Anyone looking at a DUI or DWI should reach out to King Law. Our DWI/DUI attorneys provide the experience and history for legal defenses in all driving matters in Spruce Pine. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law here, getting proper representation will be imperative.
What Is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI?
DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” or “Driving While Impaired.” Generally, the two terms are seen as the same with similar charges attached to both. In the Carolinas, we tend to use the DUI acronym.
In Spruce Pine, a DUI can consist of two distinct cases. One is the administrative case and then there is the criminal matter. The criminal matter is where you face a fine or some form of sentencing, such as license suspension or revoking, probation, or jail time. While every DUI is a criminal case, not all DUIs involve an administrative case.
The administrative matter deals with your license. If you take the breathalyzer and test 0.15% or higher or simply refuse to take the test, you are looking at a suspension. To potentially avoid this, you can request an administrative review. The court will issue a “Temporary Alcohol License” until the matter gets resolved.
The general belief is anyone who returns anything over 0.08% during an alcohol test has a DUI. That is not necessarily true. There is no standard. The 0.08% is more inference than determination. You can learn more about this by clicking here.
Technically, there is no “legal limit.” What determines the decision of the DUI is if, while driving, there was the appearance of the defendant presenting “materially and appreciably impaired” behavior.
How the Law’s Interpretation of DWI/DUI Works in Spruce Pine
Specifically, the statute states:
“It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle … while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired…”
To convict a defendant of DUI, the state must prove:
- The defendant was driving.
- The defendant was driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
- The defendant’s ability to drive safely was “materially and appreciably” insufficient.
That last bullet point is a tricky slope as the court will rely on the arresting officer who made the original determination. Law enforcement can essentially use any evidence of impairment as an argument. That includes conversations had with you, your demeanor, results of the field sobriety tests, and more.
Tests for Sobriety in North Carolina
When you get pulled over, if law enforcement believes there is impairment, they will ask you to step out of the car. You must comply.
The officer may conduct one of several sobriety tests or any combination thereof. You can refuse, but that will likely result in license suspension.
There is the common pen or eye test. The officer holds a pen to your eyes and they ask you to follow it. The officer has training in watching for signs of impairment by gauging how the eyes move.
We have all seen the classic walk-a-straight-line scenario, touch your toes, or stand on one leg. It sounds easy enough but the officer supplies very specific instruments you must adhere to. They look for signs of imbalance, such as swinging your arms to stay upright, going too fast or too slow, or falling to the side. These are telltale signs of impairment. Any failure to follow instructions exactly determines the next steps, such as breath tests.
Breathalyzers are a very common determination of blood alcohol content, or BAC. They use the machine to take a breath sample and it returns a number indicating the alcohol amount, and this number indicates the level of intoxication.
Urine and Blood Tests
Law enforcement asks for a blood test if they suspect drugs are involved or if they believe you are behind a possible felony DUI.
The law grants you the right to perform an independent test and law enforcement must concede. But in order for the police to facilitate the request, you must provide a breath sample if you originally refused.
In regards to any of these tests, the law can use the results against you in criminal court.
Contact a Spruce Pine DWI/DUI Lawyer at King Law
The legal system is a landmine that needs careful navigation. The wrong move in court could easily turn a citation into a suspension or a revoked license.
With representation from a top criminal defense attorney at King Law, you worry less while we manage these cases quickly and without creating major inconveniences to your daily lifestyle. Whenever possible, we will appear in court without you. Trust us, the excruciating traffic court process is less stressful when you have a legal team that uses sound strategies and takes the best avenues to combat a DUI.
We want to help. Fill out our contact form or give us a call at (888) 748-5464 (KING) to arrange a consultation with an experienced traffic lawyer.