What To Do When You Get Pulled Over for a DWI in North Carolina

If you are charged with driving while impaired, or DWI, in North Carolina, you may have a world of trouble ahead. A DWI charge carries serious consequences. For this reason, you need to be careful about how you react if the police pull you over for a suspected DWI.

If you take a few simple steps, you can potentially save yourself jail time, hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines and the loss of your driver’s license.

Those steps include the following:

  • Refuse roadside tests. After a police officer stops your car for a suspected drunk driving offense, the officer will usually ask you to perform roadside sobriety tests. Those tests may include a breath test on a mobile, hand-held device. You need to weight the decision to take this test carefully. If you have reason to believe that you will “blow” a breath sample that shows you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08, you should consider declining all roadside tests. You have the right to refuse the test. Also, you can expect the prosecution will try to use your roadside test results against you. You don’t have to give the prosecution that evidence.
  • Exercise your right to remain silent. We all know the old “anything you say can be held against you” line. It’s the absolute truth. Once you have been arrested, do not speak unless the police speak to you. If an officer asks you a question, politely reply that you choose not to respond to questions until your lawyer is present. The police may try to chat you up to get you talking. Don’t fall for it.
  • Consider declining a breath test. This is a little tougher decision to make. After your arrest, if you decline a breath test on a machine such as the Intox EC/IR II, then you will automatically lose your license. However, if you have been convicted of DWI within seven years, another conviction carries far worse penalties. If a bad breath test could result in a second or third DWI in seven years, you may choose to refuse it. If you know you have had three drinks in the past hour, you may also consider declining to be tested — the penalties are worse if you have a 0.15 BAC or higher.
  • Get a breath test witness. If you agree to a breath test after your arrest, you have the right to have a witness of your choice. However, your witness must get to the police station within 30 minutes to observe the test. You should ask to call someone. Even if they don’t arrive in time, that’s an extra half hour for your body to burn off some alcohol content – maybe to below the legal limit.

Above all, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are pulled over and, ultimately, arrested for a DWI in Raleigh or elsewhere in Wake County.

At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we will move quickly to protect your rights, challenge the charge and take other steps to pursue the best possible outcome for you. We know what is at stake for you after the police stop pull you over. We will aggressively fight for your future. Contact us today to learn more.