Experienced North Carolina Attorneys Defend Drivers Accused of DWI
Firm in New Bern and Beaufort protects motorists’ rights
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 under North Carolina law. Our firm has offices in New Bern and Beaufort to assist motorists. Don’t be misled into thinking that a test that shows blood alcohol exceeding the legal limit of 0.08 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 matters. If you have been accused of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, we will mount a strong defense.
Knowledgeable litigators challenge unlawful drunk-driving enforcement
Since 2007, we have earned a reputation as tough advocates in DWI cases who conduct thorough reviews of potential prejudicial errors, 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.
- Improper searches and arrests — Police officers must have probable cause to make an arrest or to conduct a nonconsensual search. Our firm will find out what the officer knew at the time and determine if there was 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 the course of your case.
As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we can find evidence and law enforcement problems that other attorneys might miss. From your first consultation, our firm will examine your case and lay out a potential strategy to protect your rights.
Litigators advise Craven, Carteret and Pamlico County clients on DWI penalties
DWIs in North Carolina are misdemeanor offenses of five different levels of severity. The judge determines which level applies by analyzing your case for the presence of:
- Aggravating factors — A DWI charge becomes more serious if the blood-alcohol content test result is 0.15 percent or higher. Penalties might also be increased by reckless driving, a reportable accident, driving under a revoked license or a previous conviction involving certain types of misconduct.
- 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 such factors as a BAC at or below 0.09, signs of only slight impairment solely from alcohol, safe and lawful driving despite impairment, a safe driving record and voluntary participation in a DWI substance abuse treatment program.
The six levels of DWI offenses and their punishments 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 jail sentence of 24 hours to 60 days. A judge may suspend the sentence under certain conditions.
- Level IV — When mitigating factors outweigh aggravating factors, the maximum fine is $500 and a jail sentence of 48 hours to 120 days. The judge may suspend the 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. This can apply to someone who is being convicted of DWI for the second time.
- Level I — If two grossly aggravating factors are present, such as two prior DWI convictions within the previous seven years, this most serious DWI offense can be brought. It 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.
- Aggravated Level I (A1) — An Aggravated Level I (A1) DWI sentence is imposed if 3 or more grossly aggravating factors are present. An offender can generally be sentenced to a minimum of 12 months in jail to a maximum of 36 months with no eligibility for parole, a fine up to $10,000 and court costs. The active sentence may be suspended if the defendant serves a term of at least 120 days in jail as a special condition of probation. If probation is imposed, it must include the condition that the defendant abstain from alcohol for at least 120 days, undergo a substance abuse assessment and comply with any related treatment or education.
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 obtaining 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 only in a fine, community service or license suspension. As soon as you contact us, we will advise you about any aggravating factors and mitigating factors in your case and press for a favorable resolution.
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 252-672-2059 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our New Bern or Beaufort location.