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DWI Felony in North Carolina

North Carolina’s DWI laws are among the strictest in the country. But the most seriously prosecuted are felony DWIs. In our state, a felony DWI is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence as well as hefty fines, fees and the possibility of a permanent loss of your license.

What Constitutes a Felony DWI Charge?

A DWI in North Carolina will be charged as a felony if one of two scenarios can be applied to the case: if the accused driver is an habitual offender or if the DWI resulted in an accident that caused the death of another person. Each prior conviction counts as a grossly aggravating factor, which will be damaging to your case and result in an Aggravated Level 1 punishment. What’s more, the State considers any one with three prior DWI convictions within a seven-year period to be an habitual offender.

North Carolina DWI Felony Penalties

If you are convicted of a felony DWI, you automatically face a minimum prison sentence of one year. This sentence may not be reduced, but it can be extended at the court’s discretion. During your jail sentence or once you are out on parole, you will also be required to attend and complete substance abuse counseling. It is likely that you will lose your license for the rest of your lifetime and that the State will seize—and sell—your vehicle.

To ensure that you do not continue drinking after you are released from prison, the court may mandate that you wear a secure continuous alcohol monitoring device (or SCRAM CAM) that measures blood alcohol content. Your SCRAM CAM sentence duration will be up to the judge to decide.

Although no DWI charge should be taken lightly, a felony DWI requires that you seek experienced legal counsel immediately. Your freedom and your future are at stake.