Elizabeth City DWI Lawyer

A conviction for driving while impaired could lead to fines, an increase in your insurance rates, and possibly the loss of your driver’s license or even jail time.

Do not try to manage a DWI charge without our firm. An Elizabeth City DWI lawyer can compel the police to justify their actions and evidence. When faced with an aggressive defense, prosecutors are sometimes willing to reduce drunk driving charges.

Our Attorneys Handle the Following Types of DWI Cases

  • Aggravated DWI
  • Drug DWI
  • First Offense
  • Second Offense
  • Third Offense
  • Underage DWI

Handling a DWI Traffic Stop

North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.1 makes it an offense to operate a vehicle under the influence of an impairing substance. If the substance is alcohol, the law considers someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 as impaired. Law enforcement place significant emphasis on catching drunk drivers.

In North Carolina, a driver has the right to refuse a field sobriety test – these tests are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand. They may also decline an EC/IR-II Breathalyzer test but declining this type of test will automatically result in a 12-month license suspension irrespective of the outcome of the criminal charge. A driver may also politely decline to answer questions beyond providing their name, address, license, and registration. The police will arrest the driver and bring them to the police station to administer an additional sobriety test. The driver has the right to request that someone of their choice witness the test if they can come to the station within 30 minutes.

These strategies deprive the police of information they could use against the driver in prosecuting a DWI, making drunk driving more difficult to prove. The driver should also contact an attorney in Elizabeth City to help them navigate the DWI arrest.

Providing a Vigorous Defense to DWI Charges

Some people mistakenly believe failing a chemical test means an automatic conviction on DWI charges. A diligent Elizabeth City attorney can challenge every aspect of the prosecution’s DUI case, often producing favorable results for the accused.

For example, a legal representative will question why the police officer pulled over the driver. The police must have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing before stopping a driver and testing them for DWI. If the evidence does not support a reasonable doubt, the charge might get dismissed.

Similarly, legal counsel can investigate police procedures for administering sobriety and chemical tests. They can question the timing of the tests, whether the police calibrated the equipment correctly, and whether a lab has a record of erroneous results.

Consequences of a DWI Conviction

A conviction for drunk driving results in a criminal sentence that includes fines and jail time. The judge imposes a sentence according to the level of the crime, based on the mitigating and aggravating factors present. A first offense is a mitigating factor, and repeat offenses are aggravating factors. Reckless driving, a BAC significantly above the legal limit, having underage persons in the car, and many other factors could persuade the judge to sentence an offender at a higher level.


Jail time or community service is mandatory for every DWI conviction. A person faces a minimum of 24 hours for an offense with no aggravating factors and up to 36 months for an aggravated offense, such as driving drunk with children in the vehicle. If the allegedly drunk driver was involved in a serious accident that produced injuries, the sentence could be up to 59 months in prison. Mitigating and aggravating factors strongly influence sentencing for DWI, and an attorney in Elizabeth City can ensure the judge considers all the potentially mitigating factors in a DWI case.


The fine for a Level V offense, the least serious, is $200. The fine increases to $500 for a Level IV offense, $1,000 for a Level III offense, and $2,000 for a Level II offense. Someone convicted of an aggravated offense, Level I, could pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Other Consequences of Conviction

A DWI offender faces losing their driver’s license. The length of the revocation goes up with each subsequent offense, from one year for a first offense to permanent revocation for a third offense (when the two most recent convictions occurred within five years).

Anyone convicted of DWI must undergo an assessment for substance abuse and complete any treatment the counselor recommends. The offender cannot get their license back until they complete their treatment. Drivers subject to permanent revocation could apply for reinstatement after five years and completion of treatment, but they must prove their sobriety at a hearing and present witnesses.

A DWI conviction also significantly affects a driver’s insurance rates. Conviction on a DWI charge puts 12 points on a driver’s license. Insurers will regard the driver as high-risk, and insurance rates will increase by at least 400 percent.

Contact an Elizabeth City DWI Lawyer to Build a Defense

Driving while impaired is a serious offense with significant consequences. You owe it to yourself to explore every possible defense to the charge. Parks Zeigler, PLLC’s Elizabeth City DWI lawyers have the skills and knowledge to navigate defending your DWI charge. Reach out immediately after your arrest to start working with our dedicated legal team.

Areas We Serve

Centrally located on the waterfront in downtown Elizabeth City, our team provides quality legal representation across the following counties in the Northeast North Carolina region.

  • Camden County
  • Gates County
  • Chowan County
  • Pasquotank County
  • Currituck County
  • Perquimans County
  • Dare County

Also serving only criminal and traffic cases in the following counties:

  • Beaufort County
  • Tyrrell County
  • Martin County
  • Washington County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
200 N. Water Street,
Suite 2A

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
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