Monday, November 28, 2011

Beginning December 1, 2011, DWI becomes much worse.

Anyone convicted of DWI before December 1, 2011 will tell you it's hell. Even a first offense drove them crazy with limited privileges, fines, court costs, community service, assessments, and interlock ignitions. Usually, there was no jail time for a first offense, but that changes. First offenders can face a mandatory jail sentence of 120 days in the County Jail. Most would rather serve their time in the Department of Corrections where there are programs, TV, exercise areas, and things to do. None of that is at most jails. You just sit there and read the Bible or whatever other books they allow. North Carolina isn't too worried about how incarcerating you will affect your family and job.

Being convicted of a second DWI will definitely land you in jail if it happens within 7 years of the first conviction.You won't get limited privileges. When you're eligible for a driver's license again (at least 2 years), you'll have to have an interlock transmission (blow and go) for the rest of your life.

Faced with such severe consequences, you have to be willing to fight. It's difficult to properly prosecute a DWI. There are several stages where the case can be lost, or won. Why did the officer stop you? Was there an accident? Was anyone in the car with you? What happened after the blue lights came on? When were you asked to step out of the car? Did you do a roadside breathalyzer test? How about field sobriety tests? They're supposed to be standardized, but few officers do them correctly. When were you read your rights? Did you say anything? Did you take an Intoxilyzer test? Did you ask for an attorney or a witness before taking it?  Those are examples of the questions which must be answered in every DWI case.

Many patrol cars are equipped with video equipment. That can be valuable evidence for a Defendant. A jury can see and hear the driver. It may be much different from the officer's testimony. Videos also shows whether the officer administered the field sobriety tests correctly and how you performed them. If videos are not subpoenaed within a certain time, they are destroyed, so it's important not to waste time.

Get legal representation. Make sure you get an attorney who practices in the County where you're charged. Be sure that he knows what he is doing. 

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