DWI Aggravating Factors in North Carolina

In North Carolina, being charged with a DWI can have serious consequences. They can be even harsher if the judge determines that there were aggravating circumstances in your case.  Understanding DWI aggravating factors is crucial during the entire process, as your lawyer strives to obtain the best outcome.

In times like these, having an experienced Asheville DWI defense attorney by your side can make all the difference. They’ll help guide you through every twist and turn of this daunting process and fight for justice on your behalf.

Understanding Sentencing Levels for DWI in North Carolina

According to North Carolina law, DWI is a misdemeanor, with six levels of sentencing:

  • Level 1A:  between 120 days and 36 months in jail and a $10,000 fine; also, you may lose your driver’s license permanently
  • Level 1:  between 30 days and up to 24 months in jail and a $4,000 fine, plus one year or permanent loss of driving privileges 
  • Level 2: between 7 days and 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine and a minimum one-year suspension of your driver’s license 
  • Level 3: Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, possible community service, and revoked driver’s license, with the potential of getting a hardship license 
  • Level 4: Up to 120 days in jail and a $500 fine, possible community service, and revoked driver’s license with the possibility of obtaining a hardship license 
  • Level 5: Up to 60 days in jail and a $200 fine, possible community service, and revocation of your driver’s license with the possibility of qualifying for a hardship license.

As you can see, there is a significant gap between the harshest and the most lenient convictions. When it comes to Level 1A, it is usually given for aggravating factors.

These are:

1. Having a BAC of 0.15 or Higher

One of the most common DWI aggravating factors in North Carolina is having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher.

Driving under the influence is already considered a serious offense, but when your BAC reaches 0.15 or higher, it indicates that you were significantly impaired while behind the wheel. This poses an increased risk to yourself and others on the road.

Having such a high BAC can indicate that you were consuming a large amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. It’s important to remember that everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, so even if you feel “fine” after drinking heavily, your body may still be impaired.

2. Causing an Accident

Causing an accident while driving under the influence is a serious offense, with severe consequences. It is considered an aggravating factor in DWI cases. When someone gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs and then causes a collision, it not only puts their own life at risk but also endangers the lives of others on the road.

You will need an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Asheville to review your case thoroughly, gather evidence related to the accident and your arrest, and challenge any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you if necessary. They will work tirelessly to build a strong defense strategy tailored specifically to your situation.

3. Driving 30 Mph over the Speed Limit

Driving 30 mph over the speed limit is not only dangerous but also considered an aggravating factor in North Carolina DWI cases. Speeding excessively is often interpreted as a sign of impaired judgment that may be fueled by alcohol or drugs. 

Law enforcement takes these offenses very seriously, which is why it’s essential to seek legal representation if you’re facing charges related to driving 30 mph over the speed limit while under the influence. An experienced Asheville DUI attorney will understand how to navigate your case and work toward minimizing potential penalties or consequences.

driving 30 mph over the speed limit is an aggravating factor

4. Driving on a Revoked License

Driving on a revoked license is a serious offense and can lead to enhanced penalties if you are also charged with a DWI. When someone’s driver’s license has been revoked, it means that their driving privileges have been taken away by the state due to previous traffic violations or other infractions.

If you are caught driving on a revoked license while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may face additional charges and consequences. The aggravating factor of driving on a revoked license can result in harsher sentencing and longer periods of revocation of your driving privileges.

It is important to note that even if your original charge was not related to impaired driving, such as reckless driving or speeding, being found guilty of operating a vehicle while your license is revoked will still have an impact on any subsequent DWI charges.

5. Passing a Stopped School Bus

Passing a stopped school bus is not only dangerous, but it is also a DWI aggravating factor. In North Carolina, passing a stopped school bus can result in serious consequences, especially if you are charged with DWI. The state takes these cases very seriously due to the potential harm that can be caused by such reckless behavior.

Not only can you face charges of driving while impaired, but you may also face additional penalties for disregarding the safety of children. These penalties could include fines, license suspension or revocation, community service hours, and even jail time.

6. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can encompass a wide range of actions behind the wheel, including excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, or running red lights. It shows a blatant disregard for the safety of others and highlights your impaired judgment while intoxicated.

If you are facing charges for both DWI and reckless driving in Asheville, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to navigate through the complexities of your case and work towards achieving the best possible outcome for you.

7. Speeding in an Attempt to Elude the Police

Speeding in an attempt to elude the police is a serious offense that can greatly aggravate a DWI charge. In North Carolina, fleeing or attempting to elude arrest is considered a Class H felony. This means that if convicted, you could face significant fines and potential jail time on top of any other penalties associated with your DWI charge.

It’s important to note that trying to escape from law enforcement will only worsen your situation. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, it is crucial to cooperate with authorities and seek legal representation immediately following an arrest for DWI.

Contact an Experienced Asheville DUI Defense Attorney As Soon As Possible!

In light of the aggravating factors discussed above, it is evident that facing a DWI charge in North Carolina can have serious consequences. The sentencing levels for DWI offenses vary depending on these aggravating factors, which can significantly impact the penalties you may face.

An experienced Asheville DWI lawyer will thoroughly analyze your case, gather evidence, challenge any invalid or unreliable evidence against you, and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. 

Don’t delay. Contact the Asheville DUI Guy today at 828-759-5566 to discuss your situation during a free case review!

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