Being accused of a crime is a scary position to be in, but the help of an experienced Asheville DWI lawyer can empower you to fight to protect your rights. Working with a lawyer to handle your DWI case can make a significant difference in the outcome. An experienced Asheville DWI lawyer can leverage their years of practice, knowledge, and resources to pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
What Is Considered a DWI in Asheville?
Like in other states, there is a limit on how much alcohol you can have in your system while operating a vehicle. This limit differs between regular drivers and drivers operating commercial vehicles as they must follow stricter guidelines to drive safely. While one may only need to drink above the legal limit to be charged with a DWI, there are other cases where a DWI can occur.
The following situations are considered a DWI in North Carolina:
- Failing a breathalyzer test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater
- Driving with any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance or its derivatives in your urine or blood
- Being a driver under the age of 21 with any amount of drugs or alcohol in their system
- Being a commercial vehicle driver with a BAC of 0.04 or greater
Typically, drivers are pulled over and suspected of being impaired because of how they are driving. DWI suspects appear to be intoxicated because they drive recklessly and get arrested after failing a field sobriety test or exhibiting other signs of alcohol impairment.
Though these methods are not undoubtedly concrete, prosecutors can still pursue a conviction with this information as evidence. A knowledgeable Asheville DWI lawyer can help your case by arguing against the validity of this evidence.
What Tests Do Law Enforcement Officers Use in DWI Cases in Asheville?
Law enforcement officers have multiple ways of assessing drivers to determine if they should be arrested for driving while intoxicated. If an officer suspects you of being inebriated while behind the wheel, they will stop you and subject you to one of these tests. If you are arrested, the results of these tests can be used against you in court.
- Standardized field sobriety tests: These tests are a series of three actions that includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one-leg stand tests. Suspects are within their rights to decline to take these tests.
- Chemical tests: These are breath, blood, or urine tests used to determine a person’s BAC level. The breath tests must fulfill administrative and regulatory standards to be accepted in court.
Sobriety and BAC tests seem like a concrete way to determine whether someone was driving over the legal limit. However, they are not foolproof methods. Criminal defense attorneys know how to effectively question the validity of these tests and weaken the prosecution’s evidence against you.
Do I Have to Take a Blood Test if I’m Arrested for DWI in Asheville?
Typically, prosecutors in North Carolina will use the results of blood alcohol tests as evidence to prove DWI charges in court. Common testing methods include breathalyzers and blood tests. While many officers prefer to give breathalyzer tests, others prefer to administer blood tests.
When arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, all people who drive on the highway provide their implied consent to a blood alcohol test under North Carolina’s Implied Consent Laws. While drivers have the right to deny DWI breath and blood tests, doing so will result in harsh consequences. A willful refusal of a blood alcohol test can result in license revocation for at least one year, even if you are found not guilty.
What Are My Blood Alcohol Test Rights in Asheville?
Officers in North Carolina are required by law to inform drivers that they have the right to decline a blood alcohol test. When a driver refuses to consent to a blood alcohol test, law enforcement officials are prohibited from administering one. A law enforcement officer must first acquire a search warrant to provide a blood alcohol test to a driver who has refused one. These are just a few of your BAC testing rights in North Carolina.
Other rights related to testing a driver’s blood alcohol content include:
- The driver must be given written notice of their rights regarding blood alcohol tests by police officers.
- The driver has the right to request an additional third-party alcohol test.
- The driver has the right to consult with an attorney and to have a witness present during the blood alcohol test, provided it does not cause the test to be delayed for more than 30 minutes.
Knowing your rights is an essential part of ensuring they are respected. Officers must do their due diligence so that you know your rights. They are jeopardizing your freedom and potentially invalidating their case against you by not doing so.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Asheville, NC?
The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Asheville, North Carolina, can vary depending on several factors, including the offender’s prior convictions and the circumstances surrounding the incident. North Carolina has strict laws and penalties to deter drunk driving and ensure public safety.
For a first-time DUI offense in Asheville, NC, penalties typically include a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours up to a maximum of 120 days, with the possibility of community service as an alternative. The offender’s driver’s license may also be suspended for up to one year, and they may be required to attend substance abuse assessment and treatment programs at their own expense. Additionally, there are fines ranging from $200 to $4,000, depending on the details of the case.
The penalties become more severe if it is a second or subsequent DUI offense within a certain time frame. The minimum jail sentence increases, and the offender’s license suspension period is extended. The fines also escalate, and the court may require the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle, which requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car.
It’s important to note that DUI offenses involving aggravating factors such as excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, driving with a suspended license, causing property damage, or injuring others can result in enhanced penalties, including longer jail sentences, higher fines, and longer license suspensions. Additionally, if a DUI offense leads to a serious injury or death, the offender may face felony charges with even more severe consequences, including substantial prison time.
It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional for accurate and up-to-date information on DUI penalties in Asheville, NC, as laws can change, and each case is unique.
What Determines the Penalties for DWI Convictions in Asheville?
After being convicted of a DWI in North Carolina, your penalties can include jail time, fees, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, community service, and an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle. The severity of DWI penalties is determined by conditions referred to as aggravating factors, grossly aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. The severity of a sentence is increased by aggravating factors while it is reduced by mitigating factors.
A quality criminal defense lawyer can find mitigating factors in your case and assert them in an attempt to have your charges reduced. Your case is more likely to succeed if the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors.
Schedule a Confidential Case Review With a Trusted Asheville DWI Lawyer
People often feel demoralized when dealing with a DWI. However, there are always strategies you can explore to mitigate these charges. Accomplishing this on your own is challenging and overwhelming, so your first step should be to contact a seasoned DWI lawyer who will work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome for your case.
Our criminal defense lawyers at King Law understand how perplexing dealing with criminal charges may be. We are dedicated to providing you with all of the information you need. Our staff of trustworthy legal professionals can go over every aspect of your case with you and explore any options that might help you. Call (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to schedule a consultation with our firm. You can also fill out our contact form.