When an officer stops your vehicle, you may feel a sudden rush of adrenaline and wonder what may have raised suspicions. You may also worry that the alcohol you consumed earlier may affect the manner in which the officer carries out the traffic stop. Even if you feel fine and do not believe that your abilities have been impaired, an officer may view the situation differently.
In such a predicament, you could suddenly find yourself facing charges for DWI. Though you may understand the basics of such a charge, you may want to gain more information on North Carolina laws that could apply to your situation.
Over the legal limit
As with all states, the legal limit for driving under the influence is .08 percent. If an officer stops you and suspects you of intoxicated driving, he or she will likely utilize a breath test in order to gauge your blood-alcohol concentration level. In the event that the test indicates a level of .08 percent or higher, you will likely face charges for DWI.
Additional stipulations could also apply. If you drive a commercial vehicle, the legal limit lowers to .04 percent. If you have not reached the age of 21, any level of alcohol concentration in your blood could result in charges. Plus, if your BAC level reaches a level of .15 percent or more, you could face more serious consequences.
Not just BAC
Though the BAC level may act as a strong piece of evidence, an officer does not necessarily have to obtain a breath test that reaches or exceeds the legal limit in order to charge you with DWI. If the officer has you perform field sobriety tests and does not believe that you performed satisfactorily, you could still face charges for impairment.
An excessively high BAC level is not the only factor that could result in additional penalties. You could face aggravated DWI charges if authorities believe that certain factors apply to your situation. Some of those factors include:
- Reckless driving
- Having minors in the vehicle
- Driving with a suspended license
- Having prior marks on your record
- Multiple DWI convictions
A DWI charge could potentially upgrade from misdemeanor to felony under certain conditions.
Defending against charges
If you do find yourself having allegations of DWI brought against you, understanding your right to a defense may help you feel more at ease. Information on possible options for approaching your case could allow you to discover the method most suited to your needs.