North Carolina DWI/DUI | Sentencing Levels

SIX LEVELS OF SENTENCING FOR DWI – Determined by first evaluating whether there are any grossly aggravating factors, and if not, weighing the mitigating factors against the aggravating factors.

  • Level 5 (least severe)                                                                                                             Applies when no grossly aggravating factors are present, and any mitigating factors substantially outweigh any aggravating factors.                                                           Sentence: Fine up to $200, possible imprisonment between 1 and 60 days.  If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose either:
    1. Imprisonment for 24 hours
    2. 24 hours of community service (to be completed within a time limit set by the Judge), or
    3. Any combination of these.
  • Level 4                                                                                                                                      Applies when no grossly aggravating factors are present, and any mitigating factors are balanced by any aggravating factors.                                                                              Sentence: Fine up to $500, possible imprisonment between 2 and 120 days.  If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose either:
    1. Imprisonment for 48 hours
    2. 48 hours of community service (to be completed within a time limit set by the Judge), or
    3. Any combination of these.
  • Level 3                                                                                                                                     Applies when no grossly aggravating factors are present, and any aggravating factors substantially outweigh any mitigating factors.                                                                   Sentence: Fine up to $1000, possible imprisonment between 3 days and 6 months.  If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose either:
    1. Imprisonment for 72 hours
    2. 72 hours of community service (to be completed within a time limit set by the Judge), or
    3. Any combination of these.
  • Level 2                                                                                                                                      Applies when only one grossly aggravating factor is present (regardless of any mitigating and aggravating factors).                                                                               Sentence: Fine up to $2,000, imprisonment between 7 days and 12 months.  If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose an active sentence of imprisonment for at least 7 days.
  • Level 1                                                                                                                                      Applies when two grossly aggravating factors are present (regardless of any mitigating and aggravating factors).  Also applies to DWI offenses that occur on or after December 1, 2011 in which a child under the age of 18 is in the vehicle at the time of the offense.  Sentence: Fine up to $4,000, imprisonment between 30 days and 24 months.  If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose an active sentence of imprisonment for at least 30 days.
  • Aggravated Level 1                                                                                                      Applies when three or more grossly aggravating factors are present (regardless of any mitigating and aggravating factors).                                                                              Sentence:  Fine up to $10,000, imprisonment between 12 months and 36 months.   If the Judge suspends the sentence, they must impose imprisonment of at least 120 days.  If sentenced to an active imprisonment sentence the Defendant must be released from prison four months before the maximum imposed term of imprisonment.  Once released, the Defendant must be placed on post-release supervision for four months with a requirement that they abstain from alcohol during this four-month period.  The Defendant’s alcohol consumption will be verified by a continuous alcohol monitoring system and the cost of the alcohol monitoring service is the Defendant’s burden.

Regardless of which level the Defendant is sentenced too, they will also be sentenced to a mandatory 1-year suspension of their driver’s license, they must submit to a Substance Abuse Assessment and complete all recommended treatment, and could possible be required to have an Interlock Device (breathalyzer wired to the vehicles ignition) installed on the Defendant’s vehicle depending on their blood/alcohol level.

The sentencing structure can be confusing.  Having a quality North Carolina DWI Lawyer and North Carolina DUI Lawyer to walk you through the process, and fight for the best possible outcome, is a necessity.  Contact Raleigh DWI Lawyer and Durham DWI Lawyer M. Moseley Matheson at 919-335-5291 today for your FREE CONSULTATION!

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