Was the Stop Valid?
In deciding whether a Motion to Suppress Evidence and/or a Motion to Dismiss is appropriate, we review the Phase 1 "Vehicle in Motion" parameters as described in the NHTSA protocols and pursuant to training advocated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
Put simply, we carefully review why the officer stopped you and whether that "seizure" is valid under the NC DWI laws.
Vehicle stops, with limited exceptions such as DWI checkpoints in Charlotte (NC), must be supported, at minimum, by Reasonable Suspicion.Charlotte DWI Defense Lawyer Bill Powers – Teacher and Advocate for Justice
Bill Powers has extensive experience teaching criminal lawyers, judges, and police officers about the NC DWI laws on issues involving Probable Cause for Arrest, Reasonable Suspicion, and field sobriety tests.
He's even taught continuing legal education to prosecutors with the NC Conference of District Attorneys.
“A substantial part of my professional career is dedicated to legal education and courtroom advocacy. Put simply, I enjoy teaching and much as I do arguing complex legal issues in court.”
– Bill Powers, NC DWI Defense Attorney
We analyze our DWI case files using the NHTSA protocols/steps as a guide.
Police officers are trained on how to investigate and prosecute DWI charges in North Carolina.
The State has, in large measure, adopted a "gold standard" of sorts regarding the prosecution of DWI charges in teaching NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration verified Field Sobriety Tests.
We believe it helps to know what is taught as part of courses associated with DWI enforcement in North Carolina including:
- Basic techniques in DWI detection and enforcement
- HGN Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- One Leg Stand
- Walk-and-Turn (Heel to Toe)
- ARIDE Advance Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement
- DRE Drug Recognition Expert
- AlcoSensor FST – Field "breathalyzer" Operation
As such, we very much rely on the established and stated standards for field sobriety tests, and their proper administration and interpretation, in preparing a defense to criminal DWI charges in Charlotte.
“We believe it's imperative for your DWI defense lawyer to possess substantial background experience both with the testing protocols and techniques as well as common-sense advocacy in the courtroom.”
– Bill Powers
Understanding the "hows" and "whys" behind psychophysical dexterity tests can be extremely helpful in court.
A CMPD Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer, State Highway Patrol Officer, or other police officers in Pineville, Matthews, Huntersville, or Davidson NC cannot pull you over on a "hunch."
The officer must be able to particularize and set forth specific reasons why they believe "criminal activity was afoot."
That suspicion, in order to be "reasonable," must be grounded on the ability to clearly describe the nature and circumstances of the suspicion.
DWI defense lawyers in Charlotte may focus on the big-picture question, "What drew the law enforcement officer's attention to the vehicle?" asking things like:
- Were you exceeding the posted speed limit?
- Were you going below the speed limit?
- Were you driving in a careless and reckless manner?
- Were you weaving within your lane of travel?
- Were you following other vehicles too closely or tailgating?
- Did you run a red light?
- Did you spin your tires?
- Were you racing?
- Did you accelerate from a stop at a high rate of speed?
- Did you respond slowly to a green light?
- Was anything wrong with your car?
- Was your vehicle registration valid?
- Did you have valid insurance?
- Was your vehicle safe to drive?
- Were you stopped as part of a DUI checkpoint in Mecklenburg County?
Positive answers to any of those points of inquiry may support a legal conclusion that Reasonable Suspicion to stop your vehicle.Pre-Textual Stops – Motions to Suppress
It may not be reasonable or "reasonable suspicion" if the arresting officer testifies:
- The defendant just looked suspicious
- Something wasn't quite right
- I arrested him/her in the past for DUI charges
- I wanted to know if their license was suspended or revoked
- I wanted to search them (or their car) to see if they had illegal weapons or drugs
- It was a holiday weekend and a lot of people "drunk drive" on holidays
- It was a known drug area
- It was late at night
Without reasonable suspicion to stop, there may be a legitimate legal challenge to the admission of evidence of impairment, including evidence of the odor of alcohol, red glassy eyes, slurred speech, and even poor performance on field sobriety tests.
Evidence obtained from an unauthorized or illegal stop could be "suppressed" pursuant to a pre-trial Motion to Suppress.What is the Exclusionary Rule?
Assuming the stop is found invalid, and that the evidence obtained as a result of an illegal seizure is suppressed pursuant to the Exclusionary Rule (Fourth Amendment rights), legal grounds may also exist for a Motion to Dismiss for lack of proper evidence.
Criminal defense lawyers may refer to such illegally obtained evidence as "fruit of the poisonous tree."
Related Legal Issues and Topics of Interest for DWI Charges
“Each DWI case in Charlotte, like each person charged with DWI in Mecklenburg County, is unique. Your DWI defense lawyer will want to carefully consider the legal bases for the stop and arrest for impaired driving.”
– Bill Powers, Criminal Defense Attorney
- What should I do if I was arrested for DUI?
- What does "Indicted" mean?
- Is DWI a felony or misdemeanor in North Carolina?
- What's the difference between DUI and DWI?
- Do I have to go to court for DWI charges in Charlotte?
- Can I get my DWI charges dismissed?
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Our law firm and team of DWI defense attorneys provide focused legal advice to people charged with impaired driving in Mecklenburg County, the surrounding judicial districts in Union County NC (Monroe), Iredell County (Mooresville and Statesville), Gaston County, Rowan County, and throughout North Carolina for serious felony DWI charges including murder, manslaughter, felony injury by vehicle, and felony death by vehicle charges.
We offer a FREE initial consultation on felony and misdemeanor criminal charges.
Call Bill Powers today at 704-342-4357 if you have questions about your DWI/DUI charges.
You may also email Bill Powers personally at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com
Everything you tell our criminal defense lawyers and professional support staff is highly confidential.
Call Charlotte DWI Defense Attorney Bill Powers now.