The official term used to refer to drunk driving under North Carolina law is driving while intoxicated (DWI), but DUI is a more popular term for it. If a blood, breath, or other test shows that you operated a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher in North Carolina, you will be charged with DUI. The same charge applies to driving while impaired by other illegal drugs or prescription drugs.
If you’re convicted of a DUI in Arden, North Carolina, you face various severe penalties, which include driving license suspension, fines, mandatory substance abuse assessment, and possibly even jail time. However, our Arden criminal defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law can fight to minimize the consequences you face by fiercely challenging the evidence.
Call our Arden DUI defense lawyers today at (828) 702-8743 to schedule a free consultation about your case.
The legal BAC limit for most drivers in North Carolina is 0.08%. If your BAC level is found to be any higher than this, you will likely face a DUI charge. The legal limit, however, for commercial drivers and those with prior DUI convictions is 0.04%. Furthermore, the state has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, and any detectable BAC amount will potentially result in a DUI charge for them.
When you face DUI charges in Arden, NC, there are several mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors that may impact how you are punished in case you are convicted for driving under the influence, which include:
Intoxication from alcohol is usually established through BAC tests in North Carolina. However, law enforcement officials and the prosecution can also gain a guilty verdict by proving “appreciable impairment,” which could be shown through the observation and professional opinion of the arresting officer.
Upon rendering a guilty verdict, the judge in a DUI case will determine a suitable sentence based on the mitigating, aggravating, or grossly aggravating factors in the case. With a guilty verdict and the above factors of the case in mind, the judge may impose a sentence based on the level of the crime.
Here are the various DWI sentencing levels:
A Level 5 DUI is the least severe offense. It usually results in an immediate suspension of your license for a period of 30 days, with driving privileges available only after 10 days, a fine of up to $200, between 24 hours and 60 days in jail, as well as a substance abuse assessment if placed on probation.
The penalties for a level 4 DUI may include suspension of your license for a period of 30 days with the prospect of driving privileges after 10 days, a fine of up to $500, between 48 and 120 days in jail, as well as substance abuse assessment if placed on probation.
The penalties for a Level 3 DUI may include suspension of your license for a period of 30 days with the prospect of limited driving privileges after 10 days, a fine of up to $1,000, between 72 hours and 6 months in jail, as well as substance abuse assessment if placed on probation.
The penalties for a Level 2 DUI may include suspension of your license for a period of 30 days, with the prospect of driving privileges after 10 days, a fine of up to $2,000, between 7 days and 12 months in jail with a mandatory minimum of 7 days, as well as substance abuse assessment.
The penalties for a Level 1 DUI may include suspension of your license for a period of 30 days, with limited driving privileges available after 10 days, a fine of up to $4,000, between 30 days and 24 months in jail with a mandatory minimum of 30 days, as well as substance abuse assessment.
It is the most severe DUI offense level and is typically applied when there are at least 3 grossly aggravating factors present. Penalties here include suspension of your license for a period of 30 days with the prospect of limited driving privileges after 10 days, a fine of up to $10,000, being incarcerated for between 12 and 36 months monitored alcohol abstinence for 4 months after release, as well as substance abuse assessment.
Besides the penalties imposed by the court following a DUI conviction, you may also be subject to further penalties by the DMV. Specifically, your license may be revoked for a longer time in case you have prior DUIs or other factors on your driving record.
If it’s your first DUI conviction, your license will be revoked for a period of 1 year by the DMV. You will likely be eligible for limited driving privileges of some kind for some or all of that year, but this will mostly depend on other factors in your case.
If you are facing a second DUI conviction, the key factor will be the time period between your prior conviction date and the date of the current offense. If you’re charged with a second DUI within 3 years of a prior conviction and are convicted, the DMV will revoke your license for 4 years. In that scenario, you may be eligible for provisional reinstatement following a hearing with the DMV after 2 years.
