High Point DWI Lawyer

High Point DWI Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is arrested or charged with driving under the influence (DWI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), you need to act quickly to protect your future. A criminal conviction like a DWI can result in immediate criminal penalties and long-term financial and personal consequences. A High Point DWI lawyer provides you with the greatest chance of lowering or avoiding the criminal penalties you face.

Effective DWI Defense Attorneys at LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC

Being charged with a DWI is an overwhelming situation. However, it’s important to realize that being charged does not mean you are guilty or that you will be convicted. If you face the criminal court system without an accomplished attorney, however, you will likely face significant penalties. You have the right to legal counsel, and LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC, wants to help protect your rights and create the strongest defense possible.

Our firm believes in protecting the rights of those in the criminal justice system. We know how severely criminal charges can affect your life, and we strive to do all that is possible to mitigate or eliminate the effects of conviction. The attorneys on our team have practiced criminal defense law for decades, and we use our skills and knowledge to protect your future.

Understanding a DWI Charge in High Point

In North Carolina, a DWI is the crime of operating a vehicle impaired. This usually refers to cars and other motor vehicles, but being impaired while operating boating and operating watercraft vessels is also a crime. Being impaired is defined as:

  1. Being under the influence of any impairing substance
  2. Having consumed alcohol and having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, as evidenced by a chemical test taken at a relevant time after driving
  3. Having any registrable amount of a Schedule I controlled substance present in a blood or urine chemical test

You can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DWI even if your BAC is under 0.08% due to the state’s impairment laws. If you are operating your vehicle in a way that is considered impaired, you could still be convicted. Impairment is typically determined during a stop or arrest by the law enforcement officer present.

Some drivers have different BAC limits, including commercially licensed drivers, who have a limit of 0.04%. Underaged drivers could be charged with a DWI for any amount of a controlled substance.

DWI Sentencing Levels

How Is the Sentencing Level Determined?

The level that a defendant is sentenced at depends on several aggravating, grossly aggravating, and mitigating factors, including their BAC, the number of prior DWI convictions they have, and whether they caused an accident. The court will review a number of aspects in each unique DWI case and determine the number and severity of aggravating and mitigating factors present.

When an individual has multiple prior DWIs, they are more likely to be sentenced at the AI, I, or II level. Certain types or numbers of grossly aggravating factors automatically result in an AI or I-level sentence. In most cases, the more aggravating or grossly aggravating factors present, the more serious the sentencing.

In North Carolina, DWI s are charged at different levels, with level V DWI sentencing being the lowest and aggravated level I being the most serious. The penalties for the sentencing levels are:

  • Level V

This conviction results in penalties of up to $200 in fines and between 24 hours and 60 days of imprisonment. The judge can use their discretion to suspend the jail sentence for a probation sentence, provided the individual either spends 24 hours of their sentence in jail, or completes a minimum of 24 hours of community service.

  • Level IV

Sentencing of a level IV DWI results in up to $500 in fines and between 48 hours and 120 days of imprisonment. Probation can be served in place of a jail sentence as long as the individual either serves the minimum sentence in jail, or completes 48 hours of community service.

  • Level III

This results in up to $1,000 in fines and between 72 hours and six months of imprisonment. The jail sentence can be suspended for probation at the discretion of the judge, provided the individual either spends the minimum sentence in jail, or completes 72 hours of community service.,

  • Level II

Sentencing for a level II DWI conviction includes fines up to $2,000 and between seven days and one year in jail. The minimum seven-day sentence cannot be suspended, however day for day credit may be given by the Court for time spent in an accredited, inpatient substance abuse treatment facility.

  • Level I

Conviction of a level I sentence results in up to $4,000 in fines and imprisonment for between 30 days and two years. The minimum 30-day sentence can’t be suspended, however day for day credit may be given by the Court for time spent in an accredited, inpatient substance abuse treatment facility.

  • Aggravated Level I

An aggravated level I DWI conviction is the most severe penalty offenders may face. Penalties include up to $10,000 in fines and between 12 and 36 months of imprisonment. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 120 days. However, day for day credit may be given by the Court for time spent in an accredited, inpatient substance abuse treatment facility. After the minimum sentence, probation and its terms are up to the judge’s discretion.

  • Habitual DWI

A habitual DWI charge occurs when someone is facing a DWI charge and has three or more prior DWI convictions in the prior 10 years. Penalties include permanent license revocation and a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months that can’t be suspended. Habitual impaired driving is charged as a Class F felony.

The vehicle used in the crime may also be forfeited unless it is someone else’s vehicle. However, that other party must not have consented to the driver operating their vehicle or not have known and couldn’t have known about the driver’s prior DWI offenses.

What Defenses Can Be Used for a DWI?

Your defense may be that you were not driving impaired or that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. There are many aspects of a traffic stop, and an arrest can be challenged if they are performed incorrectly.

If law enforcement officers do not follow procedure and/or violate your rights, certain evidence or even the entire traffic stop could be suppressed during the case. If the evidence is significant, it could lead to charges being dropped. An attorney knows how to identify violations of your rights.

FAQs:

Q: How Much Are Court Fees for a DWI in North Carolina?

A: Court fees for a DWI in North Carolina depend on the specific criminal court costs that apply to your case. In addition to these court fees, conviction of a DWI often results in a fine. This fine can be up to $200 at the lowest sentencing level, but it may be lower. A case with more severe aggravating factors can have fines up to $2,000, $4,000, or even $10,000.

Q: How Much Does a North Carolina DWI Lawyer Cost?

A: DWI lawyers in North Carolina can vary in the amounts they charge their clients. Each attorney charges differently, and specific aspects of your case can also change their fees. A DWI lawyer may charge an hourly or flat fee.

For a more complicated DWI case, such as a case that goes to trial or has several aggravating factors, you can expect higher rates. An attorney with significant experience and success in DWI cases may also have a higher rate, but they could be able to secure a better outcome than a less experienced attorney.

Q: What Is a Level 1 DWI in North Carolina?

A: A Level I DWI in North Carolina is one of the highest sentencing options for a DWI. It may be charged in some of the following circumstances:

  1. The driver was operating their vehicle impaired with a vulnerable person in their vehicle, which includes:
    1. a. A minor
    2. b. An individual with the mental development of a minor
    3. c. A physically disabled individual who could not leave the car unaided
  2. The driver had multiple prior DWI convictions
  3. Two grossly aggravating factors were present in the offense

Q: How Do You Get a DWI Dismissed in North Carolina?

A: The most effective way to get a DWI dismissed in North Carolina is to have an experienced attorney represent you. An attorney can look over the specifics of your pull-over, arrest, charges, and other important factors.

A DWI could be dismissed if the law enforcement officer had no reasonable suspicion to pull you over. If this is the case, your attorney can request that the evidence gathered at the stop be suppressed. This could result in the dismissal of the charges in certain cases.

Work With a Knowledgeable High Point DWI Attorney Quickly

After a DWI arrest, you need legal representation quickly. At LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC, we can help you defend yourself against DWI charges in High Point. Our attorneys can lay out your options for defense, represent you in the administrative hearing for your license, and support you throughout the process. The sooner you get in contact with our firm, the earlier we can begin building your defense. Contact LAWSMITH, The Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, PLLC, today.

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