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When Is a DWI Considered a Felony Under NC Law?

By Randall & Stump excels in criminal defense, serving clients in Charlotte, NC & other surrounding cities.
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Category Charlotte DWI Attorney, Charlotte DWI Lawyer, DUI/DWI, DWI
Monday, July 1, 2019

hand cuffs and alcohol

Many offenses for driving while impaired (DWI) are misdemeanor offenses in the state of North Carolina. A conviction for such an offense can result in jail time, serious fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. A felony DWI charge, however, is much more serious. If you are facing such a charge, there is no room for error when it comes to your defense.

If you’ve been charged with felony drunk driving, you need someone to fight for your rights. The Charlotte DWI attorneys at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys can help you face your charges and get the outcome you deserve. If you’d like to discuss your case, call us at (980) 237-4579, or fill out our online contact form to request a free consultation.

Drunk Driving Charges in NC

In North Carolina, you can be charged with DWI if you are operating any vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, meaning that if you fall into this category, you can be charged with DWI with any amount of alcohol in your system.

However, you can also be charged with DWI if you are impaired while under the influence of prescription drugs or a controlled substance. In determining impairment, the officer can rely upon their observations of your physical appearance, your driving ability, and how you performed on field sobriety tests.

Felony DWI in North Carolina

There are two situations where DWI can be charged as a felony in NC:

Repeat Drunk Driving Offenses

If you are considered a habitual DWI offender as determined by North Carolina law, any new drunk driving charges will be classified as felonies. In order to be considered a habitual DWI offender, you must have been convicted of three or more DWI offenses in the past 10 years. This would include any DWIs under the age of 21, or DWI offenses related to drugs.

DWI-Related Fatalities

If you are charged with death by vehicle because you allegedly killed someone in an accident while you were driving while drunk, you could face felony-level charges.

Consequences of a Felony DWI Conviction

If charged as a habitual offender, your DWI will be classified as a class F felony. Death by vehicle is considered a class B2 or D felony, depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history. Potential penalties for convictions on these offenses include:

Class B2 Felony

  • 94 to 393 months in prison

Class D Felony

  • 38 to 160 months in prison

Class F Felony

  • 10 to 41 months in prison

In addition to incarceration, following a DWI conviction, you could be required to pay court costs and other fees, revocation of your driver’s license, issues pertaining to your employment, and more.

Fighting a Felony DWI in North Carolina

A Charlotte DWI defense attorney can fight for you to get a fair result by challenging the prosecution’s case against you. Possible defenses they may be able to raise in your case include:

  • Your constitutional rights were violated
  • The breathalyzer equipment was not properly calibrated
  • The officer was not properly trained in testing your BAC

There may be other defenses available, but the appropriate strategy will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Contact a Charlotte DWI Attorney for Help

When you’re facing felony DWI charges in NC, the attorneys at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys have the experience and knowledge you need for your case. You’re facing serious time behind bars, fines, revocation of your driver’s license, and more. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better. Call us today at (980) 237-4579, or visit our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case.