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North Carolina DWI Third Offense

North Carolina law does not look favorably upon repeat DWI offenders. In fact, if you have two prior DWI convictions on your record, a third conviction will almost certainly result in some of the harshest penalties that the court can levy. Read on to learn more about what you may face and why hiring a defense attorney is so important.

The Role of Aggravating Factors

Aggravating and grossly aggravating factors are among those that a judge or jury will use to determine your level of sentencing. The more aggravating or grossly aggravating factors present in your case, the more likely it is that you will face enhanced sentencing upon conviction.

For a third-offense DWI, it is important to note that each prior conviction counts as an aggravating factor. Each prior conviction that occurred within the past seven years will be counted as a grossly aggravating factor. Two grossly aggravating factors will result in a Level 1 punishment to include up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.

If there are three grossly aggravating factors in your case you will be sentenced at Aggravated Level 1, which will include one to three years in prison without the possibility of parole, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000.

Is a Third Conviction a Felony?

If you are facing your third DWI charge within 10 years of a prior conviction or convictions, this offense will be elevated to a class F felony. If convicted, you will automatically be sentenced to at least one year in prison.

Your License

The North Carolina DMV will permanently suspend your license after a third DWI conviction. After five years of your suspension have been served, you may petition the DMV for a hearing to discuss the reinstatement of your license.

The penalties associated with a third offense DWI in North Carolina are extremely serious. The possibility of permanent license loss, prison time and thousands of dollars in fees make it essential for you to work with an experienced attorney to defend you in court.