What does a conviction of Driving While Impaired (DWI) look like?

Wake County traffic court in Raleigh NC

In North Carolina, there are now 6 levels of sentences for Driving While Impaired since Laura's Law was enacted in 2011. Laura's Law introduced the most severe mandatory sentencing for the most serious offenders of aggravated level one convictions.

Level 2, Level 1, and Level A1 sentences all require jail time. These sentences are imposed often when the state is able to show 1, 2, or more than 3 grossly aggravating factors, respectively. 

Grossly aggravating factors are matters that make your charge of Driving While Impaired "worse. Some include:

  • License revoked for a previous conviction of impaired driving.
  • Serious injury to another person.
  • Prior DWI conviction within the last 7 years.
  • Having a child under the age of 18 in the car (automatic level 1 sentencing).

Sometimes it's possible to have mandatory jail time on a DWI conviction avoided with credit for time spent in a qualified inpatient treatment center and/or a term of use of a continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) ankle bracelet.

If you've been charged with Driving While Impaired in North Carolina and no grossly aggravating factors can be found to be present, then a Level 3, 4, or 5 can be imposed by the court. None of these levels carry mandatory imprisonment. A defense attorney would present mitigating factors and the state would present aggravating factors, both statutory and non-statutory. The lowest level of sentencing for DWI, a level 5, would be imposed if mitigating factors outweigh aggravating factors. Level 4 is imposed if they are equal. Level 3 if the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors.

 Give us a call today. Talk to our North Carolina DWI Defense Attorneys and we can work to reduce or eliminate the damage that a DWI can cause. Let us help seek to take this weight off your shoulders.