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Winston Salem DWI Attorneys

If you have been arrested and charged with DWI, you should not be rushed into anything. Instead, you should call a Winston-Salem DWI lawyer to represent and defend you.

Make this next decision count.

WInston-Salem Criminal Defense Attorneys

Our clients are people, not case numbers

We treat our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve.

North Carolina has one of the highest DWI rates in the country. In 2018, nearly 28,000 people were arrested and charged with DWI. Every single one of the people charged with an offense has their own life and story. They may suffer serious consequences if they are convicted of a crime. The legal system has turned DWI into a “routine” matter because prosecutors look to settle these charges quickly and win as many convictions as possible.

DWI Charges Can Have a Major Impact on Your Life

Even if DWI cases are very common, there is nothing routine about your own legal matter. You are still in the criminal justice system and will face long-lasting consequences if you are convicted. You never want to be on your own facing criminal charges, no matter what the alleged crime is. There are too many things that can go wrong. At the same time, you may never know if you have the ability to fight the charges and clear your name successfully.

You need to call an attorney as soon as you are arrested and charged with DWI. Without a Winston-Salem DWI lawyer, your legal rights might be at risk, and things might go far worse for you.

The Consequences of a Winston-Salem DWI Conviction

Every North Carolina DWI conviction will involve a combination of jail time and a fine. In addition, there are other consequences of a conviction. For example, every DWI conviction comes with a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least 12 months. Compared to other states, 12 months is a long suspension period. The suspension is automatic, even though those convicted may apply for limited driving privileges during that time. Before you regain your driver’s license, you must undergo a court-ordered substance abuse assessment.

In addition, you will end up with a criminal record. If your profession involves any type of driving, you may have difficulty getting a job, or you may lose your position. Even though North Carolina has changed its laws to make it easier to get convictions expunged, the newer laws do not apply to DWI convictions. You can only get an expungement if your case was dismissed or if you were found not guilty at trial. These will remain on your record permanently.

Even if it is your first DWI conviction, you will now have a criminal record from it. If you are charged with and convicted of DWI again in the future, you will be subject to steeper penalties, including a mandatory jail sentence. Therefore, you may not want even one conviction on your record.

Penalties for DWI

In North Carolina, as in practically every other state, the legal limit for blood alcohol level is 0.08. For truck drivers, the legal limit is 0.04.

Any DWI conviction in North Carolina will involve a minimum jail sentence of at least 24 hours, even on a first conviction. Judges have the power to suspend a jail sentence, but they will not always do so. That is the power that belongs to the judge at sentencing.

North Carolina will classify DWI charges at certain levels. The most serious DWI charge is a Level I charge. The level often depends on factors that can include:

  • The degree of the driver’s intoxication
  • Whether there was a serious bodily injury in an accident
  • Whether it was their first conviction or a subsequent offense

Here are the penalties associated with each level of offense:

  • Level I – 30 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
  • Level II – 7 days to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000
  • Level III – 72 hours to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Level IV – 48 hours to 120 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
  • Level V – 24 hours to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $200

Aggravating Factors in a DWI Case

Numerous factors can make a North Carolina DWI conviction even worse. North Carolina can raise the category of a DWI charge based on these aggravating factors.

Things that can lead to a more severe sentence include:

  • A second DWI conviction that occurs before sentencing
  • Another DWI conviction in the prior seven years (second offenses are charged between Level 1 and Level 3)
  • Driving on a suspended license due to a prior DWI conviction
  • A serious bodily injury in a DWI accident
  • A DWI that occurs with a minor under the age of 18 in the car

The items above are “grossly aggravating” factors. Other aggravating factors can lead to a stronger sentence, including:
Excessive speeding

  • A blood alcohol content over .015
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding to avoid arrest
  • Driving with a suspended license (for something other than DWI)

Mitigating Factors in a DWI Case

If it is your first DWI offense, you can negotiate with the prosecutor for a lighter sentence. There might still be jail time involved, but the sentence might be suspended. However, very few factors can mitigate your punishment because North Carolina has very tough laws to punish DWI. The state specifically tightened its laws around the start of the century because it dealt with an intoxicated driver epidemic.

There are different degrees of drunk driving in North Carolina. If you were otherwise following traffic laws, or if your blood alcohol content was barely over the line, you may have some mitigating factors that can help you. You may also reduce your punishment by submitting for a mental health evaluation or completing substance abuse counseling. An experienced attorney can make your case why you deserve a lesser sentence.

