DWI Aggravating Factors

North Carolina laws against driving while impaired (DWI) keep getting more strict and more complex. Whether you are charged with the most basic first-offense DWI, an underage DWI, have prior offenses on your record or other unique circumstances apply, it is more important than ever to work with an attorney such as John Combs, who is truly immersed in this area of the law.

More Than Ever, You Need In-Depth Case Analysis And Informed Legal Counsel

To make informed decisions about your defense, you must know and consider all potential consequences of a DWI conviction in your specific case. Changes in the law in recent years have significantly impacted sentencing and penalties in cases where grossly aggravating factors apply. Such DWI aggravating factors include:

  • Prior convictions for any impaired driving offenses within the past seven years — or a charge of driving while license revoked (DWLR) due to a prior DWI
  • Impaired driving with any passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle
  • Causing serious injury to another person through impaired driving
  • Blood alcohol content (BAC) measured at .15 percent or greater

Prior Conviction? Minor In Your Car? Every Factor Matters.

There are five different misdemeanor sentencing levels for a North Carolina DWI, and those labeled habitual DWI offenders face felony charges carrying a mandatory jail term and permanent license revocation. Punishments escalate dramatically from Level 5 up through Level 1 (and now "Aggravated Level 1") sentencing, bringing possible consequences for misdemeanor convictions such as:

  • Mandatory jail or prison terms ranging from 24 hours to three years
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Driver's license suspension/revocation ranging from one to four years, with ability to obtain a limited driving privilege dependent on many factors
  • Mandatory installation of a costly ignition interlock system
  • Court-ordered abstinence from alcohol or drugs, enforced through a monitoring device or chemical drug testing

As you can see, simply gauging what you are up against is a serious challenge. Attorney John Combs will apply his decades of experience whether your case involves Breathalyzer test refusal, one or more aggravating factors, or many such considerations. For a free initial consultation with a Winston-Salem lawyer who knows all viable DWI defense strategies in depth, call 800-419-4877 or email us at Combs Law Firm, PLLC, right now.