Demystifying DWI: What You Need to Know if You Get Pulled Over
It’s essential to know how to handle such situations, so let’s dive right in and debunk some misconceptions.
Dealing with Law Enforcement
If you ever face a situation where law enforcement suspects you of DWI, remember these crucial steps. Be respectful but avoid admitting anything to the officer. Politely decline to answer any self-incriminating questions. Provide only basic information like your name and license, but don’t disclose details about your alcohol consumption.
Breathalyzer Myths Busted
Let’s clear the air about breathalyzers. The roadside breathalyzer is not admissible in court, so you can refuse it without legal consequences. However, if you get taken downtown and they ask you to submit to another breathalyzer, it’s advisable to comply. Refusing can lead to a year-long license suspension.
Seeking Legal Representation
Facing a DWI charge can be overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Representing yourself is risky; just like you wouldn’t perform a root canal without a professional, don’t navigate DWI charges alone. Call an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
The Consequences of DWI
Sentencing North Carolina has six sentencing levels for DWI cases. The severity depends on factors like alcohol concentration, prior offenses, and other circumstances. Level 1A sentences can result in up to three years in jail, while level 5 carries lesser penalties. Beyond the legal consequences, getting a DWI can have serious financial implications. Your insurance rates will likely skyrocket, so it’s vital to weigh the costs before making decisions that could impact your future.
Factors that Affect Sentencing
North Carolina has six sentencing levels for DWIs, ranging from level five (best) to 1A (worst). The sentencing depends on various factors like alcohol concentration, prior convictions, presence of minors, and more. A level 1A DWI can lead to a significant jail sentence, while a level five may entail fines, alcohol assessment, and 24 hours in jail (replaceable with community service). Level 5 Sentencing and Costs A level 5 sentence usually involves paying fines, court costs, attending alcohol assessments, and, at a minimum, 24 hours in jail. However, you might opt for 24 hours of community service instead of jail time. Remember, insurance costs will also rise.
Aggravating factors, like high alcohol concentration or having a child in the car, can worsen sentencing outcomes. On the other hand, mitigating factors, such as a legal license, lower alcohol levels, or it being your first offense, can be in your favor.
We hope this information has been enlightening and debunked some misconceptions about DWI cases. If you ever find yourself in need of legal assistance, whether for DWI or any other area of law, don’t hesitate to call us at (919) 772-7000. At Whitaker & Hamer PLLC, we’re here to be your trusted legal advisors for life.