North Carolina is well-known for its strict DWI laws. Even those facing a first-time drunk driving conviction can face significant penalties. If you’ve been arrested for DWI and you have one or more previous driving while impaired (DWI) convictions on your record, you could be facing significant jail time, fines, and the revocation of your driver’s license. Prosecutors in North Carolina take multiple DWI charges seriously.
Consult With a New Bern Multiple DWI Attorney
At Greene Crow & Smith, our aggressive DWI attorneys have decades of experience representing clients who’ve been charged with multiple DWIs. We will work with you to ensure that you understand all the penalties you’re facing. We want our clients to have all the information they need to make the best decision possible regarding their legal defense. When you work with Greene Crow & Smith, you can rest assured that we will assertively defend your rights.
Multiple DWI Charges in New Bern
In North Carolina, DWI charges are brought by prosecutors on a sliding scale. Prosecutors will evaluate all of the aggravating, grossly aggravating, and mitigating factors in your case to determine which level of DWI sentencing you will face if you are convicted. For example, if you are charged with a second DWI, you could face significant jail time if several grossly aggravating factors are in your case. Generally, the more DWI convictions on your record, the more severe the penalties.
Second DWI Within One Year
After a first-time DWI conviction, your license will be revoked for one year. Suppose you are charged and convicted of an additional DWI within that one-year revocation. In that case, your vehicle may be seized at the time of your arrest according to the Governor’s DWI initiative. Anytime law enforcement charges you with a DWI while your license has already been revoked due to previous DWI charges, your vehicle can be seized after you are convicted.
Grossly Aggravating Factors
When a defendant is charged with a DWI in North Carolina, the court will consider many factors to determine sentencing the defendant. These factors will be crucial in determining how you’ll be punished for a second, third, or fourth DWI. Grossly aggravating factors will increase the penalties you will face. These factors can heighten your DWI charge to a level 2, level 1, or aggravated level 1 DWI. Grossly aggravating factors include:
- A previous DWI conviction on your record that has occurred within the last 7 years
- There was a minor in the vehicle at the time you were arrested for a DWI
- You seriously injured another person while driving while intoxicated
- A prior conviction for driving with a revoked license due to a drunk driving offense
Aggravating factors are not as serious as grossly aggravating factors, but they can result in you being charged with a higher level DWI. These factors include the following:
- Driving with a BAC of .15 percent or higher
- Negligent driving that caused a reportable accident
- Especially reckless or dangerous driving
- Attempting to evade law enforcement by speeding
Mitigating factors will usually help you receive more favorable sentencing. If there are no grossly aggravating factors in your case, and there are mitigating factors, the judge might reduce the level of sentencing for your DWI charge if you are convicted. Mitigating factors include the following:
- Your driving record is clean over the past five years
- You were intoxicated due to a prescription medication
- Your BAC was not above .09 percent if you are at least 21 years old
- You voluntarily submitted to a DWI assessment after you were charged and participated in any recommended treatment
- You voluntarily participated in an alcohol and/or drug treatment program
The Penalties for a Second DWI
If you are convicted of a second DWI offense within a three to seven-year period, your driver’s license could be revoked for up to four years. You will face a minimum of seven days of jail time and a fine of up to $2,000. Finally, you will be responsible for paying for a mandatory installation of a costly Ignition Interlock Device (IID) before you will be allowed to drive.
The Penalties for a Third DWI
If you are convicted of a third DWI offense and you’ve been convicted of a DWI within the past five years, you could face up to three years of jail time. You will also face a fine of up to $10,000 and the installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device.
Penalties for a Fourth DWI Conviction
If you are facing your fourth DWI charge within the last 10 years, you will be facing felony charges. You could be incarcerated for 12 to 59 months. Your driver’s license will also be revoked for life, and you will not have the possibility of obtaining limited driving privileges for at least ten years.
Defenses for Multiple DWI Charges
If you’ve been arrested for multiple DWIs, you’re facing significant and life-changing consequences. It’s essential that you hire an experienced New Bern DWI attorney who will exhaust every legal defense available in your case. Some of the most common legal defenses in multiple DWI cases include the following:
- There was no probable cause for the law enforcement officer to arrest you
- The traffic stop was illegal
- The breathalyzer test machine used in your case wasn’t well maintained or well operated
- The arresting officer was not certified to operate the breathalyzer machine
- The correct procedures for drawing blood were not followed
Contact Our New Bern Multiple DWI Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with multiple DWIs, your freedom and future are at stake. You need an attorney who understands North Carolina DWI law and the science involved in multiple DWI charges. At Greene Crow & Smith, we will work diligently to build you the best legal defense possible while pursuing the best outcome in your case. Contact our New Bern DWI attorneys today to schedule your free consultation.