Just because you had a few drinks and then drove doesn’t make you guilty of a DWI. Just because you were driving badly doesn’t make you guilty either. And even if you blew over a 0.08, that still doesn’t mean you’re guilty of a DWI. Why? Because there’s a difference between being innocent and being not guilty. If you are innocent, it means that you truly did not commit the crime for which you are being accused. If you are not guilty, you may or may not be innocent, but critically, it means that the state for one reason or another has not been able to make their case against you.
In North Carolina, there are multiple different defenses for a DWI charge. Usually those defenses are based on technicalities, such as making sure the chemical analyst is certified, that the breathalyzer machine has been recently calibrated, and so on. Another type of defense is based on the rights that you have in the criminal courts of North Carolina – rights which cannot be violated without the state suffering consequences. One of those rights is the right to gather evidence to mount a defense in a DWI charge.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI in Raleigh or anywhere else in North Carolina, one of your rights is to be released from custody in a reasonable time frame so that you can gather your own evidence for your defense. This right has been upheld in the courts by the case of North Carolina vs. David Knoll. If you were not released in a timely manner, this can negatively impact your case in a number of ways. It prevents you from being observed by an attorney, friends, family or other witnesses that would be able to testify about your demeanor, behavior and physical condition shortly after the time of arrest when the state is claiming you were impaired. Not being released for an extended period of time also prevents you from seeking an independent blood alcohol sample.
Unfortunately, Knoll does not define how long is too long to be held, so there is some subjectivity when determining if the length of time a person was held violated his right to gather evidence in a timely fashion. If you have been charged with a Raleigh DWI and you were held in custody for an extended period of time, your attorney would consider filing a Knoll Motion to challenge the case based on the fact that you couldn’t gather evidence. If the motion is won, then the case is dismissed. There have been examples of Knoll Motion cases where defendants were held for 5 hours or even up to 12 hours or more.
An experienced Raleigh DWI attorney will always carefully check the timeline of events from your DWI arrest to ensure that none of your rights were violated.