Why You Need a Winston-Salem DWI Lawyer

You should never look at a DWI arrest as something minor. Besides the punishments we outlined above, you can also face a conviction’s reputational effects. Before making any decisions, you should know the entire reality of your situation.

In every DWI case, you have the option to fight the charges against you or try to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. On your own, you may not know whether you can contest the charges or how to do it. You need legal experience to know when your rights have been violated.

Even though the prosecutor has an obligation to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you may have to prove your innocence in a case that the jury may view as routine. An experienced attorney can give you a clear and level-headed readout of your situation and advise you on how to proceed.

If you choose to negotiate a plea bargain, prosecutors may be more willing to deal with an attorney that they know and trust when it comes to the terms of a plea deal. The prosecutor may want to dispose of the case quickly so that they can move on to the next case, and your lawyer will know how to leverage that.

Call a Winston-Salem DWI Lawyer

If you have been charged with DWI, you need legal help now. Not only will you get peace of mind knowing that you have an experienced attorney to help you understand your legal options, but you will also not have the daunting prospect of facing the justice system alone. Call Graystar Legal today or contact us online to discuss your case with a free consultation.

FIRST OFFENDER PROGRAM

FIRST OFFENDER PROGRAM

If this is your first offense

you may be eligible for the First Offender program. This program may help you avoid a conviction and have your charges dismissed and possibly expunged from your record.

Meet Your Team

The prosecutor’s job is to convict you. Our job is to protect your rights

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get deferred prosecution for my DWI case in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, deferred prosecution is not an option available in your case. If you plead guilty to the charges, you will face some consequences, including jail time. Prosecutors will have to file charges against you and prosecute if you have been arrested for DWI, making it extremely important to have a lawyer.

Can police seize my vehicle if I am arrested for DWI?

Police could seize your vehicle if you were driving without a license because it was previously suspended for a DWI charge or if you were driving without insurance. Your vehicle can also be seized if you drive without a valid driver’s license. If you were arrested under normal circumstances, you could get your vehicle back after an arrest.

Do I have to submit to a breathalyzer test?

Yes. If you have a driver’s license in North Carolina, you give your implied consent to one of these tests when you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, your license will be automatically suspended for one year, regardless of whether you were over the legal limit.

Do I have to answer questions from the police?

A DWI arrest is like any other arrest. You will be read your rights and have the right to remain silent. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if law enforcement is trying to question you.

We’re with you every step of the way.

investigation

1
1

Arrest

Defendant is charged.
Bond is set after the arrest and can be reviewed at any court hearing.
2
2

first appearance

If convicted, the defendant will be sentenced by a judge.
3
3

Probable cause hearing

Felony cases only.
Possible Grand Jury indictment.
4
4

Trial

Misdemeanor cases are generally tried in District Court. Felonycases are presented in Superior Court.
5
5

Sentencing

If convicted, the defendant will be sentenced by a judge.
outcome

Entry of plea

Plea negotiations and guilty pleas can happen any time before a verdict.

CONSEQUENCES of a criminal conviction

Top-Rated Criminal Defense

Serving the GreensboroWinston-SalemLexingtonHigh Point Piedmont Triad Area

Here are the areas we serve and the criminal courts where your charges will be heard. The best thing you can do now is speak with a lawyer and get a free consultation.

Graystar Legal

Graystar Legal

  • 224 S. Cherry Street, Suite C
    Winston Salem, NC 27101
  • 336-715-7250

GOING TO COURT?

Did you get arrested? Facing criminal charges? Wondering if you’ll go to jail? Afraid of what happens next? Don’t go alone.

Let a lawyer guide you.
Davidson County Courthouse - Thomasville Branch

Davidson County Courthouse - Thomasville Branch

  • 22 Randolph St,
    Thomasville
    NC 27360

Davie County
Courthouse

  • 140 S Main St,
    Mocksville,
    NC 27028

Davidson County
Courthouse

  • 110 W Center St,
    Lexington,
    NC 27292

Forsyth County
Courthouse

  • 200 N Main St,
    Winston-Salem
    NC 27101

Guilford County
Courthouse

  • 201 S Eugene St,
    Greensboro,
    NC 27401
Guilford County Courthouse - High Point

Guilford County Courthouse - High Point

  • 201 S Eugene St,
    Greensboro,
    NC 27401