Sampson County DWI Lawyer

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Sampson County DWI Lawyer

Sampson County DWI Attorney

Being arrested for driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina can be a costly and scary experience. Even if you did not commit the offense you are charged with, a DWI charge can lead to jail confinement following your initial arrest. Then, there is the prospect of serious penalties like fines, additional jail time, and suspension of your driver’s license. If convicted, a DWI can lead to higher automobile insurance rates and consequences at work for years to come. Fortunately, the legal services of a Sampson County DWI lawyer can protect your rights.

Your lawyer will investigate whether your rights were violated during your initial arrest. Our law firm has helped many clients receive lower penalties than they initially were facing. As we’ll describe below, the penalties for a DWI range greatly, depending on your criminal history and the facts surrounding your arrest.

How Are DWIs Classified in North Carolina?

North Carolina’s penal code classifies DWIs into five categories. Level V offenses are the least serious, while a Level 1 DUI conviction can lead to serious jail time and fines.

  • Level V: A conviction for a Level V DWI is punishable by a maximum fine of $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours. The maximum jail sentence a judge can give is 60 days. Any jail sentence can be suspended if the defendant completes community service and other requirements.
  • Level IV: This level of offense has the potential for a maximum fine of $500 and 120 days in jail. A conviction comes with a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours. Jail time can be suspended if the courts offer an alternative punishment of community service and other requirements.
  • Level III: The third-most serious offense is a Level III DWI that can result in a maximum fine of $1,000 and a jail sentence ranging from 72 hours (the minimum) to six months. Confinement to jail can be suspended if the courts allow the defendant to complete alternative options like community service and agreements to not operate a vehicle for a set period of time.
  • Level II and 1: The two most serious offenses related to a DWI are Level I and Level II. These charges are reserved for repeat offenders. The minimum sentence cannot be suspended. A Level II offense comes with a sentence carrying a minimum jail sentence of seven days. A Level I DWI conviction carries a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and fines.

The North Carolina courts may require defendants to complete a substance abuse assessment. Defendants must comply with recommended treatments as a condition of regaining driving privileges.

Aggravating Factors in a DWI in Sampson County

The courts may impose harsher punishment recommendations if they believe your offense involved aggravating factors. Some of the more common types of aggravating factors include:

  • Excessive BAC levels
  • Reckless driving at the time of the offense
  • Attempting to evade arrest
  • Resisting arrest
  • Excessive speeding
  • Bodily injury to a passenger or pedestrian
  • Driving past a stopped school bus

Prosecutors will also look at prior DWI convictions and the date of the last DWI conviction (if there are any) when determining whether to add additional penalties to the charge. In some cases, the offense could even be a felony.

While some factors can add to your legal troubles, there are also factors that can mitigate the facts of your case in the eyes of the court. Having a safe driving record is one example. The level of intoxication is another. If you were at or barely above the state minimum for intoxication (.08 BAC), the courts may be more lenient on you.

Some prescription medications can lead to impairment. As long as you were taking the medications in accordance with a lawful prescription, your lawyer may be able to argue on your behalf that your charges should be reduced or even dropped.

Loss of Driving Privileges

Another penalty that can have life-altering effects on a defendant’s personal and professional life is the temporary revocation of driving privileges. A DWI conviction carries the possibility of revocation of driving privileges. The penalties range from one year to the permanent loss of driving privileges following a conviction.

When driving privileges are restored, those drivers will likely face steep car insurance rates since driving while intoxicated is a serious driving hazard. The financial hardship of a DWI can last for years. An option for avoiding these serious setbacks is to hire an experienced DWI attorney who will work to lower the charges you are facing.

Common DWI Defenses

During your consultation at Silva, Kiernan & Associates, PLLC, one of our lawyers will listen intently to the facts of your case. Our lawyers have many years of experience creating comprehensive legal strategies for our clients. Sometimes, a standard defense is needed. In other cases, your lawyer may recommend a less conventional approach to defending your rights.

Defendants have constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. This often applies to DWI cases. If law enforcement violated your rights during your detention, your lawyer can bring those issues before prosecutors. The justice system has an obligation to protect the rights of all defendants.

Beyond challenging your arrest, your lawyer can challenge evidence related to your case. Any evidence used against you must be lawfully collected. If it is not, prosecutors cannot use that evidence against you. Prosecutors have a very high bar to meet when trying to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Other important factors that your attorney will scrutinize include:

  • Whether or not you were read your Miranda rights (right to remain silent)
  • Whether the law enforcement officer followed the required procedures when performing the Standardized Field Sobriety Test
  • An investigation into whether the Intoximeter (or a similar device) was properly and recently calibrated
  • The legality of how your blood was drawn

The disqualification of key evidence could bolster your case and weaken the state’s allegations that you committed a crime. Your Sampson County attorney will do everything possible to reduce the charges against you. If the facts support your innocence, our lawyers will fight to see that the charges are dropped against you.

What Do I Do if I Am Pulled Over?

Remain polite and cooperative, but preserve your right not to answer questions. You are under no obligation to do or say anything that could potentially self-incriminate you. Remember, police and other forms of law enforcement can mislead you. They are in the business of finding reasons to arrest people. You do not have to answer any of their questions.

The choice of whether to refuse a field sobriety test or not is sometimes difficult. If you are 100% sober and haven’t had a drink for 24 hours, it may be tempting to take the test and be done with it. If you have any reason to believe you may fail the test, you have the right to refuse the test.


Q: How Much Does a DWI Lawyer Cost in NC?

A: A DWI lawyer charges a set hourly rate based on the amount of experience they have representing DWI defendants. Lawyers who have a track record of helping clients receive lower sentences and penalties charge more per hour. The up-front cost of any attorney is a reasonable consideration for anyone facing DWI charges in North Carolina, but it should only be one factor. In the long run, having experienced legal counsel can save you considerable amounts of time and money.

Q: What Is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in NC?

A: The legal term used by North Carolina’s criminal courts is DWI. Other states refer to the criminal offense alternately as DUI. Both terms effectively describe the same situation where a driver is impaired while driving. The intoxicating substance doesn’t have to be alcohol. Any substance that leads to intoxication, such as marijuana, can be grounds for a DWI charge, although the offense is commonly associated with overconsumption of alcohol.

Q: Is a DWI a Misdemeanor in NC?

A: A DWI is often a misdemeanor in North Carolina. Repeat offenders or drivers arrested after committing an aggravating offense can potentially face a felony charge. A misdemeanor is reserved for less serious crimes, but the charge can still land you with hefty fines and potential jail time. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony DWI, an experienced defense attorney can work to have your charges lowered.

Q: Can You Get a DWI Dropped in NC?

A: There are numerous ways that a DWI can be dropped in NC. If the officer at the scene of the arrest violated your constitutional rights, the case can be dismissed. Any critical evidence that was collected unlawfully can be thrown out, which can lead to your case being dismissed. If your case goes to trial, a judge or jury may find that you did not commit the crime you are charged with. Remember, prosecutors have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Schedule Your Sampson County DWI Lawyer Consultation Today

Facing a DWI charge can be incredibly stressful. Fines, jail time, and the loss of driving privileges can upend anyone’s life. One way you can reduce your worries is by hiring an experienced legal team with many years of experience handling DWI cases. The lawyers at Silva, Kiernan & Associates, PLLC, provide compassionate and comprehensive legal services to our North Carolina clients. If needed, our attorneys can take your case to trial. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.

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