Burke County DWI Lawyer

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Burke County DWI Attorney

Best Burke DWI Lawyer

Facing DUI/DWI charges is a stressful situation for anyone, and if you’re not prepared, it’s possible that severe penalties will follow. If you’ve been accused of the criminal offense of drunk/impaired driving, talk to a Burke County DWI lawyer as soon as you’re able.

At Cody Law Firm, our defense attorneys have represented numerous clients arrested for impaired driving and other traffic violations. We handle each case with the utmost care and work tirelessly to protect your rights.

Is There a Legal Difference Between a DWI and a DUI Charge in NC?

North Carolina law does not recognize any distinction between a DUI (driving under the influence) and driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI). Each state has its own statutes and definitions, so there are sometimes different terms for the same crime. In North Carolina, offenders will only be charged with a DWI, regardless of whether they are under the influence of alcohol or another impairing substance.

An individual may be charged with a DWI while driving and actively operating a vehicle or when they maintain physical power over a vehicle that is not moving. This means that if you are intoxicated while behind the wheel of a parked car, you may still be charged with a DWI violation.

To be charged with driving while impaired according to the law, you must be driving or have the immediate power to drive a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result of 0.08 percent or more, being under the influence of illegal substances or legal substances to a degree where your faculties are compromised, or having any trace of an NC Schedule I level drug in your system.

Drunk or Impaired Driving Charges: Sentencing Levels and Potential Punishment

North Carolina is particularly strict regarding DWI offenses and has a unique system of ranking such driving violations into levels that determine the appropriate punishment. Most DWI crimes are misdemeanors, but some factors can elevate the violation to a felony. These are the different levels, along with their criminal penalties:

  • Level one: This DWI ranking is the most severe and is applicable when there are two or more grossly aggravating factors present in the crime.Penalties include extensive fines, serving time in jail, drug and alcohol monitoring and treatment programs, and possible probation in exchange for a reduced sentence (serving the minimum jail time is still mandatory).
  • Level two: Level two DWIs must include one gross aggravating factor and are punishable by fines, drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, and a jail sentence to be decided by the judge.Jail may be suspended if the defendant consents to monitored sobriety for a period of months. If it’s the second offense in several years, community service is added to the penalties.
  • Levels three, four, and five: These lower-level DWIs generally don’t involve any grossly aggravating factors; the specific level is at the judge’s discretion based on the evaluation of mitigating and aggravating factors.Penalties include the payment of costly fines, as well as a jail sentence, but it can often be substituted for community service.
  • Underage offenders: For drivers under 21 who are convicted of a DWI, their crime is punishable by weeks of community service, paying a potentially high fine, potential treatment program completion, and possible license suspension until turning 21.

Punishment also often includes administrative penalties, such as a driver’s license suspension or permanent revocation. Often, the offender can petition for the reinstatement of their license or limited driving privileges after a few years. Many DWI cases will also result in the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) at the driver’s expense.


Q: Can I Get a DWI Dismissed in NC?

A: It is possible to get a DWI dismissed in Burke County, North Carolina, but it is difficult. In certain cases, charges may be dropped if the defense attorney is able to sufficiently prove that the evidence against the defendant was unlawfully obtained. For example, any proof acquired during an arrest that lacked probable cause would be rendered inadmissible in court.

Q: Will I Go to Jail for My First DWI in NC?

A: It is possible to be sentenced to jail time for a first-time DUI in North Carolina. If the crime resulted in severe damages, such as a death or significant property damage, jail is more likely to be included in the punishment. Otherwise, most first-time offenders are unlikely to spend an extended period in jail. The defendant may face relatively minimal time in jail or avoid imprisonment altogether through community service and other alternatives.

Q: How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in NC?

A: The length a DWI conviction will stay on your record in NC depends on the severity of the crime. Misdemeanor DWIs stay on your record for a duration of seven years, while a felony DWI will remain on your record for 10 years. It is impossible to expunge the record of a DWI, and subsequent convictions can be deemed aggravated if committed within the lookback period of a prior charge.

Q: Can You Appeal a DWI in NC?

A: Yes, you can appeal a DWI if you take the appropriate legal action within a certain time period after your conviction. Additionally, you only have the right to appeal if you did not plead guilty or enter into a plea agreement and if your trial was within district court.

When filing an appeal, your case starts over in a superior court with no influence from the initial trial. A DWI conviction within a superior court could result in harsher penalties than you faced previously.

Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney Experienced in DWI Arrests

It’s important to consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been accused of a DWI, even if you plan to plead guilty. At Cody Law Firm, our knowledgeable lawyers are familiar with managing cases at both the misdemeanor and felony levels. Schedule a meeting with a qualified legal professional to discuss your options and the first steps in building a strong defense.

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