The Four Elements of DWI in NC

Kurtz Blum, PLLC | Raleigh Criminal LawyersInnocent until proven guilty—there’s no other way around it. This is the standard imposed on the prosecution, to deter wrongful convictions. America was founded on the principle that criminal convictions can affect a free person’s right to life and liberty in such a devastating way that the highest level of proof is required before a person can be found guilty of an offense.

As such, when you are charged with a crime, such as DWI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are indeed guilty. Otherwise, its case against you will not hold water. To be convicted of DWI/DWI in NC, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following four elements:

  • Operation – In NC, “operating a vehicle” includes sitting behind the wheel of a parked car while the engine is running.

  • Vehicle – Under NC law, it is possible to receive a DWI conviction for operating a scooter, bicycle, and even a lawnmower.

  • Impairment – The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in NC is as follows: Under 21, zero tolerance; 21 or older, .08 BAC; commercial drivers, .04 BAC.

  • Appreciable impairment – Evidence to support an Appreciable Impairment claim typically includes testimonies against the driver, such as having a strong alcohol odor, being unsteady on his feet, slurred speech, and red glossy eyes.

Contact a DWI lawyer the moment you are charged with drunk driving, to ensure these four elements are used to your full advantage.


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