DWI Sentencing

North Carolina DWI/DUI Sentencing

North Carolina has a well-earned reputation as one of the harshest states in the nation when it comes to driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. It is one of the only crimes in which the District Attorney is statutorily prohibited from negotiating a sentence. Instead, DWI convictions fall into one of six categories, with the sentencing getting progressively worse from level 5 to level Aggravated 1. In practice, there are two main types of DWIs, those that will be Level 5-3, and those that are Level 3, 2, 1, or Aggravated 1. For this blog, we’ll deal with the most common type, Level 5-3.

DWI Levels

Which level your Iredell County DWI will fall into will be determined by which statutory factors are present. By default, all DWI’s in North Carolina are classified as a Level 4 DWI, with a 48 hour mandatory minimum jail sentence. Of course, this assumes there are no grossly aggravating factors, which are discussed here. Once a single grossly aggravating factor is found in your case, you can disregard the rest of this blog and need to read the one linked above. 

Among Level 3, 4, and 5, you are looking at a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 72, 48, or 24 hours respectively, as well as the suspension of your driver’s license. Which level the Judge finds in your case can be heavily influenced by one of our skilled Statesville DWI attorneys. Out of all of the statutory aggravating and mitigating factors, a Judge must determine whether the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors, or whether the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating factors. If the aggravating grossly outweigh the mitigating, then the Judge must find it to be a level 3 DWI. If the mitigating outweigh the aggravating, then the Judge must find it to be a level 5 DWI. If they are about even, then the Judge must find it to be a level 4 DWI. An important thing to note for Defendants is that aggravating factors must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, while mitigating factors only need to be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. 

What’s Next?

If you are charged with a DWI, it is important to speak with one of our DWI defense attorneys as soon as possible. Even if you admit your guilt, we have the experience getting you the most favorable sentence possible. We have successfully argued for clients to get credit for time in rehab in lieu of active jail time. We also can walk you through the process to ensure you get a limited driving privilege as soon as possible so that you can move on with your life. When you are charged with driving under the influence in Iredell or the surrounding counties, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. Call us today at (704) 218-9006 or contact us at Morris & Fox so we can fight for you.