If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, you may be wondering when is the best time to hire a lawyer.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the factors that you should consider when making this decision.
Keep in mind that every case is different, and you should speak with an experienced DWI lawyer to get specific advice about your situation.
Do I need a DUI lawyer?
The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you actually need a lawyer.
If you have been arrested for a DWI, there is a good chance that you will be facing serious consequences. The legal system is complicated and can be overwhelming if you don’t understand how things work in court.
In North Carolina, the penalties for a DWI conviction can include jail time, probation, fines, and community service depending on the particular facts of your case.
If your DWI charges involve a serious injury to someone else or if you have a prior DUI case (conviction) or if there was a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time, DUI lawyers refer to those as Grossly Aggravating Factors. Put simply, they’re serious.
If you blew .15 (or had a BAC of .15 or higher as determined by a blood test or breath test or urine test) you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car if convicted. That’s in addition to the ordinary terms and conditions of a license suspension Ordered by the Court (the Judge).
If you are facing seroius penalties, you should definitely consider hiring a DUI attorney – Bill Powers
When should I hire a DUI lawyer?
We think the sooner you hire a lawyer (private attorney) for DUI charges, the better.
An experienced DUI lawyer will want as much time as possible to carefully review the evidence against you and to build a defense. That takes time.
It may include gathering materials associated with your case like officer statements, the Chemical Analyst Affidavit, police report, accident report, witness statements, and possibly a Body-Worn Camera (BWC) or dashboard camera if one exists.
If you wait too long to hire a defense lawyer, you may not give them enough time to prepare your case.
Can I represent myself in court?
You have the right to represent yourself in court, but it’s our firm belief that generally not a good idea, especially for DUI cases.
Going to court by yourself and hoping for the best puts you at a tremendous disadvantage – Bill Powers
While it may make sense to plea bargain a minor traffic ticket yourself, that isn’t necessarily true for a serious crime like driving while impaired.
Key point: The prosecutor is prohibited from giving you legal advice for your DUI charge.
DWI cases can be complex, and it is difficult to know all of the legal rules and procedures.
What should I look for in a DUI lawyer?
When you are looking for a DWI lawyer, you should make sure that they have substantial experience handling cases like yours.
You can ask them about their experience in court and whether they have handled any cases with similar facts to yours.
You should also make sure that they are familiar with the laws in North Carolina and that they are comfortable working in Charlotte courts.
How much does it cost to hire a DUI lawyer?
The cost of hiring a DUI lawyer varies depending on the lawyer and the facts of your case.
Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, while others may charge a flat fee.
You should ask the lawyer about their fees before you decide to hire them.
Hiring a DWI lawyer is an important decision, and you should make sure that you are comfortable with the lawyer.
You can learn more about choosing an attorney by reading our blog post on how to choose a DWI lawyer in Charlotte.
If you have been arrested for a DWI, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Charlotte DWI lawyers.
Is DUI the same thing as DWI in North Carolina?
Driving while impaired (DWI) is a catch-all term a lot of people use to describe what the NC DWI Law refers to as “Impaired Driving.”
N.C.G.S. 20-138.1 does not specifically use any of the common abbreviations such as “DUI” or “DWI.” Nowhere in the statute is the term drunk driving.
The law does refer to driving while under the influence, which relates to being under the influence of an impairing substance. That can include alcohol or drugs or even prescription medications.
The DWI laws in North Carolina also allow for consideration of your BAC or the alcohol concentration in your blood or breath or urine of .08 or higher. The legal standard for CDL drivers is lower, .04 in NC.
Many DUI lawyers still refer to the offense as driving under the influence (DUI), specifically referring to driving while impaired by alcohol, knowing that’s what a lot of clients call it.
The important thing to know is that there really it does not matter if you refer to it as DUI or DWI or even drunk driving, our law office staff and DUI attorneys will understand what you’re talking about.
In North Carolina, you can be charged with DWI if you operate a vehicle:
- With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC, sometimes referred to as blood alcohol content) of 0.08% or more OR
- While impaired by any substance that impairs your faculties to such an extent that you are appreciably impaired and your ability to safely operate a vehicle is diminished to an appreciable extent OR
- If you have any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-89(a), in your system
Is DUI the same thing as Drunk Driving?
No, a lot of people still use the term DUI, thinking stands for “driving under the influence” and that it is limited to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
Drunk driving, on the other hand, is another term people use for driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina. The law does not require the State (the prosecutor) to prove you were “drunk” or “drunk driving.”
The legal standard to prove impairment is substantially lower than being “drunk.”
Driving while impaired in North Carolina is driving while your mental or physical faculties are appreciably impaired. While Drunk driving is illegal in North Carolina, that is not the legal standard to be convicted of Impaired Driving under the NC DWI laws.
