Do I Need a DWI Lawyer in North Carolina?

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “How can an attorney help me with my DWI?”


DWI, driving while impaired, is a charge that you should take seriously. Law enforcement will not turn a blind eye to someone who is driving while under the influence. A police officer can stop you, assess your condition, and arrest you on DWI charges. Some people think they can defend themselves against DWI charges, but that could result in less than favorable results. The laws are complex and therefore it is usually in your best interest to hire a DWI lawyer to assist you through the process. You certainly do not want to face the harsh penalties that are possible with a DWI conviction.


wine-and-glasses-Charlotte-Monroe-Statesville-DWI-Lawyer-284x300DWI Penalties


A DWI conviction could impact your life for years to come. If you are convicted of DWI, you could face a multitude of penalties including fines, jail time, community service, alcohol education, probation, and more. In addition, the conviction could cause hardships with your employment, education, ability to get car insurance and relationships. There are five levels of misdemeanor DWI ranging from level I to level V. Level V is the lowest level and level I is the highest based on various factors such as BAC level and number of prior DWI convictions, among others.


  • Level V – Jail sentence ranging from 24 hours to 60 days and a fine of up to $200. The judge has discretion to reduce jail time and include some hours of community service and not operate a motor vehicle for 30 days.
  • Level IV – Jail sentence of 48 hours to 120 days and a fine of up to $500. The judge can reduce your sentence in exchange for 48 hours in jail and 48 hours of community service as well as not to operate a motor vehicle for 60 days.
  • Level III – Jail sentence of 72 hours to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. The judge can suspend the sentence with 72 hours in jail and 72 hours of community service and not operating a motor vehicle for 90 days.
  • Level II – Jail sentence of one week up to one year and a fine up to $2,000. The judge is not allowed to suspend or reduce the sentence.
  • Level I – Level I is for repeat offenders, those who transported children while DWI, those involved in serious crashes where someone was hurt, and others. The jail sentence is 30 days to two years and a fine of up to $4,000. The judge cannot suspend the sentence.
  • Felony DWI – DWI may be charged as a felony in special circumstances. For example, habitual offenders with three prior DWI convictions in the last 3 years will be subject to felony charges. Felony DWI penalties require a minimum of one year in prison and must attend a substance abuse program.


Will My First DWI Charge be Dismissed?


A common misconception is that if you are a first time offender you will get off without any penalties and your case will be dismissed. Unfortunately, this is by no means a forgone conclusion one should assume when facing any charges. The state will prosecute your case regardless of whether you have previous convictions or not. A DWI conviction, even if it is your first, will cause harm to your record. In addition to the penalties prescribed by the court, the conviction could have a lasting negative impact on your life.


Defending DWI Charges


DWI laws and charges are complex. An experienced DWI attorney understands the current laws and how to put forward the best defense. There are some options when it comes to defending your DWI case, however, explaining these options and how they relate to the unique circumstances of your case are best left to your attorney. Your lawyer will gather the relevant information and review the details of the case. In some instances, you could challenge the breathalyzer machine, implementation, or results. When evidence is not gathered legally, it cannot be used in court. Your attorney will fight to defend you at every step and will try to reduce or eliminate charges.


If you were charged with DWI it is critical to talk to an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. Contact our skilled legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to discuss the details of your case with a consultation.


For years, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have been helping defendants in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina build a solid case before going to trial. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for experienced insight you can trust. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.




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