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In Raleigh or elsewhere in North Carolina, if you are arrested on suspicion of a DWI, you have rights that must be honored at specific stages of the process.  In State v. Knoll, 322 N.C. 535 (1988), the North Carolina Court of Appeals addressed the issue of a DWI defendant’s right to collect evidence in his or her own defense.  Specifically, the Court addressed a scenario in three different cases in which a defendant in a Driving While Impaired case was detained for more than a few hours, and therefore unable to gain access to either a witness to observe his behavior, or independent BAC testing, to defend against claims of impairment.

The basic rule announced in Knoll is as follows: if you are arrested on an impaired driving charge, you have a right to collect evidence in your own defense, and that right includes the right to have witnesses observe your condition close in time to your arrest.  If the magistrate determines that a bond is required, which in turn delays the release of the DWI arrestee, then the magistrate must inform the individual of his right to have witnesses come to the jail to observe him.  Denial of that right should require the dismissal of the Driving While Impaired charge.


Raleigh DWI defense 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 in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Wake Forest, and throughout Wake County. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 727-9227.

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Ben is an experienced trial lawyer who earned his law degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He was trained in trial practice at the nation’s preeminent Public Defender agency, the federally funded Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, described by United States Attorney General Eric Holder as “the best public defender office in the country.”

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