RALEIGH, NC - Kevin Marcilliat, criminal defense attorney with the Roberts Law Group, successfully defended a client charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) in Wake County, ultimately securing a not guilty verdict after a trial in Wake County District Court.
Mr. Marcilliat's client was charged with DWI by officers from the Wake Forest Police Department after a traffic stop for failure to come to a full and complete stop.
The officers noted an odor of alcohol on the defendant's breath, confirmed that he had a few drinks that night, and promptly asked him to exit the vehicle to perform standardized field sobriety tests. The evidence showed that the defendant did not display any slurred speech or other outward signs of impairment, that he performed well on field sobriety tests, and that his driving was safe and lawful other than a "rolling stop" at the stop sign. The state also presented evidence that, post-arrest, the defendant registered a .08 breath alcohol concentration on the Intoxilyzer device.
Mr. Marcilliat argued that there was insufficient evidence of impairment to sufficiently corroborate the .08 breath alcohol concentration. The court agreed, finding that the defense had raised reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant was impaired.
Contrary to popular belief, evidence of a defendant's BAC being at or above .08 does not mandate a North Carolina court to find the defendant guilty of DWI.
In State v. Narron, 193 N.C. App. 76, 666 S.E.2d 860 (2008), the North Carolina Court of Appeals made clear that the phrase in North Carolina's impaired driving statute stating that the "results of a chemical analysis shall be deemed sufficient evidence to prove a person's alcohol concentration," did not create a presumption of guilt, but rather constituted mere prima facie evidence of the defendant's alcohol concentration.
In other words, once the state properly admits into evidence a defendant's alcohol concentration at or above .08, that simply authorizes the jury to find that the defendant was impaired - it doesn't require it. As noted by a North Carolina School of Government article on the same subject, defense attorneys can successfully argue that the lack of evidence that the defendant was impaired "casts doubt on the veracity of the alcohol concentration results reported from the chemical analysis."
For more information about the lawyers of Roberts Law Group, visit their attorney profiles. The attorney who worked this case, Kevin Marcilliat, defends clients charged with DWI, drug offenses, and property crimes, among others, in state and federal courts throughout North Carolina.