IREDELL COUNTY DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED

For most people, being charged with a DWI is one of the most frightening and embarrassing experiences of your life. The State of North Carolina, and the Iredell County District Attorney’s Office, has declared a war on DWI charges, stopping at nothing in their relentless pursuit of convictions! DWI’s are unlike any other charges, as the District Attorney’s Office will not negotiate pleas to lesser offense.

Being arrested for DWI will significantly impact you and your family’s lives from the moment you are charged. You will automatically have your licensed civilly revoked for 30 days, and if convicted, your license will be revoked for at least 1 year. You will be facing possible mandatory jail time, community service and fines of up to $10,000, if convicted. In addition, you will receive 12 points, significantly increasing your insurance premiums.

At the Law Office of Steven C. Follum, we have the skill and experience to effectively advocate for your rights, both in and out of the courtroom. I will begin by conducting a thorough analysis of the discovery in your case from start to finish, analyzing the reasonable suspicion for the stop and scrutinizing the standardized field sobriety tests performed to determine if probable cause to arrest existed.

Sentencing for DWI’s in North Carolina is mandated by statute. There are 6 levels of DWI sentencing. Specific mitigating and aggravating factors, as set forth by the North Carolina Legislature, determine your sentence. Once the judge has made a determination on any mitigating and/or aggravating factors that may apply in your case, she will apply those factors to the sentencing chart to determine your sentence.

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DWI SENTENCING FACTORS

Grossly Aggravating Factors(1) A prior conviction for an offense involving impaired driving if:
a. The conviction occurred within seven years before the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced; or
b. The conviction occurs after the date of the offense for which the defendant is presently being sentenced, but prior to or contemporaneously with the present sentencing; or
c. The conviction occurred in district court; the case was appealed to superior court; the appeal has been withdrawn, or the case has been remanded back to district court; and a new sentencing hearing has not been held pursuant to G.S. 20‑38.7.
NOTE: Each prior conviction is a separate grossly aggravating factor.
(2) Driving by the defendant at the time of the offense while his or her driver’s license was revoked for impaired driving.
(3) Serious injury to another person caused by the defendant’s impaired driving at the time of the offense.
(4) Driving by the defendant while (i) a child under the age of 18 years, (ii) a person with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 years, or (iii) a person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
Aggravating Factors(1) Gross impairment of the defendant’s faculties while driving or an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more within a relevant time after the driving. For purposes of this subdivision, the results of a chemical analysis presented at trial or sentencing shall be sufficient to prove the person’s alcohol concentration, shall be conclusive, and shall not be subject to modification by any party, with or without approval by the court.
(2) Especially reckless or dangerous driving.
(3) Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident.
(4) Driving by the defendant while his driver’s license was revoked.
(5) Two or more prior convictions of a motor vehicle offense not involving impaired driving for which at least three points are assigned under G.S. 20‑16 or for which the convicted person’s license is subject to revocation, if the convictions occurred within five years of the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced, or one or more prior convictions of an offense involving impaired driving that occurred more than seven years before the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced.
(6) Conviction under G.S. 20‑141.5 of speeding by the defendant while fleeing or attempting to elude apprehension.
(7) Conviction under G.S. 20‑141 of speeding by the defendant by at least 30 miles per hour over the legal limit.
(8) Passing a stopped school bus in violation of G.S. 20‑217.
(9) Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense.
Mitigating Factors(1) Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties resulting solely from alcohol, and an alcohol concentration that did not exceed 0.09 at any relevant time after the driving.
(2) Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to the defendant.
(3) Driving at the time of the offense that was safe and lawful except for the impairment of the defendant’s faculties.
(4) A safe driving record, with the defendant’s having no conviction for any motor vehicle offense for which at least four points are assigned under G.S. 20‑16 or for which the person’s license is subject to revocation within five years of the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced.
(5) Impairment of the defendant’s faculties caused primarily by a lawfully prescribed drug for an existing medical condition, and the amount of the drug taken was within the prescribed dosage.
(6) The defendant’s voluntary submission to a mental health facility for assessment after he was charged with the impaired driving offense for which he is being sentenced, and, if recommended by the facility, his voluntary participation in the recommended treatment.
(6a) Completion of a substance abuse assessment, compliance with its recommendations, and simultaneously maintaining 60 days of continuous abstinence from alcohol consumption, as proven by a continuous alcohol monitoring system. The continuous alcohol monitoring system shall be of a type approved by the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety.
(7) Any other factor that mitigates the seriousness of the offense.

DWI PUNISHMENT LEVELS

DWI LEVELELEMENTSSENTENCE
Level VMitigating factors substantial outweigh the aggravating factorsSentence: Maximum 60 days active; mandatory 24 hours active jail time or 24 hours of Community Service.
Assessment: Must have a substance abuse assessment and follow all recommended treatment.
Fine: $200.
License Revocation: 1 year; limited driving privilege is allowed (Must wait 45 days AND have ignition interlock in BAC .15 or more).
Level IVNo mitigating factors, or aggravating factors and substantially counterbalanced by mitigating factors.Sentence: Maximum 120 days active, mandatory 48 hours active jail time or 48 hours community service.
Fine: $500 max
License Revocation: 1 year; limited driving privilege is allowed (Must wait 45 days AND have ignition interlock in BAC .15 or more).
Level IIIAggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors.Sentence: Maximum 6 months active; mandatory 72 hours active jail time or 72 hours community service.
Fine: $1000 max
License Revocation: 1 year; limited driving privilege is allowed (Must wait 45 days AND have ignition interlock in BAC .15 or more).
Level II1 grossly aggravating factors, except for child/mentally/physically disabled passenger.Sentence: Max 12 months active; mandatory 7 days active or 90 days Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet.
Fine: $2000
License Revocation: 1-4 years, depending on the number of prior DWI's; No limited driving privilege.
Level I1 child/mentally/physically disabled passenger, or 2 or more grossly aggravating factors.Sentence: Maximum 24 months active; mandatory 30 days active or 120 days Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet.
Fine: $4000
License Revocation: 1 year to permanent, depending on the number of prior DWI's, No limited driving privilege.
Level I-A3 or more grossly aggravating factorsSentence: Maximum 36 months active; mandatory 12 months active OR 120 Continuous Alcohol Monitoring bracelet and 120 days active.
Fine: $10,000
License Revocation: Permanent (Can be conditionally restored after 3 years; must have ignition interlock).