Driving while intoxicated is a common crime in North Carolina, and most offenders end up with a misdemeanor. However, aggravating circumstances can cause a simple misdemeanor to turn into a felony charge carrying multiple years of jail time and license revocations. When dealing with this kind of case, you need a lawyer you can trust.
Edwards Law, PLLC, is a Columbus, NC, felony DWI lawyer and law firm that can assist you with any DWI case. The firm has experience with numerous DWI cases and can help you navigate this stressful time.
Edwards Law, PLLC, handles felony and misdemeanor DWI cases. Doug Edwards founded the firm to protect the rights of the accused and give them a proper defense. Mr. Edwards began his career as a prosecutor for ten years. He earned a position as the First Assistant District Attorney in Buncombe County before transitioning to defense counsel.
Felony DWIs aren’t particularly common in North Carolina. Most convictions for DWI came at level 5, the lowest level in the North Carolina legal system. Level 5 DWI convictions come with a minimum of 24 hours of jail time or community service, but a felony will land someone in jail for at least a year.
Felony DWI occurs in two scenarios. The first scenario is someone receiving their fourth DWI in ten years. The state will also charge an individual with a felony DWI if the incident involved another person’s serious injury or death.
When you injure someone while driving under the influence, you also risk the prosecutor adding additional charges to the docket. Not only will you have to deal with a felony charge for DWI, but also the potential for another felony, such as:
There are defenses for a DWI. Defense attorneys have a few legal defenses in their arsenal, though most focus on the state infringing on your rights. This infringement may come from improper handling of the sobriety test or a contaminated blood draw.
Another primary defense attorneys use for DWI cases is looking at the established probable cause. The police must have a valid reason to pull you over before administering a sobriety test. These reasons could be speeding, reckless driving, or missing a tail light. If the officer lacked any sufficient reason to pull you over and just used a hunch, you can argue that the entire stop was unconstitutional.
Any lawyer will tell you how important a lawyer is for any DWI hearing. Whether you feel you are innocent or guilty of the charges, you still need an attorney on your side who can advocate for you and make sure you know what’s happening in all parts of the process.
DWI attorneys can help you make a plea deal with the state or craft a defense if you believe you are innocent of the charges. The state will provide a public defender to you, but a private attorney will give you a more personalized defense.
A felony DWI in North Carolina carries a sentence of one to three years in prison. The judge sets all terms with these guidelines and may use prior records or aggravating circumstances to determine the sentence. Felony DWI also carries the possibility of a fine of up to $10,000.
The average DUI lawyer costs around $2,500 when you account for all legal fees and time. This number fluctuates depending on how much experience an attorney has, how many hours they work your case, the location in North Carolina the state’s trying you, and what kind of services they provide. While $2,500 may sound like a lot, it’s much lower than the cost of some DWI fines in the state.
Most DWI cases in North Carolina fall under the misdemeanor bucket. Over 50 percent of DWIs in 2021 were class 5 crimes, the lowest for a DWI. The crime rises to a felony for repeat offenders or anyone who kills or severely injures another person while intoxicated.
The first step in any legal defense for DWI is to look at the circumstances of the arrest. You need to assess if the police handled each part of the process correctly. Establish if law enforcement had probable cause, and check any sobriety tests they administer. You could also defend yourself by saying you weren’t driving.
No matter how you wish to proceed with a DWI, you need to enlist the services of an experienced Columbus, NC, felony DWI defense attorney and law firm to help with your case. Felony DWI carries severe penalties, and you need someone to advocate for you and assist you with fighting your charges.
At Edwards Law, PLLC, we aim to help those dealing with felony DWI charges. Contact us today for a free consultation.