Even a first arrest for impaired driving can lead to jail time under North Carolina’s stringent laws. In many cases, motorists are unfamiliar with their rights and fail to fight the charges against them just so they can get the situation resolved. That can be a harmful mistake.
At the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, located in Union County, we advocate on behalf of drivers who have been accused of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Attorney Carol Huffman Kendrick has represented thousands of clients in Monroe, NC over a career that’s lasted more than two decades and can identify potential defenses that other attorneys miss. Reach the Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, through our contact form.
Do not make the mistake of believing you can defend yourself against a DWI charge without an attorney, even if you know you were wrongfully charged and did not commit the offense in question. There is no incentive for the police or the prosecution to help you clear your name. Even if you think you can mount an effective defense on your own, you are likely to overlook critical pieces of information that can be pivotal to your defense.
An experienced Monroe, North Carolina DWI defense lawyer can help you approach your case confidently. Your legal team will carefully review the details of your arrest and booking to ensure the police met all applicable rules and procedures appropriately. Your attorney can also determine whether your civil or constitutional rights were violated. So even if a conviction is unavoidable, you know you broke the law, and the prosecution has all the evidence they need to convict, a North Carolina DWI defense lawyer can still help you minimize your penalty.
Our firm can quickly assess the facts in your case and help you make informed decisions about how to proceed. We’ll make sure that you understand your rights and key aspects of your situation, such as:
It’s common for defendants facing DWI charges in Union County to assume the worst after arrest, not realizing they have many more opportunities for defending themselves than they immediately recognize. Your North Carolina DWI defense attorney will help you take full advantage of every defense option available to you, ultimately guiding you to the best possible outcome for your case.
Like most other US states, North Carolina’s DWI penalties increase with subsequent offenses. However, North Carolina has some very harsh penalties for first-time DUI convictions. Additionally, North Carolina law defines five levels of offense, with Level 5 being the least severe and incurring the lightest punishment and Level 1 being the most severe with the harshest punishment.
A first-time DUI conviction is likely to lead to a one-year suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license. After this one-year suspension, the defendant will likely require an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle for one year. This device is attached to the vehicle’s ignition system and will require the driver to provide a breathalyzer sample before it starts. When it comes to fines and jail time, these penalties range in severity based on the level of the offense:
A Level 2 DWI is typically a DWI offense with at least one aggravating factor, such as driving with a BAC over .15% or speeding more than 30 mph over the posted speed limit while intoxicated. The penalties for a Level 2 DWI usually include up to $2,000 in fines, seven days to 12 months in county jail, and mandatory substance abuse treatment. The defendant may avoid their minimum jail sentence if they agree to 90 days of monitored sobriety. If the defendant has a prior DWI conviction within the past five years, they will also be required to complete 240 hours of community service.
Level 1 DWI offenses carry the harshest penalties. Two aggravating factors or driving with a minor in the car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to a Level 1 DWI charge. The defendant will face up to $4,000 in fines and jail time of 30 days to two years. The judge may agree to probation, mandatory substance abuse treatment, and monitored sobriety instead of jail time, but the defendant will likely need to spend at least 10 days in jail.
Aggravated Level 1 DWI offenses are the most severe DWI charges in North Carolina, and the penalties for this level include fines up to $10,000 and one to three years in jail. Although rare, judges may agree to probation, but the defendant will likely need to spend at least 120 days in jail and submit to mandatory substance abuse treatment and monitored sobriety.
Penalties for repeat DWI offenses will escalate significantly. Additionally, the threshold for DWI changes after a first conviction. While the legal BAC limit for a first-time DWI is .08%, this reduces to .04% after a DWI conviction, making it much easier for the driver to face a second DWI charge. License suspension also increases from one year to four years after a second conviction. Finally, after a third DWI conviction within five years, a driver may have their license permanently revoked.
We understand the substantial impact a suspended license, expensive fines, and other DUI consequences have on your daily life. In a initial consultation, our firm can provide an accurate evaluation of the evidence against you and explain how we’ll press for a favorable resolution.
The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your DWI case. If you are unsure how to build your defense, you can rely on your Union County , North Carolina DWI defense lawyer to carefully evaluate the details of your case and help you determine the best approach to your case proceedings.
Success in your DWI case may hinge on proving your arrest was unlawful or that the police violated due process laws in handling your arrest. You may also need to challenge the results of the chemical test used to prove you were under the influence. If you cannot contest the charges against you, your attorney will still be a valuable asset when it comes to plea bargaining for a lighter sentence.
The Law Offices of Huffman & Kendrick, PLLC, represents Monroe, North Carolina residents who have been accused of driving while intoxicated and other criminal offenses. Please call 704-283-1529 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.