Driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI), doesn’t just put everyone on the road in danger. You also risk losing your license and spending time in jail. If you’re charged with this offense in North Carolina, the judge will take grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating factors into account when determining the punishment and penalties. To prepare for your meeting with a DUI attorney, below is a brief overview of how these factors could influence the outcome of your case.
Aggravating Factors Result in Harsher Consequences
Grossly Aggravating Factors
If you have a history of driving while intoxicated, a judge will consider the prior bad behavior a grossly aggravating factor. If you were convicted of a DUI in the past seven years, for example, or get charged again while awaiting sentencing for your current case, a DUI attorney will tell you the consequences will be more severe. Who was with you also matters, as driving drunk with minor children in the car is considered another grossly aggravating factor. Additionally, if you got into an accident resulting in injuries to others, the judge will not be lenient with sentencing. If your case includes three or more grossly aggravating factors, you could spend 12 to 36 months in jail. Plus, you’d owe the court $10,000 in fines.
Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% is considered over the legal limit, which means a blood alcohol content of .15% makes you an even greater danger to others. This is an aggravating factor, as is reckless driving and poor judgment that leads to accidents. If you are driving with a revoked license, this will also affect sentencing. If these factors, but no grossly aggravating factors, are attached to your case, you could spend 72 hours to six months in jail and face a fine of up to $1,000.
Mitigating Factors Can Help Your Case
Mitigating factors are extenuating circumstances that could result in lighter sentencing. This includes driving with a blood alcohol content of .09%. If you were slightly impaired but driving safely and following traffic laws, the judge will take this into account. Having a driving record free of infractions can also help cancel out some of the aggravating factors. Taking steps to curb bad behavior, such as getting a professional evaluation and abstaining from alcohol, will help your case. If you have more mitigating factors than aggravating factors, sentencing might include 24 hours to 120 days in jail and a $200 fine.
If you need legal assistance with a drunk driving case, contact the DUI attorneys at Wood & Rabil, LLP Attorneys at Law in Winston-Salem. They’ll educate you on traffic and criminal laws in North Carolina and explain the factors that will influence your case. With more than 80 years of combined experience, the lawyers will work to resolve the matter quickly so you can put it behind you. To discuss your case, call (336) 722-5700 or send the DUI attorneys a message online.