Can I Be Charged With a DWI If I Haven’t Been Drinking?


Alcohol does not necessarily need to be involved to be charged and convicted with a DWI in North Carolina. Based on NCGS 20-138.1, “a person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State . . . while under the influence of an impairing substance.”

According to Shea Denning of the UNC School of Government, an impairing substance can be alcohol or a controlled substances, including illegal and legal drugs. Essentially, any drug that impairs one’s ability to drive can be considered an impairing substance.

These substances may not necessarily register on a breathalyzer, but North Carolina officers can still arrest you if they suspect that you are under the influence of an impairing substance. Instead of requiring a breath sample, the officer may request a blood sample. If you refuse to give one, the officer may apply for a warrant to take blood. In some situations, blood may even be taken without a warrant if the officer can prove exigent circumstances existed.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Wake County, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel in Cary, NC, for a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located off of the Harrison Ave. exit of I-40 on Weston Parkway. We serve all areas of Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and Wake Forest. Call us at (919) 585-1486 for more information about how we can help you with your DWI case. 


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.