Raleigh DWI Law Firm, Matheson Law Office, Pllc Explains Recent Reports of Long Delays for Blood Results From North Carolina DWI's.

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Raleigh DWI Attorney M. Moseley Matheson discusses recent reports of excessive delays in the processing of blood results for those facing North Carolina DWI Charges

Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

Raleigh Criminal Attorney M. Moseley Matheson

Regardless of the charges a Defendant may face, they enjoy equal protection under the law, and that includes having their case resolved in a reasonable amount of time so as to not greatly impact their lives.

When charged with a DWI in North Carolina, the State has at its disposal many different ways to prove to the court the Driver was impaired. The Matheson Law Office, Pllc a Raleigh DWI Defense Law Firm and Raleigh Criminal Defense Law Firm, has experience representing those facing a DWI charge under the various evidentiary methods. The State can use the testimony of the arresting Police Officer to show the Defendant was what is known as 'Appreciably Impaired.' The State can also use the breath or blood of the Defendant to prove a blood/alcohol concentration (also known as BAC) of .08 or above. In the instances in which the State elects to use blood as the means of proving the Defendant's blood/alcohol concentration, the State is limited in those who are permitted to perform the necessary tests to determine the BAC level.

In North Carolina, the State Bureau of Investigation's State Crime Laboratory is tasked with testing the various evidence that is submitted in criminal cases. A recent article on Raleigh new station WRAL reports on the lack of staff and funding this organization is dealing with. As a result of their limited resources, the State Crime Laboratories are taking longer and longer to process this evidence and return it to the District Attorneys for use in criminal trials. "It is not uncommon for a NC DWI 'blood case' to take 9 months or more before the results are back" M. Moseley Matheson, a Raleigh DUI Lawyer explains.

While this may seem as a simple inconvenience to some, the reality is this delay can greatly impact a Defendant's trial. First, in instances where a Defendant's BAC would indicate a result below the .08 a Defendant may have grounds to argue that they are not guilty. Unfortunately, the way the North Carolina DWI Statute (N.C.G.S. 20-138.1) is written, the State needs only prove either a BAC of .08 or above or that the Defendant was under the influence of an impairing substance. However, even with the limitations written into North Carolina's DWI statute, a blood result showing a BAC below .08 could be beneficial to the Defendant and a delay in access to those results could result in a conviction without access to this important evidence.

The other great issue that comes with the substantial delays in getting these test results back is the affect they have on a Defendant's Constitutional Rights to a speedy trial. Under the U.S. Constitution's 6th Amendment, a Defendant enjoys the right to a speedy and public trial. If the State unreasonably delays the trial of the Defendant in order to get these results back, it could be a violation of the Defendant's rights. During the process of a DWI case, the State routinely continue the case, setting it out further, waiting on the results to come back. However, since North Carolina's DWI law is what is known as a 'non-waivable offense' the Defendant is required to come to court at each of these settings. This could mean many, many visits to the court house, during the week, which could require time off of work, arrangements for child care, etc. "The fact that the State is unable to produce the evidence within a reasonable amount of time is no reason to infringe of the Defendant's Constitutional Rights." Raleigh DWI Lawyer M. Moseley Matheson stated. "Regardless of the charges a Defendant may face, they enjoy equal protection under the law, and that includes having their case resolved in a reasonable amount of time so as to not greatly impact their lives."

If you have been charged with a North Carolina DWI, or any other North Carolina Criminal or Traffic charges in the greater Raleigh area, contact the Matheson Law Office for your free consultation.

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