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Lack of Impairment Evidence Overcomes .09 BAC

Practice Area: DUI and DWI

Outcome: Not Guilty

Description: The Defendant was stopped at a DWI checkpoint in Raleigh. The officer said he detected an odor of alcohol, and the Defendant admitted to having five or six beers throughout the evening. The officer, with the Defendant’s cooperation, administered three standardized field sobriety tests and collected a breath sample using a portable breath test. The Defendant performed well on the tests. The breath sample tested positive for alcohol. The Defendant was arrested and taken to the on-scene breath-alcohol testing bus, where the Defendant registered a .09 BAC approximately 45 minutes after the arrest. The case was heard in a bench trial at the District Court level. The .09 BAC created a presumption that the Defendant’s BAC was .08 or above at the time the Defendant was driving. The judge, acting as the finder of fact, found that there was sufficient evidence of lack of impairment at the time the driving occurred and other circumstantial evidence to rebut the presumption that the Defendant’s BAC was above a .08 at the relevant time, and could not find the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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