Carteret County Felony DWI Attorneys
When Is a DWI a Felony in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, a person commits a DWI when they operate a vehicle on a public road while impaired by a substance, such as alcohol or drugs. A person is considered impaired when their normal faculties are compromised because of the ingestion of the substance.
Aside from being under the influence of an impairing substance, a person can also get a DWI if they operate a vehicle while their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher.
In most cases, a first, second, or third DWI is a misdemeanor. Yet, under certain circumstances, a DWI in North Carolina is a felony.
A person can be charged with felony driving while impaired if they are considered a Habitual DWI offender under G.S. § 20-138.5.
According to the statute, a person is a Habitual DWI offender if they:
- Are charged with driving while impaired, and
- They have three or more prior DWI convictions within 10 years of the current violation.
A person can also be charged with felony DWI if they unintentionally cause death or serious injury to another person as a result of impaired driving. The offense is a felony regardless of whether it’s a person’s first or subsequent violation.
Depending on the situation, the possible charges under G.S. § 20-141.4 are as follows:
- Felony death by vehicle
- Felony serious injury by vehicle
- Aggravated serious injury by vehicle (the driver has a prior DWI conviction within the past 7 years)
- Aggravated felony death by vehicle (the driver has a prior DWI conviction within the past 7 years)
Our Carteret County felony DWI lawyer knows that swift and aggressive action is needed when a client is facing serious charges. That is why we get started on building a defense right away. We employ a strategic approach informed by Attorney Joe Kennedy’s experience as a former prosecutor.
What Are the Punishments for a Felony DWI in North Carolina?
The potential penalties a judge may impose upon a DWI conviction depend on the facts of the case.
If a person has allegedly committed a fourth or subsequent offense, they will be charged with a Class F felony. They may be subject to the following:
- Minimum of 41 months in prison, with an active term of 12 months
- The prison sentence cannot be suspended
- Permanent driver’s license revocation
- Completion of a substance abuse program
The individual’s vehicle may also be forfeited. This means that the government can take control and ownership of the vehicle and sell it. Forfeiture happens in cases where the person is found guilty of DWI, and they were driving while their driver’s license was revoked, or they were driving without a valid driver’s license or insurance. Note that the person’s vehicle may be seized at the time of the arrest and not only after the case has concluded.
For DWIs causing death or serious injury, the minimum prison terms include the following:
- Felony death by vehicle (Class D felony): 38 to 160 months
- Felony serious injury by vehicle (Class F felony): 10 to 41 months
- Aggravated serious injury by vehicle (Class E felony): 15 to 63 months
- Aggravated felony death by vehicle (Class D felony): 64 to 160 months – the defendant is sentenced according to the appropriate prior record level
When you choose Cummings & Kennedy Law Firm, PLLC for your defense, you will have a champion fighting hard for you. Our felony DWI attorney in Carteret County will examine your case from all angles and determine a course of action for your unique situation.
Fight Your Felony DWI Charged with the Help of a Skilled Defense Lawyer
Driving while impaired cases are complex, and every detail matters. That is why our team will diligently review the facts. During our relentless search for information, we can identify whether our client’s rights were violated at the time of the stop or arrest, or whether any external factors affected the results of field sobriety or chemical tests. Allow us to analyze your case to determine what defenses can be raised.
For the most part, a DWI is a misdemeanor in North Carolina. However, if certain factors were present at the time of the offense, it could be a felony. In that case, the severity of the penalties increases, potentially resulting in years in state prison. Still, a DWI accusation is not a conviction, meaning that just because you have been charged does not mean you are definitely going to face maximum penalties. You have the right to challenge the allegations and seek to avoid or minimize the life-altering consequences of a DWI conviction. You also have the right to have an attorney help you through your case.
At Cummings & Kennedy Law Firm, PLLC, our Carteret County felony DWI lawyer is ready to be your zealous advocate. Throughout our years of practice, our criminal defense firm has handled thousands of driving while impaired matters and has obtained favorable results for our clients. Although past victories do not guarantee future successes, our track record speaks to our familiarity with North Carolina’s criminal justice system and laws. We work diligently to protect the rights and futures of the people we help. We are prepared to pursue an optimal outcome on your behalf.
“Really a life saver. 11/10 would recommend these people, and Mrs. Coletta stayed very responsive and true to her word and knowledge on anything I could think of to ask.”
“Everyone in this firm are exceptional at their job and make sure justice is delivered in any way possible. Very kind, helpful group that will get you through any tough time you are facing. Definitely worth a call if nothing else.
“Mr. Kennedy was an excellent representative and very professional in all our interactions. He kept a solid line of communication and worked with me to help me achieve the best outcome in my case in Carteret County. I would definitely recommend.
“Joe and his team are excellent and affordable! Dismissal of all charges was the only option ever discussed and Joe delivered. We couldn't be happier with our outcome. If you're having legal problems these are the people to call.
“From the beginning the paralegal or secretary was cheerful, helpful, quick and made this as efficient as possible!!!! Thank you ,thank you! Didn’t even have to go to court paid over the phone thank you so much!”
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