They Didn’t Read My Miranda Rights

February 17, 2015   |   Bill Powers

“Can I get the case dismissed?” is a common question posed by people facing criminal charges. . .which necessarily include allegations of Impaired Driving, DWI or DUI.

You, a friend or a family member may have been charged with “Driving While Impaired” or DWI. In the past, this was known as DUI or “Driving Under the Influence.”

There is no practical distinction between the two. A driver can be impaired by substances other than alcohol, like drugs such as cocaine, marijuana or even prescription medications.

The term DWI was established to encompass substances that might “impair” your ability to operate a motor vehicle, whereas DUI tended to relate more to alcohol. The definition under North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1 is entitled “Impaired driving.” Within subsection (a)(1) of the statute it also reads “if he drives any vehicle. . .(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance.” So, both DWI and DUI are technically proper.

For the purposes of this post the terms are synonymous. People charged with Impaired Driving seem to prefer the DUI abbreviation; frankly, the vast majority people arrested for impaired driving are suspected of violating the law due to alcohol consumption.

Although “Miranda Rights” are a consideration in many criminal cases, it requires careful analysis and/or explanation of a common misunderstanding of a complicated area of law. The most honest response to legal question involving Miranda Rights and DUI in North Carolina is, “It depends. Let’s talk more about the case.”

The purpose of this article by Attorney Bill Powers of PowersMcCartan is to provide background information on the law of Miranda and DWI in North Carolina, the legal rationale for the protection against self-incrimination and authority under North Carolina caselaw. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call Bill directly at: 704-342-4357.