If you are charged with a DWI or a DUI in Raleigh, it is imperative that you get a Raleigh DWI Lawyer. North Carolina is one of the strictest states in the country with regards to DWI law. Not only do you face loss of your driver’s license, prison sentences imposed can be as high as three (3) years and fines can reach up to ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars.  It is important to have a Raleigh DWI defense lawyer review and advise you on your case.

DWI Defined (otherwise known as DUI)

A person commits the offense of impaired driving if he/she drives any vehicle upon a highway, a street, or a public vehicular area within this state while under the influence of an impairing substance; or after having consumed sufficient alcohol that he/she has, at any relevant time after the driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more; or with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, or its metabolites in his/her blood or urine. Also referred to as Driving Under the Influence/DUI.

The fact that you are legally entitled to consume a prescribed drug is not considered a defense.

DWI Punishment

Different factors (mitigating, aggravating and grossly aggravating) come into play that guide a judge in determining what level of punishment is appropriate. There are now six levels of punishment.

Aggravated Level One punishment:

Fined up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than twelve (12) months and a maximum of not more than thirty-six (36) months.  Active time may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed with a term of imprisonment of at least four (4) months. If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended education or treatment. The judge may impose any other lawful condition as well.

Level One punishment:

Fined up to four thousand dollars ($4,000) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than 30 days and a maximum of not more than 24 months. Active time may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed with a term of imprisonment of at least 30 days. If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended education or treatment as a condition of this offense. The judge may impose any other lawful condition.

Level Two punishment:

Fined up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than 7 days and a maximum of not more than 12 months. Active time may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed with a term of imprisonment of at least 7 days. If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended education or treatment. The judge may impose any other lawful condition.

Level Three punishment:

Fined up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than 72 hours and a maximum of not more than 6 months. Active time may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the following:

  1. Be imprisoned for a term of at least 72 hours as a condition of special probation; or
  2. Perform community service for a term of a least 72 hours; or
  3. Any combination of these conditions.

If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended education or treatment. The Judge may impose any other lawful condition.

Level Four punishment:

Fined up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than 48 hours and a maximum of not more than 120 days. Active time may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the following:

  1. Be imprisoned for a term of 48 hours as a condition of special probation; or
  2. Perform community service for a term of 48 hours; or
  3. Any combination of these conditions.

If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended education or treatment. The judge may impose any other lawful condition.

Level Five punishment:

Fined up to two hundred dollars ($200.00) and shall be sentenced to active time for a minimum term of not less than 24 hours and a maximum of not more than 60 days. Active time may be suspended. However, the suspended sentence shall include the following:

  1. Be imprisoned for a term of 24 hours as a condition of special probation; or
  2. Perform community service for a term of 24 hours; or
  3. Any combination of these conditions.

If the defendant is placed on probation, he/she shall be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with  the recommended education or treatment. The judge may impose any other lawful condition.

Getting Driving Privileges

You are generally allowed by the court driving privileges after your first conviction of DWI and in some instances when you have had one or more prior convictions of DWI depending on the time frame of those convictions. A limited driving privilege is a judgment issued in the discretion of a court for good cause shown granting a person with a revoked driver’s license to drive for essential purposes related to any of the following:

  1. His/Her employment.
  2. The maintenance of his/her household.
  3. His/Her education.
  4. His/Her court-ordered treatment or assessment.
  5. Community service ordered as a condition of the person’s probation.
  6. Emergency medical care.

Eligibility

A person convicted of impaired driving (pursuant to N.C.G.S. 20-138.1) is eligible for a limited driving privilege if:

  • They held either a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired for less than one year at the time of the offense;
  • They have not within the preceding seven years from the offense date been convicted of an offense involving impaired driving;
  • A level Three, Four, or Five punishment was imposed for the offense of impaired driving;
  • Subsequent to the offense date he/she has not been convicted of, or had an unresolved charge lodged against him/her for, an offense involving impaired driving; and
  • The person has obtained and filed with the court a substance abuse assessment.

DWI’s/DUI’s are complex and challenging cases with multiple stages where the accused’s legal rights could be violated. It is important to have a trained and experienced Raleigh DWI/DUI lawyer review every stage of the process in order to make sure that you receive the benefit when corners are cut and your rights have been violated.

Edd K. Roberts III – Attorney

Edd K. Roberts is a board certified criminal defense attorney in Raleigh that specializes in criminal law which spans many different areas of practice. As a former prosecutor for Wake County, he knows what it takes to  defend you against all kinds of criminal charges ranging from DWI and DUI charges to credit card fraud.

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The information contained in this site is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your specific matter.