Driving While Impaired

Common DWI Offenses:

First DWI Offense

For many people, a DWI arrest is the first criminal charge they have ever faced. The arrest process is humiliating; the court process complicated and confusing; and the potential penalties severe. Even if this is your first offense, you will likely face increased insurance costs; loss of your driver’s license; either active jail time or probation; and a criminal record.

Arrested for DWI While Visiting NC?

It happens all the time. Visitors who come to enjoy a relaxing getaway on North Carolina’s Outer Banks suddenly find themselves facing the severe penalties that can accompany an NC DWI conviction.

Out-of-state drivers are often unsure about the impact of their DWI arrest in their home state. The answer can be complicated. Hiring a local, experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the court system to guide you can make a difficult process much more manageable.

Driving After Consuming Under 21

The State of North Carolina takes underage drinking and driving very seriously. If you are charged with "Driving After Consuming Under 21", the prosecutor will not be inclined to, and in many cases simply cannot, offer a plea.


Drawing on his years of experience as an Assistant District Attorney, David R. Hamm will first focus on:

1) whether there was reasonable suspicion for the stop;
2) whether proper procedure was followed during the administration of the field sobriety and "breath" tests; and
3) whether any grounds exist to have evidence suppressed.

If the stop and tests were "good", he will work to reach a resolution that will minimize the impact of a conviction and petition the court for a limited driving privilege that will allow you to continue driving to school or work.

NC DWI Law:

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:

Operating:
You are considered to be "operating" or "driving" if you are simply sitting behind the wheel with the engine running.
Vehicle:
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.
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.