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Facing a First Time DUI Charge in Charlotte, NC? We Can Help

If you are facing your first DWI charge in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, or the surrounding areas, don’t panic. Schedule a free initial consultation with our first time DUI lawyers by calling (980) 237-4579. Our Charlotte DWI lawyers have over 35 years of experience fighting first offense DWI charges, and we’re prepared to assist you in protecting your rights and freedom. For help with your case, call us today or reach out through our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with a first time DWI lawyer near you.

The consequences of a driving while impaired (DWI) conviction in Charlotte can be life-changing. If convicted of a first offense DWI in Charlotte,NC, you face both statutory and collateral consequences that will affect your personal and professional lives. During and after your arrest, you will likely have several questions running through your mind, including “will this impact my career,” or “will I lose my driver’s license?” Instead of letting your fear dictate how you deal with an arrest and subsequent legal issues, call a Charlotte DWI lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys for help at (980) 237-4579.

North Carolina First Offense DWI Laws

Under North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.1, you can be found guilty of driving while impaired if you operate a vehicle while:

  • You are under the influence of an impairing substance
  • You have consumed enough alcohol to put your blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit (.08 percent for those 21 years and older, .04 percent for those with a CDL/ driving a commercial vehicle at the time of their stop, and any amount of alcohol for those under 21)
  • There is any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your system

It is important to note that you can be arrested for DWI in Charlotte even if you are not under the influence of alcohol. A first-time DWI charge can also result from using a controlled substance (illegal drug), taking too much of a prescribed medication, or even over-the-counter drugs.

DWI Testing During Your First Time DUI Stop

Whether you’re dealing with a first offense DWI in Charlotte or you’ve had multiple DWI charges, when law enforcement officials stop you under suspicion of DWI, you will likely be asked to submit to several tests that will help the police determine your level of intoxication. These tests include:

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) in Charlotte, NC

There are three recognized SFSTs that you may be asked to perform after being stopped by the police for DWI: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. You cannot be penalized for refusing an SFST. If you were unaware of your right to refuse such a test, contact a DWI attorney at our firm right away.

Chemical Tests in First Time DWI Stops

Police may ask you to submit a blood or official breath test to determine your BAC. If you refuse a breath test, you can be punished with a civil, one-year revocation of your North Carolina driver’s license. If you refuse a blood test, however, law enforcement will likely obtain a search warrant to draw your blood, which will be tested at a local crime lab. If law enforcement officials obtain a warrant for your blood and you still refuse, various other legal issues may arise.

Factors that Can Affect Your First Offense DUI in Charlotte, NC

When you face charges for a first offense DWI in Charlotte, there are a number of mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors that could impact how you will be punished if convicted for driving while under the influence, including:

Mitigating Factors in a First Offense DWI Case

  • Taking part in an alcohol or drug treatment program voluntarily
  • A BAC of not higher than .09 (if you are at least 21 years old)
  • Impairment from prescription medication
  • Notwithstanding the DWI, otherwise safe and lawful driving
  • Voluntary submission to a DWI assessment
  • A clean driving record during the past five years

Aggravating Factors in a First Offense DWI Case in Charlotte

Grossly Aggravating Factors in First Time DWI Cases in NC

  • A DWI conviction that occurred within the past seven years
  • Driving with a minor in the car at the time of your offense
  • Seriously injuring another person during the commission of your offense
  • Driving with a revoked license (when your license was taken due to an impaired driving offense)

If you find yourself charged with a first offense DWI in Mecklenburg County and want to know if any of the above factors will impact your potential sentence, contact a Charlotte criminal lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys right away at (980) 237-4579. We will look at the facts surrounding your specific situation, and analyze whether any mitigating factors could minimize the consequences of your first DWI.

Jail Time and Penalties for 1st Offense DUI in Charlotte, NC

In North Carolina, DWI convictions are punished on a sliding scale. This means that depending on the specific circumstances of your case, including your BAC and other factors, you will be punished with a specific level of DWI sentencing. For a first time DWI in Charlotte, you may be charged with a lower level punishment; if aggravating factors exist, you may be charged at a more serious level.

For a first offense DWI in Charlotte, you could face the following statutory penalties:

  • Level Five DWI – 24 hours to 60 days in jail, and fines reaching $200
  • Level Four DWI – 48 hours to 120 days in jail, and fines reaching $500
  • Level Three DWI – 72 hours to six months in jail, and fines reaching $1,000
  • Level Two DWI – Seven days to one year in jail, and fines reaching $2,000
  • Level One DWI – 30 days to two years in jail, and fines reaching $4,000
  • Aggravated Level One DWI- One to three years in jail, and fines reaching $10,000

In addition to jail time and fines, you may be sentenced to probation, substance abuse treatment, alcohol education classes, license revocation, and more. Other consequences for such a conviction include higher car insurance premiums, revocation of certain professional licenses, an inability to gain admission to college or graduate school, and greatly-strained personal relationships.

For help in avoiding the statutory and collateral consequences of a first offense DWI, contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys right away at (980) 237-4579. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and freedoms and will fight vigorously to help you avoid the above penalties.

Defenses to First Time DUI Charges in Charlotte, North Carolina

If you are stopped by a police officer and eventually arrested or charged with a first offense DWI in Mecklenburg County, there are numerous defenses your first time DUI attorney may use to improve your situation, such as:

  • Challenging the legality of your initial stop
  • Proving a lack of evidence
  • Proving you were not impaired by alcohol or medication
  • Challenging the results of a BAC test or an SFST
  • Challenging whether sufficient probable cause existed to justify your arrest
  • Challenging whether the State can meet its burden of proving each element of DWI beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction

Call Our First Offense DUI Lawyers Today

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Mecklenburg County, call an attorney at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys right away. The consequences of a conviction for a first offense DWI in Charlotte are serious and can affect your personal and professional lives for years to come. Our Charlotte DUI lawyers have decades of experience assisting clients facing first time DWI charges, and they are prepared to help fight for you.

For a free and confidential consultation of your case, call our first time DWI lawyers today at (980) 237-4579, or reach out through our online form.