New DWI Laws Strip Rights, Endanger Lives, Charlotte DUI Lawyer Says

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Tennessee legislature has passed changes to drunk driving laws, making penalties much heavier and giving law enforcement a new tool to gather evidence. Attorney Bill Powers comments on his experience with a similar law in North Carolina.

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Compelled blood testing, which is different from an implied consent demand for sample, can be scary. We’ve seen clients whom have been wrestled to the ground and threatened with serious physical injury simply because of their terrible fear of needles.

Tennessee legislature has passed changes to drunk driving laws, making penalties much heavier and giving law enforcement a new tool to gather evidence.

A similar “Implied Consent” law, NCGS § 20-16.2, is already in effect in North Carolina. Such statutes are aimed to make the state's highways safer, but can lead to some dangerous situations according to North Carolina traffic law attorney Bill Powers.

The bill passed by the legislature appears to serve two major goals: stiffer punishments for anyone with a minor in the car while driving under the influence of alcohol, and giving police officers the right to draw blood.

In the state of North Carolina, any person who drives a vehicle on a highway or public area, is deemed to have “given consent” to a chemical analysis if properly charged with an impaired driving offense. Specifically, one can be requested to submit to a sample if Probable Cause exists to believe the accused has committed an implied consent offense.

“There are a number of rights at play,” stated Powers, whose firm Powers McCartan, pllc handles DUI / DWI & Serious Felony Impaired Driving cases throughout the state of North Carolina. “These issues can be very complicated, especially considering the intrusive nature of such testing. North Carolina law authorizes in some instances ‘compelled’ testing.’”

Requests for breath samples and blood testing are the standard protocols, where failure to comply results in a one year willful refusal revocation, “Compelled blood testing, which is different from an implied consent demand for sample, can be scary. We’ve seen clients whom have been wrestled to the ground and threatened with serious physical injury simply because of their terrible fear of needles.”

Powers adds “Once someone refuses to provide a breath sample, the most appropriate methodology is to seek a warrant. Given that North Carolina allows for retrograde extrapolation of blood test results, it would be much better and Constitutional to involve an independent judicial official. We are dealing with factual issues that would shock the conscience of the founders of the United States. But for North Carolina, we likely wouldn’t have a Bill of Rights. It is ironic that we are a leading state seeking to preclude unreasonable searches and seizures.”

About Bill Powers:

Bill Powers, managing partner of the law firm of Powers McCartan PLLC, and is a board certified Criminal Law Specialist by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Named Lawyer of the Year in 2011 for DWI/DUI in Charlotte, North Carolina by US News and World Report, he is also listed in Best Lawyers in America for the consecutive years of 2010 – 2012. In 2012 Bill was added to the “Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina” by SuperLawyers North Carolina Magazine. When you are facing criminal charges you want an experienced attorney like Bill on your side, call today (704) 342-4357 or email: bill(at)powmac(dot)com

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