Articles Posted in DWI

Have you wondered what the difference is between DWI and DUI?

Did you know DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Impaired) are the same crime. North Carolina law does not recognize a difference between the two and actually punishes this offense under the label of DWI.  This is because the law recognizes and punishes impairment, regardless of whether it stems from alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication.

When charged with DWI, you might think that you have no legal option but to accept the prosecutor’s plea arrangement and pay the penalties. The truth is that an experienced DWI defense attorney can help you avoid the worst of the serious consequences of a guilty plea.

From July of 2012 until June of 2013, the Administrative Office of the Courts reported 61,425 Impaired Driving citations issued in North Carolina. Of this figure, Cumberland and Hoke Counties accounted for over 2,500 citations. These “impaired driving” citations included Driving While Impaired, Driving While Impaired in a Commercial Vehicle, Habitual Driving While Impaired, Aid and Abet and Driving After Consuming While Less Than 21 Years of Age. While the State’s burden of proof varies for each of these criminal offenses, each impaired driving charge shares a basic factual requirement.

Driving While Impaired under North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.1 requires proof of the following four factors: A person must (1) drive (2) a vehicle (3) on a public street, highway, or public vehicular area (4a) while under the influence of an impairing substance, or (4b) after consuming a sufficient quantity of alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, or (4c) with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90-89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.

If convicted of Driving While Impaired in the State of North Carolina, a person faces five (5) different levels of punishment depending upon his particular factual scenario. After conviction, a Judge will determine whether any Grossly Aggravating, Aggravating or Mitigating Factors apply to the case. The existence or lack thereof of these factors will determine the appropriate level of punishment issued by the Court.

Cumberland County started in 2010 a special court to address the issue of repeat offenders of driving while impaired cases. This court has been named Sobriety Court. It was the first court of its kind in North Carolina and to my knowledge no other county has a court like this.

How does someone find themselves in Sobriety Court?  There are three ways.

(1)   acquire a second DWI while having a DWI pending,

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