DWI Law in North Carolina  

DWI law in North Carolina is extremely serious and complicated. Many counties in North Carolina, especially Wake County, take an extremely hard line when it comes to prosecuting DWIs. The penalties for conviction of a DWI charge can be losing your license, serving jail time and/or fines and court costs in the thousands of dollars.  A conviction will also have extreme consequence for your auto insurance rate. Because DWI charges carry extreme consequences, you will need representation like Mr. Gurney who knows all the “ins and outs” of how to attack and defend a DWI charge for his clients.

As former Criminal Magistrate Mr. Gurney has handled hundreds of DWI charges, license revocations and search warrants related to DWI charges. Mr. Gurney has also served as a Magistrate for DWI Check Points around Wake County.

If you have been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, you should contact The Gurney Law Firm to explore your options. Call the Gurney Law Firm, day or night, at (919) 930-4027.

What are the elements of a DWI charge?

Basically speaking a Driving While Impaired charge in NC consists of:
1. You were driving on a public street or public parking lot
2. While your blood alcohol level is .08 or above
3. Or you are appreciably impaired by alcohol or another drug (even doctor prescribed drugs)

§ 20‑138.1. Impaired driving.

(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:

  • While under the influence of an impairing substance; or
  • After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration; or
  • With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90‑89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.

(a1) A person who has submitted to a chemical analysis of a blood sample, pursuant to G.S. 20‑139.1(d), may use the result in rebuttal as evidence that the person did not have, at a relevant time after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

(b) Defense Precluded. – The fact that a person charged with violating this section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense to a charge under this section.

(b1) Defense Allowed. – Nothing in this section shall preclude a person from asserting that a chemical analysis result is inadmissible pursuant to G.S. 20‑139.1(b2).

(c) Pleading. – In any prosecution for impaired driving, the pleading is sufficient if it states the time and place of the alleged offense in the usual form and charges that the defendant drove a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area while subject to an impairing substance.

(d) Sentencing Hearing and Punishment. – Impaired driving as defined in this section is a misdemeanor. Upon conviction of a defendant of impaired driving, the presiding judge shall hold a sentencing hearing and impose punishment in accordance with G.S. 20‑179.

(e) Exception. – Notwithstanding the definition of “vehicle” pursuant to G.S. 20‑4.01(49), for purposes of this section the word “vehicle” does not include a horse. (1983, c. 435, s. 24; 1989, c. 711, s. 2; 1993, c. 285, s. 1; 2006‑253, s. 9.)