Generally a DWI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, however there are also felony level DWI charges.
A misdemeanor DWI has very specific types and levels of punishment. If one is convicted of a misdemeanor DWI the sentencing levels range from A1 (most severe) down to Level 5 (least severe).
To give a sense of the ranges of sentencing, a person sentenced at an A1 level would be subject to a minimum of 12 months active jail time plus fines and costs of court.
A person sentenced at Level 5 could receive a 60 day jail sentence suspended (meaning no actual time spent in jail) and be subject to supervised or unsupervised probation plus fines and costs of court.
If convicted, determining the appropriate sentencing level is guided by legally defined factors. Factors are classified as grossly aggravating, aggravating, and mitigating.
For example, if three grossly aggravating factors are present an A1 sentence would be imposed upon conviction.
Alternatively, if the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors, a Level 5 punishment would be imposed upon conviction.
DWI offenses are complex. The above is a very general overview of only one aspect of a misdemeanor DWI offense. However, defending against a DWI charge can encompass everything from constitutional law to the scientific sufficiency of the field sobriety test given by the police officer. Contact our office for an initial consultation on an alleged DWI offense.
Established in Sylva in 1951, Coward, Hicks and Siler, P.A. is one of the most broadly-respected firms in Western North Carolina, and now offers the talents of seven attorneys in four locations: Asheville, Sylva, Cashiers and Franklin. They offer general practice in all courts, including trials, eminent domain, personal injury, probate, estate planning, real estate, corporations, family law, and a limited criminal traffic defense practice.