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2024 How to Get a DWI Dismissed in North Carolina?

On Behalf of The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford |

Facing a drunk driving charge can be extremely intimidating and stressful, especially since there is likely to be a severe punishment regardless of the level of the offense. If you have been accused of a DWI, you are likely wondering, “How to get a DWI dismissed in North Carolina?” Get in touch with a capable DWI lawyer to see if it’s possible for your situation.

DWI Arrests and Penalties in North Carolina

The DWI laws in North Carolina are some of the strictest in the state, particularly because the potential penalties are so severe. If a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, they can be arrested for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.

Similarly, if the arresting officer suspects the defendant of driving while impaired by the effects of an illicit substance or abused medication, at the discretion and the use of some field tests, they’ll also be arrested. Depending on other factors present during your arrest, the charges against you will be deemed a level of severity between one and five, with five being the least serious.

A DWI violation will be viewed more severely if there were aggravating (or grossly aggravating) factors, such as a BAC result of 0.15 or higher, prior convictions for DWI-related charges, if you were driving with a revoked license or while speeding, etc. Other aggravating factors include if you were involved in an accident where someone was seriously injured or died, causing property damage, and if a minor was present in the vehicle during the arrest for driving while intoxicated.

The more aggravating factors there were in your situation, the more likely you are to receive harsher criminal penalties. Each potential punishment will include paying a fine and serving jail time, each within a wide range respectively. Other penalties include completing substance education, community service, and license suspension. Depending on how serious the DWI incident was and whether you have prior convictions, the penalties could be minimal, with little to no jail time.

Defenses for and Potential Dismissal of DWI Charges in NC

There’s no singular guaranteed way your criminal defense attorney will be able to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced in severity; instead, it’s likely your lawyer will use a combination of various defense arguments and strategies, depending on the details of your case and the evidence they’re able to collect.

Your legal representation will review all available proof and documentation related to your arrest, including your test results from the breathalyzer or blood test, medical records, surveillance footage, witness statements, and the police report. Your attorney will closely examine the law enforcement’s report of your arrest to ensure there are no errors or inaccuracies.

Your defense lawyer may also choose to bring in expert witnesses in support of your case, such as toxicologists, to speak to the accuracy of chemical BAC tests and challenge the validity of the DWI charges.

Your legal counsel may choose to question whether the arresting officer had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop, how accurate or effective the field sobriety tests (or BAC/blood tests) were, and whether you have any medical conditions that may have affected the results.

What a Skilled, Capable Defense Lawyer Can Do for You

It’s always advised to retain the service of a qualified legal professional when facing criminal charges, even if you think the offense is minimal or that you have little chance of getting the charges dropped.

Defense attorneys are educated and trained to provide clients with the strongest possible counsel and representation in the face of the law. Along with extensive experience in the local court, a skilled lawyer will be deeply familiar with and thoroughly understand the laws applicable to your case.

Your defense attorney will not only be able to effectively speak and negotiate with the prosecution and the court at large but also ensure that all of your questions are answered in a way you understand so that you remain informed every step of the way.


Q: Can a DWI Be Dismissed in North Carolina?

A: Yes, it’s possible your DWI charge may be dismissed, but this isn’t guaranteed. In fact, it is not even a common occurrence. It’s most likely for your case to be dismissed if your defense attorney can prove that there was an error on the arresting officer’s part, which would make all evidence the prosecution collected inadmissible; the basis of the case against you would likely fall apart.

Q: How Long Is a DWI on Your Record in NC?

A: A DWI conviction remains on your criminal record indefinitely in North Carolina. This means that potential employers, landlords, and anyone else who may run a background check on you will be able to see you were arrested or convicted of a DUI for the rest of your life. It is possible, however, for an experienced attorney to help you in applying for an expungement if you were arrested but not convicted of the DUI.

Q: Can You Get a DWI Reduced in NC?

A: North Carolina does not have the potential for DWI charges to be reduced to a lesser violation, as is the case in some other states. However, your defense lawyer may be able to successfully argue to reduce the severity level of your DWI charges, as there are multiple levels of seriousness and accompanying potential punishments for a DWI offense.

Q: Will You Go to Jail for a First Time DWI in NC?

A: Depending on the severity of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may face jail time for a first-time DWI conviction. It’s not common for drivers without a criminal history and/or no aggravating factors to be sentenced to jail time, but it is possible.

The least serious penalties for a DWI conviction include serving between 24 hours and 60 days in jail, although it’s likely a first-time offender can avoid jail time altogether by completing community service or other alternative penalties.

Legal Representation to Defend Your Rights

When you seek counsel and representation at The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford, you can rest assured knowing your criminal case is in capable, experienced hands. Schedule a consultation with our office today so legal professionals can begin building your defense today.