Mitigating factors in North Carolina DWI Law – Although in North Carolina Driving While Impaired (DWI) by itself is a misdemeanor, it is sentenced differently than any other misdemeanor. While most misdemeanors follow the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines, DWI’s follow the North Carolina DWI sentencing guidelines.
There are many aspects to these guidelines that center around the facts that occurred surrounding the DWI; including grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. In this blog, we will discuss mitigation factors and what they mean for a DWI conviction. Like all of our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a DWI attorney.
Relevant facts and circumstances surrounding a DWI
Although the same charge often applies, not all DWI convictions are created equally. What we mean by this is that what else happened during the course of the conduct that led to a charge of DWI matters a great deal. These factors include, but are not limited to the following:
- The speed in which you were driving
- Whether or not there was a car accident involved
- How high your blood alcohol content was
- Whether you have a statutorily clean driving record
- Whether you have been previously convicted of DWI
- Whether you had a child in the car with you at the time
If fact, as we will discuss later, even some of the conduct after the DWI can have an effect on the sentencing following your DWI trial.
Consequences of mitigating factors in a DWI case
There are six sentencing levels when it comes to a DWI. Level five is the lowest level with the least severe consequences, while aggravated level one is the highest level with the most severe consequences. The more aggravating and grossly aggravating factors you have the higher the level you will be punished; mitigating factors can help balance out the aggravating factors though.
For example, if you have one aggravating factor and three mitigating factors, you will most likely be punished less severely than if you have one aggravating factor and no mitigating factors.
List of mitigating factors
Mitigating factors that can help you during DWI sentencing include but are not limited to the following:
- Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, and an alcohol concentration that did not exceed .09 at any relevant time after the driving
- Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to the defendant
- Driving that was safe and lawful except for the defendant’s impairment
- A safe driving record
- Impairment caused primarily by a lawfully prescribed drug for an existing medical condition, and the amount of drug taken was within prescribed dosage
- Voluntary submission to a substance abuse assessment and to treatment
- Completion of a substance abuse assessment, compliance with its recommendations, and 60 days of continuous abstinence from alcohol consumption, as proven by a continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) system
DWI can be complicated and have lasting 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.