In order to be convicted of a DWI in North Carolina, the State has the burden to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt all the elements of DWI have been met. There are three elements that the State must prove which include:

1. A vehicle was being driven

2. The vehicle being driven was on a street, highway, or public vehicular area; and

3. The defendant had any amount of a Schedule I substance in his system, or had a BAC . 08 at a relevant time after the driving to show alcohol had been consumed during or prior to driving or the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of an impairing substance such that the person’s bodily or mental faculties had been appreciably impaired at the time of driving.

The question sometimes rises as to what is meant by the term “appreciably impaired” in the statute. The case of State v. Harrington defined what the term “appreciable impairment” means in context of DWI. The Court of Appeals held that gross impairment or that a person is falling down drunk is not what must be shown. Also just the smell of alcohol or consuming alcohol is not alone by itself to show appreciable impairment. Appreciable is defined as noticeable and measurable.

The majority of DWI cases will have evidence to show that a defendant’s BAC was .08 or above following the arrest. However if this evidence is not available it is possible the State may still be able to obtain a conviction if there is evidence to show the defendant was appreciably impaired, which is usually shown through police testimony.

Our attorneys will review your case and make sure you receive the fair representation you deserve. If you find yourself in a situation in which you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina you need to hire an attorney who knows and understands complex criminal law. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to defend your case. Contact one of our attorneys directly by calling 704-499-9000 or toll free 877-374-5999. Visit our main page here.