A Driving While Impaired (DWI) charge involves the State (in this case, the State of North Carolina) claiming that a driver has driven a vehicle on a street, highway, or public area while drunk or intoxicated.
A DWI charge almost always starts with a police officer claiming that he saw the driver driving a car while drunk.
A charge is merely an accusation. Yes, it’s a serious accusation. But a charge alone is not proof that the person charged had actually committed a DWI offense.
In the United States, people are innocent before proven guilty. That means that the state must do more than simply “say” that the driver was drunk. The state must prove, with evidence, that the driver was drunk “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
An arrest resulting in a DWI charge becomes a public record. After a driver is arrested on a DWI, a driver will get dozens of letters in the mail from attorneys and other folks offering DWI-related services.
The DWI arrest and charge starts legal proceedings against you. From that point forward, in the eyes of the State of North Carolina, you are a “Defendant” who has been charged with breaking the law.