North Carolina DWI Stop Or Arrest
If you are pulled over for DWI in North Carolina, the things you say and do, or don’t say and do, can have both immediate and lasting impacts on your future. North Carolina DWI lawyer Rashad Hauter is an aggressive advocate who will fight to get you the best result possible, but a lot depends on how you respond when you are pulled over. See below for more information about being pulled over for DWI in North Carolina, and call Dysart Willis if you have been arrested for DWI in North Carolina, Henderson or other communities throughout Wake and Vance counties.
Watch your behavior, because the police certainly are
Before you are even pulled over, the police have begun monitoring your driving as well as any behavior they can observe inside your car. If you are signaled to pull over, cooperate as quickly and as safely as you can, pulling fully onto the right shoulder or elsewhere as directed by the police. Sit patiently for the police to come to you.
The less said, the better
When the police approach your vehicle, they will likely ask to see your license and registration, which you are required to produce. They may also ask you questions such as “How much have you had to drink tonight” or “Where are you coming from?” You are not required to answer questions such as these and are within your rights to decline to answer. Remember that the police are still watching your behavior to develop enough cause to arrest for you DWI and require you to take a chemical test of your blood alcohol content (BAC). The longer and more detailed your answers, the more opportunity you give the police to decide if you are coherent, nervous, have liquor on your breath, etc.
To test or not to test
If you are ordered out of the vehicle, you must comply. The police may then order you to perform a series of roadside field sobriety tests, which go under the names of the Walk and Turn test, the One Leg Stand test, and the imposing-sounding Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. There are other field tests as well, but only these three tests are considered reliable by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If you haven’t been drinking and can perform well on these tests, the police may not have grounds to arrest you or test you further. However, their purpose in administering these tests is not to exonerate you but actually to develop the grounds for pursuing you further. You can lawfully refuse to take these tests, but your refusal can be used against you in court, and it can also be used with other evidence of impairment to arrest you for DWI.
Field sobriety tests are not to be confused with chemical tests of your BAC, most often performed in a breath test with a machine such as a breathalyzer or intoxilyzer. You are required by law to submit to this test when ordered by the police, and your refusal will be met with an immediate 30-day revocation of your driver’s license, followed by an additional one-year revocation after you have had an opportunity for a hearing on the revocation. This revocation occurs even if you are found not guilty in a DWI prosecution, which is separate from the DMV license suspension process.
Overall, it is generally best to cooperate with the police and not be argumentative, although it is important to know your rights and exercise them, such as declining to give consent to search your vehicle or refusing to take field sobriety tests if that is in your best interests. If the police make errors during the traffic stop, your attorney can attack these errors later in court or in negotiations with the prosecutor. Conducting yourself appropriately during a DWI stop will put you in the best position, and put your attorney in the best position to help you.
Help is available for DWI Arrests in North Carolina and Henderson
If you have been arrested for DWI in Vance or Wake County, contact Dysart Willis at our offices in North Carolina or Henderson for a free, initial consultation with a dedicated and experienced DWI defense attorney.