A Raleigh DWI Lawyer Explains the Concept of “Low Blow” in DWI Cases

Everyone is subject to DWI arrest if the police finds probable cause that you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol. Even members of law enforcement aren’t exempt from DWI charges. Such was the case of a Sheriff’s Deputy from Lincoln County, who resigned from his post after being charged with DWI.

Exactly at the Legal Blood Alcohol Limit

The deputy, identified as Gerald David Dellinger, was recently charged with DWI after abandoning his vehicle, which rolled down an embankment along Highway 27 West and hit a tree. After the North Carolina Highway Patrol found the abandoned vehicle through a report from a passer-by, Dellinger was taken to the Lincoln County magistrate’s office and took a breathalyzer test, where he registered a 0.08 alcohol level, the minimum legal blood alcohol limit.

According to Sheriff David Carpenter, while he willfully admitted to drinking that night, Dellinger claimed he ran out of gas and was aided by a man. Both of them pushed the truck f the road and into a ditch, where the vehicle rolled down and hit a tree. Dellinger further claimed that, after deciding to leave the vehicle, while the man took him home.

“Low Blow” in DWI Cases

While all states follow the standard legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08, this does not mean that anyone reporting lower levels are safe from DWI charges. As the case of Dellinger, individuals who blew 0.08 or below may still be charged with DWI if law enforcement is able to prove that they have been impaired while driving. In some circles this is known as a “low blow”.  It is a common misconception that you won’t be arrested if your blood alcohol content registers below .08.

Under North Carolina law, an individual need only to be “appreciably impaired” to be charged with DWI. Any DWI lawyer will tell you that alcohol affects different people in different ways.  In addition, there many instances where individuals may also be using illegal or prescription drugs. Coupled with alcohol use, these can cause levels of intoxication that can impair a person’s ability to drive properly. Generally, breathalyzers do not pick up the presence of drugs during the test, making it possible for impaired drivers to blow below the legal blood alcohol limit.

An individual charged with DWI is advised to immediately contactRaleigh DWI lawyer at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, for legal counsel. DWI charges can happen to everyone, and blowing exactly at, or even under, the legal blood alcohol limit is not a guarantee of getting off the hook in North Carolina.


  • Deputy resigns after DWI arrest, December 14, 2015
  • Blow Under .08 On A Breathalyzer? You Could Still Be Charged With DUI, LifeSafer