Impaired Driving (DWI)

Have you been charged with a DWI in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, a Driving While Impaired (DWI) charge is a serious offense, and a DWI conviction has serious penalties.  For example, if you are convicted of DWI, your punishment can range from probation to a jail sentence.  In addition, a DWI conviction will result in your license being suspended for at least one year.  With such serious consequences, you need an experienced DWI attorney who is willing carefully consider your DWI case and all of the circumstances and evidence that are important to your case.  There are six punishment levels for a person who is convicted of a DWI.

Aggravated Level One

If there are two or more grossly aggravating factors present, the judge must impose an Aggravated Level One sentence. Aggravated Level One punishment requires a defendant to serve a minimum of one (1)  year in jail, and the maximum sentence that may be imposed is an active of three (3) years imprisonment.   However, the minimum active sentence may be reduced to 120 days in jail if the Defendant agrees to abstain from drinking alcohol for a period of 120 days and obtain a substance abuse assessment and complete the recommendations of that assessment.  In addition to the jail sentence, the Court may require the defendant to pay the court costs as well as a maximum fine of $10,000 fine. If an Aggravated Level One conviction occurs, the defendant does not qualify for a limited driving privilege.

Level One

If there are two or more grossly aggravating factors present, the judge must impose a Level One sentence. Level One punishment requires a defendant to serve a minimum of thirty (30) days in jail, and the maximum sentence that may be imposed is an active of two (2) years imprisonment. In addition to the jail sentence, the Court may require the defendant to pay the court costs as well as a maximum fine of $4,000 fine. If a Level One conviction occurs, the defendant does not qualify for a limited driving privilege.

Level Two

If there is one grossly aggravating factor present, the judge must impose a Level Two sentence. Level Two punishment requires a defendant to serve a minimum of seven (7) days in jail and a maximum of one (1) year imprisonment. The defendant will be required to pay up to a $2,000 fine plus pay court costs. The defendant is ineligible for a limited driving privilege.

If there are not any grossly aggravating factors present, then the judge will weigh aggravating factors against the mitigating factors to determine whether to impose a level three, level four or level five sentence.

Level Three

If the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, the judge must impose a Level Three sentence. Level Three punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 72 hours in jail or performing 72 hours of community service and paying the fee associated with community service. Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $1,000 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of six (6) months in jail.

Level Four

If the aggravating and mitigating factors are equal to one another, the judge must impose a Level Four sentence. Level Four punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 48 hours in jail or performing 48 hours of community service and paying the fee associated with community service. Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $500 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of 120 days in jail.

Level Five

If the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating factors, the judge must impose a Level Five Sentence. Level Five punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 24 hours in jail or performing 24 hours of community service and paying the fee associated with community service. Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $200 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of 60 days in jail.

******Those defendants convicted of a Level Three, Four or Five DWI will have their driver’s license revoked for one year. In some instances, it is possible to obtain a limited driving privilege that will enable the defendant to drive during restricted hours. It is also likely that the judge will impose a suspended sentence and order unsupervised (or supervised) probation.

Habitual Impaired Driving (Habitual DWI)

If you have been convicted of three of more prior DWI convictions within the past ten (10) years, you may be charged with the offense of habitual impaired driving. Habitual Impaired Driving is a Class F felony offense for which a defendant could receive a sentence of up to 50 months imprisonment. A sentencing judge must impose a minimum sentence of 12 months imprisonment for a defendant convicted of Habitual DWI and cannot suspend any portion of that sentence. Habitual DWI offenders will also have their driving privilege permanently revoked and are ineligible for a driving privilege.

Call us today for a free consultation.

If you are charged in North Carolina with Driving While Impaired in Forsyth County or one of the surrounding counties such as Guilford, Davie, Davidson, or Yadkin, you will need an experienced North Carolina DWI attorney who is dedicated to helping you and who sincerely cares about the outcome of your case.  At the Law Offices of Frederick B. Adams, we will give you the advice you need and the representation you deserve.  Call us today at (336) 725-6559 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DWI attorney.