setencing-guidelines-north-carolina

DUI Sentencing Guidelines

NORTH CAROLINA DUI SENTENCING GUIDELINES

Generally, a charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Impaired (DWI), in North Carolina is a misdemeanor. However, if someone dies as a result of an accident caused by a drunk driver, the driver may be charged with a felony. It is also possible the driver could be charged with second degree murder, as a result of a death by motor vehicle. Habitual DWI is also a felony and is applicable when a person is being charged with a fourth DWI in a seven year period.

DUI Sentencing Guidelines in North Carolina are specific to the level of the charged offense.  Upon being convicted (or pleading guilty) to a misdemeanor DWI, there will be a hearing before a judge to determine the proper level of punishment. During the sentencing hearing, the judge will determine whether there are any grossly aggravating factors. Grossly aggravating factors include a prior conviction for DWI within the last seven years, driving with a revoked license resulting from an alcohol related offense, driving with a child younger than 16 years of age, and causing a serious injury to another person.

There is a new Aggravated Level One sentence which carries up to 3 years in prison if three or more aggravating factors exist in the case.

Level One DUI Sentencing Guidelines indicate two or more grossly aggravating factors present. A level one punishment requires a minimum of 120 days in jail and a maximum of two (2) years. The defendant will be required to pay up to a $4,000 fine plus pay court costs. Additionally, the defendant will receive supervised probation and is not eligible for a limited driving privilege.

Level Two DUI Sentencing Guidelines indicate one grossly aggravating factor present. A level two punishment requires a minimum of seven (7) days in jail and a maximum of one (1) year. The defendant will be required to pay up to a $2,000 fine plus pay court costs. Additionally, the defendant will receive supervised probation and is not eligible for a limited driving privilege.

If there are not any grossly aggravating factors present, then the judge will weigh aggravating factors against the mitigating factors to determine whether to impose a level three, level four or level five sentence.

Level Three DUI Sentencing Guidelines indicate the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors.

Level Four DUI Sentencing Guidelines indicate the aggravating and mitigating factors are equal.

Level Five DUI Sentencing Guidelines indicate the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating factors.

A level three punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 72 hours in jail or doing 72 hours of community service (and pay a $200 fee). Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $1,000 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of six (6) months in jail.

A level four punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 48 hours in jail or doing 48 hours of community service (and pay a $200 fee). Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $500 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of 120 days in jail.

A level five punishment will require the defendant to choose between either spending 24 hours in jail or doing 24 hours of community service (and pay a $200 fee). Additionally, the defendant will be required to pay up to a $200 fine plus pay court costs. The judge also has discretion to sentence the defendant to a maximum of 60 days in jail.

Those convicted of a level three, four or five DWI will have their license revoked for one year. In some instances, it is possible to obtain a limited driving privilege that will enable the defendant to drive during restricted hours. It is also likely that the judge will impose a suspended sentence and order unsupervised (or supervised) probation.

In order to obtain a limited driving privilege, the defendant will have to obtain an alcohol assessment. Further, the defendant will have to complete the assessment program in order to obtain their license back at the end of the year revocation period.

Everett Law Firm, P. A. can assist you in navigating the DWI process and attempt to obtain the best possible outcome for you. We serve clients in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, and surrounding communities.

 

 

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