A skilled attorney can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. At Eustache Law we are a criminal defense firm that will dig into every aspect of your case and fight for your rights.
Winston-Salem DUI Lawyer
Have You Been Arrested for DUI in Forsyth or Guilford County?
Being arrested for DUI is often an intimidating and embarrassing experience. It can also be enormously stressful when you are unfamiliar with North Carolina DUI laws, the legal proceedings, what your rights are in these situations, and how best to deal with a DUI charge. Every state takes drunk driving extremely seriously to protect the public. Law enforcement and prosecutors aim for convictions to punish offenders and send a message to others. This commonly leads to harsh penalties.
If you have been arrested for DUI, drug DUI, underage DUI, or a repeat DUI, your first response should be to contact Eustache Law as soon as possible. A conviction can result in the loss of your driver’s license, heavy fines, restrictive probation, and other penalties, depending on the situation. Collateral consequences can include spiked car insurance rates and a permanent criminal record that can negatively impact employment. However, DUI arrests are often based on faulty evidence and incorrect procedure. Our skilled DUI lawyer knows how to investigate all the technical, legal, and procedural factors that can lead to favorable outcomes.
DUI Laws in North Carolina
Driving under the influence (DUI) is referred to in North Carolina as driving while impaired (DWI) and is outlined in § 20-138.1. of state law as Impaired Driving.
Under this law, DWI is committed in the following scenarios:
- Driving while under the influence of an impairing substance; or
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher; or
- Driving with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance or its metabolites in your blood or urine.
You can be charged with DWI based on the amount of alcohol or drugs found in your system or on being noticeably impaired, regardless of any measured amounts of these substances found in a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. Your vehicle also does not necessarily have to be in motion at the time of your arrest. You must merely be in physical control of it, such as sitting behind the steering wheel with the keys in the ignition.
North Carolina DWI Penalties
North Carolina has a complicated system for charging and sentencing DWI cases. The system is multi-tiered with five levels with Level One as the most serious. These Levels are generally based on “aggravating” as well as “mitigating” factors.
Gross aggravating factors can include such circumstances as having caused a serious injury, driving with a minor, driving with a revoked license based on a prior DWI, or having a previous DWI within a certain timeframe.
Aggravating factors can include driving with a BAC measuring .15 percent or higher, causing an accident, reckless driving, or having two previous traffic violations and three demerit points added to your driving record.
Mitigating factors are those that lessen the severity of your DWI charge. These can include the fact that you were taking a prescribed drug while driving or that your driving was deemed relatively safe. You can also present mitigating factors to the court, such as having received substance abuse treatment or engaged in sobriety monitoring prior to your sentencing.
All sentencing levels are based on both the aggravating and mitigating factors in your case.
Levels Three, Four, and Five are generally the most common with the following penalties:
- Level Three: Jail time of 72 hours up to six months with a fine of up to $1,000
- Level Four: Jail time of 48 hours up to 120 days with a fine of up to $500
- Level Five: Jail time of 24 hours up to 60 days with a fine of up to $200
Minimum jail time can often be avoided by completing community service hours. You will also have to undergo a substance abuse assessment and any recommended treatment or education.
Level Two sentencing is based on having one gross aggravating factor. It is punishable by seven days up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $2,000. You can avoid minimum jail time with 90 days of sobriety monitoring.
Level One sentencing is based on two aggravating factors or having a minor passenger in your car. It carries 30 days up to 24 months in jail and fines of up to $4,000. The minimum jail time is 10 days after which you may be granted probation.
Aggravated Level One sentencing is based on having three or more aggravating factors. It is punishable by 12 to 36 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
In all the above, you will have to undergo a drug or alcohol assessment followed by recommended treatment or alcohol/drug education.
DWI & License Suspension in North Carolina
In any DWI conviction in our state, The DMV will impose the revocation of your driver’s license. Once the revocation has been completed, you will need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.
In a first offense, your license will be revoked for one year followed by one year with an IID. In a second offense, you will face a four-year revocation followed by a three-year IID period. In a third offense, your revocation will be permanent. However, you can get your license restored after 24 months if you complete a year of successfully monitored sobriety.
In DWI, the prosecutor must prove every element of DWI under the law beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, elements can be challenged based on the evidence your attorney uncovers.
These defenses can include:
- Flaws in the chemical testing process. These flaws can lie in how the test was administered, the chain of custody, whether the equipment was correctly calibrated or maintained, and more.
- You had a medical condition that produced false testing results.
- Faulty sobriety tests. Sobriety testing is notoriously subjective and inaccurate.
- Arrested without probable cause.
- The officer did not read you your Miranda rights.
- You were not under the influence. Law enforcement testimony as to your impairment without chemical test validation can be purely subjective.
How to Fight a North Carolina DWI
The best way to fight a DWI is with a well-prepared defense based on a thorough investigation of all circumstances surrounding your arrest. To do this, you will need an attorney who is skilled and experienced in DWI defense.
At Eustache Law, you can work with a former prosecutor who knows how the other side operates in these cases. Mr. Eustache has defended countless individuals in DWI charges and has built a strong track record of success. With our firm on your side, your chances of a favorable outcome will be dramatically increased.
Harold took on my case and did his due diligence in getting the charges dropped. I appreciate him fighting for me.- Cornelous
Harold is the best criminal attorney in the area, and he always puts his clients first. I highly recommend!- Brittany
Harold is simply the best! Superior representation and excellent communication.Takes on the stress of the situation so that you don't have to!- Assam
Attorney Eustache is an incredible lawyer he is a former military officer, veteran and former prosecutor he helped me through a very difficult situation where I had no one to turn to in a very limited amount of time and I would recommend him to anyone in NC period give him a call.- Brian A.
Excellent service quick and friendly staff and He is very personable and hands on I am very happy with choosing Eustace Law.- Kim
Harold by far is one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the triad area. He responded quickly to my request for representation for my ticket. He was able to work quickly to get my ticket reduced. If you ever need representation in the triad area, I would highly suggest Eustache Law!- Brian R.
I can name 5+ agencies that said they couldn’t take on my case, or that they didn’t have any options for me. Mr Eustache was the only Lawyer who accepted my case and gave me so much more hope for my future. I definitely recommend Eustache Law- Jordan K.
Mr. Eustache is definitely the best lawyer in Winston-Salem, and probably the best in North Carolina. I was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with the intent to kill. I looked up lawyers on YouTube and came across Mr. Eustache. I visited his office and met with him and his team, and he made me feel confident and very comfortable. Long story short we won the trial "Not Guilty"!! And now I can resume my life with my family. So if your looking for a lawyer in forsyth county, do yourself a favor and give Eustache Law a call.- Previous Client