What Happens If I’m Convicted of a DWI and My BAC is .15 or Higher?
If you get arrested for driving while impaired in, or around the Charlotte area, finding a highly experience DWI lawyer should be your top priority. Do not make the mistake of underestimating the impact of a DWI on your life and future—if you get convicted, you face possible jail time, a revocation of your driver’s license, and enormous financial penalties.
The penalties only get worse if you are caught driving while impaired and have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher. In North Carolina, like most states, the legal limit is .08, so if you have a BAC of .15, you are nearly twice the legal limit. Learn more about the consequences of a DWI conviction, and for help with your DWI case, call Randall & Stump at (980) 237-4579.
DWI Penalties in North Carolina
In North Carolina, DWI convictions are punished at specific levels, which are defined under North Carolina Statute. The punishment levels for DWI are 1 through 5, as well as an aggravated level 1 and habitual DWI. The particular punishment level is decided by the judge after a sentencing hearing, and depends on the mitigating and aggravating factors present. Mitigating factors are those that make the offense less dangerous, while aggravating factors are those that make the offense more severe. Mitigating factors include factors such as slight impairment of faculties, driving under the influence of a prescribed medication, completing a substance abuse evaluation, and otherwise driving safely.
The Level 5 punishment for a DWI in North Carolina is the least severe, requiring jail time of 24 hours to 60 days and a maximum fine of $200. Level 4 offenders face up to 120 days in jail and fines as high as $500, while those at the third level may spend up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. At the second level, you face fines as high as $2,000 and up to 12 months in jail. A level 1 DWI conviction requires between 30 days to two years in jail and fines as high as $4,000.
North Carolina law recognizes grossly aggravating and aggravating factors. Aggravating factors come into play when factors such as having a BAC of .15 or higher are present in your case. A BAC of .15 or higher is considered an aggravating factor. However, if you add any other aggravating factors, you may be sentenced at a higher level, face more severe punishment, which comes with longer incarceration times and higher fines.
What a BAC of .15 or Higher Means for Your Future
Being convicted of driving while impaired with a BAC of .15 or higher can be devastating for your future. If you receive an active jail sentence versus being placed on probation, this leaves you financially unstable and with few or no career options when you are released. On top of the financial stress caused by jail time, you also have to pay a fine as high as $1,000, as well as any other court fees that you may be required to pay. Further, you will be required to have an Interlock device, often called a “blow and go”, in your car, which requires you to provide a breath sample before being able to start your car and provide periodic breath samples while driving. Any positive result for alcohol will only create additional legal issues.
Beyond the immediate legal ramifications of a DWI conviction, consider the societal consequences of a conviction. Driving under the influence is widely condemned across all swaths of society, and being convicted could lead to social isolation and a stigma being placed on you.
Furthermore, any time you must go through a background check, your DWI will come up. If you want to volunteer at your child’s school, your DWI could keep you from doing so. If you want to work in a licensed field, your DWI could cause your application to be denied. A conviction has a ripple effect that touches every part of your life.
While this blog is not meant to lay out all of the potential consequences that stem from a DWI conviction, you can see why it’s so important to hire a Charlotte DWI lawyer as soon as you are arrested. Fighting for dismissal or reduction of charges is the best way to protect your future and do everything you can to keep moving forward.
Contact Us Now to Learn More About Your Options
If you have been arrested for driving while impaired, do not wait any longer to hire a DWI attorney. The team at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help you. Call us at (980) 237-4579 or get in touch with us online to set up a consultation now.