North Carolina DWI First Offense
Even a first-offense DWI is a very serious infraction in the state of North Carolina. Even if this is your first run-in with the law, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately to increase your chances of having a favorable outcome in your case. The penalties for a DWI conviction will impact your life in many ways. In addition to legal fees and fines, the most serious potential consequences are license suspension and jail time.
Loss of License
Losing your license as a result of a DWI conviction is the penalty that is perhaps the most disruptive to your everyday life. If you refused the breathalyzer test at the time of your arrest, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will automatically suspend your license for 30 days. No matter the outcome of your case, it is likely that the administrative suspension will be extended to one full year for a first-time DWI. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may qualify for a limited driving permit after six months of this suspension has been served.
An administrative license suspension is not the only loss of license penalty you face. Once you have been convicted of a DWI, the court may suspend your license for an additional period of 60 days to one year. This suspension will be added to any that is imposed by the DMV.
Will I Go to Jail?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it is possible that you may be required to serve time behind bars if you are convicted of a DWI. If your first offense did not include any aggravating or grossly aggravating factors, the judge may order a Level 5 sentence that includes a mandatory minimum jail term of 24 hours and a maximum of 120 days. However, the judge may decide to forego a jail sentence in favor of a probationary and/or community service sentence. Ensuring that you have a qualified defense attorney is essential in protecting your freedom and increasing your chances of being handed a jail-free sentence.
Although a first-offense DWI should be taken seriously, it is important to remember that your life is not over if you are facing this charge. Hiring the right attorney to protect your rights in court is the best way to minimize any penalties you may be facing.