4 Tips for a First-Time DWI Offense
Driving while under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are one legal battle that no one ever wants to be faced with. If you have never been charged with a DWI before and suddenly find yourself in this situation, you are likely feeling overwhelmed about the best way to proceed. Here are four tips for those facing a first-time DWI offense so you can be sure you are doing the most to get your life back on track.
1. Learn About DWIs
DWIs in North Carolina involve driving a vehicle after using an impairing substance, with a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, or with a controlled substance like opiates. Various factors around the circumstances of a DWI affect the sentencing for it, which can result in heavy fines, time in prison or mandatory community service or participation in a drug or alcohol treatment program.
If this is your first time DWI offense, you probably don’t know much about how DWIs are treated in North Carolina. You would serve yourself by learning more about North Carolina’s laws and how they might affect you.
2. Consider a Plea Bargain
In many cases, you will resolve your first DWI offense through a plea bargain rather than contesting it in court. A plea bargain is a compromise that lessens your charges, usually in exchange for a plea of guilty or no contest. Prosecutors will often offer plea bargains if the prosecution believes proving its case will be difficult, or simply to move the case along with less time and effort.
If something comes up during court proceedings, for example if the arresting officer is not available, your attorney will often attempt to obtain a more favorable plea deal. Otherwise, plea bargains will usually be presented at the beginning of court proceedings to expedite the process. Your goal should be to reduce your charge to at least reckless driving, known in some states as a wet reckless.
3. Complete Probation
Probation is a common punishment for first time DWI offenders. During probation, your license may be suspended and you may be monitored with devices that record your BAC. Ankle bracelets that monitor BAC and breathalyzer vehicle ignition systems are two such devices designed to limit your drinking during probation.
Defendants on probation for a DWI may be subject to random drug testing. You will also need to keep your criminal record clean during your probation to avoid violating. Fines are another part of DWI probation, as you may be required to pay for your DWI education classes, fees for using the monitoring devices, and more. Finally, you can expect to see an increase in your insurance premiums due to your DWI.
4. Avoid a License Suspension
You will likely be required to attend an administrative license suspension hearing after a DWI. This hearing is separate from the criminal case, so you will still need to attend these hearings to avoid losing your license even if you are not convicted.
The administrative suspension hearing is your best shot to prevent a suspended license after a DWI case. You are most likely to be successful if you gather as much relevant information as possible regarding your arrest. Paperwork errors and other errors made by the arresting officer could result in you keeping your license if you show evidence of these problems during the hearing.
A DWI case doesn’t have to be the end of your driving career, and with the right response, you may even be able to get your first DWI expunged. Keep these tips in mind if you are faced with a DWI charge, and contact Carl L Britt, Jr Attorney at Law so our experienced attorneys can help you!