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DUI Attorney in Greensboro, North Carolina

When the red and blue lights flash in your rearview mirror, and you realize you're being pulled over for alleged drunk driving, your heart may pound. The consequences of a DUI/DWI charge in North Carolina can be severe, disrupting your life in a number of profound ways. It's a frustrating situation that can overwhelm anyone. 

During this process, remember: you don’t have to face it alone. Just because you’ve been accused of driving under the influence doesn’t mean you are guilty under the law. It’s important to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney during this time. 

Rodrick A. Rouse, Attorney at Law is proud to offer strong counsel and detail-oriented guidance to clients throughout the entire state of North Carolina.  

DUI Charges in North Carolina

In North Carolina, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) charges aren't taken lightly. These terms are interchangeable and refer to operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs that impair your ability to drive safely. Under North Carolina law, you can be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. 

It’s interesting to note that you don't actually have to be driving to be charged with a DUI in North Carolina. If you're in the driver's seat and have control over the vehicle — even if the car isn't moving — you can still be charged with a DUI if your BAC is above the legal limit.

Pulled Over for DUI?

What Officers Look for During DUI/DWI Stops

During a traffic stop, officers (at least, in theory) should look for specific signs of impairment. These may include:  

Erratic driving behavior: This can include speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, abrupt or illegal turns, or any other unusual driving patterns. 

Physical appearance and behavior: Officers will observe your physical state and behavior. Bloodshot or glassy eyes, the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or a lack of coordination could all be signs of impairment to an officer. 

Field Sobriety Tests: If the officer suspects impairment, they may conduct a series of field sobriety tests. These tests can include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk-and-Turn test, or the One-Leg Stand test.  

Breathalyzer Test: You may be asked to take a breathalyzer test, which estimates your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol in your breath. 

Remember, it's important to know your rights, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in. You have the right to remain silent, and you may refuse to take field sobriety tests. However, under North Carolina's implied consent law, refusing a chemical test—like a breathalyzer test—could result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license

Sobriety Tests and Your Rights

There’s a difference between field sobriety tests and chemical tests. If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving in North Carolina, they may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. These could include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, or the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is intended to measure the involuntary jerking of your eyes. 

You do not have to submit to field sobriety tests. In fact, it is in your best interest to politely refuse these tests. 

Chemical tests, however, are a different matter. Chemical tests such as breath, blood, or urine tests might be administered to determine your BAC. It's important to understand that refusing to submit to these tests can lead to immediate license revocation under North Carolina's "implied consent" laws. By driving a vehicle in the state, you have given your consent to a chemical analysis if you are arrested for an “implied consent offense.” Implied consent offenses include DWIs (whether as a result of alcohol or another substance) and vehicular manslaughter. 

Possible Penalties for DUI

The penalties for DUI in North Carolina are significant. They range from fines and license suspension to mandatory alcohol education programs and even jail time. North Carolina employs a tiered sentencing system for DUI offenses, with Level I as the most serious and Level V as the least severe.

For example, a first-time offender could face a Level V punishment, which includes a fine of up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours.  

Ignition Interlock Program

In some cases involving DUIs, you might be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This device requires you to take a breath test before starting your car and periodically while driving. If the IID detects alcohol on your breath, it prevents the vehicle from starting. 

No matter the potential penalties, you’ll need the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer to help advocate for your rights 

DUI Attorney in Greensboro, North Carolina

Navigating the complexities of a DUI charge can be overwhelming. That's why you need an attorney on your side who truly cares about your case and cares about your future. Get in touch with Rodrick A. Rouse as soon as possible. Based in Greensboro and serving clients throughout Guilford County, Randolph County, Forsyth County, Alamance County, and Davidson County, Attorney Rouse is committed to providing a robust defense when you need it the most.