North Carolina DWI Felony
Most DWI offenses are classified as misdemeanor crimes. However, if you are involved in a serious auto accident that leads to another person’s injury or death, you can expect the offense to be classified as a felony. Likewise, if you have a prior history of driving under the influence, it’s unlikely that your offense will be considered a misdemeanor.
The exact penalties for a felony DWI offense vary greatly based on the circumstances of the case. Under state law, North Carolina classifies all felony offenses into one of ten categories, or classes, based on the severity of the offense. The most serious crimes—such as murder and other violent crimes—are considered Class A felonies, while the least severe types of felony offenses are classified as Class I felonies. As a Class F felony, a DWI charge falls somewhere in the middle.
In addition to multiple classes, felony crimes are further broken down into different “levels” based on the driver’s criminal history, blood alcohol content (BAC), and other case factors. The most serious offense will be categorized as a Level 1 Class F felony, while less severe cases can be labeled anywhere from a Level 2 to a Level 5 Class F felony (with a Level 5 offense being the least severe option).
If you are convicted of a felony DWI in North Carolina, you can expect to spend time behind bars. Depending on how the offense is classified, your sentence may include a minimum one-year jail sentence and/or a permanent license suspension. In some cases, the state may even confiscate your vehicle.
Given all the penalties associated with a felony DWI conviction, it should come as no surprise to learn that many drivers who are charged with the offense consider obtaining legal representation. Indeed, with help from a skilled defense attorney, many of those arrested are able to reduce or eliminate the charges against them and avoid some of the most devastating consequences of a DWI conviction.
To learn more about how you can improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome for your case, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney in your area immediately after your arrest. Remember, with such life-altering penalties looming before you, there’s no time to waste. Start your search today.