Being arrested for a DWI offense is a traumatic, stressful, and confusing situation, especially if it is your first time facing the criminal justice system. A conviction can result in costly fines, a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly time behind bars.
Additionally, a DWI conviction can result in a permanent criminal record. Having a crime follow you around for the rest of your life can make it difficult to obtain/keep a job, apply for college, and find housing.
Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights and future, as well as help you avoid serving the maximum penalties.
The following is what to do after a DWI arrest in North Carolina:
- Hire a lawyer – Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge, positive difference in your case. Your lawyer can guide you through the legal process, analyze the evidence collected at the crime scene, and determine if there are any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to either get your entire case dismissed or your charges significantly reduced.
- Avoid speaking to law enforcement – You have the right to remain silent, which means you do not need to answer questions asked by the police at the time of your DWI arrest. Since anything you say can you used against you in court, avoid saying something that could incriminate you and only speak when your lawyer is present.
- Get your driving privileges back – If you refused to take a post-arrest chemical test, your driver’s license will automatically be revoked at both the administrative and criminal levels. Without the ability to drive, commuting to work or school, making important appointments, and performing household tasks can be difficult. However, you can obtain limited driving privileges by scheduling a restoration hearing with the DMV. After receiving a copy of the suspension order, you have 10 days to request a hearing in writing.