Being charged with a DWI is a frightening situation. The stakes are undeniably high. A conviction for DWI in North Carolina can lead to severe and long lasting consequences, such as the loss of driving privileges, installation of an ignition interlock on your vehicle, and even jail time. That's where the attorneys at Browning & Long, PLLC come in. We are former Mecklenburg County Assistant District Attorneys who have prosecuted thousands of DWI's. We know the laws, the people, the places, and the processes, and can provide you with the best advice, guidance, and counsel every step of the way.
When Will I be Able to Drive Again?
One of the first questions we always get from our clients who have been charged with DWI is when can I drive again. Generally, when you are charged with DWI in North Carolina and are alleged to have a BAC of 0.08 or more, you will receive a 30-day civil license revocation. This means that you will not be able to lawfully drive during the initial 30-day period after you are charged with DWI. Additionally, if your driver's license is not surrendered in a timely manner, within five working days of the revocation, the 30-day period may be extended to a minimum of 45 days. Once the 30 or 45-day civil license revocation expires and the appropriate fees are paid, you will typically be permitted to drive as normal until your trial date.
Even if you are facing a civil license revocation, in most cases our attorneys can help keep you driving. We can do this by either (i) applying for a limited driving privilege on your behalf or (ii) challenging your revocation.
Limited Driving Privilege
If you are eligible, our attorneys can assist you in applying for a limited driving privilege 10 days after your license was originally revoked. This privilege will allow you to drive during the remaining period of your revocation for specific purposes, such as work and education, and at certain times.
Civil License Revocation Challenge
In some instances, our attorneys can contest your civil license revocation in front of a magistrate or judge. However, there are strict time limits on when your civil license revocation challenge must be filed. If your revocation is rescinded at the time of this hearing, your driving privileges will be immediately reinstated.
Can I go to Jail if I'm Convicted of DWI?
Another question we commonly get from our clients who have been charged with DWI concerns the possibility of going to jail if convicted. While DWI sentencing is complicated, the short answer is that you can receive jail time if you are convicted of DWI, even if it's the first time you have been charged.
To find out your potential DWI sentence, you must first know what DWI Factors exist in your case. There are three DWI Factors - Grossly Aggravating Factors (GAFs), Aggravating Factors (AFs), and Mitigating Factors (MFs). A list of these factors can be found here.
Based on the existence of the DWI Factors above, a person will be sentenced at one of the six Punishment Levels seen on the chart. If the judge finds any GAFs, the appropriated Punishment Level will either be Aggravated Level 1, Level 1, or Level 2. Each of these requires jail time, with very minimal exception. When no GAFs are present, the judge will weigh the AFs against the MFs to determine the appropriate Punishment Level. In these instances, the appropriate Punishment Level will be Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5.
Are there any Defenses to my DWI Charge?
As former Mecklenburg County Assistant District Attorneys, we are aware of all the potential defenses that may be available to you. We do not automatically assume you intend to plead guilty and face the harsh consequences associated with a DWI conviction. We pledge that we will examine every possible defense and take your case to trial if it is in your best interest. Some, but not all, of the defenses we will explore are listed below.
The police must have lawful reason to stop you. If they did not, your case could be dismissed for lack of reasonable suspicion to stop.
Breath Alcohol Concentration
Not only must the officer who administered your breath test be properly trained, the actual breath machine must be maintained and calibrated properly. If not, the officer may not be allowed to testify about the numerical results of your breath test at trial.
If your blood was drawn, there could be consent, search warrant, chain of custody, and other procedural issues. Any of these could result in your BAC being suppressed.
Your poor performance on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, such as the HGN (eye test), Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand, is one of the main reasons the police will decide to arrest you. If the other officer wasn't trained to administer these tests or administered them incorrectly, this evidence may be suppressed.
Depending on the facts, your DWI charge may be dismissed if you were denied your constitutional right to communicate with counsel and friends. This most often occurs when you are not allowed to be observed by others during your breath test or while being held in jail.
Have You Been Arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, NC?
If you are facing DWI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.