The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
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Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.

DWI Sentencing Chart

Understanding North Carolina DWI sentencing can be incredibly confusing. If you are facing a DWI charge in North Carolina, understanding North Carolina’s DWI sentencing chart is beneficial. Facing a DWI can be scary and intimidating. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers can help explain the DWI sentencing laws to you and fight for your rights throughout the process. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

Grossly Aggravating, Aggravating, and Mitigating Factors

When a prosecutor can prove the elements of a DWI, the defendant will be convicted of a DWI. After that, the judge will determine the defendant’s sentence. In North Carolina, the sentence depends on how many grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating factors have taken place. Aggravating factors include things like reckless or dangerous driving, gross impairment, driving with a revoked license, or having two or more DWI convictions. Mitigating factors work in the defendant’s favor and include things like driving safely during the DWI, submitting to a mental health evaluation, and completing a substance abuse evaluation.

Aggravated Level one DWI Punishments

When three or more grossly aggravating factors occur, the defendant will receive an aggravated level one DWI punishments. These punishments will include the following:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • A minimum jail sentence of 12 months up to 36 months
  • The defendant will have no eligibility for parole
  • A judge can suspend the prison term only when a condition of special probation happens. Special probation can only occur when the prison sentence is at least 120 days long.
  • When judges impose probation, they must require that the defendant abstain from alcohol altogether for 120 days or more and undergo a substance abuse assessment as well as education or related treatment for substance abuse.
Level one Punishment for North Carolina DWI

The court will impose a level one punishment when a minor child was with the defendant when the DWI occurred, or when two or more other grossly aggravating factors occurred. Consequences for this level of punishment include the following:

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • A jail sentence ranging from 30 days to 24 months
  • A judge may suspend a prison term only when he or she imposes a minimum prison sentence of 30 days.
  • When a judge imposes probation, it must include the requirement that the defendant undergo assessment and treatment for alcohol abuse or substance abuse
  • A judge may choose to require the defendant to abstain from alcohol and use an alcohol monitoring system from 30 days to the maximum term of the probation.
North Carolina Level Two DWI Punishment

A North Carolina court will impose a level two punishment when no minor children were in the vehicle, or only one other grossly aggravating factor happened. Judges will impose the following fines:

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • A jail sentence between seven days and 12 months

A judge can suspend a prison term only when imposing special probation, to include a minimum seven-day prison sentence. When a judge imposes probation, he or she must meet the following requirements:

  • The terms of the probation must include a minimum jail sentence of seven days
  • The terms of the probation must require that the defendant undergo a substance abuse assessment and related education or treatment
  • A judge may choose to require the defendant to abstain from alcohol, and alcohol monitoring system, and any other lawful conditions the judge may choose to require as part of the probation.
North Carolina Level Three DWI Punishment

A level three DWI punishment occurs when there are no grossly aggravating factors, and when the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors. Level three DWI punishments include the following:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • A jail sentence of 72 hours to six months
North Carolina Level Four DWI Punishment

A level four DWI punishment happens when there are no mitigating or aggravating factors, or when mitigating factors counterbalance aggravating factors. The penalties for a level four DWI include the following:

  • A fine of up to $500
  • A jail sentence between 48 hours and 120 days
  • A judge may suspend the jail sentence, but only when the sentence includes the following:
    • A jail term of at least 48 hours as part of special probation, or
    • At least 48 hours of community service, or
    • Any combination of the factors listed in the statute
If You are Facing DWI Charges, Our Lawyers can Help

DWI sentencing is incredibly important. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our lawyers fight hard to prove as many mitigating factors as possible. If you are facing a Charlotte DWI charge, contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your free case evaluation.