AVVO Rating - 10.0
Board Certified - Federal/State Criminal Law
DUI Defense - Lawyers Association
NORML Legal Committee
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National College for DUI Defense
Super Lawyers

North Carolina DWI Sentencing

Donahue Law Firm, PLLC
Judge Holding Gavel.

Understanding NC DWI Sentencing

From the Atlantic coastline of the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, under the law, DWI sentencing is treated the same. This article helps explain DWI sentencing and why it is important to have a capable OBX DWI lawyer on your side when facing a drunk driving charge.

A DWI conviction in the Outer Banks will be sentenced at one of six levels. Here are the levels from most severe to least severe:

DWI Sentencing Levels

Level A1 DWI

Also known as an Aggravated Level One, this sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 12 months minimum to 36 months maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 120 days as a condition of special probation. Alternatively, the court can allow continuous alcohol monitoring via a “CAM bracelet” for a minimum of 120 days, up to the entire period of probation. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $10,000 is authorized.

Level 1 DWI

This sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 30 days minimum to 24 months maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 30 days, or alternatively, the defendant can be imprisoned for 10 days as a condition of special probation followed by continuous alcohol monitoring via a “CAM bracelet” for a minimum of 120 days, up to the entire period of probation. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $4,000 is authorized.

Level 2 DWI

This sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 12 days minimum to 12 months maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 7 days, or alternatively, the defendant can required to submit to continuous alcohol monitoring via a “CAM bracelet” for a minimum of 90 days, up to the entire period of probation. If the Level 2 punishment is based on a prior DWI conviction or DWLR for an impaired driving revocation and the prior conviction occurred within five years, the judge must require 240 hours of community service if no imprisonment is imposed. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $2,000 is authorized.

Level 3 DWI

This sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 72 hours minimum to 6 months maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 72 hours or, alternatively, the court can allow the defendant to complete 72 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $1,000 is authorized.

Level 4 DWI

This sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 48 hours minimum to 120 days maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 48 hours or, alternatively, the court can allow the defendant to complete 48 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $500 is authorized.

Level 5 DWI

This sentence requires the judge to order imprisonment of 24 hours minimum to 60 days maximum. The judge can suspend the sentence if the defendant is imprisoned for at least 24 hours or, alternatively, the court can allow the defendant to complete 24 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. The defendant must also obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with education and treatment. A fine of up to $200 is authorized.

Why It’s Important to Have a Competent DWI Lawyer on Your Side

When a judge determines which sentence is appropriate after a DWI conviction, the court must consider all grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. As required by the DWI sentencing statute, the judge must then weigh all of these factors in determining the sentence. The prosecutor must present all grossly aggravating and aggravating factors to the judge, while it is up to the defendant and his or her lawyer to counter with mitigating factors.

With so much at stake, it is clear to see why anyone charged with a DWI needs a lawyer by their side to ensure the best outcome possible. If you need to talk to a lawyer about a DWI in the Outer Banks, Currituck, or Elizabeth City area, please feel free to give me a call.

Client Reviews

Case dismissed! Professional and worked with my budget. Would recommend!

- Max W.

From the moment I contacted Donahue Law Firm I was very impressed with the professionalism of the staff. Their office stayed in constant contact with me regarding the details of my case. I was also impressed that Mr...

- Michael H.

The people at Donahue law firm were very professional and courteous. Once I made my payment online, Dan Donahue contacted me promptly. Once I explained my situation he was able to easily explain to me exactly how the...

- Brian Oliver

I am an out of state driver that visits the Currituck County area primarily during the summer. I received a speeding ticket during a recent and faced a court date. I contacted Donahue and explained how I was unable to...

- David Saunders

Dan Donahue is an outstanding lawyer! His effort to win your case knows no bounds. I retained his services after I was stopped for a DUI in February of 2017. Through his efforts, Dan was able to secure a complete...

- Rob Purvis

Take the Next Step

Ease your stress by reaching out to us to get the answers you deserve. Call (252) 715-5785 or complete the contact form to set up your complimentary consultation.

Leave Us a Message