Driving While Impaired


Under North Carolina law, you will be found guilty of Driving While Impaired if a prosecutor can prove that you were (a) operating (b) a vehicle (c) on a highway, street, or public vehicular area (d) while under the influence of an impairing substance or with an alcohol to blood concentration of 0.08% or more at any relevant time after driving. N.C.G.S.20-138.1 Sound simple?  Unfortunately, the application of the statute is not as clear cut as it sounds:
You are considered to be "operating" or "driving" if you are simply sitting behind the wheel with the engine running.
A "vehicle" can be a car, truck, scooter, bicycle, or even a lawnmower.
Public Vehicular Area:
Parking lots are considered public vehicular areas.
Impairing Substance:
Most people realize that alcohol and illegal drugs can cause impairment, but many do not realize that prescription and over-the-counter medications (such as sleep aids) can also cause impairment.
DWI cases are often won and lost on the issue of impairment. There are two ways that the State may prove impairment. First, the prosecutor can introduce the results of the Intoxometer ECIR/II (commonly called the "breath test") to show that the Defendant's BrAC (Breath Alcohol Content) was higher than .08. Second, they can offer opinion testimony that defendant was "appreciably impaired." Usually, the arresting officer notes things like: a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech, unsteadiness, and red/glassy eyes. This also includes testimony about the how the defendant performed on field sobriety tests. It is essential that your attorney thoroughly understand the way both the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) tests are administered, as well as the science and mechanics behind the Intoxometer. Drawing on years of experience prosecuting cases as an Assistant District Attorney on the Outer Banks and across Northeast North Carolina, David R. Hamm knows how to build the best defense strategy possible. He first focuses on 1) whether there was reasonable suspicion for the stop, 2) whether proper procedure was followed during the administration of the field sobriety and the "breath" tests, and 3) whether any grounds exist to have evidence suppressed. He is adept at spotting inconsistencies in the administration of these tests. If the stop and tests were "good", he will work to reach a resolution that will minimize the impact of a conviction. Specifically, he will argue all applicable "mitigating factors" and petition the court for a limited driving privilege that will allow you to continue driving to school or work. Call today for a free initial consultation.