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Cramerton DWI Lawyer

Cramerton DWI Lawyer

DWI Attorney in Cramerton, NC

Driving while intoxicated in Cramerton, NC, is a serious offense with serious penalties. There are strict state laws in place to handle DWI cases, and those who are first-time offenders could even face jail time in addition to a fine and other penalties. The implications of a DWI are difficult to face without the legal assistance. If you are facing charges, consider consulting with a Cramerton DWI lawyer.

With over two decades of experience defending North Carolinians and out-of-state visitors from DWI charges, Brent D. Ratchford is equipped to help you with your DWI case.

Cramerton DWI Lawyer

Driving While Intoxicated in Cramerton, NC

Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of anything higher than 0.08 percent, or 0.04 for commercial drivers, in Cramerton, North Carolina is above the legal limit and puts you at risk of a DWI. DWI offenses are categorized based on BAC, previous convictions, and other factors. Having a high BAC, along with prior convictions on your record, can lead to harsher criminal and non-criminal penalties.

Penalties for a DWI may include a mandatory education program for substance abuse, large fines, jail time, and license suspension. Criminal penalties and non-criminal penalties are typically handled separately in North Carolina.

While the court deals with any criminal charges, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is in charge of penalties concerning license suspension or, possibly, an ignition interlock device. This means you can avoid criminal charges but still may be subject to consequences from the DMV.

Field Sobriety Tests

A police officer who has probable cause to pull you over may test you to see if your BAC is over the limit. Probable cause means they observed you breaking the rules of the road and had reason to believe you were driving impaired.

There are several field sobriety tests an officer can administer, but two of the most common are the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand. An officer may ask you to perform these tests to assess your ability to effectively divide your attention, which is necessary when driving. If they believe you are impaired, the officer may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or even a blood test.

It is important to know that North Carolina, as well as every other state, has an implied consent law, which means you consent to be tested for a DWI whenever you get behind the wheel of a car. Although this law is in place, you still have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, but not necessarily without penalty.

If an officer has probable cause, you can have your license suspended for up to a year. In a court case, a prosecutor can also use the fact that you declined a test as evidence of guilt.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors of a DWI

The severity of DWI punishment is heavily dependent on what aggravating and mitigating factors are present when an arrest is made. The more aggravating factors are present, the more extreme the DWI penalties will be. Some aggravating factors that are considered include:

  • Gross impairment while driving, or a BAC of 0.15 or higher
  • Especially dangerous or reckless driving
  • Careless driving that led to an accident
  • Driving when your license was revoked
  • Speeding while trying to evade police
  • Driving at least 30 miles over the speed limit

Mitigating factors can help your case when facing DWI charges. You could possibly receive a lighter jail sentence and a smaller fine if there are many mitigating factors that apply to you. The following mitigating factors are weighed by a judge:

  • Slight impairment of the driver due solely to a BAC of not more than 0.09
  • Safe and lawful driving, aside from being impaired
  • A previously safe driving record with no convictions
  • Impairment that is caused by a legally prescribed drug for a medical condition if the amount taken was the recommended amount
  • After being charged, voluntarily submitting to a mental health check
  • Completing substance abuse treatment and abstaining from drinking alcohol for 60 consecutive days

Grossly Aggravating Factors

If you are charged with a DWI, and there are grossly aggravating factors involved, you could receive some of the harshest possible penalties. These penalties may be difficult to mitigate. Grossly aggravating factors include:

  • A prior DWI offense in the last seven years or an offense that took place after the offense in question
  • Driving with a license that was revoked for impaired driving
  • Causing another person harm
  • Driving with a child under 18 years of age, a person who has the mental development of a person under 18, or a person who has a physical disability.

Possible Penalties After a DWI Charge in Cramerton, NC

In North Carolina, there are six levels of punishment when it comes to DWI charges. Aggravating and mitigating factors contribute to the decision of which level will be imposed upon a driver who is convicted. The levels from most to least severe are as follows:

  • Aggravated Level One: At this level, the punishment for a DWI is the most severe. If there are at least three grossly aggravating factors that apply to the DWI, this level will be imposed. Punishments for this level include jail time of one to three years and a fine of up to $10,000. The minimum sentence cannot be suspended for parole.
  • Level One: Level one DWI punishment is imposed by a judge when there are two grossly aggravating factors involved at the time of arrest. Penalties a driver may face include jail time of 30 days to a year without parole and a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Level Two: Penalties for a level two DWI are imposed if there is one grossly aggravating factor when a driver is arrested and charged. These penalties include jail time of seven days to 12 months without parole and a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Level Three: A driver may be subject to a level three DWI punishment if there are aggravating factors at the time of DWI that outweigh the mitigating factors. They may face jail time of 72 hours to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. The jail sentence can be suspended in exchange for at least 72 hours of probation or community service.
  • Level Four: If there are no aggravating or mitigating factors, or if they balance each other, the driver may be subject to level four punishments. This level fines a driver up to $500 dollars and calls for jail time of 48 hours to 120 days. This sentence may be suspended, but the driver must serve 48 hours of probation or community service afterward.
  • Level Five: This is the absolute lightest punishment for a DWI and is imposed if the mitigating factors far outweigh the aggravating factors. A driver may face jail time of at least 24 hours and no more than 60 days, as well as a fine of up to $200. A judge may suspend the jail sentence and allow a defendant to complete 24 hours of probation or community service.

FAQs About Cramerton, NC DWI Lawyer

How Much Does a DWI Attorney Cost in Cramerton, NC?

When it comes to the attorney fees for a DWI case, the total costs can vary widely. Factors that may contribute to the cost of an attorney include experience level, success with similar cases, your DWI level, and how complex your case may be. An attorney may cost around $2,500 for simpler DWI cases. When you consult with an attorney, discussing their fees should always be of utmost importance.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a DWI in Cramerton, NC?

A DWI is a serious offense that can have many legal implications. Dealing with the legal process without an experienced lawyer can have a negative effect on the outcome of your case, and it is not advised. Hiring a skilled DWI law firm can be a useful way to strengthen your defense and perhaps even reduce the charges against you, as well as the penalties. The risks of representing yourself are too great not to hire a qualified lawyer.

How Do I Win a DWI Case?

It can be difficult to win a DWI case. The outcome depends on your specific case details, the evidence the prosecution has against you, and the strength of your defense. There are no specific guidelines for winning a DWI case, but if you have a skilled DWI lawyer who has prepared a strong argument in your defense, it can greatly improve your chances of winning.

What Happens When You Get a DWI for the First Time in North Carolina?

Penalties for a first-time DWI can vary based on BAC and whether there are any aggravating factors. If you have been charged with a crime in the past, you may have more severe penalties than if the DWI is your very first offense. Generally, a first-time DWI charge may result in the requirement to pay a fine, jail time for at least 24 hours, license suspension, and other penalties.

Consult With The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford

A DWI can have serious consequences, especially if you have prior convictions or if there were aggravating factors involved. The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford can fight to win your DWI case or get you the lightest sentence possible for your circumstances. Contact our office today for a consultation.


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