Drunk driving charges in North Carolina can result in both criminal penalties and administrative consequences, which means accused individuals may face jail time and the potential loss of their driver’s license in addition to other possible penalties and consequences. Accused individuals can also be left with a criminal record, which is why it is important for them to know their options when mounting a defense to drunk driving charges.
Possible defense options include both affirmative defenses and other defense strategies that examine whether or not police followed all the procedures required to protect the accused individual’s rights. Affirmative defenses to a DWI charge include necessity, duress, mistake of fact, involuntary intoxication and entrapment. These defenses commonly refer to a specific set of circumstances, so it is important for the accused individual to be familiar with what they are.
Other options for mounting a defense to drunk driving charges include challenging a breath test or field sobriety test. It may be possible to challenge the accuracy of a field sobriety test if the police officer administering the test was not properly trained to do so. Likewise, it may be possible to challenge a breath test for the same reasons, as well as if the breath test instrument was not properly maintained or calibrated. The accused individual may also wish to point out that their blood alcohol content level was below the legal limit while they were driving, but rose between the stop and the test or that a breath test at the police station would have been more accurate. If a blood test was taken, it is important to pay close attention to the chain of custody to ensure accuracy of those results which may also form the basis of a criminal defense challenge.
Finally, if the arresting officer lacked probable cause to stop the accused individual, the accused individual may wish to use this argument to challenge the DWI charges they are facing. Defense strategies to drunk driving charges can be complex but important. So much is on the line when an accused individual is facing a DWI charge, which is why trained guidance can be helpful.