In North Carolina, just like throughout the rest of the country, it is illegal to get behind the wheel when you know that alcohol or drugs have affected your ability to safely drive. When a police officer believes someone has committed a driving while impaired (DWI) offense, they will perform field sobriety and chemical breath tests to confirm their suspicions.
Even those who believe that they were not under the influence sometimes plead guilty to DWI charges because they think of the offense as a minor concern. No one got hurt and there were no property damage issues, so they expect minimal penalties in response to their DWI charges.
However, a judge can still impose harsh penalties. Pleading guilty leaves you at the mercy of the judge presiding over your case. Here’s what you should know:
Your sentence is at the discussion of a judge
North Carolina state law and a judge’s understanding of the circumstances determine what penalties you face over DWI charges. There is a range of jail time, fines and license suspension penalties possible based on the situation at the time of your arrest and your previous record. The judge could very well sentence you to the maximum penalties possible.
Additionally, even after settling those court-ordered criminal consequences, there will be other lasting issues. It can be very expensive to cope with a lengthy license suspension, and what you pay for insurance will inevitably increase after a DWI conviction. It is only by defending yourself against the pending charges that you can eliminate the worst possible criminal penalties.
Mounting a defense to upcoming DWI charges can help you prove your innocence and move on with your life.