Experienced New Bern Attorneys Defend Drivers Accused of DWI
North Carolina law firm challenges allegations of drunk driving
Facing a drunk driving charge can be intimidating, especially if you are not familiar with the criminal justice system. At the Carolina Law Group, our attorneys provide comprehensive legal support to people who have been accused of driving while impaired, or DWI, under North Carolina law. Don’t be misled into thinking that an arrest, or even a test that exceeds the legal blood alcohol limit of .08 percent, means that you have no chance for a successful outcome. For more than a decade, we have found ways to help clients obtain acquittals, dismissals and reduced sentences in DWI cases. If you have been accused of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, we will wage a strong and comprehensive defense to fight the charges against you.
Knowledgeable litigators protect the rights of motorists
Since 2007, we have earned a reputation for being tough advocates for drivers accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. We assert an effective defense based on issues such as:
- Unlawful stops — Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct to stop a car. Even if it is later shown that a driver might have been impaired, a faulty stop can taint any evidence that is gathered later.
- Improper searches and arrests — Without consent, police officers cannot make arrests or conduct searches unless they have probable cause that a crime is being committed. If you have been arrested, our firm will find out what the officer knew at the time and determine if there was an illegal overreach.
- Flawed tests — Negligent administration of blood or breath tests can trigger false results and unjust prosecutions. We can identify mistakes that might have altered your case.
As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we can find evidence and law enforcement problems that other attorneys miss. In a consultation, our firm can examine your case and lay out a potential strategy to protect your rights.
Penalties for DWI in North Carolina
If you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, the judge must look at any aggravating factors, grossly aggravating factors, and mitigating factors in the case to determine which of the five possible levels applies to your offense.
- Aggravating factors — Adding to the seriousness of the charge are facts such as impairment of 0.16 blood alcohol content or higher, reckless driving, a reportable accident, driving under a revoked license, two or more non-DWI traffic convictions, certain speeding convictions, and passing a stopped school bus while impaired.
- Grossly aggravating factors — These factors include a prior DWI conviction or a subsequent DWI charge, driving under a license revoked because of a prior DWI, serious injury to a person in the DWI incident, and DWI with a child under 16 in the vehicle.
- Mitigating factors — Lessening the potential seriousness of the charge are factors such as a BAC at or below 0.09 and signs of only slight impairment solely from alcohol, safe and lawful driving despite impairment, a safe driving record, and voluntary participation in DWI substance abuse treatment.
All levels of DWI are misdemeanor offenses. The punishments for the various levels are as follows:
- Level V — When there are mitigating factors present, and no aggravating factors, this least serious DWI is punishable by a fine up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days. A judge may suspend sentence on certain conditions.
- Level IV — When mitigating factors outweigh aggravating factors, the maximum fine is $500 with a jail sentence of 48 hours to 120 days. The judge may suspend sentence under certain conditions.
- Level III — If mitigating and aggravating factors balance out, and no grossly aggravating factors exist, the maximum fine is $1,000 with a jail sentence of 72 hours to six months. The judge may suspend the sentence.
- Level II — If one grossly aggravating factor is present, the offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and a jail sentence of seven days to one year. A judge may not suspend the minimum sentence.
- Level I — If two grossly aggravating factors are present, this most serious DWI offense is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of 30 days to two years. A judge may not suspend the minimum sentence.
As your advocate, our job is to bring all pertinent facts to the court’s attention so that mitigating factors become obvious and doubt is placed on the existence of aggravating factors. We work tirelessly to provide the aggressive defense you need.
Assertive advocates work to reduce or eliminate DWI punishment
Strong defense counsel is crucial to winning a positive result in a drunk driving case because sentences range widely. If you are a multiple offender or are involved in an auto accident, you could face felony charges and years of incarceration. In other instances, we can negotiate a plea agreement that results in a fine, community service or license suspension. As soon as you contact us, we will advise you about any aggravating factors and press for a favorable resolution in your case.
Contact a dedicated North Carolina DWI defense lawyer for a free consultation
The Carolina Law Group defends clients accused of DWI and other North Carolina criminal offenses. Please call 252-636-3737 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our New Bern office.