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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
A: 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.
A: 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.
A: 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.
A: 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.
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.