Grossly aggravating factors in North Carolina DWI law – In North Carolina, although Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a misdemeanor, it does not follow the North Carolina Misdemeanor sentencing guidelines. DWIs are unique in that they follow the North Carolina DWI sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines have mitigating factors, aggravating factors, and grossly aggravating factors.

In this blog, we will discuss what the grossly aggravating factors of a DWI in North Carolina are.  Like all of our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only, and is 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 you face are very fact specific. This means that not all DWIs are created equal.  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.

A simple example is this: A DWI when someone was just randomly stopped at a checkpoint and ended up blowing a .08 is much different then a DWI when someone was driving with a child in the car, and they get into a car accident.

Grossly Aggravating factors

There are four grossly aggravating factors recognized in North Carolina DWI law:

  • A qualifying prior conviction of an offense involving impaired driving
  • Generally, a qualifying conviction would include any DWI/DUI conviction in any state within the last 7 years.
  • Driving while license is revoked for an impaired driving revocation
  • Serious injury to another person cause by the defendant’s impaired driving
  • Driving with one of the following types of individuals in the vehicle: (1) A child under the age of 18 (2) A person with the mental development of a child under 18, or (3) A person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle.

Consequences of grossly aggravating factors

There are 6 levels of DWI sentencing in North Carolina, the lowest being level 5 and the highest being aggravated level 1.

  • One grossly aggravating automatically brings someone to AT LEAST a level two
    • If the one grossly aggravating factor is that there was a child under 18 in the vehicle, the person will automatically be sentenced to at least a level one
  • Two grossly aggravating factors brings someone to a level one
  • Three or more grossly aggravating factors brings someone to an aggravated level one.

***having one grossly aggravating factor covered under North Carolina General Statute 20-179(C)(4) brings the defendant up to a level one automatically.

**Aggravated level one, level one, and level two DWI dispositions require the defendant to serve a mandatory jail sentence.

There is a lot to defending a DWI. 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.

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