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I Ain’t Drunk, I’ve Just Been Drinking – Get the Facts About Driving While Impaired (DWI)

Under North Carolina DWI law, you do not have to be physically or mentally “drunk” to be convicted of a DWI. You can be convicted of DWI simply by the fact of a .08 blood alcohol concentration on a blood test or an intoxilyzer.

Photo by Dave Gough.

Photo by Dave Gough.

Some drivers with a .08 show no physical impairment. Others, particularly people who do not drink often, will be physically and/or mentally impaired. Therefore, you can’t go by how you “feel” or even your own physical performance to determine whether you’ve had too much to drink. While the intoxilyzer is a notoriously inaccurate machine, courts give it great weight and usually accept its results as the Gospel.

If you do drink and drive, but are not physically impaired, you may be able to win your case because of lack of a reasonable articulable suspicion for the initial stop or lack of physical performance tests or other evidence to develop probable cause to arrest.

Basically there are four different prongs on which you may be convicted of a DWI:

1.A blood test that indicates a .08 or more blood alcohol concentration;
2.Results of a chemical analysis (such as an intoxilyzer) that is deemed sufficient to prove a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more;
3.A blood test that shows the presence of any amount of certain illegal drugs; and
4.Physical and/or mental impairment;

However, in all cases the State must prove that you were driving, that a reasonable articulable suspicion existed for the stop, that probable cause for the arrest was present and that the blood test/intoxilyzer/other tests were given at a relevant time after driving.

We’re happy to answer any questions and review the facts of your case. Give us a call for a free consultation to determine whether the State has a viable DWI case against you.

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