What is a DWI trial?

A DWI charge in Asheville, NC is handled the same as in all courts in NC. Many people are often confused about what a DWI trial actually is. DWI in Asheville, NC or any part of western NC, is very difficult to successfully challenge but not impossible. 

A DWI trial will take place when you and your Attorney decide that there are triable issues in your case. This means the traffic  stop may  be questionable and lacking in reasonable suspicion, maybe there was no probable cause for the arrest itself, possibly your level of impairment may come into question, maybe there is no appropriate evidence to indicate your impairment for the particular substance you've been found to have taken.

Maybe you weren't even seen driving and have been charged based on "circumstantial evidence", for example: you were near the vehicle, the hood was still warm and the keys were in your control somehow. You can be charged in many cases under this circumstantial evidence and you weren't even seen driving. You may be charged even when your blood alcohol level is below the .08 DWI qualifier! All the state needs to show is that you were in fact "impaired". 

A lot of these situations may justify a DWI trial. DWI trials are held in District Court in NC. These are called "bench trials", which means a judge will preside and decide matters of law and fact in determining if you're guilty, or if you deserve a dismissal.The officers involved will be examined by the attorneys, and any witnesses if applicable. There will be no jury to decide in District Court, and if you wish to exercise your right to a jury trial upon losing in District Court, you must appeal to the the Superior Court at this point. Sometimes a jury will overturn a District court judge's rulings. 

At the end of any trial where the defendant is found guilty, there is a sentencing hearing, where your lawyer can present evidence and argue for mitigating factors to help lighten the sentence. The judge must then weigh the evidence and enter a sentence. This sentence can vary wildly depending on factors weighing against you. 

By far, most DWI cases plea out and skip straight past the trial and right to the sentencing hearing. This makes sense in many cases because in many cases there is no issue that would reasonably justify arguing for a dismissal or not guilty verdict. Often times serious additional charges such as drug possessions (sometimes even felony possession), reckless driving, and other additional accompanying traffic tickets can be dismissed as part of these plea negotiations. 

If you've been charged with DWI in Asheville NC, please contact a skilled and experienced Asheville DWI Lawyer: