However, there are also mitigating factors that a judge might consider when granting leniency and a lighter sentence. North Carolina has six mitigating factors, including one “catch all” factor:
1. Slight impairment and a blood alcohol level of .09 or less.
2. Slight impairment on the basis of field sobriety tests in the absence of any chemical analysis of your blood. (However, if you refused tests this factor will not be considered.)
3. Driving that was safe and lawful at the time of your arrest except for being impaired.
4. A safe driving record, with no conviction for any traffic offense that incurs four points on your record or which could result in having your license revoked.
5. Impairment that was caused chiefly by a legally prescribed medication of which you took the prescribed dosage.
6. Voluntary participation before sentencing in an alcohol assessment program and, if recommended, voluntary participation in a treatment program.
7. Any other factor that mitigates the seriousness of the offense. (This again is a critical area that varies from judge to judge.)
If you are convicted of a DWI for the first time, expect to pay fines between $100 to $250, perform community service, and possibly spend 24 hours to 120 days in jail, though often a judge will suspend a jail term if you perform at least 24-48 hours of community service, serve a 24-48 hour period in jail as a condition of special probation, or have your driver’s license revoked for a month. A judge may decide to sentence a defendant convicted with a DWI with a mixture of these punishments depending on the severity of the charge.
Because of how severe the sentence for a DWI can be in North Carolina it is important to make sure that you are represented by a qualified DWI defense attorney who will help you navigate through these types of cases that are often difficult and confusing. They often will make the difference between having your record cleared later on and suffering the effects of your conviction for years afterward.
I can speak from experience that reaching out to my attorney at Dummit Fradin was the best decision I ever made when it came to getting the assistance I needed in handling my DWI. If you’re in need of representation with your DWI charge in Charlotte, High Point, Winston-Salem, or Greensboro, give them a call. They helped my story have a happy ending and I know they will help you finds yours too.