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Can I Drive After Getting Arrested for DWI or DUI? - Part 2

What’s the Legal Limit in North Carolina?

Driving under the influence, or what some traditionally may call “DUI,” involves a numerical value and a determination of impairment due to alcohol.

While a common answer to the “legal limit” question even among defense lawyers may be .08, technically the “legal limit” is .079.

If the number is .08 or higher, on the official breath testing machine, that’s enough for possible conviction.

That reading is supposed to immediately impose a license revocation under the DWI laws in North Carolina.

But, .08 is not the end-all, beat-all. It’s possible to be convicted with a reading below .08.

Chances are, if you blew a 0.08 or greater, the police officer seized your license and North Carolina DMV will record what defense lawyers may refer to as “civil revocation” or a “30 Day Suspension.”

If the reading is below .08, a revocation ordinarily would not take place unless authorized under some other provision of the law such as a willful refusal.

The important number is the “Reported BAC” or Breath Alcohol Concentration. Ordinarily, there are two breath samples. North Carolina considers the “lower of the two readings.”

As such, if you have a breath test of .10 and .08, the .08 as the lower reading is reported. On the other hand, if you have a breath test reading of .08 and are thereafter marked as a willful refusal, the complicates matters.

The State may rely both on the .08 and the willful refusal, triggering NC DMV action. Again, it can be pretty complicated and difficult to understand.

That’s one reason it’s a really good idea to speak with an experienced Charlotte DWI Lawyer. We’re here to help answer your questions.

One very important law to consider is N.C.G.S. Chapter 20-16.2. The “implied consent laws” in North Carolina are an important consideration in preparing a defense to DUI charges.

It’s important to note several things:

  1. The handheld breath testing device, the AlcoSensor, and the number it shows, does NOT suspend your license as part of the 30-Day Revocation or suspension.
  2. Refusing to submit to the handheld “breathalyzer,” the AlcoSensor PBT, is not a “willful refusal.”
  3. Refusing to submit to the PBT does not result in a license suspension.
  4. Refusing the PBT may be considered by the charging officer in formulating the “arrest decision” and determining Probable Cause for Arrest.
  5. The numerical reading on the AlcoSensor is not admissible as evidence at a DWI trial.
  6. A .08 reading on the AlcoSensor is not a legal basis for suspension or revocation of your license relative to pending DWI charges.
  7. There are instances under the North Carolina Administrative Code when the AlcoSensor reading may be admissible.
  8. A “positive” reading for alcohol may be a factor in determining Probable Cause for Arrest.
  9. The test result that matters, relative to providing a breath sample, is the EC/IR II.
  10. There is more than one way to prove Driving While Impaired in North Carolina.
  11. Blood tests may also be used to prove impairment and the same .08 legal standard applies to both blood and breath tests.
  12. Under the NC DWI laws, there is a provision for urine testing with the same .08 reading. Urine tests for DWI charges in North Carolina are rarely, if ever, used as a basis for a civil revocation.

Prior to getting behind the wheel, we strongly recommend you talk to a DWI lawyer.

Not only are there times when the police officer and/or NC DMV cannot legally take your license, there may be ways to challenge the legality of the suspension or to obtain a Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege.

Charlotte DUI / DWI Lawyers

Because your case matters, it’s worthwhile to seek the legal advice from a trusted DWI lawyer in Charlotte.

How to Choose a Lawyer

Do your homework.

Check out the professional experience and accolades of DWI defense lawyer Bill Powers.

A conviction for DWI in North Carolina can be a life-changing event.

"Our defense lawyers are available for consultation and will take the time necessary to explain your legal rights and options. We want to help."

- Bill Powers

Call now to schedule a free consultation: 704-342-4357

You may also email Bill Powers at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com

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