DUI/DWI Defense Attorney in Gastonia, North Carolina
Facing a DUI/DWI charge can be an extremely scary and overwhelming situation that seems to affect more and more individuals. In 2019, 4% of the total car crashes in North Carolina — 11,492 of them — involved alcohol. The first step after getting charged with driving while intoxicated is to hire an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and fight the charges against you. A DWI conviction can have serious consequences on both your personal and professional life, so it’s important that you don’t face this challenge alone.
Here at my firm, The Law Office of Eddie L. Meeks, I understand that a single mistake does not define who you are, and it shouldn’t determine your future. As your defense attorney, I will get to know you and your side of the story as we strategize a strong legal defense for your case. If you live in Gastonia, North Carolina, or the surrounding areas of Charlotte, Lincolnton, or Hickory, and you’ve been charged with a DWI, my office is here to provide you with reliable legal counsel and representation.
DWI Charges in North Carolina
North Carolina has some of the strictest drinking and driving laws in the U.S. Driving under the influence is typically referred to as a “DWI” or “driving while intoxicated.” The laws were specifically designed so that any individual caught driving a motor vehicle while visibly intoxicated or with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
That means that you don’t need a BAC level of 0.08% or higher to be arrested for DWI. The mere appearance of impaired driving or a failed field sobriety test can be enough for law enforcement to place you under arrest.
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to actually be driving the vehicle to get charged with a DWI. Anyone operating a vehicle under the influence can be charged — and the state defines the operation of a vehicle as simply having physical control of the vehicle. This means that if the car is parked but is running, and you are behind the wheel and under the influence, you could be arrested on DWI charges.
DWI Tests and Your Rights
If you get pulled over by the police under the suspicion of being under the influence, there are a few tests that they may conduct in the field, called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These tests may include:
A walk and turn test
Standing on one leg
Portable breath test
You have the right to refuse or decline a field sobriety test. This includes declining a preliminary breath test. Your license cannot get immediately revoked for refusing the test. If you choose to decline the test in the field, the officer can make you take a precise breath test at the station. In this case, refusing a test will result in a one-year license suspension, so be sure to keep that fact in mind.
The penalties for a DWI conviction can range and often depend on whether or not you are a repeat offender. Generally speaking, there are five levels of misdemeanor charges for a DWI.
Level 5: Fine up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days
Level 4: Fine up to $500 and a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum of 120 days
Level 3: Fine up to $1,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours and a maximum of six months
Level 2: Fine up to $2,000 and a minimum jail sentence of seven days and a maximum of one year
Level 1: Fine up to $4,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of two years
A judge can also suspend the minimum sentence and order community service or ban the operation of a vehicle up until level 2.
North Carolina’s Ignition Interlock Program
North Carolina also has an Ignition Interlock Program. If drunk driving is a repeat offense on your criminal record, you may be required to pay for and install an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is a small handheld device that can be used as a breathalyzer test to measure the amount of alcohol in the driver’s breath. If the driver cannot blow into the device and pass the test, the car will not start.
Put a Strong Defense Attorney In Your Corner
At the end of the day, a DUI/DWI conviction can have devastating consequences on your life. Luckily, you don’t have to face these charges on your own. For over a decade I’ve been helping individuals fight their DWI charges so that they can have their penalties reduced or the charges dismissed altogether. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, don’t wait. Call or reach out to my office immediately to put an experienced defense attorney on your side.
DUI/DWI Defense Attorney
in Gastonia, North Carolina
Here at my firm, The Law Office of Eddie L. Meeks, I take the time to forge strong attorney-client relationships built on trust and transparency. By getting to know you and your side of the story, I can formulate a plan that is tailored to meet your needs and help you pursue the best possible outcome. If you live in Gastonia, North Carolina, or the surrounding areas of Charlotte, Lincolnton, or Hickory, and you’re facing a drunk driving charge, contact my office today to learn more about how I can help you with your case.