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North Carolina traffic stop leads to DWI for driver, drug charges for passenger

A routine traffic stop for alleged traffic violations has led to criminal charges for two North Carolina men. Police in Clinton, North Carolina claim that a 20-year-old man was driving while impaired early Wednesday morning on Clinton's Main Street. After law enforcement made contact with the driver and his 20-year-old passenger, both men ultimately were arrested on charges more serious than a minor traffic violation.

While the driver was arrested on suspicion of DWI, the passenger in the vehicle reportedly had six outstanding warrants against him. Authorities have also charged the passenger with a new criminal offense, alleging that the young man was in possession of roughly .12 grams of methamphetamine, which police say was discovered during the incident.

It is not clear from the media what evidence authorities are relying upon for the North Carolina DWI charges being sought against the 20-year-old driver. It should be noted that a person under the age of 21 can be charged with underage DUI based upon evidence of any amount of alcohol.

Similarly, a young driver can face DWI charges based upon the per se legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration under North Carolina law, or law enforcement's testimony that a driver appeared to be impaired by alcohol or some other substance while driving.

Typically, the more common-law style of DWI prosecution may involve testimony related to driving conduct, the officer's observations during a traffic stop and in field sobriety exercises. Chemical test results may also be involved in the more traditional style of DWI prosecution.

Source: Sampson Independent, "Traffic stop leads to drug arrest, DWI charge," Sherry Matthews, Jan. 9, 2013

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