Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) May 17, 2013
In North Carolina, as is the case across the country, one of the thresholds for a North Carolina DWI conviction is the State's evidence that a driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above. Recently, the National Traffic Safety Board made a series of recommendations regarding traffic safety on roads across the United States. As was reported by WRAL news, one of the more serious recommendations was for a reduction of the Blood Alcohol Concentration necessary for a DWI conviction from .08 to .05. In some states, the Blood Alcohol Concentration is not the only means by which a State can get a conviction for Driving While Impaired. For example, in North Carolina, the State has the option of proving either a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or above or they can demonstrate that the driver was 'appreciably impaired.' The Matheson Law Office has served as the Raleigh DUI Attorney for drivers charged with a DWI with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .07, .06 and even .05. In those circumstances the State was proceeding under the 'appreciably impaired' portion of North Carolina's DWI statute.
This proposal to reduce the Blood Alcohol Concentration will have serious ramification for drivers who had a minimal amount of alcoholic drinks and still drives. As was reported in the WRAL article, a woman under 120 pounds could reach a blood alcohol concentration of .05 by consuming only one drink. For men under 160 pounds, it could be as few as two drinks.
For North Carolina drivers, the benefit of the present statute is it allows the State to try and convict an individual they believe is impaired, regardless of the Blood Alcohol Concentration. Should the National Traffic Safety Board's recommendation go through, the change to .05 would make criminals of individuals who otherwise may not show any signs of impairment, and would not qualify under North Carolina DWI Laws 'appreciable impairment.'
"Under the proposed change, the police would have their hands tied should they encounter an individual they believe is not impaired but who demonstrated a BAC of .05 or above. At least the way it's handled for Wake County DUI Charges or any other DUI Charges across North Carolina is the State has a gray area for those below a .08." Raleigh Criminal Attorney M. Moseley Matheson Stated. "Certainly it has been frustrating for my clients who have faced a Wake County DWI Charge with a BAC below a .08, but the State still has the burden of proving 'appreciable impairment' beyond a reasonable doubt. Should this change go through, a blood or breath result of .05 or above would be prima facia evidence of impairment and limit a Driver's ability to try and demonstrate that they were not actually impaired."
Along with the recommendation of lowering the Blood Alcohol Concentration, the National Traffic Safety Board put forth other recommendations they believed would help reduce alcohol related traffic accidents and fatalities. Most notably of the other recommendations would be to require those charged with a DWI and who's license has been taken, to have an interlock device installed on the vehicle prior to receiving their license back. The interlock device is a breath-alcohol testing device which prohibits a vehicle from being started should alcohol be detected.
"Certainly the National Traffic Safety Board has the best intentions with these recommendations. But to require a driver to install, and pay for the maintenance of, an interlock device just for being ACCUSED of a DWI in ludicrous. Our Judicial System allows Defendants to enjoy the right of being treated as innocent until the State can prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To punish a driver for having been accused of a crime before the State has proven it is unconstitutional." Cary Traffic Lawyer M. Moseley Matheson stated. "Already for drivers facing a North Carolina DUI charge, they can expect being prohibited from driving for at least 10 days and incur several costs before they are convicted. This is justified as a 'civil revocation' and therefore is not 'punishment' as far as a Driver's Constitutional right against double jeopardy. However, I believe the State is going to be hard pressed to demonstrate that incurring the cost and hassle of an interlock device, which specifically is meant to address the criminal activity the driver is accused of, would succeed against a Constitutional challenge."
If you are facing a charge in Wake County and are in need of a Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer, contact the Matheson Law Office at 919-335-5291 for a free consultation. Their attorney will speak directly with you about your case and what steps can be done to protect your rights.