Understanding DWI Sentencing

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Arrested for DWI? Know What's Ahead

Raleigh, North Carolina, DWI Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in North Carolina, you are facing serious criminal penalties. We know you have questions about what's in store, what is on the line and what your chances are of walking away from the impaired driving charge.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can answer your questions, defend your rights and prepare your defense strategy.  Contact us today for a free initial consultation about your DWI case.

Understanding North Carolina DWI Laws

Under the North Carolina drunk driving statutes, you can be charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) for operating any vehicle (car, truck, bicycle, moped, etc.) on any highway, street or public vehicular area when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the .08 legal limit or while you are under the influence of an impairing substance such as alcohol or drugs (meaning you can be arrested for drunk driving even if you were not over the legal limit).

The statutory definition of DWI is much broader than many people realize. As a result, countless people face harsh DWI penalties because they did not fully understand the law. Others face these harsh DWI penalties because their attorney was unable to effectively challenge field sobriety tests or blood alcohol concentration results.

Understanding How DWI Sentences are Determined

North Carolina imposes five levels of DWI sentences or "punishments." The level of punishment handed down by the judge depends upon the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factors in your case.

  • Aggravating factors: The following are examples of factors that will cause you to face a more severe penalty in your DWI case — BAC of .16 or higher (high BAC), reckless driving, prior DWI convictions, DWI accident, conviction for speeding 30 mph over the posted limit, driving with a revoked license and other factors
  • Mitigating factors: The following are examples of mitigating factors that may reduce the level of punishment in your DWI case — BAC that does not exceed .09 (low BAC), safe driving record, voluntary alcohol treatment and other factors.

Attorney Patrick Roberts formerly served as an Assistant District Attorney in three North Carolina counties. Armed with this former prosecutorial experience, you can trust that our law firm will do everything possible to present any factors that would result in a reduced sentence.

North Carolina DWI Penalties

If convicted for drunk driving in North Carolina, you could face the following DWI penalties (depending upon the presence of certain aggravating and/or mitigating factors):

  • Level one: Fine — up to $4,000; Jail time — 30 days up to 24 months; License suspension; Substance abuse assessment or treatment required to restore driver's license
  • Level two: Fine — up to $2,000; Jail time — 7 days up to 12 months; License suspension; Substance abuse assessment or treatment required to restore driver's license
  • Level three: Fine — up to $1,000; Jail time — 72 hours up to 6 months; License suspension; A judge can suspend the minimum sentence only after the defendant serves at least 72 hours in jail or completes 72 community service hours
  • Level four: Fine — up to $500; Jail time — 48 hours up to 120 days; License suspension; A judge can suspend the minimum sentence only after the defendant serves at least 48 hours in jail or completes 48 community service hours;
  • Level five: Fine — up to $200; Jail time — 24 hours up to 60 days; License suspension; A judge can suspend the minimum sentence only after the defendant serves at least 24 hours in jail or completes 24 community service hours

Drivers sentenced under level three, four or five may receive limited driving privileges; however, it is essential to have an experienced lawyer by your side when these driving privileges are considered by the court.

Don't Take Chances. Take Control. Contact Roberts Law Group.

DWI penalties can be extremely harsh. Don't take chances with your future. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Roberts Law Group, PLLC to start preparing your DWI defense.

North Carolina v. J.O.
Charge: DWI
Facing: 1 year in jail
Result: Case Dismissed

Our client lost her trial in District Court and received a 45 day jail sentence. She hired Roberts Law Group to help her with her Superior Court efforts. We argued a motion to dismiss based on an unconstitutional driver's license checkpoint and prevailed. Any evidence that flowed from the stop of her vehicle was ordered suppressed by the Judge. Case dismissed. Our client blew .13 on the EC-IR II breath device.

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