At King Law, our DWI defense attorneys are committed to protecting their client’s rights in Columbus and the surrounding areas. Our criminal defense lawyers take a personalized approach to every case to provide the best legal services to our clients. Our award-winning attorneys will investigate every detail of your case to craft the best possible defense for your unique situation when you partner with us.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors for DUI Charges in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, certain factors surrounding your case could make a significant difference in the severity of your charges and punishments if convicted. There are three types of factors that could affect your case: grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating.
Grossly Aggravating Factors
The following factors could drastically impact the gravity of the charges and punishments you may face.
- Prior conviction for DWI within seven years of the current charges
- The individual was driving under the influence while their license was revoked for a past DWI
- The driver charged with the DWI caused an accident that resulted in significant bodily harm
- A person under the age of 16 was present in the vehicle when the DWI occurred
If any grossly aggravating factors apply to your case, you may be charged with additional crimes on top of the DWI.
While these factors are not as grave as grossly aggravating factors, they could still negatively impact your case. These factors include:
- Driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of twice the legal limit at 0.16% or more
- Particularly reckless driving while under the influence
- The DWI caused a reportable accident
- The individual was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while their license was revoked
- A prior non-DWI motor vehicle conviction within five years of the DWI arrest
- A prior speeding conviction where the driver was fleeing from the police
- A prior speeding conviction where the driver was found guilty of going more than 30mph over the speed limit
- The driver passed a parked school bus
One or more aggravating factors could escalate the charges you face and result in steeper penalties if convicted.
Mitigating factors can help reduce the charges and penalties you face. Some mitigating factors include:
- The driver was only slightly impaired, with a BAC of 0.09% or less
- The driver had few symptoms of impairment
- The individual operated their vehicle safely and lawfully with the exception of being impaired
- The individual has a clean driving record with no prior convictions for motor vehicle offenses
- A legally prescribed medication caused the driver’s impairment
- The individual charged with the DWI volunteered to undergo rehabilitation for drug or alcohol abuse
If several mitigating factors are present, your charge could be reduced by two or more levels, resulting in lighter penalties if convicted.
Types of DWI Offenses and Penalties in North Carolina
When determining the severity of the offense, the judge will consider all grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating factors surrounding your case. The judge will use these factors to impose one out of five levels of DWI punishments. These levels are:
- Level 5 DWI: This is the least severe level of punishment. You may be charged with a level 5 DWI if only mitigating factors apply to your case. You could be sentenced to 24 hours in jail and a $200 fine if convicted.
- Level 4 DWI: If the mitigating factors outweigh any aggravating factors, you may be charged with a level 4 DWI. Convicted individuals may be sentenced to 48 hours in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Level 3 DWI: You may be charged with a level 3 DWI if no grossly aggravating factors are present, and the aggravating and mitigating factors weigh on the case equally. If convicted, you could face 72 hours in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Level 2 DWI: If one grossly aggravating factor is present, you may be charged with a level 2 DWI. A level 2 DWI is punishable by up to one year behind bars and a fine of $2,000.
- Level 1 DWI: Level 1 DWIs carry the most severe punishments. If two or more grossly aggravating factors are present, you could be charged with a level 1 DWI. Convicted individuals may face up to two years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
If you are convicted of a DWI at any level, your driver’s license may be revoked for at least one year. Regardless of the level of charges and penalties you face, a dedicated attorney from King Law will review every detail of your case and fight to have your charges dropped or reduced.
Partner With a Trusted Columbus DWI Lawyer at King Law
If you have been charged with a DWI in Columbus, North Carolina, the stakes are too high not to have an expert attorney on your side. When you partner with a seasoned King Law DWI attorney, you get a legal expert with a wealth of experience and a highly personalized approach to your case designed to meet your unique needs. Our attorneys are dedicated to conducting a thorough investigation and will be fierce advocates for your defense. To learn more and schedule a consultation, contact the King Law today by calling (888) 748-5464 (KING) or filling out our contact form.