How To Get a DWI Dismissed in Charlotte
It is possible to have a DWI dismissed in Charlotte. These dismissals often occur with procedural or evidentiary errors. You can also take actions to reduce the severity of a DWI charge if it moves forward.
Common Errors That Could Lead to Dismissal
Police officers must have probable cause for pulling you over, such as erratic driving or weaving between lanes. If they observe bloodshot eyes, smell alcohol, or other signs of potential intoxication, that’s considered probable cause to administer field sobriety or chemical tests.
When they pull you over for another reason, such as a broken taillight, they cannot assume you’ve been drinking because you have bloodshot eyes. Officers must have reasonable cause before conducting sobriety tests.
Your DWI charge could also be dismissed if the officer failed to read your rights during arrest or denied your request to speak to a lawyer.
Unlawfully Obtained Evidence
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizures by police. Officers cannot search you or your vehicle without probable cause, and in many cases, seize evidence unless in plain view.
The prosecution may only submit evidence obtained legally. Evidence secured from an unlawful traffic stop or search should be suppressed, resulting in dismissed charges.
Improper Chain of Custody
Blood and urine tests require what is called a chain of custody. From the arresting officer to the forensic technician, each person must follow a process that includes signatures, dates, and correct handling procedures. Any deviation from the chain of custody could invalidate the results and not be admissible in court.
Chemical Test Errors
Testing with a breathalyzer requires the officer to follow specific steps before the device is ready for use. It is possible to have your case dismissed if the arresting officer failed to follow the correct procedure.
According to DriveSafe, law enforcement breathalyzers should be calibrated monthly to maintain accuracy. Incorrectly calibrated breathalyzers might lead to the prosecution dismissing your DWI.
Officer Fails to Arrive for Court
Your DWI charges can also be dismissed if the arresting officer does not appear for the court date. The court might also choose to reschedule, but it is also reasonable to expect a dismissal.
How to Improve a DWI Charge in Charlotte
If a dismissal isn’t possible, there are ways to improve your situation.
Negotiate for a Reduced Charge
The prosecution may offer a plea deal. You would plead guilty to a lesser charge – with more manageable terms of punishment – to avoid a DWI conviction on your record.
Seek a Diversionary Program
If this is your first offense and no one was injured (or killed), the court might consider a diversionary program rather than jail. A diversionary program could include an alcohol treatment or prevention education program.
You could avoid a complete loss of driving privileges, perhaps with the use of an ignition interlock system. The court could allow you to operate on a restricted license, limiting your travel to work, school, and home.
Probation & Community Service
Some first-time DWI offenders receive probation with or without community service. This could be an option for you, depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you cannot avoid conviction, it may be possible for you to expunge (delete) a DWI charge in Charlotte.
What Makes a DWI Worse
Just as there are actions that could improve your DWI, there are also things to avoid so you don’t worsen your situation.
Don’t Refuse a Sobriety Test
Refusing to take a field sobriety or breathalyzer test is grounds for automatic suspension of your driving privileges. North Carolina has an implied consent law, and you should take the test and fight the results rather than refuse.
Question the Test Results
Breathalyzer tests can be inaccurate, either from improper calibration or an untrained administrator. You have the right to question test results.
Talking to Police Without an Attorney
Anything you say to police officers is potential evidence against you. Remain silent, ask for an attorney, and do not answer questions or make statements until you have legal counsel.
Accepting a Deal Without an Attorney
The prosecution is not looking after your best interests. They may try to pressure you into accepting a plea deal when it is possible for you to fight the charges and get a dismissal. A DWI defense lawyer can help you understand your legal options for the best possible outcome.