In North Carolina if you are arrested for DWI a blood sample may be taken to be introduced into court to prove your BAC level. If it is .08% or more you will likely be guilty of DWI, but if the test shows a lower BAC then the case is likely to be dismissed. The blood test is important because it provides a more accurate test of the BAC level of driver as compared to field sobriety tests done by police officers. An officer can make mistakes during field sobriety testing and sometimes someone may not perform well on the tests for reasons other than by intoxicated. The chemical blood test can prove to be an important piece of evidence to show that someone is not intoxicated.

In this article it tells that judges in North Carolina are not allowing cases for DWI to be continued if blood test results do not come back in within 9 months. The reasoning is that too many DWI cases are pending and in order to speed up the process the court will allow just the officer’s testimony to suffice for obtaining a conviction. The article praises this movement because it will speed up getting those who are guilty of DWI convicted faster and off the roads. That may be the case; however on the flip side I would argue that by not allowing blood test results in there is a possibility that innocent people will be found guilty. If the police officer who made the arrest made a mistake then under this system it could result in false convictions.

Our attorneys have experience handling DWI cases in NC and will work tirelessly to defend your case. Contact one of our attorneys directly by calling 704-499-9000 or toll free 877-374-5999. You will be glad you did. Don’t worry. We are here to help.


Putting DWI cases on swifter path good for public, justice


Keeping drunk drivers off the road is why we have driving-while-impaired laws.

But when arrests are made, and cases can’t be heard because of delays getting blood test results from the State Bureau of Investigation, the odds increase of someone getting hurt by a drunken driver back out on the highways.

It’s a classic case of justice delayed is justice denied — denied for law-abiding citizens and motorists, that is.

That’s one reason why the five judges in the 1st Judicial District have announced they will no longer allow DWI cases to be delayed when it takes too long for blood test results to be received from the short-staffed SBI.

“That delay is a huge aggravation in our district courts,” said District Judge Robert Trivette, who drafted a letter to prosecutors that was presented by Chief District Judge Christopher Bean and also signed by judges Amber Davis, Eula Reid and Edgar Barnes. The 1st District covers Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Chowan, Gates, Perquimans and Dare counties.

The move makes sense because it will help clear out a backlog of DWI cases and bring a swifter conclusion to each case — either the driver is guilty and should be taken off the road sooner, or is innocent and should be allowed to get back to his or her life.

And as judges and law officers point out, there are plenty of other methods at their disposal to prove a drunken driving case besides a blood test.

Bean’s letter states that in cases after June 1, prosecutors will have a nine-month window for obtaining blood-test results from the SBI lab in Raleigh. The nine-month window starts when a suspected is arrested, Bean said.

If they can’t make the nine-month time frame, prosecutors will no longer be able to get that case postponed, Bean’s letter states. The only exceptions are cases involving injuries or deaths, or when delays are needed for “the proper administration of justice.”

Trivette believes a good officer, even without blood test results, can still make a DWI charge stick — by relying on his observations about a suspect both before and after making a traffic stop.

“If the evidence is there and it’s beyond a reasonable doubt, I’m going to find him (the suspect) guilty,” Trivette said. “I don’t care if you’ve got a (blood) test or not.”

Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said he advises his deputies only to draw blood from DWI suspects in cases where the suspect has been involved in a serious crash or is a repeat offender.

The law requires blood samples be taken in all misdemeanor death by motor vehicle cases in North Carolina, according to District Attorney Frank Parrish.

Which brings us to another potential benefit for speedier trials.

While the judges want to speed up routine DWI cases that shouldn’t hinge on blood test results, they are providing more leeway in serious and deadly accidents where such results are more likely to be required.

The SBI has been under pressure because of botched evidence involving cases that may be dismissed, due in part to the agency’s inadequate staffing levels.

The public and law enforcement expect evidence processed by the SBI’s results to be accurate, above reproach.

Perhaps the judges’ letter will serve notice to state lawmakers that adequate staffing and funding of the SBI lab is imperative if the state’s justice system is to operate effectively.

Pasquotank Sheriff Randy Cartwright highlights another key part of the problem. Because blood test results are introduced as evidence in DWI cases, SBI analysts spend a lot of time in court verifying their written reports.

“There’s only so many lab agents, and if they’re in court three days out of every week, they’re not in the lab doing samples,” Cartwright said. “So they get behind.”

We support this move by judges to speed up DWI cases, which could help get guilty drunken drivers off the roads sooner — instead of behind the wheel, endangering innocent lives.

Source: http://www.dailyadvance.com/opinion/our-views/putting-dwi-cases-swifter-path-good-public-justice-1114595