Wilmington DWI Attorney
Fighting DWI & DUI Charges in New Hanover County
Seeing the flashing lights in your rearview mirror was just the beginning. As frightening as the actual arrest might have been, the consequences you could face for being convicted of DWI can be even scarier. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could face jail time and stiff fines. Losing your license could mean you won’t be able to get to work or school. Having to explain to your friends, family and co-workers why you can't drive anymore can be embarrassing and stigmatizing. If you're in this situation, you need help.
In some cases, the police may not even have even had a valid reason to pull you over. Being charged with drunk driving doesn't have to be the end of the world, but you do need a lawyer who can help you make the most of your situation and mitigate the potentially harsh consequences you face. At The Wagoner Law Firm, P.L.L.C., we are committed to helping clients reclaim a sense of hope after a DWI charge.
What is the Difference Between a DWI and DUI in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, DWI stands for “driving while impaired” while DUI is an acronym for “driving under the influence.” Other states penalize DWI convictions more severely than DUIs, but in North Carolina, they’re both considered the same thing and hold the same consequences. However, the state uses “DWI” as the official legal name when convicting an impaired driver.
What are the Five Levels of DWI in North Carolina?
DWI sentencing is a complex system. North Carolina categorizes offenses by the following:
- Aggravated level 1: 12 to 36 months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. If you get probation, you must serve at least 120 days in jail and 120 days of continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM).
- Level 1: 30 days to 24 months in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. If you get probation, you must serve at least 30 days in jail and submit to the judge’s required contingencies (i.e. rehabilitation, community service, etc.).
- Level 2: 7 days to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. If you get probation, you must serve at least 7 days and submit to the judge’s required contingencies (i.e. rehabilitation, community service, etc.).
- Level 3: 72 hours to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. If you get probation, you must serve at least 72 hours in jail and/or at least 72 hours of community service.
- Level 4: 48 hours to 120 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. If you get probation, you must serve at least 48 hours in jail and/or at least 48 hours of community service.
- Level 5: 24 hours to 60 days in jail and up to a $200 fine. If you get probation, you must serve at least 24 hours in jail and/or at least 24 hours of community service.
Will You Go to Jail for Your First DWI in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, the minimum jail time for your first DWI in North Carolina is 24 hours. DWIs ranges from Level 1 - 5 and your first DWI can vary depending on the severity of your DWI.
Potential Factors That Can Increase Penalties
The consequences people face for a DWI in North Carolina are not one-size-fits-all. For example, you will face increased penalties if:
- You have previous convictions.
- You were driving at an excessive speed.
- You were driving with a revoked license.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .15%.
Furthermore, you can be charged with DWI for having a BAC of less than the standard .08%, if, for example:
- You are a commercial driver.
- You are under the age of 21.
- You have a prior DWI conviction.
The penalties for a DWI conviction can weigh heavily on your life whether they be jail time, heavy fines, a suspended or revoked license, substance abuse treatment or community service. We can help you work toward a better outcome. When you come in to discuss your case, our team can give you some perspective about your options and how we might best proceed in building a defense to fight your DWI charges.
Any field test, blood alcohol or breath test that the arresting officer performs can be used as evidence against you. However, those tests can also become the basis of the defense we build on your behalf. Was the equipment calibrated and used correctly? Did the officer conduct the arrest appropriately? These are matters we can discuss when you come in for your consultation.
Other defense tactics we may use in your DWI case include:
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest
- Faulty police investigation
- You were not impaired, but you were driving poorly at the time
Learn More from Our Wilmington DWI Lawyer Today
While you're likely already stressed out, it costs you nothing to come in and get the information you need from an experienced DWI lawyer in Wilmington. Make an appointment with our firm as soon as possible to get started on your case.
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