Criminal Lawyer, DWI Lawyer, Personal Injury Lawyer.

Your First DWI Offense – Now What?

So you’ve been charged with a DWI offense. It’s also your first offense. What happens now?

In North Carolina, a sliding scale with levels 1 through 5 is used for such punishments. It’s based on aggravating and mitigating aspects.

Level 5 will incur the lowers punishments whereas Level 1 generates the harshest fines and even incarceration. An aggravated Level 1 is also possible.

Many first offense punishments in the state are regarded as Levels 3 to 5, but sometimes a first offense can go up to Level 1 punishment.

Administrative Penalties

Typically, a first DWI offense leads to an administrative license suspension for a period of around 30 days. There is also the chance of limited driving freedoms after a period of 10 days.

If you refuse to submit results you will incur an automatic license suspension. The suspension in North Carolina for refusal to submit is for a 12 month period for a first offense.

To have your license reinstated will be contingent upon completion of an alcohol or substance abuse awareness and assessment program. There is also the possibility of an ignition interlock device being installed on reinstatement.

Criminal Penalties

Penalties for this offense tend to vary widely. They’re mostly based on the court’s classification of your case, which also range from Level 1 through 5.

For many first time reprobates, North Carolina does not impose mandatory jail time for first time offenders, save for grossly aggravating factors such as there being a child in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, or the aggravating circumstance of your blood alcohol content (BAC) measuring .15.

A judge can sentence a Level 5 first time offender to between 1 – 60 days, but the sentence may be suspended if community service is done and adds up to about 24 hours.

An imprisonment sentence of level 3 to 5 offenders can also be suspended, provider the offender takes part in community services, should the court agree.

A judge may also sentence a Level 1A first offender) to around 1 to 3 years.

Fines for DWI tend to range considerably from $200 up to $1,000 for a Level 3 up to Level 5 offenses.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

State statutes do not seem to explicitly forbid the reduction of such charges into sentences for a lesser criminal offense. Just like in all states in the U.S., defendants are always free to seek the dismissal of such charges or even negotiate a favorable plea agreement.

It is essential to seek legal representation if you want an advantageous result in this legal process. Talk to a North Carolina lawyer at Dement Askew who is experienced in representing people who have been charged with their first offense. You can contact them on (919) 833-5555.


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