Goldsboro DWI Lawyer
Experienced and Assertive Attorneys Defending Your Driving Rights
One of the most common criminal charges a driver incurs is driving while impaired. If you have been arrested for or charged with DWI, the first thing you should do is speak to an experienced defense lawyer. The quicker we get started on your defense, the quicker we can get you out of your legal dilemma and back on the road. Law enforcement may try to use your words against you, so it is advisable to consult an attorney before you speak to anyone else. Our lawyers at Strickland Agner Pittman will treat you with respect and strategize an effective defense for you that protects your driving rights.
Learn more about how Strickland Agner Pittman can help you in an initial consultation today.
What Constitutes a DWI in North Carolina?
It is illegal in North Carolina to operate a motor vehicle while:
- under the influence of an impairing substance;
- with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (.04% for commercial drivers); or
- with any metabolized Schedule I controlled substance in your system.
The state defines being “under the influence” in this context as your faculties being appreciably impaired due to the ingestion of substances. Additionally, the “operation” of a motor vehicle is loosely defined as having “actual physical control” of the vehicle, so it is quite possible to still get a DWI charge if the vehicle is not moving.
DWI Sentencing Levels
Based on the above factors, your DWI offense will then be assigned a sentencing level with varying penalties:
- Aggravated Level One if the judge finds three or more gross aggravating factors: This is punishable by 12-36 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000. If probation is granted, you must serve at least 120 days in jail, submit to alcohol and drug monitoring, and complete a drug and alcohol assessment and treatment program.
- Level One if the DWI has two gross aggravating factors or involved a minor passenger: This is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and 30 days to 24 months in jail. If the judge grants probation, you must still do 10 days in jail, submit to sobriety monitoring, and complete a substance abuse assessment and treatment.
- Level Two if the DWI involves one gross aggravating factor: This is punishable by up to $2,000 in fines and 7 days to 12 months in jail. You may forego the jail term if you submit to at least 90 days of monitored sobriety and complete a drug and alcohol assessment, as well as some other rehabilitative treatment or course. If you have a prior DWI from the last 5 years, you must also complete 240 hours of community service.
- Levels Three, Four, and Five if no gross aggravating factors exist, in which case the judge will consider whether more aggravating factors are present than mitigating factors, or vice versa:
- Level Three: This carries 72 hours to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Level Four: This is penalized by 48 hours to 120 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
- Level Five: This is penalized by 24 hours to 60 days in jail and up to $200 in fines.
Jail time may be avoided for Levels Three, Four, and Five offenses by completing community service, though all DWI convictions will carry a mandatory substance abuse assessment and the recommended treatment or rehabilitative course. In some cases, the judge may decide to permit time completed in inpatient treatment to count towards your required jail time.
First-offense DWIs will also result in 1 year of license revocation, and second offenses will result in 4 years of license revocation. Third and subsequent DWIs will likely lead to permanent license revocation.
Refusing to abide by North Carolina’s “implied consent” laws, which specify that all drivers agree to submit to a urine, blood, or breath test if they have been lawfully arrested for DWI, will also lead to an additional 12-month license revocation.
If you are facing DWI charges in Goldsboro, reach out to our attorneys at Strickland Agner Pittman for legal representation. We can help you strategize a defense against your charges and build a case for mitigated charges.
We are here to protect your rights as a driver. Let Strickland Agner Pittman defend you against your DWI charges and get you back on the road. Schedule an initial consultation to get started.
Penalties Upon Conviction
North Carolina has a unique system of prosecuting DWIs. The state classifies DWIs into five different sentencing levels, with the fifth level being the least severe, and the level of your DWI offense is determined by the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors. At your initial sentencing hearing for your DWI, the prosecutor and defendant sides will present evidence of aggravating or mitigating factors that will set the basis for your penalty level:
- Aggravating factors: Examples include having a BAC of at least .15%, reckless driving, causing a collision, eluding law enforcement, speeding 30mph over the limit, passing a stopped school bus, or having two prior traffic violations and three demerit points on your license.
- Gross aggravating factors: These may include causing serious injury, driving while your license has been revoked for a DWI, driving with a minor passenger during the DWI offense, or having a prior DWI conviction from the last 7 years.
- Mitigating factors: These may lower the severity of the offense, and examples of mitigating factors include evidence of a low BAC (.09% or less), evidence that the impairing drug was medically prescribed, or that you were driving relatively safely. You may also submit to a mental health screening, 60 days of sobriety monitoring, or treatment prior to sentencing to create mitigating factors.