If a person is found guilty of Driving While Impaired (DWI in North Carolina), the Judge will consider all of the factors listed above. Once all the factors are considered, the Judge will impose one of the following Levels of Punishment. The five levels of punishment are numbered 1-5.
1. Level One DWI
is the most serious level of punishment. If the Judge finds 2 Grossly Aggravating Factors are present, he or she will impose Level one punishment Level One Punishment. A Level One North Carolina DWI is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of 24 months. A judge cannot suspend the minimum jail sentence. No parole.
Aggravated Level 1 DWI:
12-36 months and up to $10,000 fine. No parole.
2. Level Two DWI
punishment will be imposed if the Judge determines one Grossly Aggravating Factor is present. Level Two is punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and a minimum jail sentence of seven days and a maximum of one year. A judge cannot suspend the minimum jail sentence.
3. Level Three DWI
punishment will be imposed if there are no Grossly Aggravating Factors involved and the Mitigating Factors and Aggravating Factors are considered equal and balance each other out. Level Three is punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours and a maximum of six months. A judge can suspend the sentence.
4. Level Four DWI
is imposed if the Mitigating Factors outweigh the Aggravating Factors. Level Four conviction is punishable by a fine up to $500 and a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum of 120 days. A judge can suspend the sentence.
5. Level Five DWI
punishment is imposed if there are only Mitigating Factors and no aggravating factors exist. Level Five is punishable by a fine up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days. A judge can suspend the sentence.
All levels of a North Carolina DWI conviction require a revocation of your Driver’s License for a period of at least one year beginning with the date of the DWI conviction. For levels three through 5, the court often suspends jail sentences if the driver agrees to complete community service, submit to a DWI Assessment, complete the level of treatment required by the NC DWI assessment, and pay all fines, fees and court costs related to the DWI arrest and conviction.
(Note: The laws described in this post tend to change somewhat regularly. Be sure to consult your attorney to ensure the latest information.)