North Carolina DWI Laws – 2nd Offense

Then you are arrested for DWI in the state of North Carolina you are probably very concerned about what could happen to you, and that’s understandable. If you are facing a first offense DWI, that’s tough enough. But if you are charged with a second offense or other enhanced penalties, you need to understand the complex DWI levels system. DWI’s are charged as Level 1-5, with Level 5 DWI indicating a 1st offense, low BAC, no accident, no aggravating circumstances, and Level 1 being the harshest (see penalties, below).

North Carolina’s DWI laws get considerably harsher with previous convictions, or other aggravating circumstances and factors added to your charge.

The system is extremely unsympathetic to anyone facing these serious DWI charges, but we are here to help you and fight for you. We want to know the specifics of your case so we can use our expertise and experience to assist you in getting the most positive outcome possible when it comes time for you to go to court.

Facing charges like this can affect your reputation and your everyday life. We know this and understand the stress you are under. Please contact us for a free NC DWI consultation to help understand what you are facing, what your options are, and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help.

What Aggravating Circumstances add DWI Levels Under NC Law?

In North Carolina, DWI charges as classified by levels. The Level you will be charged with is based on a lot more than your prior DWI convictions. However, any prior DWI convictions are considered a heavily weighted aggravating factor.

Aggravating factors are circumstances about your case and situation that the prosecution will use in determining which Level to charge you with.

In addition to any prior DWI convictions, other factors are

  • other criminal history
  • High BAC result on a breathalyzer test
  • whether or not you cooperated with police
  • if an accident was involved
  • reckless driving or other related traffic offenses

Ref: Aggravating Circumstances NCL 20-179

DWI Penalties and Sentences

With any DWI, you will face certain penalties. Things like jail time and fines, though, are dictated by the DWI Level you are charged with.

Jail Time Fines
Level I 30 days- 2 years Up to $4,000
Level II 7 days- 1 year Up to $2,000
Level III 72 hours- 6 months Up to $1,000
Level IV 48 hours- 120 days Up to $500
Level V 24 hours- 60 days Up to $200

Other aspects of your sentence may include:

  • Alcohol/Drug education and treatment
  • Ignition Interlock Device
  • Driver’s License suspension up to 2 years
  • Vehicle Impound
  • Community Service

Ref: Ignition Interlock Laws NCL 20-17.8

Community Service NCL 20-179.4

Driver’s License suspension NCL 20-16

Can I Fight and Win my NC DWI Charge?

Yes, there are always opportunities to fight the case in court, and take it all the way to trial, if necessary. We can challenge the reason the police pulled you over in the first place, challenge the validity of the so-called field sobriety tests. We can also challenge the science or the breath test machine, or question that is was used property according to police training, and make sure it’s maintenance records are current.

If we are looking to negotiate a deal, we may be able to get some charges reduced. Depending on your circumstances we may be able to help you get probation in lieu of jail time.

Aside from legal ramifications, a conviction like a Level 5 DWI can stick with you for a very long time. We are interested in helping you during this trying time. Call for a consultation on your North Carolina DWI case today.

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