You are probably aware that a DWI conviction could result in probation, jail, and other penalties. But, many people neglect the economic impact of a DWI, which could total thousands. The truth is that you could be dealing with the fallout from your DWI conviction for a very long time.
If you have been charged with a DWI in Charlotte, contact a Charlotte DWI lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys. We’ll evaluate where you fall on the North Carolina sentencing chart and the possible cost of conviction. Call (980) 237-4579 to schedule a free consultation.
In addition to jail and a license suspension, many people worry about how they will afford all of the fines, legal fees, and other costs associated with a DWI.
The first cost you may have to incur is bail. Ultimately, you will get this money back if you or someone you know pays the bond in its entirety. If you cannot post the bond yourself, you will have to pay a small fee, calculated as a percentage of your total secured bond amount, to the bail bondsman, which you do not get back.
Even if you are acquitted, being charged with DWI will result in the automatic civil revocation of your North Carolina driving privilege. After 10 days of your civil revocation, you may be eligible to apply for a pretrial limited driving privilege. However, you will have to pay a $100 fee to the clerk of court for this privilege. The automatic suspension will expire after 30 days, and you will again have to pay a $100 restoration fee to the clerk of court, even if you didn’t apply for the pretrial limited driving privilege.
If you do not get your license reinstated or are not eligible to do so, you will likely have to pay a significant amount of money to use public transportation or rideshare apps.
If you are convicted of a DWI, the court will order that you pay a fine, in addition to several other possible penalties at its disposal. The fines can range from $200 for the least severe offense up to $10,000 for the most severe offense. A felony DWI for habitual offenders may result in an even higher fine.
If you are convicted of a DWI in North Carolina, you will also be ordered to undergo a substance abuse assessment. The number of treatment hours recommended by the facility conducting the assessment varies based on the facts of the case and your personal history of substance abuse.
Substance abuse treatment programs typically cost around $260 per session, while alcohol programs can cost $100 per session. Failure to complete the treatment hours will only increase costs and prolong the revocation of your driving privileges. Sometimes it is beneficial to start one of these programs before you even go to court for a DWI to show the judge that you are taking the initiative and are serious about your situation.
If you are convicted of a DWI, you could also lose your job. You may be required to report the conviction to your employer, especially if you are professionally licensed or drive as part of your employment. If your employer opts to terminate you, you will suffer the costs of lost wages and having to find a new job with a DWI conviction on your criminal record.
A conviction will almost certainly cause your insurance premiums to rise significantly, typically around 300%. Over a year, your conviction could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in premium increases.
If you are arrested for a DWI, you will also have court costs and legal fees. Court costs are usually around $200 and represent the various expense the court incurred in handling your case.
You will also have to pay attorney fees, which you will agree to before your attorney takes your case. However, you should think of these as fees that will help you reduce the other costs associated with your charge and possibly help you keep the DWI off your record entirely.
North Carolina DWI charges are not created equal. The factors involved in your case can escalate its severity, and the consequences you are exposed to are directly influenced where your offense falls on the DWI sentencing chart:
The four factors below are classified as “grossly aggravating” for North Carolina DWI sentencing purposes:
(1) A prior conviction for an offense involving impaired driving if:
(2) Driving by the defendant at the time of the offense while their driver’s license was revoked for an offense of impaired driving
(3) The defendant’s impaired driving at the time of the offense seriously injured someone.
(4) The defendant was driving while (i) a child under 18, (ii) a person with the mental development of a child under 18, or (iii) a person with a physical disability that would prevent unaided exit from the vehicle was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
The eight factors below, plus the catch-all, are classified as aggravating for North Carolina DWI sentencing purposes:
(1) Gross impairment of the defendant’s faculties while driving or an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more within a relevant time after driving
(2) Especially reckless or dangerous driving
(3) Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident
(4) Driving by the defendant while their driver’s license was revoked
(5) Two or more prior convictions for 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 of speeding by the defendant while fleeing or attempting to elude apprehension
(7) Conviction of speeding by the defendant by at least 30 mph over the legal limit
(8) Passing a stopped school bus
(9) Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense
NOTE: Except for paragraph 5, the aggravating factor must have occurred during the same incident as the impaired driving offense.
The seven factors below, plus the catch-all, are classified as mitigating for North Carolina DWI sentencing purposes:
(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
(4) A safe driving record, having no convictions for any motor vehicle offense for which at least four points are assigned within five years of the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced
(5) Impairment 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) Voluntary submission to a mental health facility for assessment after being charged with the impaired driving offense for which they are being sentenced and if recommended by the facility, voluntary participation in the recommended treatment
(7) Any other factor that mitigates the seriousness of the offense
Don’t let your DWI charges jeopardize your future – you need someone on your side who will make sure you get the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a DWI in Charlotte, contact the DWI lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you.