The Experienced DWI Defense Lawyers of Kurtz & Blum in Raleigh, North Carolina, Discuss What You Should Do If You Are Charged With DWI
The Answer to a Common DWI Related Question from Savvy and Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are charged with a Driving While Impaired, your license will immediately be revoked. If you took the breath test either at the police station or in the mobile unit that the police call the BAT-mobile, or breath alcohol testing mobile, your license will be revoked for 30 days, just because you are accused. After 10 days, you will be eligible for a pretrial limited driving privilege. A limited driving privilege will allow you to drive for certain purposes at certain times. You may drive for work or school; maintaining your household, which means things like taking your children to school or buying groceries; for taking DWI classes, which you will be ordered to do if you are convicted of DWI; for doing community service, which you will probably be ordered to do if you are convicted; and for medical emergencies. You must do certain things to qualify.
First, you must not drive until you get your limited driving privilege. If you are caught driving before getting the privilege, you are driving with your license revoked, which is an especially big deal when you are revoked for an alcohol-related reason. You don’t need the additional headache. Don’t do it.
Second, you will need a form from your insurance company showing that you have active insurance. It’s called a DL-123. A page from your insurance policy will not do it. The form can be faxed to us by your insurance agent. Your insurance company cannot raise your insurance for asking for a DL-123 nor for asking about a DWI accusation. If you are convicted, you will see a big increase of 400% for three years, but only if you are convicted.
You will also need a Substance Abuse Assessment from a certified agency and we can give you a list of approved agencies. The assessment will take you about an hour and a half or two hours and cost you around $100. You will discuss your driving as well as your alcohol and drug habits and they will prepare a letter for the court recommending the amount of classes that they feel you need in order to learn how not to get into trouble in the future. They will recommend between 10 hours of classes over a 30 day period up to a maximum of checking yourself immediately into a hospital. Even if they say you are the biggest drunk they have ever seen, though, the assessment will qualify you for a limited driving privilege. If you are convicted, you will be ordered to get a Substance Abuse Assessment, but the Assessment is only valid for 6 months. Whether or not you need a limited driving privilege, under most circumstances, you should still get a substance abuse assessment as it would be of value in the event you are convicted. We should discuss the specific facts of your situation to decide on what makes sense for you individually.
You will also need your driving record for the last seven years. Unless you were licensed outside North Carolina during the past seven years, as your attorneys, we’ll take care of this for you. You need certain forms prepared, which we will also handle, and you have to pay a $100 fee to the courts. Standard limited driving privilege hours are from 6 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday. If you need to drive to work or school at night or on the weekends, you will need additional documents showing your schedule. A letter on letterhead will be necessary for work-related driving. It does not need to be signed by your boss and it does not need to say anything about Driving While Impaired, but it does need to be from someone with access to letterhead who knows your work schedule. A class schedule is all you need for school-related driving.
This pretrial limited driving privilege is valid until the 30th day from the day that you were stopped for Driving While Impaired. On the 31st day, you can restore your full driver’s license. You pay a restoration fee to the clerk’s office and they will give you back you license. You are not required to get a limited driving privilege. If you do not need to drive for 30 days, you can save yourself a little money by waiting.
If the police officer says you refused the breath test, you will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege. Refusing the breath test will revoke your driving privilege for a year whether you convicted of Driving While Impaired or not. You will only become eligible for a limited driving privilege after six months and then only if you have resolved your DWI charge. Scheduling a DWI trial can take much longer than six months. If you are convicted, you will again be revoked for a year, but this is a different year from the year that you are revoked for refusing the breath test. Artfully handled, these can overlap, but you cannot drive legally without a driving privilege and you cannot have even a limited driving privilege with both revocations running at the same time.
One way to avoid this problem is to ask DMV for a hearing on the issue of whether you willfully refused to take the breath test. This will delay the revocation until the hearing, which can take months. Even if you clearly refused, you can use the time to make arrangements for how you will get by without being able to drive. Frequently, we have found that the police don’t show up for these hearings. Without the officer’s testimony we, and by we, I mean you, win by default. Winning not only lifts the revocation, it can help us in a trial on your DWI case as well. Even if the officer shows and we lose the hearing, it can help with your trial because it gives us a chance to fully question the officer under oath. We get a clear, complete preview of the prosecutors’ case and a preview of the way that the officer stands up to questioning.
Obviously, this is a complicated area of the law with a number of competing concerns and we have only touched on a handful in this brief video. The most important thing that you can do when accused of Driving While Impaired is to hire a skilled, experienced law firm to protect your rights. Call the trial lawyers at Kurtz & Blum as soon as possible. We can help. At Kurtz & Blum, we're in your corner.
Our DWI attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Knightdale, Cary, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Zebulon, Apex, Rolesville, Raleigh, Wake Forest, New Hope and Wendell.