Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime in North Carolina. At the same time, however, it is a crime that is easy to commit. A simple lapse in judgment can land an otherwise upstanding citizen in a great deal of legal trouble, facing fines, license suspension, employment difficulties, and more. With decades of experience, and as a former prosecutor, Jeffery Null of Devan & Null PLLC knows how DWI charges work. With his knowledge and experience, we help people in Fayetteville who have been charged with DWI make the best of a bad situation.
Even at the lowest grading, DWI is a serious crime that can have a significant impact on your life. However, several factors can aggravate the seriousness of a DWI charge. For this reason, it’s extremely important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
DWI misdemeanor charges in North Carolina are graded from Level V, the least serious, to Level I, the most serious. The grading of the offense depends on a number of aggravating and mitigating factors:
These various factors can make a huge difference in the penalties assessed for a DWI charge. We can examine the facts of your case and argue for the most beneficial application of these various factors.
DWI penalties include fines, license suspension, community service, and jail time. First-time offenders usually fall into Levels V or IV, but even a conviction at the lowest level carries a mandatory jail sentence of 24 hours and a $200 fine, although the jail sentence may be suspended. A first offense also carries a one-year license suspension.
Repeat offenders are usually graded into Level III, II, or I. At Levels II and I, a mandatory minimum jail sentence applies, which cannot be suspended. A person found guilty of Level II DWI will spend seven days to one year in jail and pay a $2,000 fine. At Level I, the minimum jail sentence is 30 days, and the fine is $4,000. A second DWI offense carries a two-year license suspension.
Habitual DWI offenders — those with three or more convictions in a seven-year period — may be charged as felons. If convicted, they may have to serve a mandatory one-year prison term. A third offense may result in permanent license revocation.
At all levels, the court still has a great deal of discretion in putting together a sentence. An experienced lawyer from Devan & Null can help make sure the court exercises that discretion in your favor.
DWI is both serious and common. But even for first-time offenders, facing a DWI charge alone is unwise. At Devan & Null PLLC, we can defend your rights and guide you through the process. Our office is located on 103 Fountainhead Lane in Fayetteville, North Carolina, blocks from the Hay Street exit of US 401. We are available for consultations by appointment from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 910-745-6645 or contact us online.