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  • Coastal South Law

Charged with DWI in North Carolina?

If you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina, you may be feeling stressed and even overwhelmed trying to figure out what comes next legally and how best to prepare for it. Luckily, you are not alone. There are nearly 50,000 tickets for DWI issued every year in North Carolina and every one of those individuals has had to go through this process, as well. Sometimes it is helpful just to remember that there is life on the other side of a DWI. Unfortunately, the only way out is through. Luckily, an experienced North Carolina criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the DWI process, zealously advocating on your behalf, presenting your case in the strongest light, working with opposing counsel in your best interest, and ensuring that you receive the best possible outcome.

DWI in North Carolina

Under North Carolina law, a DWI occurs when an individual has actual physical control of a vehicle and is under the influence of an impairing substance. Impairment by a substance is defined as having a blood alcohol level over .08% (or .04% for commercial license-holders) or a metabolized Schedule I controlled substance in your blood. “Under the influence” requires that an ingested substance has caused noticeable impairment of the driver’s faculties and abilities. It is important to note that the language “actual physical control” of a vehicle, creates situations where it is possible to be charged with DWI without actually putting a vehicle in physical motion. In general, having a key in the ignition is enough for police to infer an intent to drive.

Penalties for DWI in North Carolina

The penalties for DWI in North Carolina are determined, in large part, based on an assessment of gross aggravating factors, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. A criminal defense attorney will know how to present the strongest possible version of your case, arguing against any gross aggravating and aggravating factors and emphasizing as many mitigating factors as possible. Examples of gross aggravating factors are a serious injury occurring due to the DWI, having minors in the car, driving with a license that has been revoked due to another DWI, and having prior DWIs within the previous seven years. Some common aggravating factors are a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher, evading police, driving 30 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, driving recklessly, and causing a car accident. Mitigating factors allow your lawyer to argue for a lighter sentence. They include things like a low blood alcohol level, evidence that an individual was driving impaired due to a prescribed medication, and evidence that the driver was not being reckless. Additionally, the individual can create additional mitigating factors by submitting to treatment for substance abuse prior to sentencing, and by submitting to 60 days of sobriety monitoring and a mental health assessment. Your lawyer will work with you to negotiate and fight for the best possible outcome based on the unique circumstances of your case.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina, your next steps are important ones. Contact the experienced Southeastern North Carolina criminal defense lawyers at Coastal South Law and schedule a consultation today.

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