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Facing a DWI (DUI) in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a 21-year-old football player accused of DWI faces an increasingly punitive court system determined to decrease or stop driving while intoxicated. The immediate effect of the accusation is a pre-trial revocation of his driver's license for thirty days.

Those accused of DWI in North Carolina may be granted limited driving privileges after ten days. Additionally, judges can grant some leniency for people who undergo a voluntary, pre-trial alcohol and substance abuse evaluation. So those accused of DWI in North Carolina, pre-conviction, lose their unrestricted driving privileges for thirty days, and undergo an evaluation for alcohol abuse as a mitigation effort.

The next step in the process is trial. North Carolina uses an offense severity scale with five levels in DWI cases. The judge considers factors such as number of prior convictions, level of intoxication, number and ages of passengers, overall driving record and the medical evaluation in assigning a level of punishment.

The least serious, Level 5, sentencing guidelines include 1-60 days in jail, maximum $200 fine, license suspension 6-12 months, community service and vehicle impound. Level 1 sentencing guidelines include one month to two years in jail, maximum fine of $4000 and license suspension for extended time.

Regardless of severity level, a conviction increases insurance costs prohibitively.

If arrested for DWI in North Carolina, the accused has a right to an attorney, and the attorney has a duty to challenge the prosecution's evidence and advocate for reduced charges.

Defenses and mitigating circumstances advocated by seasoned lawyers reduce the likelihood of conviction and the severity of the punishment. For example, field sobriety tests are very subjective and a skilled attorney can argue any procedural errors or inappropriate test protocols as a defense.

Do not face a DWI in North Carolina without proper advocacy.

Source:, "North Carolina player charged with DWI in Burlington; passenger faces drug charges," 2/4/2011

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