King Law sees catching DUIs as a necessary evil. Drunk driving has ruined so many lives that we cannot see how Brevard can do without these charges. However, we still believe the accused have the right to due process and a presumption of innocence. King Law allows our clients to navigate traffic court with the intent of seeing their rights and lifestyle preserved to the best of their ability. Whether getting all charges dropped or keeping your license, King Law fights for the best outcome in your personal circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence in North Carolina
North Carolina boasts some of the country’s strictest DWI laws. There are severe penalties and strong vehicle forfeiture guidelines. In 2007 and 2011, besides toughening the laws yet again, the legislature shut down many loopholes that defendants gladly took advantage of.
North Carolina law prevents prosecutors from negotiating a lesser offense. Before even a weak charge is dismissible, the D.A. has to provide an explanation reasoning why the decision is valid. In a lot of ways, that document is a mea culpa, a backflip where prosecutors admit that they thought they could prove this or not and may have been mistaken.
Not surprisingly, the district attorney’s office is not eager to produce such documentation. In Brevard, your options are essentially a negotiated plea or a trial.
Going to Trial for a DWI/DUI Charge
At trial, the judge will strive to remain unbiased. They want to hear all the facts. Your lawyer will present evidence in your defense and dispute the validity of the accusation. You will get a representative that argues mitigating factors that present you in the best possible light under the worst circumstances. The goal will be to minimize the impact of the charges on your life.
The prosecution will be working against you, however. It is their job to provide all information to the courtroom, ensuring no stone goes unturned when it comes to your charges and the evidence the police and others have compiled against you. The objective is to make an even playing field, where all of the evidence allegedly proving your guilt is available for all to see, and your defense will counter the points made by the prosecution.
What the Court Considers During a North Carolina DWI/DUI Case
There are several levels of DUI the court will consider after a conviction. Each level takes into account aggravating factors, grossly aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. Simply put, the considerations boil down to:
- Aggravating factors, such as causing a car accident while impaired.
- Grossly aggravating factors, such as driving while impaired with a minor in the car. These are much worse than aggravating factors.
- Mitigating factors, which are beneficial in that they may reduce your charges. An example of this is being barely over the legal blood alcohol content limit.
The judge will use all factors to determine the level of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Levels of DWI/DUIs in the State of North Carolina
Levels 1 to 5 (with 5 being the least serious) have options for jail and/or community service and fines. Starting with 5, a defendant is looking at a minimum of 48 hours behind bars or 48 hours of community service as well as a fine of no less than $500. The punishment elevates with each level. Hitting Level 1 entails jail time between 30 days and 24 months and a $4,000 fine.
Leveling is not based necessarily on driving history or points on your license. While the judge can certainly take them into account, being a first-time offender does not automatically mean you get the lowest (5) level.
Aggravated Level 1-A
For an Aggravated Level 1-A, your license is automatically revoked for a year (or more). The court can order a treatment program or probation or parole. You have to complete these conditions before getting your license restored. The sentencing also comes along with a potential fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment minimum of 12 months or a maximum of up to 36 months.
Under certain conditions, the judge may impose serving 120 days of that sentence or even suspend the sentence if you agree to abstain from alcohol and wear a CAM.
If you accumulate three or more DUI convictions within a decade, the law views you as a habitual offender. That makes you eligible for a felony charge.
When initially arrested, you will be charged with a DWI. If determined to be habitual, charges are later upgraded.
Consult a Brevard DWI/DUI Lawyer at King Law
While representing yourself might sound tempting, the consequences of a DWI/DUI are steep, and having a skilled Brevard DWI/DUI attorney on your side is the best chance you have at getting your charges reduced or even dismissed. DUIs are taken very seriously in North Carolina, and the charges will follow you for a long time, especially if you get another DUI in the future.
A quality Brevard DWI/DUI lawyer from King Law will create a defense for you that paints you in the best light, support you through the entire process, and answer any questions you have regarding the law and how it applies to your unique case. Reach out to one of our Brevard criminal defense attorneys today at (888) 748-5464 (KING) or fill out our contact form to get started.