Was My DWI Arrest Legal in North Carolina?

If you have been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, you may have questions about the legality of the arrest. Did the police officer who arrested you forget to read your Miranda rights? were you denied the right to call a defense attorney? If you have questions about whether your DWI arrest was legal, it is important that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

A defense attorney can begin investigating your case and gathering evidence. If your constitutional rights have been violated, your attorney can petition the court to disallow evidence gathered by an unconstitutional search and seizure. If the court bars evidence from your arrest, the prosecution may drop the charges against you.

When Does a Law Enforcement Officer Have to Read a Suspect's Miranda Rights?

Generally, when a suspect gives a written statement or makes an oral statement after being arrested and in response to an officer's question, that response is protected by Miranda. in other words, if the law enforcement officer has not read the suspect their Miranda rights before the statement is made, the statement will likely be inadmissible as evidence in court. In practice, law enforcement officers in North Carolina do not always read Miranda rights when they make a DWI arrest. The suspect may not be advised of their Miranda rights during the entire encounter with law enforcement officers.

The lack of Miranda warnings may or may not result in a dismissal of the DWI charges against the defendant. For example, the statement made by a suspect after being arrested may not have been particularly important for the state's prosecution. The prosecutor may be able to bring charges based on field sobriety tests and the suspect statements made before the arrest, which Miranda did not protect. They may also have resulted from a blood or breath alcohol test that could be enough for them to prove the defendant committed a DWI beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, if the police officer asks a question and the answer could be used as evidence by the prosecution to prove the DWI, excluding that evidence could impact the case outcome. Suppose a law enforcement officer asked who was driving the vehicle or whether the suspect had consumed any alcohol immediately before or while driving. In that case, the answer could be used against the defendant in their case. Suppose you believe your rights were violated because the officer arresting you did not read your Miranda rights. In that case, it is essential to talk to an attorney who can help you understand whether the lack of brand investment could be a beneficial defense for your case.

Do I Have the Right to Call an Attorney Before I Provide a Urine or Blood Sample?

Most DWI cases depend on blood or urine testing. Prosecutors will use the results from a blood or breathalyzer test to convict a defendant for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In North Carolina, a driver being compelled to DWI testing through North Carolina's implied consent law has the right to consult with an attorney before being tested. However, this right does not allow the defendant to delay the testing to speak to an attorney. The individual only has 30 minutes to find and contact an attorney. After that time has passed, they need to submit to the testing or face additional consequences.

If My Breathalyzer Result is Under the Legal Limit, Can I Still Be Arrested?

The answer to this question is no. If your breathalyzer result is under the legal limit of .08% BAC, how can you be convicted of a DWI? in North Carolina, you can be charged with a DWI even though you are below the legal limit. If a law enforcement officer observes someone driving away that shows they may be impaired, such as swerving in and out of the lane, the officer can still make an arrest.

A defendant can still be convicted of a DWI without corresponding blood or breathalyzer test results. This type of charge is based on the law enforcement officer's subjective opinion that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The good news is that you may have an easier time defending yourself against the DWI charge than if your breathalyzer test results showed that you were over the legal limit.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Residents of North Carolina have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you suspect your rights were violated during or after a DWI arrest, contact the experienced DWI attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your rights.