When you are faced with a DWI second offense, obviously the penalties will be more severe than for a DWI first offense. However, that does not mean that you should just plead guilty. You need representation and an experienced DWI defense attorney like Bill Powers of the Law Offices of Powers McCartan. Bill Powers will fight for your rights and help protect your freedom.
Under North Carolina law, being convicted of a DWI second offense within seven years is a serious charge. It is imperative that you hire an attorney who focuses a substantial amount of his practice on DWI defense in North Carolina. If you are convicted of a second offense DWI, even outside the seven year window, the judge will most likely give you more serious penalties. During sentencing, the judge considers your past DWI record and reviews the facts surrounding your case, such as if there was a minor in your car or if you caused serious injury or even death due to an accident or vehicle collision. There are five levels for sentencing that the judge uses; the most serious is level one and the least serious is level five. There is another felony charge of Driving While Impaired called Habitual Impaired Driving. Felony sentencing for DWI enhances the punishments and subjects you to a lifetime license suspension. If convicted of Felony Habitual Impaired Driving, you will never, ever be able to drive in the State of North Carolina. There is no form of privilege, work license or hearing that can reinstate your license. A permanent revocation for Habitual DWI is, for all practical purposes, truly permanent.
Based on the level the judge uses for sentencing, jail time may range from as little as 24 hours to as much as 2 years in prison or the North Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC). The same is true for the court fine, which can range from a relatively minimum amount to several thousand dollars, depending upon the level of offense. It is possible that if sentenced at level 3, 4 or 5, the judge may impose a penalty of community service ranging from 24 to 72 hours in lieu of jail time. Level 5 DWI normally requires 24 hours of community service. Level 4 DWI normally requires 48 hours of community service and Level 3 DWI normally requires 72 hours of community service. This is in addition to other fines, penalties and conditions of any suspended sentence imposed by the judge. You may also be placed on probation for a specific period of time, which is normally associated with the suspended term. It is in the discretion of the Court whether to make probation supervised or un-supervised. The Court may order house arrest, intensive probation, alcohol and drug treatment, abstinence from alcohol and even the installation of ankle alcohol monitoring device called a SCRAM (Secured Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring).
Being convicted of a DWI second offense in North Carolina is a serious criminal charge that can affect you for years to come. The sooner you contact DWI defense attorney Bill Powers, the sooner he can get started preparing your defense!