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 “aggravating factors” before handing down the sentence.
Just what are aggravating factors? Aggravating factors are certain facts that may exist in your case which make your case more serious in the eyes of the law.
Not everything counts, though, as a aggravating factor. There’s actually a list of all the mitigating factors a judge or jury may consider.
According to NC law, that list includes:
1) If you had an especially high blood alcohol level greater than 0.15,
2) If your driving was especially reckless or dangerous,
3) If your bad driving caused an accident causing at least $1,000 in property damage or caused a person’s injury or death,
4) If your driver’s license was revoked for something other than a DWI at time you were charged with the current DWI,
5a) If you have at least
two 3 point convictions of a motor vehicle offense (other than for a DWI) within the last 5 years, or
two convictions (other than for a DWI) within the last 5 years that would allow the DMV to suspend your license, or
one of each of the above within the last 5 years.
5b) If you have one or more DWI convictions more than seven years before the date of the current DWI charge,
6) If you have a conviction for speeding while fleeing or attempting to elude apprehension,
7) If you have a conviction for speeding at least 30 mph over the limit,
8) If you passed a stopped school bus during your alleged DWI,
9) If there are any other factors that makes the case more serious.
In the event you are convicted of DWI it is up to the prosecutor to prove to the judge or jury at your sentencing that any of these factors apply to your case. These factors are what give the judge the ability to increase your sentence.
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 grossly aggravating factors and mitigating factors see the blog posts on this site titled “What Are The Grossly Aggravating Factors For a DWI?” and “What Are The Mitigating 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.