drivers who fail to ensure all components of a motor vehicle, such as a headlight or turn signal, are in proper working order may be cited and subjected to a roadside sobriety test.
In North Carolina, the blood alcohol limit is .08. However, in certain situations, even drivers who register a BAC that is lower than this amount may be charged with DWI. State DWI laws dictate that an individual who is “noticeable impaired” may also be subject to a DWI charge. This means that an individual who registers a BAC of .03, but who is considered by a police officer to be impaired, may be charged with a DWI.
The composition of and manner in which a police officer conducts a roadside sobriety test can vary greatly. A sobriety test may include a one-leg stand, a walking-and-turning test and requiring an individual to recite portions of the alphabet. How and which tests are conducted, often determines how an individual driver performs.
While the legal BAC limit is .08 in North Carolina, it’s important to note that, in some cases, drivers with BAC levels lower than .08 can still be charged with a DWI. Individuals facing a DWI charge would be wise to discuss their case with a criminal defense attorney who specializes in drunk driving matters.
Source: The Times News, “Understanding the DWI standards,” Natalie Allison Janiecello, Dec. 29, 2013