Over 25 Years Of DWI Defense Experience

Dwi Drunk Driving

A driving while impaired (DWI) charge in North Carolina is a serious charge. Failing field sobriety tests and/or exceeding the .08 North Carolina legal limit in a breath or blood test may result in harsh and lifelong consequences.

6 Major Consequences Of A North Carolina DWI Conviction

Depending on your circumstances, you could face any of these handful of consequences as a result of your DWI:

  1. Fines
  2. Driver's license suspension or revocation
  3. Jail time
  4. Increased auto insurance premiums
  5. Ignition interlock device installation
  6. Alcohol abuse assessment and treatment

A drunk driving conviction will also appear on your criminal record where potential employers or landlords can access.

Serious Penalties For Parents And Caretakers

Drivers convicted of driving while impaired where a minor or individual with a mental or physical impairment was present inside the vehicle at the time of the stop could face up to three years of jail time.

Over 25 Years Of Experience Handling All Types Of DWI Charges

At the Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly, in Charlotte, North Carolina, we defend the rights of those accused of DWI and related matters.

Founding criminal defense attorney Chris Connelly is a certified specialist in State Criminal Law certified by the North Carolina State Bar and has been handling drunk driving defense cases for those in Mecklenburg counties.

He often handles situations involving:


The simple term "Driving While Impaired" belies the complexity of the many defenses available.

A few of the issues that we look at are:

  • did your "operation" of the vehicle meet the legal definition
  • did the arresting officer personally witness all the critical stages of the case and each item of evidence or are there multiple officers needed, or even civilian witnesses
  • were you on a public street or public vehicular area (conventionally known as a parking lot) that was open to the public
  • did the officer have a reason to stop you
  • were you stopped by an officer other than the arresting officer such that multiple officers are needed to prove your case
  • were you stopped based upon an anonymous phone call to 911
  • did the traffic stop or the checkpoint meet each of the many constitutional AND statutory requirements
  • how did the officer perform each of the three Field Sobriety Tests
  • was there video of your driving and Field Sobriety Test and did it capture all of the material or did the officer move you out of range
  • can the officer explain the scientific basis for the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN)
  • can the officer precisely and accurately describe each of the many clues to all of the Field Sobriety Tests
  • how was the portable breath test calibrated and administered
  • how was the Intox EC IR II breath test calibrated and administered
  • was the chemical analyst certified and when were they certified
  • is the reported Blood Alcohol Content set forth properly


Clients charged with DWI often have their license suspended and confiscated by the Magistrate.  It is often possible for counsel to draft a very accomodating Limited Driving Privilege that gets the client back onto the road shortly after the arrest.  In some instances, the license itself can be retrieved by counsel and the full privilege to drive reinstated.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test ("HGN" or "the eye test")

DWI subjects often describe a test wherein the officer manuevers a pen or finger in front of their eyes.  This is called the HGN test.  It is commonly seen performed by NFL team doctors when a football player takes a hit to the head.  It is done there in the relatively stable environment of a football field or locker room by the highly qualified physician, which is a far cry from the environment of a test performed on the side of a highway by a police officer who is not medically trained.  While there is indeed a scientific basis for the test, many officers are at a loss to explain it and some courts are not allowing this test into evidence.

Delayed Release In DWI Cases
We often hear about defendants who are delayed in getting released from the jail after their DWI arrest. This delay can result in getting your own blood test to be futile, due to the lapse of time. Case law in North Carolina has, for decades, acknowledged that the body's alcohol content dissipates by the minute and a DWI defendant cannot get his or her own blood test if he or she is stuck in the jail and he or she may be thereby denied a fair trial if he or she is kept in due to jail processing issues.
In many instances, the magistrate is required by law to authorize the release of a DWI arrestee without requiring any kind of monetary bond (essentially for free), unless there are prescribed reasons.
As an experienced DWI lawyer, Chris Connelly will evaluate this defense based upon:
The existence of a breath or blood sample by policeWhether the client refused the testThe availability of defense witnessesThe length and reasons for any delayWhether you were required to pay a bond to get released without proper reasoningWhether your efforts to get your own independent test were frustrated by the delay

Defenses To Your DWI Blood Test

Police may have asked or even forced you to submit a blood sample. Unfortunately, a court order or search warrant may not be needed in special instances. However, you have constitutional rights. Your results could be suppressed if there was:

  • No reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place
  • Improprieties in the establishment or management of any DWI roadblock or checkpoint
  • Unacceptable delay in analysis of your blood
  • Improper procedures followed in requesting, compelling, collecting, storing, processing and analyzing the blood sample
  • Improper authorization by a neutral and detached judicial official

Contact Our Office. Call 704-376-9376 Or Email For Help

If you are facing driving while impaired charges, contact our defense attorneys to find out what we can do to help. We will discuss strategies for obtaining restoration of driving privileges after your DUI/DWI and how to avoid increased insurance rates.

Reasonable Fees. Payment Plans. Credit Cards Accepted. Se Habla Espanol. Located Near Jail And Courthouse

Looking for more answers? Find answers to common questions like, When should I refuse the Intox EC IR II? and When will I get a driver's license again?