Aggravating Factors in North Carolina DWI Sentencing Law

by | Jul 5, 2019 | Blog Posts, DWI, NC Criminal Defense

Aggravating factors in North Carolina DWI sentencing law – Typically, misdemeanors in North Carolina follow the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines.  Driving while impaired (DWI) however, is different in that it follows North Carolina DWI sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines have mitigating factors, aggravating factors and grossly aggravating factors.

This is somewhat unique, and confusing to many of our clients, therefore, in this blog we will discuss what the aggravating factors of a DWI in North Carolina are.  Like all of our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only, and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a DWI attorney

The facts and circumstances surrounding the DWI charge

When you are charged with DWI, the consequences that you face are very fact specific. This means that not all DWIs are created equally.  The amount of jail time (if any), the amount of community service, and the dollar amount of the fines can be drastically different depending on what else happened.

To use a very basic and simple example, there are different consequences to having blood alcohol content (BAC) of .09 than there are to have a BAC of .21.  A high BAC is just one of the many possible aggravating factors in a DWI case.

List of aggravating factors for DWI

  • Gross impairment of the defendant’s faculties while driving or an alcohol concentration of .15 or more
  • Especially reckless or dangerous driving
  • Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident
  • Driving by the defendant while his or her driver’s license was suspended or revoked
  • Two or more prior convictions of certain motor vehicle offenses within five years of the instant offense or one or more prior convictions of any offense involving impaired driving that occurred more than seven years before the instant offense
  • Conviction under North Carolina General Statute 20-141.5 of speeding to elude
  • Conviction under North Carolina General Statute 20-141 of speeding by the defendant by at least 30 miles per hour over the legal limit
  • Passing a stopped school bus during the violation
  • Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense

Consequences of aggravating factors in DWI cases

DWI convictions come in six different levels. The least severe is level five and the most severe is aggravated level one.  With no aggravating (or grossly aggravating) factors, and enough mitigating factors, the defendant will be punished as a level five.  Enough aggravating factors alone (with no grossly aggravating factors) the defendant can be punished as a level four or a level three.

DWI’s can be very complicated and can have serious consequences, if you have been charged with DWI in North Carolina or DUI in South Carolina, contact us.

Consider setting up a consultation with a DWI lawyer at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

This Blog/Web Site is made available by Gilles Law, PLLC , a Charlotte-based law firm, for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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