Cleveland Browns Josh Gordon’s recent arrest brings a high profile DWI case to Wake County. Gordon was stopped for a speeding violation and subsequently booked on a DWI after testing .01 above NC’s BAC limit of .08. Gordon also faces prior criminal speeding and DWI charges beyond his recent July arrest in Wake County. This case brings many questions about your rights following a DWI following a traffic stop.
North Carolina’s “implied consent” law subjects you to BAC testing if any officer feels there is probable cause you are driving after consuming alcohol and can be done so prior to arrest. According to §20-16.2 of North Carolina’s general statutes, the implied consent law grant slaw enforcement officers the ability to take a sample for chemical testing if officer reasonably believes that the person committed an “implied consent offense.” This is not to say that the driver is without rights, but it does mean that a driver’s refusal to blow into a breathalyzer will come at a price.
In North Carolina, refusing to take a breathalyzer test would mean a license suspension of one year by the DMV. However, that suspension can be appealed depending on the circumstances of the refusal. For example, if a defendant attempts to blow and is unable to provide a sample, then that issue may be one that is winnable in an appeal hearing. This hearing is important and should always be requested regardless of the circumstances of the refusal because if a defendant is found guilty of both the DWI and the refusal, the license suspensions are run consecutively, meaning that the license is suspended for at least two years.
In the case of a refusal, law enforcement has alternative options to gather BAC samples, namely getting a warrant from a magistrate to draw blood for testing. Even given the ability of law enforcement to get this warrant, sometimes they don’t. Generally, a defense attorney would recommend that if you have had anything to drink at all, you should decline to blow into a breathalyzer, as a DWI conviction is far worse than a refusal suspension.
In Gordon’s’ case, as with many others, it is crucial to seek advice from a seasoned Raleigh DWI attorney. A case with serious implications beyond a traffic related charge requires someone familiar with state law and how the county court system is handled. To avoid or reduce charges an attorney will be able to collect evidence that may prove the stop unreasonable or challenge an officer’s suspicion that you were under the influence as well as actual test results.
While this case may involve a high profile athlete many of the potential consequences are relatable to anyone in Wake County that may be facing DWI charges following a traffic stop. Mr. Chetson has a proven record in successfully defending DWI cases in Wake County and throughout North Carolina.