North Carolina DWI Second Offense
If you are charged with a second DWI within seven years of your first, you will be considered a repeat offender under North Carolina law. As a repeat DWI offender, any penalties you face if you are convicted of or plead guilty to the charge against you will be amplified. It is important to understand what you are up against as you prepare to work with an attorney to defend your case.
As with all DWIs in North Carolina, a second offense will fall into one of the state’s six tiers of punishment. If there is one grossly aggravating factor in your case, your jail sentence will be at least seven days but no more than one year. If two grossly aggravating factors are present, the minimum jail sentence is 30 days and the maximum is two years. It should be noted that most repeat offenders are sentenced to Levels 1, 2 or 3 due to the aggravating factor of having a prior DWI conviction on record.
Administrative License Penalties
A second DWI offense can be further complicated by a second breathalyzer refusal. If you declined taking the State’s required breath test at the time of your arrest, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will impose a license suspension that is separate from the criminal penalties you are facing. When you refuse the test, the officer will confiscate your license, effectively suspending your driving privileges immediately. The DMV will require that your privileges remain suspended for four years.
Judgment on Repeat Offenders
It is often said that every judge is different. However, most judges have one thing in common: they do not look favorably upon repeat offenders. And when it comes to DWIs, North Carolina’s penalties are significantly greater for individuals who have multiple offenses than for first-time offenders. If you are facing a second DWI, you need an attorney who will fight to minimize the penalties you are facing. A local DWI defense lawyer would be willing to get to work for you.