If you’ve been found guilty of DWI by a judge or jury the next step will be to determine what kind of sentence you receive from the judge. In order to decide what sentence you get the judge or jury is required by law to consider the existence of certain “mitigating factors” before handing down the sentence.
Just what are mitigating factors? Mitigating factors are certain facts that may exist in your case which make your case less serious in the eyes of the law.
Not everything counts, though, as a mitigating factor. There’s actually a list of all the mitigating factors a judge may consider.
According to NC law, that list includes:
1) If your blood alcohol level was no more than a .09,
2) If you were charged with DWI without the availability of chemical analysis,
3) If your driving was safe and lawful other than your suspected impairment,
4) If your driving record doesn’t have any 4 point convictions within the last 5 years or any convictions that could’ve suspended your license within the last 5 years,
5) If your suspected impairment was due only to taking a prescription drug that you took within the recommended dose of your prescription,
6) If, after you were charged with DWI, checked yourself into a mental health facility for an assessment of your possible alcohol issues and followed through with any treatment,
6a) If you got a substance abuse assessment at some place other than in a mental health facility, followed through on any recommended treatment, and didn’t drink any alcohol for 60 straight days as shown by wearing a special device to detect alcohol in your system,
7) Any other miscellaneous facts that would show your DWI to be less serious.
In the event you are convicted of DWI it is important that as many of these factors be presented to the judge or jury at your sentencing. These factors are what give the judge the ability to reduce your sentence as low as possible. Without a lawyer who knows the mitigating factors and how to present them to a judge or jury at your sentencing, the judge will have no ability to reduce your sentence.
In fact, in the event that the judge or jury finds that your case has certain “aggravating factors” your sentence may be increased without any mitigating factors to balance out the aggravating ones. To learn more about aggravating factors and grossly aggravating factors see the blog posts on this site titled “What Are The Aggravating Factors For A DWI?” and “What Are The Grossly Aggravating Factors For A DWI?”.
If you’ve been charged with DWI and have questions similar to these the best thing you can do is hire a former DWI prosecutor. As a former DWI prosecutor I know the answers to your questions and the inside legal knowledge to help you win your case. I’m available 24 hours a day/365 days a year to take your call. My number is (919) 886-7506.