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Stanley DWI Lawyer

Stanley DWI Lawyer

Stanley DWI Attorney

Law enforcement takes driving while intoxicated seriously due to the dangers that the crime poses to the driver and others on the road. Even a first-time DWI charge can have far-reaching implications, and those found guilty of the crime will have difficulties in their life. When you’re facing a charge, you need to speak with a Stanley DWI lawyer and law firm. Having a skilled defense attorney is crucial for avoiding or reducing the consequences of a DWI.

At The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford, we seek to represent people when they need help the most. We can aggressively advocate for you in court and the pretrial process. Our team can attempt to do all we can to assist you in avoiding the full force of the law.

Stanley DWI Lawyer

The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford: Your Stanley DWI Lawyer

Our lead attorney, Brent D. Ratchford, has made it his mission to fight for clients and ensure that they get a fair trial. Mr. Ratchford opened his firm in 1997 and has been providing criminal defense for those in North Carolina since.

When you contact our firm, Mr. Ratchford can listen to your story and seek to craft a legal defense that works for you. We can give you a chance of avoiding a conviction and increasing penalties in Stanley, NC.

What Is Driving While Intoxicated in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, anytime you get behind the wheel of an automobile, you are making a tacit agreement to obey the rules of the road, including being sober while driving. If you have a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent, you are over the limit and risk getting a DWI charge.

Police will conduct a field sobriety test if they believe that you are driving under the influence. Police need to have probable cause before they pull someone over. They cannot go on a hunch or gut feeling. They will have to observe a driver breaking the rules of the road before they can legally stop them and conduct a test.

Field sobriety tests include the walk-and-turn test, following a light with your eyes, and standing on one leg. If the officer believes that you are DWI, they may ask you to complete a breath test to more accurately determine your BAC. Police may also ask you to submit to a blood draw.

You can refuse any of these tests, but refusal of a blood draw or breath test allows the officers to suspend your license for up to one year.

What Are Some of the Legal Defenses Against a DWI in Stanley, NC?

There are several methods of defending yourself against a DWI charge. Many of them require an intricate knowledge of the law, and it can be difficult to effectively prove your case without an attorney. Some of the legal defenses that we can employ include:

  • No Probable Cause: There must be a reason why the police pulled you over. If they cannot provide a reasonable explanation for the traffic stop, you can motion for a judge to throw out the case since law enforcement violated your rights.
  • Challenging the Chemical Tests: A DWI chemical expert witness may be able to discredit parts of the prosecution’s story and their methods of obtaining your BAC.
  • Mitigating Factors: If there isn’t much hope of avoiding a guilty verdict, your attorney may try to advocate for you by highlighting mitigating factors of the incident. While these won’t negate all the penalties, they may lead to a lighter sentence at the trial’s end.

What Are the Aggravating and Mitigating Factors of DWI in North Carolina?

When a judge is determining the sentencing for a DWI, they will look at several mitigating and aggravating factors to determine how long the punishment should extend. In addition, four grossly aggravating factors can alter your sentence even further. The grossly aggravating factors are:

  • Having a previous DWI in the past seven years, as the court can hold this against you during sentencing
  • Driving with a suspended license that law enforcement revoked for impaired driving
  • Causing serious injury to another driver
  • Driving with a child under 18 years old, a person with the mental development of someone under 18, or a person with physical disabilities

Any of these factors could lead to the police charging you with the aggravated version of DWI.

Some of the aggravating factors that the prosecution will look at when determining what to charge you with include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Two prior motor vehicle offenses
  • Gross impairment from a BAC above 0.15 percent
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Driving more than 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
  • Causing an accident
  • Attempting to flee from police

Finally, there are mitigating factors that can lower your potential sentence and help you avoid a higher charge. These mitigating circumstances include:

  • Driving safely and lawfully outside of intoxication
  • Safe driving record
  • Intoxication not exceeding 0.09 percent
  • Impairment from lawfully prescribed drugs
  • Submitting to voluntary mental health treatment
  • Submitting to substance abuse treatment
  • No available chemical analysis at the time of the stop

What Penalties Can I Face After a DWI Conviction in North Carolina?

There are six levels of DWI charges, each with increasing penalties. Judges will have plenty of latitude in how they choose to charge you for the crime, and showing contrition for the crime can assist you in avoiding the maximum penalties. The six levels are:

  • Level Five DWI: The lightest charge; the prosecutor will opt for this when the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating ones. You can face incarceration time from 24 hours to 120 days in jail, or the judge may choose to suspend the sentence in favor of probation and community service. You may also have a fine of up to $200 and probation once you finish your sentence.
  • Level Four DWI: This is the level when your aggravating circumstances are equal to the mitigating ones. Jail time ranges from 48 hours to 120 days, and you face a fine of up to $500. A judge may suspend the sentence and ask you to complete community service instead.
  • Level Three DWI: When the aggravating factors eclipse mitigating ones, prosecutors will likely charge you with Level Three DWI. At this level, the maximum fine increases to $1,000, and you could spend anywhere from 72 hours to six months in a county jail.
  • Level Two DWI: The court may charge you with Level Two DWI if there is any grossly aggravating factor involved. In this charge, you face a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time from 7 days to one year. There is a slight chance of a suspended sentence at this level, but this will be up to a judge’s mercy.
  • Level One DWI: The prosecutor will charge a defendant with Level One DWI if there are two grossly aggravating factors present. The maximum penalties at this level include a fine of $4,000 and jail time between 30 days and two years.
  • Aggravated Level One DWI: At the highest level, the prosecutor will charge it if they determine that there were three aggravating factors at the time of the arrest. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time from one to three years. There is also no possibility of parole at this level.

FAQs About Stanley, NC DWI Laws

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney While Dealing With a DWI Charge in NC?

Yes! Many of the defenses that attorneys use for DWI charges require an intricate knowledge of the law and police procedure. It’s difficult to prove these on your own, so you’ll want an attorney who can spot a violation of your civil rights and use it to your advantage in the courtroom.

What Are the Levels of DWI Charges in North Carolina?

There are six levels of DWI charges, and each increases the penalties for a guilty verdict. At the lowest level, you may not see any jail and instead serve out a brief community service sentence and probation. At higher levels, you can spend up to three years in jail with no chance of parole.

Is It Possible to Get a DUI Charge Dismissed in Stanley, NC?

While they are not very likely, you can file a motion to have a DWI charge dismissed in North Carolina. A judge may choose to dismiss the charge if you can prove that there wasn’t a valid traffic stop. Your case may also be dismissed if your lawyer successfully motions to suppress evidence.

Do First-Time Offenses for DWI Put You in Jail?

You do risk a short stay in county jail for a first-time offense with no mitigating factors. However, the penalties for a first-time offense can still be severe if aggravating or grossly aggravating factors were present at the time of the incident. Prior offenses are just one aspect that judges look at when sentencing and prosecutors examine when determining a charge.

The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford: Experienced Stanley DWI Attorneys

If you or someone you know is struggling with a DWI charge, you need to be proactive and fight the accusation. At The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation to see how we can help in your case.


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