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DWI Search and Seizure

DWI defense attorney Bill Powers helps people charged with DUI-DWI in North Carolina and for criminal charges in Charlotte NC. Our legal team also helps people in judicial districts surrounding Mecklenburg County, like Monroe, in Union County, and Mooresville and Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina.

An important aspect of any legal representation for criminal charges is to analyze the basis for arrest. Experienced NC criminal defense lawyers also carefully consider how evidence was gathered by law enforcement.

If police illegally conducted a search and seizure during your DWI investigation, that could make a difference to your criminal case. Actually, it doesn’t really matter if it’s Felony vs. Misdemeanor, defense lawyers analyze criminal charges to determine:

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  • Was there Reasonable Suspicion to stop the vehicle?
  • Did the charging officer have Probable Cause to Arrest?
  • What facts gave rise to the criminal charges or criminal citation?
  • Were there allegations of traffic violations?
  • Was there an Arrest Warrant or Order for Arrest?
  • Did police officers have a Search Warrant?
  • Did officers conduct a pat down search without a warrant?
What are my Rights as They Pertain to DWI Search and Seizures?

Under our Constitution, the 4th Amendment was created to ensure that everyone has a reasonable right to privacy. You are protected under the 4th Amendment from illegal searches, seizures and any invasions of privacy that are considered unreasonable.

This means that when police stop your motor vehicle, they cannot just start rummaging through your pockets and searching your trunk without any probable cause to do so.

LEARN MORE: How important is good legal advice?

Obviously, if you give police permission to search, then it becomes more difficult to suppress any evidence they may have obtained pursuant to a consent search or voluntary waiver of rights.

The question then becomes, did you knowingly, voluntarily waive your rights? Did you agree to the search because you wanted to, or because you were threatened or felt compelled to allow the search?

Those are important legal issues to discuss with your defense attorney in NC or if you have criminal charges in South Carolina.

What is Probable Cause to Search? What is Probable Cause to Arrest? How is Probable Cause Different From Reasonable Suspicion?

Probable cause must exist in order for police to legally search you or your vehicle. It’s a relatively complicated legal concept in criminal defense cases and an important part of legal representation. It helps to have an experienced lawyer – Bill Powers

There are certain exceptions such as the Terry Frisk or the Plain View Rule.

Furthermore, this area of law has become even more complicated with the May 2009 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant that appears to have greatly reduced the possibility of a “search incident to arrest” of the cabin and compartment areas of your vehicle.

Normally, police should have probable cause that you or something you possess is unlawful or may be evidence of guilt to be used in court. For example, after pulling someone over for speeding, it is not appropriate for the officer to start a DWI investigation or begin searching you or your vehicle unless he or she observed something unlawful.

Obviously police cannot ignore evidence of illegal activity, even if they only pulled someone over for a minor traffic offense. With regard to impaired driving, some tell-tale signs that may be immediately observable would include red glassy eyes, slurred speech, a strong odor of alcohol, erratic driving, failure to pull over right away, stopping in an inappropriate or unsafe place, rolling forward or failing to put the vehicle in park after the stop, etc.

LEARN MORE: How Court is Scheduled in North Carolina

How do I Know if Police Legally Conducted a Search and Seizure During My DWI Investigation?

Given the ruling in Arizona v. Gant, and considering how complex this area of law is, you will want to talk with an experienced attorney. It is important to consider a number of factors involved with the stop and arrest of those accused of impaired driving. Although some cases share certain similarities, there are many different factual scenarios possible. That’s why the courts utilize a “totality of the circumstances” analysis.

DWI defense attorney Bill Powers will review your stop, arrest and detainment to determine whether police legally searched and seized your person, your property and/or vehicle. It is important to make sure police acted appropriately and in a lawful manner. Illegal stops and arrests can result in the dismissal of charges, if determined appropriate by the Judge after reviewing the facts and law behind your criminal case.

As such, careful consideration must be given to the basis of the stop and arrest.

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The criminal defense team at Powers Law Firm law firm help people with criminal charges, DWI defense, DUI revocation hearings, traffic tickets, and other criminal cases such as Murder, Manslaughter, Sex Offenses, Drug Charges and Trafficking cases in Charlotte NC.

The defense lawyers provide legal representation to people facing serious felony charges in North Carolina.

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Client Reviews
I am so fortunate to have had Bill Powers on my case. Upon our first meeting, Bill insisted that through the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal that I remain resilient. He was available to answer questions with researched, logical, truthful answers throughout our two year stretch together... J.R.
Bill Powers and his firm were a true blessing. If anyone is contacting an attorney, it's more than likely not from a positive life experience. If there was a rating for "bedside manner" for lawyers he'd get a 10/10 for that as well. The entire staff were helpful... K.C.
Bill Powers’ staff has handled several traffic citations for me over the years, and they exceeded my expectations each and every time. Would highly recommend anyone faced with a traffic citation or court case contact his office and they will handle it from there. M.C.
Bill and his staff are flat out great. I (unfortunately) was a repeat customer after a string of tickets. These guys not only took care of the initial ticket for me, but went the extra mile and reduced my problems from 3 to just 1 (very minor one) on the same day I called back! I would recommend them to anyone. A.R.