Several sections of the North Carolina code address the issue of impaired driving. The statute itself, describing the elements of the DWI offense, reads as follows:
(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this State:
(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance; or(2) After having consumed sufficient alcohol that he has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person’s alcohol concentration; or(3) With any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, as listed in G.S. 90‑89, or its metabolites in his blood or urine.
(a1) A person who has submitted to a chemical analysis of a blood sample, pursuant to G.S. 20‑139.1(d), may use the result in rebuttal as evidence that the person did not have, at a relevant time after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
(b) Defense Precluded. – The fact that a person charged with violating this section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense to a charge under this section.
(b1) Defense Allowed. – Nothing in this section shall preclude a person from asserting that a chemical analysis result is inadmissible pursuant to G.S. 20‑139.1(b2).
(c) Pleading. – In any prosecution for impaired driving, the pleading is sufficient if it states the time and place of the alleged offense in the usual form and charges that the defendant drove a vehicle on a highway or public vehicular area while subject to an impairing substance.
(d) Sentencing Hearing and Punishment. – Impaired driving as defined in this section is a misdemeanor. Upon conviction of a defendant of impaired driving, the presiding judge shall hold a sentencing hearing and impose punishment in accordance with G.S. 20‑179.
(e) Exception. – Notwithstanding the definition of “vehicle” pursuant to G.S. 20‑4.01(49), for purposes of this section the word “vehicle” does not include a horse. (1983, c. 435, s. 24; 1989, c. 711, s. 2; 1993, c. 285, s. 1; 2006‑253, s. 9.)
Raleigh DWI lawyer Ben Hiltzheimer is a criminal lawyer in Raleigh, North Carolina, who represents individuals charged with DWIs and the full spectrum of misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 727-9227.