Choosing a DWI Lawyer

Being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina is one of the most stressful, time consuming, and consequential events you may experience. If you are convicted you may face potential jail time, suspension of your license, fines, court costs, installment of an Interlock Ignition Device (the device that checks your blood alcohol content before you can operate your car), and a DWI conviction on your criminal record. It is precisely because of these harsh and lifelong repercussions that an experienced DWI defense lawyer is highly recommended to protect your interests throughout the judicial process.

However, it is not enough to simply hire legal representation; it is essential to select an effective and knowledgeable attorney to ensure the best possible outcome of your case. There are a number of factors you should consider when determining who will guide and represent you through the defense of your arrest.


There is no substitute for experience. Attorneys who have defended DWI arrests and regularly defend against these arrests understand the judicial system, are knowledgeable of all the defenses, and will be able to provide the most effective representation. They understand how the process works as well as which arguments are the most likely to be successful.

Legal Knowledge

An attorney with years of experience defending DWI’s should have the legal knowledge necessary to mount strong defenses and arguments for dismissal of your arrest. Many aspects of the arrest can be challenged and it is imperative to identify and highlight “holes” in the prosecution’s case. Defenses such as the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, improper checkpoints, Breathalyzer calibration and proper administration procedures, and lack of Miranda warnings are but a few defenses that experienced DWI attorneys can employ in fighting for the best possible resolution of your case.

Rapport with District Attorneys and Judges

Having a good relationship with the district attorneys prosecuting the case as well as with local judges is quite helpful when defending a DWI. An attorney that has worked with area prosecutors and judges can usually develop good lines of communication and knowledge of how each other works, plea deals they may offer, and style of communication and negotiation, all of which helps to facilitate a resolution. In addition, an experienced attorney who has argued in front of a certain judges before will know which defenses are likely to succeed and how to effectively argue them to that judge.

Local knowledge and alternative sentencing options

Familiarity with “the system” allows experienced attorney to stand up for your rights and interests. These attorneys know the ins-and-outs of the courthouse, how to navigate the legal minefields, and who to contact for information and evidence. Additionally, different jurisdictions and courts have different local rules and sentencing options; it is important that an attorney understand all of these specialized rules and considerations in order to best represent you.

Track Record

One of the best indicators of an effective DWI defense attorney is his or her track record from previous cases. An attorney that garners high dismissal rates for his clients signifies quality. A good method for researching the previous performances of attorneys in DWI cases is to read client and peer reviews on the firm’s Google review page, or websites such as and

Peer Review Ratings

Peer review and client ratings such as those found on websites like and detail an attorney’s background, their practice area, and contain a number of written and detailed reviews. The Avvo ratings range from 1.0 (extreme caution) to 10.0 (superb). When looking for a DWI defense attorney, it is advisable to review their ratings and area of expertise to determine if that attorney is right for you.


There are many factors and decisions that go into choosing the best DWI defense attorney for your case. An attorney with many years’ experience, knowledge of the applicable rules, defenses, and local customs, as well as a track record of success will be able to fight effectively on your behalf. The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have years of experience fighting these charges and are prepared to defend you. Contact our office today and let our attorneys protect your legal rights and help you to avoid jail time.