Yes, you can be charged with a DWI in North Carolina even if you have not consumed alcohol. Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 2-138.1, a person commits the offense of driving while impaired if he or she drives while under the influence of an impairing substance, under the influence of alcohol causing his or her blood alcohol level to be .08 or above, or drives with any amount of a Schedule I substance in his or her blood or urine. A Schedule I substance includes opiates, such as heroin.
Drugs such as marijuana, Xanax (and other benzodiazepines), and cocaine are all impairing substances. If you are pulled over for a DWI, you may be asked to take a Breathalyzer test. These drugs do not register on a Breathalyzer, so the officer may ask for your consent to take a blood test. If you do not consent, the officer will seek out a warrant to take your blood. After the State lab tests the blood sample, it will send the results to the assistant district attorney assigned to your case. Your attorney will receive the results as part of the discovery packet from the State.
Even if you are legally prescribed an impairing substance, such as Xanax, you can still be charged with driving while impaired if you drive while under the influence of Xanax. Having a valid prescription is not a defense. Make sure to speak to your doctor about how a prescribed drug can effect your ability to drive.
If you have been charged with driving while impaired in Wake or Durham, contact us at (919) 832-0500. You do not want to defend a DWI alone — you likely have options to lessen the sentence you receive, and our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help guide you through that.