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Felony DUI

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Have You Been Charged with a Felony DWI?

Trust Our Raleigh DWI Attorney

Certain DWI offenses will be filed as a felony charge; these include cases in which the accused has multiple DWI convictions on record. The "look back" period in North Carolina is seven years, and the conviction could have taken place in any state. North Carolina laws require that felony charges are filed when a person (called a "habitual offender") is arrested for a fourth time within 10 years on a drunk driving offense. This felony offense will be punished by a minimum sentence of 1 year prison time and as long as 3 years, as well as $4,000 in fines, among other severe punishments.

The situation is dire for the accused, and it is imperative that the right legal action is taken on an immediate basis. Hiring a criminal lawyer should be your first action. Click here to contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC.

Two Types of Felony DWI Charges

Felony charges are filed if another person dies in an accident caused by a DWI driver or "felony death by motor vehicle"; this charge could also be filed as second degree murder. Any accident in which a person dies will be investigated by law enforcement to determine if one of the drivers was under the influence. Testing may occur at the police station or at the hospital, based upon the case and the injuries that may have been sustained. A felony DWI has a mandatory minimum sentence of one year, which cannot be reduced. Judges in Raleigh tend to be tough on habitual offenders, and the prison sentence can be much longer than a year--that is merely the minimum that you will serve if convicted.

Aggravated Level 1 DWI: Penalties

The laws in the state continue to increase penalties, including "Laura's Law" passed in 2011, in which a second time DWI charge could be filed as an aggravated Level 1 charge. A conviction will lead to a mandatory 1 year of incarceration in certain cases. Three types of issues are reviewed in determining the level of the charges, and whether Laura's Law will impact your case. These factors are the grossly aggravating factors, aggravating factors and mitigating factors.

Grossly aggravating factors that could lead to an aggravated Level 1 DWI include:

  • Prior conviction within 7 years
  • Operating vehicle after a driver's license revocation for another DWI
  • Serious injury has been the result of the actions of a DWI driver
  • Driving with a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle

Penalties for an aggravated Level 1 DWI include:

  • Prison Time (120 Days to 3 Years)
  • Up to $10,000 in Fines
  • Continuous Alcohol Monitoring
  • Increased Court Costs

Although this offense is a misdemeanor, it is the highest level of misdemeanor offense, and the penalties imposed are extreme. Habitual offenders are tried in Superior Court and face felony charges with extremely heavy consequences.

Defending a Felony DWI in Raleigh

If you are accused of a felony DWI, what are your options? You can plead guilty and take the punishment and suffer through at least one year of incarceration, as well as the challenges you will deal with as a convicted felon upon release.

There is also the option of fighting back!

You may believe that you have no hope of avoiding conviction. This is probably far from true. Every case has flaws, and it is up to our professional legal team to identify the best strategy for you. Perhaps you were not driving under the influence. Perhaps the testing unit was faulty, or the blood test taken in the hospital tested plasma and not the entire blood sample. There are many factors that could have gone wrong, and in fact, you may not have been the driver that caused the accident.

Once a driver is believed to have been operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the assumption of guilt becomes a real issue. We need to look at your case immediately, and engage in actions that could assist you, whether seeking an acquittal, fighting for a reduced charge, or a dismissal. You owe it to yourself to find out what could be done to defend you. We are ready to fight for our clients, and spend the long hours to craft a compelling case for the defense.

Contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC to benefit from our experienced defense!

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