Anxious, nervous, or ashamed? It’s not the end of the world. Thousands of people are arrested every year in Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas for DWI. You are not alone. In fact, it may surprise you to know just how little it takes to be considered “over the limit” in North Carolina. Here at LAW SMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC, we have helped scores of people just like you get through this surreal and often horrific experience. We know how important this charge is to you and that’s why we take our time to meet face to face with you to discuss the many possible outcomes of your case. We will explain everything thoroughly and put your mind at ease. Life is complicated enough, having an experienced DWI trial lawyer on your side can help assuage any unpleasantness about this process and allow you to move on with the more important things. We have set up this website as an informative tool to allow you to navigate through the information that you need in order to understand your rights and learn more about what options are available to you. For example, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need a DWI lawyer?” or “What kind of DWI defenses are there?” Whether you are looking for information on DMV hearings or an Under 21 DWI, this website can take you there. Please look around and take your time. Feel free to pick up the phone and call us for a free and confidential DWI consultation.
DWI Laws in North Carolina
What is Driving While Impaired in North Carolina?
North Carolina General Statue § 20-138.1 as abridged below lays out the relevant details:
§ 20‑138.1. Impaired driving.
(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance; or
(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration; or
(3) With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90‑89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.
While a horse has been excluded from the statute’s definition of vehicle, you can still be charged for DWI while riding a bicycle or lawnmower. The State can also use “appreciable impairment” to make their case. Appreciable impairment is noticeable impairment that is described in the pattern jury instructions as impairment that causes the person to lose normal control of their physical or mental faculties or both.
A Schedule 1 substance is a group of drugs that include opiates, opiate derivatives, psychedelic substances, depressants, and stimulants.