Driving While Intoxicated


North Carolina driving while intoxicated (DWI, known in other states as DUI) laws are some of the strictest in the nation. It is important to get a skilled DWI/DUI attorney in Raleigh if you are facing these serious criminal charges.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Wake County or any other county in the Raleigh area, contact us online or call 919-975-4247 to schedule a free initial phone consultation with our North Carolina criminal defense lawyer.

Founding attorney Michelle Sparrow is one of the few North Carolina members of the National College for DUI Defense, a national organization for lawyers who work to stay up to date on current laws related to driving while impaired (DWI) by the influence of drugs or alcohol.


The state must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt: that you were 1) operating a motor vehicle 2) on a public street or highway 3) while subject to an impairing substance such as alcohol or drugs.

Laura’s Law

In 2011, the North Carolina legislature made significant changes to the state’s DWI laws. Known as “Laura’s Law”, it is intended to punish individuals who have been convicted of their third DWI in seven years, and at the time of the third DWI had a revoked driver’s license due to prior drunk driving convictions, or were traveling with a person who was either under the age of 18 or were with a person who has a mental or physical handicap.

Under this law, a person will face up to three years in prison, and optional probation that will take effect only after at least 120 days have been served in jail. In addition, a person must abstain from all alcohol for a period after serving the sentence, or for the length of their probation period, if applicable. An ankle-monitoring device will keep tabs on this 24/7. Additionally, if convicted under this law a person’s license will be revoked permanently. With so much at stake, it is important to build an aggressive defense.

Examining the Facts of Your Case

When Sparrow Law Firm handles your defense for DWI charges, we will investigate all known facts such as the reasonableness of the stop, whether you were arrested at a checkpoint, the breath test or other field sobriety test that you took and other issues.


Many field sobriety tests may give little real insight into whether you were drunk. Does a portable breath test (PBT), a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a one-leg stand test, a walk and turn test, a sway test, an ABCs or counting test or a finger-to-nose test really prove that you are intoxicated? Or might there be another, reasonable explanation? Breathalyzer and Intoxilyzer machines need to be properly calibrated and can be subject to human error.


If you refuse to take an Intoxilyzer test downtown, you may automatically lose your drivers license for a year. However, you may request a DMV hearing to try to get your drivers license back. If you lose at this first refusal hearing, you can appeal or after six months you may be eligible for a driving privilege.

Potential Consequences of a DWI Conviction

If you are convicted of DWI, your penalties may include jail time, community service, loss of driving privileges and fines.

Drunk-driving cases can be time consuming and challenging. Whether you are facing prosecution for your first, second or third offense, you need the assistance of an experienced Raleigh DWI attorney. When we take a DWI defense case, we do so with the intention of trying the case if that is necessary to win the fairest possible outcome for the defendant.


If you are facing drunk driving charges, it is important to get legal representation immediately. Contact our Raleigh DWI defense lawyer online or call 919-975-4247 to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss your case.