What are my chances of getting my DWI dismissed?

Chances of getting your DWI dismissed in North Carolina are very slim.  However, there are are several circumstances that could potentially amount to a dismissal of your charge for DWI, but the most common instance is when a Police Officer lacks probable cause in order to arrest you for driving while impaired.  In the State of North Carolina, a police officer cannot make an arrest without first establishing probable cause. Probable cause for a DWI is based on the officer’s opinion that a defendant is appreciably impaired, or that his mental and/or physical faculties were impaired by an impairing substance, at the time they were operating a vehicle on a North Carolina Street, Highway or Public Vehicular Area.  The Court decided that you don’t necessarily have to be a trained expert in order to determine whether someone is appreciably impaired or not. So in many ways, a lay person would be able to form the opinion that a person is intoxicated based upon their personal observations of the defendant. So when an officer is making the determination of appreciable impairment they will use their personal observations of the defendant and faulty driving or other evidence of impairment.  Some of the factors that can be attributed to appreciable impairment are as follows:

  • Odor of Alcohol
  • Red glossy eyes
  • Swaying or loss of balance
  • Erratic Driving
  • Slurring words
  • Having an open alcohol container or any substance found in the vehicle
  • An admission to drinking
  • Witness saw you drinking and then driving shortly after

This is by no means the entire list but it does give you some insight into signals of appreciable impairment to a reasonably cautioned officer. These factors, along with a poor performance during the field sobriety test battery, could be enough substantial evidence to satisfy a guilty verdict for a DUI in Raleigh or other states.  According to State v. Lindsey, which was recently published as of 2016, “If the officer smells a medium odor of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath, sees that the defendant’s eyes are red and glassy,… The officer performs an HGN test, noting 5 of 6 indicators of impairment,” and “the defendant tells the officer that he had three beers at 6 p.m. the previous evening,” the police officer has enough evidence for probable cause based on the totality of the evidence standard.  This recently published case has made the threshold for probable cause even larger and the chances of a successful dismissal of DWI charges even more difficult.  That is why you need an experienced DWI defense attorney on your side when you are faced with this sort of charge.  Because as you can see, this charge is simply becoming more difficult as our justice system extends into the future.

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