Driving While Impaired
– Criminal Defense lawyer
In North Carolina, drunk driving is known as Driving While Impaired. If you register (blow) a .08 or higher in a breathalyzer test, you are considered impaired and will be charged with DWI. Driving While Impaired is not limited to alcohol consumption, but you can also be charged with DWI due to the use of marijuana or prescription drugs while operating a vehicle.
Hiring Frank Lay Law – a knowledgeable and experienced DWI defense attorney can mean the difference between a lengthy driver’s license suspension and a potential jail sentence—or dismissal or reduction of charge.
Elements of the Offense
To be found guilty, the prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were driving a vehicle on a street, highway, or public vehicular area
- You were under the influence of an impairing substance or after consuming a sufficient quantity of alcohol you had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at any relevant time after the driving or with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance or its metabolites in your blood or urine.
A DWI is a misdemeanor, and the level of punishment depends on the presence of and weight of certain aggravating and mitigating factors found by the court.
There are five different levels of punishment:
Level 1: Minimum imprisonment of 30 days, maximum imprisonment of 2 years and a maximum fine of $4,000. The term of imprisonment may be suspended in specified circumstances.
Level 2: Minimum imprisonment of 7 days, maximum imprisonment of 1 year and a maximum fine of $2,000. The term of imprisonment may be suspended in specified circumstances.
Level 3: Minimum imprisonment of 72 hours, maximum imprisonment of 6 months and a maximum fine of $1,000. The original sentence may be suspended on the condition that the defendant meet at least one of these conditions: at least 72 hours of community service or imprisonment for at least 72 hours.
Level 4: Minimum imprisonment of 48 hours, maximum imprisonment of 120 days and a maximum fine of $500. The term of imprisonment may be suspended in specified circumstances. The original sentence may be suspended on the condition that the defendant meet at least one of these conditions: at least 48 hours of community service or imprisonment for 48 hours.
Level 5: Minimum imprisonment of 24 hours, maximum imprisonment of 60 days and a maximum fine of $200. The term of imprisonment may be suspended in specified circumstances. The original sentence may be suspended on the condition that the defendant meet at least one of these conditions: at least 24 hours of community service or imprisonment for 24 hours.
Aggravating factors are especially negative factors. Some aggravating factors include a very high breathalyzer reading of .16 or more, especially reckless driving, a bad traffic record that consists of at least two tickets in the past 5 years that resulted in 3 points or more on your DMV record, alluding arrest, property damage, speeding in excess of 30 mph or being uncooperative with the police officer, etc. When you blow 0.16 or higher on the Breathalyzer, then you will be required to have an ignition interlock system installed in your vehicle at a cost of several hundred dollars and a monthly monitoring fee.
Revocation of your Driver’s License
A DWI charge in North Carolina requires an immediate thirty (30) day revocation of your driving privilege-just for being charged. After ten (10) days from the date of the arrest, a Pre-Trial Limited Privilege may be obtained in certain circumstances. We can assist you in navigating the complicated process of obtaining a limited driving privilege, assuming you qualify. Please contact our office for more information.