Three or More DWI Conviction
Have you been convicted of three or more DWI charges within the past 10 years, and currently face another DWI charge? If so, you may be subject to serious penalties and consequences like hefty fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension. Typically, DWI offenses are misdemeanors. However, if you have three or more DWI charges on your criminal record, your DWI is a habitual DWI.
A habitual DWI charge is a felony offense in North Carolina. Felony offenses come with severe penalties. If you are facing a Charlotte habitual DWI charge, hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer is essential. There is no time to waste. Contact our skilled Charlotte DWI defense lawyers as soon as possible to schedule your free case evaluation today.North Carolina’s Habitual Impaired Driving Law
Under North Carolina law, habitual impaired driving happens when a defendant has been convicted three or more times for DWI within 10 years of the current DWI offense. When a defendant receives a fourth DWI conviction within 10 years, that current DWI charge will be punished as a Class F felony. A Class F felony can carry the following penalties:
- A mandatory jail sentence of at least 12 months
- Significant fines
- The prison sentence cannot be suspended
- Permanent revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license
- Inability to maintain some professional licenses
- Forfeiture of your vehicle if you were driving on a suspended license at the time of the DWI charge
- Issues with the defendant’s immigration status
- Child custody and visitation issues
- Requirement for substance abuse and/or alcohol abuse counseling
- Another permanent charge on your record
The consequences of a DWI conviction are always negative. However, the penalties for habitual DWI in North Carolina are significantly harsher. Permanently losing the ability to have a driver’s license can be incredibly devastating on someone’s life. Many areas of North Carolina do not have easily available public transportation. Paying to use a ride-share company can become extremely expensive over time. Losing the ability to drive oneself to and from work and to and from errands can place a serious burden on an individual. Additionally, if someone’s employment requires him or her to have a driver’s license, that person may be terminated.Defenses to Habitual DWI in North Carolina
The defenses to a fourth or subsequent DWI charge are the same as with a first-time DWI charge. However, the stakes are much higher when a defendant is facing a habitual DWI charge. One of the best defenses is that law enforcement improperly administered a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Roadside BAC tests are often erroneously administered. When law enforcement officials do not conduct the test in a way that meets local and state regulations, prosecutors cannot submit the results of the test as evidence of a DWI. For example, when the machine is not cleaned and calibrated properly, the results of the test are likely not accurate. The skilled habitual DWI defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC know how to gather evidence to prove that law enforcement officers did not correctly administer DUI tests.Constitutional Defenses to a Habitual DWI Charge in North Carolina
A lack of reasonable suspicion and a lack of probable cause are also defenses against a habitual DWI charge. A police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a driver is engaging in criminal activity in order to stop the driver. For example, if a driver was driving recklessly, too slowly, too fast, or swerving, an officer may have reasonable suspicion. When law enforcement officers do not have proof of reasonable suspicion, evidence gathered can be thrown out.
In order to arrest a suspect, law enforcement officers must have probable cause. Probable cause requires that the circumstances and facts must leave a reasonable person to believe that the driver was driving while intoxicated. Without securing probable cause, a law enforcement officer cannot arrest someone. The skilled habitual DWI defense lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC know how to gather evidence to cast doubt on probable cause. We fight to get evidence gathered in an unconstitutional way thrown out.Our DWI Defense Lawyers can Help
Facing a habitual DWI charge in North Carolina is incredibly serious. Those convicted of this offense face serious jail time and permanent driver’s license revocation. If you are facing a habitual DWI charge, it is essential to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.