If you receive a second DUI conviction following a charge that occurred within 7 years of a prior DUI conviction but outside of 3 years then your license will be revoked for a period of 1 year following your second conviction and you won’t be eligible for any limited driving privileges during that 1-year revocation period.
If you are facing a third DUI conviction, where at least 1 of the prior DUI convictions occurred within 5 years of the offense date of your new DUI charge, the DMV will mandatorily revoke your license permanently. Note that “permanent” does not actually mean forever, and you may still be eligible to petition the DMV for reinstatement after a period of 3 years.
If you are stopped by the police on suspicion of DUI, you will likely be asked to submit to either a field sobriety test or a preliminary breath test. The tests help law enforcement determine your BAC to decide whether to charge you.
Under the law, nobody can compel you to take a breathalyzer test, but always remember that there are consequences for refusal. Refusing a breathalyzer test has its pros and cons, but the outcome of refusal could be worse than the actual DUI sentence, especially if it is your first offense.
North Carolina is an implied consent state, which means that if you drive on a road or highway in North Carolina, you consent to chemical analysis by law enforcement officials if you are suspected of driving under the influence.
Under North Carolina law, by driving a vehicle in the State, you have given your consent to chemical analysis in case you are arrested for an “implied consent offense.” Implied consent offenses include DUIs and vehicular manslaughter.
While all drivers in North Carolina give their implied consent to testing, the law still requires the police to follow specific procedures when administering tests. They must inform you, both in writing and orally, of your rights.
Felony DUI in the state of North Carolina is for those individuals that have 3 DUI convictions on their record in a 7-year period or if the DUI resulted in someone’s death. If you are convicted, you will be required to serve a jail sentence of 1 year and complete a rehabilitation program, either while you’re in jail or while on probation.
A DUI conviction in North Carolina may carry serious consequences. Fortunately, the law offers defendants numerous protections and our experienced Arden DUI defense lawyers at Doug Edwards Law can raise many challenges to the prosecution’s cases. Here are some common defenses in DUI cases:
For there to be a valid stop for a DUI, a police officer is required to provide a valid reason for stopping you. It is usually done through the officer showing that there was reasonable suspicion for a stop. Without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, a police officer cannot stop you.
If a police officer stopped you without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, he or she has violated your 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizures. As such, the charges against you may be dismissed.
Police officers often administer field sobriety and chemical tests to determine whether you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and to what extent you are inebriated by measuring the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in your breath, saliva, urine, or blood.
The results of these tests are almost always at the heart of the prosecution’s DUI or DWI case against you. If you are able to successfully challenge the accuracy of these tests, the test results may be deemed inadmissible at trial.
People often assume that there isn’t much to do when being accused of driving while intoxicated, but that is just not true. Our experienced DUI defense lawyers at Doug Edwards Law will work to have your charges dropped, and if that isn’t possible, will do everything possible to minimize the penalty.
Here are the various ways our Arden DUI defense lawyers can help:
We develop client-specific services and work swiftly to ensure that your driving privileges are restored. No two cases are ever the same, but our legal experience allows us to defend clients in the most challenging of situations.
Being charged with a DUI and attempting to navigate the legal process is usually overwhelming and disorienting. If you work with us, however, you will get the answers you want and the plan you need to ensure that your life gets back on track.
A DUI conviction can easily ruin your life, which is why it is important to hire and retain an experienced attorney when facing DUI charges. Fortunately, that’s exactly what you will get if you hire the experienced DUI defense lawyers at Doug Edwards Law in Arden, North Carolina.
We approach each DUI case using proven defense strategies that help refute the prosecution’s case to show your side of the story. In case your constitutional rights were violated, we ensure that any illegally obtained evidence is thrown out.
If you are facing DUI charges in Arden, NC, we urge you to contact our law firm, Doug Edwards Law. We put the law on your side and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire legal process. Call us today at (828) 702-8743 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers.