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NC defense attorneyIf you are charged with driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina, it is reasonable to be concerned about the penalties you may face. Any DWI conviction can come with serious consequences, but because of the complexities of the state’s DWI sentencing laws, it can be very difficult to tell just how serious they may be. Learning about North Carolina’s different levels of DWI can help you approach your defense with more confidence.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in North Carolina DWI Cases

North Carolina has five different levels of punishment for DWI offenders. To determine the appropriate level for the case at hand, the court will consider three different categories of factors:

  • Grossly aggravating factors are the most serious, and they include things like prior DWI convictions within seven years, driving with a revoked license due to impaired driving, causing serious injury, or having a passenger under the age of 18.
  • Aggravating factors include having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.15, causing an accident, driving recklessly, driving with a revoked license due to other traffic offenses, or having prior convictions for other traffic offenses.
  • Mitigating factors can result in lower punishment levels, and they include things like having a BAC of 0.09 or below, driving safely at the time of impairment, having a safe driving record, being impaired by a prescribed drug, and complying with mental health or substance abuse assessment and treatment.

The Five DWI Levels

Based on the court’s assessment of these factors, they will assign one of five punishment levels, as follows:

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