There are three standardized field sobriety tests that police officers in North Carolina routinely ask drivers suspected of D.W.I. to perform: the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus); the Walk and Turn; and the One Leg Stand. If you attempt any of these tests on the scene and perform badly, the officer will use these results against you at trial. By not taking these tests, you make the State's case harder to prove when it comes to probable cause to arrest. There are other non-standardized tests that officers sometimes use as well including the Romberg balance test and the finger to nose test. It's best you refuse all roadside testing.
DO NOT fill out any forms or answer any questions
You have the RIGHT to REMAIN SILENT; Use it. Be polite and kindly explain to the officer that you will not answer any questions until you have spoken with your attorney. Do not fill out any forms that ask questions such as: "How much did you have to drink?" or "On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being really drunk and 1 being sober, what number are you?" Answering questions like these can only hurt your case.
DO hire an experienced D.W.I. Attorney
Research attorneys in your area before you decide which attorney to hire. A good D.W.I. attorney should have the right experience and credentials to handle your case. Remember, D.W.I. is very complicated in North Carolina and you should look to an attorney that handles many D.W.I. cases. Other things to look for when selecting the proper D.W.I. attorney are organization membership, what other attorneys say about that attorney, etc.
To blow or not to blow?
This is a question that is frequently asked of me in D.W.I. cases. Should I blow when we reach the machine downtown? It depends. If you refuse to blow into the EC/IR ii machine (the big machine, not the handheld) the State of North Carolina will revoke your drivers license for one year. This one year suspension is not lifted even if you win your D.W.I. case in court. You may be eligible for a driving privilege after 6 months in some cases. However, you are still unable to get any kind of driving privileges for work or school or anything for that first 6 months and maybe even the whole year. If, however, you do blow, you may be eligible for a privilege if found guilty depending on your sentencing level. While a refusal to blow will make the State's case harder to prove, it may also leave you unable to drive for an extended period of time if convicted. This is a choice each person has to make.
DO NOT blow at the roadside into a PBT
PBTs or Portable Breath Testers are not admissible in Court to show the number but are admissible for the presence of alcohol. Don't blow at the roadside. A positive result for alcohol only hurts your case.
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