Should I plead guilty? Can I get a plea deal?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on many factors specific to your case.
However, in general, we don’t think it’s a good idea to plead guilty to a DWI charge without first consulting with an experienced DWI lawyer.
A DWI conviction can have serious consequences, including jail time, loss of driving privileges, and heavy fines depending on your individual circumstances.
Once an attorney client relationship exists, an experienced lawyer will be able to review your case, analyze the applicable criminal law or legal issues, and advise you on your legal rights and options.
Your defense lawyer will also explain how criminal court works, whether there is an option to have your charges dropped, and how plea negotiations work with any related criminal charges like drug crimes (possession charges), CCW Carrying Concealed Weapon, DWLR – Driving While License Revoked, etc.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced DWI lawyers today.
Can I get my DWI reduced to reckless driving?
This is a common question that we get here at our office. Reckless driving is not a lesser included charge to DWI.
Unlike some states, North Carolina does not have a lesser or lower form of DWI. So while some states allow plea bargaining to reckless or “wet reckless” after being charged with impaired driving, that is not standard practice in North Carolina.
To be clear, there are instances when the State cannot prove the essential elements of DWI but may have enough evidence to support a conviction of driving in a careless and reckless fashion.
DUI charges, like each person who has been arrested, are different and somewhat unique. DUI cases involve a complex interaction between the law, legal procedures, technology, human physiology, and science.
Because of that, it makes sense to talk with an experienced DWI lawyer in Charlotte to determine what defenses and legal options you may have.
Can I get my DWI charge thrown out?
This is also a question we get a lot.
It depends on the facts and circumstances of your DWI case, as well as the judge and prosecutor handling your case.
However, we believe having an experienced DWI lawyer by your side is a really good idea.
Your defense attorney should possess substantial experience trying cases in court. Experience matters – Bill Powers
Bill Powers has been helping people with DWI charges in Charlotte since 1992. He publishes the NC DWI Quick Reference Guide and is a sought-after lecturer on DWI technology, procedures, and trial protocols for DWI charges in NC.
He is also a recipient of the North Carolina State Bar Distinguished Service Award. Bill Powers is an extremely experienced DWI attorney and is highly regarded for his service to the legal community.
What happens if I refused to blow into the Breathalyzer?
In North Carolina, if you refuse to take a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine), your license may be suspended.
That’s why it’s important to hire a DUI lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged with DWI.
Timing is often key, as there are important filing requirements to challenge a Willful Refusal in North Carolina.
DUI law tends to be pretty complicated. There can be valid legal reasons to refuse to blow. Some people also cannot provide a sufficient breath sample to provide an accurate blood alcohol content (BAC).
If you wait too long, you may not be able to challenge the Willful Refusal.
Call our office today to speak with a qualified DWI lawyer in Charlotte. We offer free consultations.
Can I get my charge dismissed if they didn’t read me my rights?
Not necessarily. The police are not always required to read you your Miranda rights when they arrest you.
However, if the police question you after arrest and have provided you Miranda warnings, then what you say may be used against you in court.
For this reason, we recommend exercising your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Take the Fifth.
Can I get a Hardship License?
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, you may be wondering if it is possible to get a hardship license. DWI lawyers may refer to that as a Limited Privilege or “LDP.” Some people call it a “paper license.”
A Limited Privilege is a type of restricted driver’s license that allows you to drive to and from specific places, like work or school. If issued by a Judge, the decision of whether to issue a Limited Privilege and the terms associated with when you can drive and for what purpose(s), is often referred to as discretionary.
It’s important to understand, that you must be eligible for a Limited Privilege. The Judge cannot supersede or ignore a license suspension or law that precludes the issuance of an LDP.
Put simply, if not properly issued, NCDMV can refuse to acknowledge a Limited Privilege in certain circumstances.
How much do DWI lawyers in Charlotte charge?
The average price for a DWI lawyer in Charlotte depends on the severity of the charge and the lawyer’s experience.
If you are facing a DWI charge, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and determine the best course of action for your case.
A DWI conviction can result in jail time (in certain circumstances), probation, loss of driving privileges, and high fines, so it is important to have experienced legal representation on your side.
Contact a DWI lawyer in Charlotte today to get started on your case.
How can a DWI lawyer help?
A DWI lawyer in Charlotte can help you by investigating the circumstances of your arrest, negotiating with prosecutors, and representing you in court.
If you are facing a DWI charge, contact a lawyer today to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.
When should I hire a Charlotte DWI lawyer?
We think the best time to hire a Charlotte DWI lawyer is as soon as possible after you have been charged with DWI.
A conviction for DWI can result in serious penalties, including jail time (in certain circumstances), probation, loss of driving privileges, and high fines.
Therefore, it is important to have experienced legal representation on your side from the start for your DUI case.