DWI is a serious criminal offense in North Carolina that is prosecuted aggressively. If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you could face a harsh sentence that can include a lengthy prison or jail sentence, large fines, and more. One less serious punishment would be probation. However, it is important to understand the conditions that the judge could impose so that you do not violate the terms of your probation and face other criminal charges and sanctions.
Understanding What Probation Is in North Carolina
Probation is a less severe type of punishment than a jail or prison sentence. When sentencing someone to probation, the judge would place him on probation for a set period of time and impose certain conditions that must be met during the time period. There are two types of probation in North Carolina:
- Supervised probation. Supervised probation is the most severe type of probation where a person would be required to report regularly with a probation officer as well as comply with conditions ordered by the judge.
- Unsupervised probation. If an individual is placed on unsupervised probation, he does not need to meet with a probation officer, but would need to complete the requirements of his probation.
Probation in DWI Cases
North Carolina follows a complicated sentencing system in DWI cases that is based on the facts of an individual case, his prior criminal record, and other aggravating and mitigating factors. There are six levels of sentencing in DWI cases, which includes probation.
Probation can be supervised or unsupervised in DWI cases and can be imposed for up to five years. In some cases, a person could be sentenced to Specialized Supervised Probation, which is a split sentence, where he is sentenced to jail or confined to a treatment center for a period of time and is then released on probation.
How Unsupervised Probation Works in DWI Cases
If you are placed on unsupervised probation, the judge will impose a number of conditions that you will need to meet during the term of your probation. However, he will not assign a probation officer to monitor your progress. You could be required to do all or some of the following:
- Pay all court costs and fines by the deadline set by the judge.
- Perform a certain number of hours of community service.
- Complete an alcohol assessment and treatment program.
- Not drive unless you have limited driving privileges or are otherwise legally able to do so.
Supervised Probation Requirements in DWI Cases
If you are placed on supervised probation, you must comply with all of the conditions set for unsupervised probation. In addition, the judge could impose the following conditions:
- You must meet with a probation officer at appointments set by him and follow his instructions.
- You must obtain permission to leave the state from the court and your probation officer.
- You must be employed or enrolled in school and notify your probation officer if you lose your job or are no longer in school.
- You may have to submit to reasonable, warrantless searches by your probation officer.
- You can be required to submit to a warrantless search by law enforcement if they have reasonable suspicion that you were involved in criminal activities.
- You could not possess or use illegal drugs or controlled substances unless they were prescribed by a doctor.
- You must submit to a breath, urine, or blood test if your probation officer requests that you do so.
- You must pay any fees associated with being placed on supervised probation.
How to Increase the Likelihood That You Will Be Placed on Probation
Were you arrested for DWI in Mecklenburg County? You need the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer in Charlotte who can help you mount a strong defense—even if you believe that you are guilty. This may help you get the charges dismissed or result in you receiving a less severe sentence, such as probation. To learn more about how we will aggressively represent you, contact our Charlotte office to schedule a free consultation today.