I blew less than a 0.08, but was still charged with DWI! What now?

Can I be charged with DWI even though I blew less than 0.08? Yes, North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1 states that a person may be charged with DWI if they operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while under the influence of an impairing substance OR with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher at any relevant time after driving. 

So, this means the law governing DWI's in NC covers offenses both above and below a blood alcohol concentration of .08. The State may attempt to prove a case of DWI without any blood alcohol content at all, by proving "appreciable impairment." This means that they must prove that your physical and mental faculties were appreciably impaired by alcohol or another impairing substance like marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs. The good news is it is much more difficult for the State to prove a case without a BAC of 0.08 or higher. 

Blood alcohol content also can impact the level of DWI at sentencing. DWI's are broken down into 6 classes of severity which are measured based on "mitigating" and "aggravating" factors. A blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher is considered an aggravating factor. A BAC of .15 or higher also triggers the ignition interlock requirement through DMV. The worst level DWI is an Aggravated level 1, which is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment. For a Aggravated level 1 punishment, the court must find 3 "grossly aggravating factors" such as serious injury caused by the impaired driving, prior DWI within 7 years or having a child under the age of 18 in the car at the time of offense. The lowest level, level 5, has a maximum punishment of 60 days imprisonment with the minimum punishment being 24 hours of community service. 

A DWI can be very costly and has long-standing repercussions on your permanent record. It is important that you put yourself in a position to best fight for your interests.

If you were charged with DWI in Wake County, call the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a no-cost consultation. Our attorneys, Wiley Nickel and Kristi Haddock have experience fighting DWI charges and are ready to help. Our office is located in Cary, near the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Weston Parkway. 


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.