First Steps After Receiving a DWI
Driving While Impaired charges in North Carolina can have severe, lasting repercussions. What you do in the days after the charge can help limit these repercussions. There are several guides on what you should do if you are pulled over or investigated for DWI, but I'm focusing on what to do after.
Pre-Trial PrivilegeIf you were charged with DWI, and blew over 0.08, your license is likely revoked for 30 days due to an automatic civil revocation. At the end of thirty days, you can pay the $100 fee to the Clerk of Court and your license will be returned. It is possible to get a limited driving privilege after the first 10 days, that will allow you to drive for until the end of the civil revocation. If you are interested in getting this privilege, you should schedule a Substance Abuse Assessment as soon as possible. Before granting the pre-trial privilege, you or your attorney must show the judge a copy of your assessment and proof of liability insurance (a form called a DL-123). Usually, you can schedule an assessment within a couple days. Once you have the assessment and documentation, you can file for the limited privilege with the Clerk of Court.
Mitigating StepsAs soon as you are able, you should write down everything you remember about the traffic stop and everything that happened until you were released from custody. Because most DWI's involve some consumption of alcohol or other substances, it stands to reason your memory of the events may be a little cloudy. Writing out what you remember will help your attorney evaluate the facts presented by the charging officer.
Mitigating FactorsIf you are found guilty of DWI, the judge will ask for any mitigating factors at sentencing. While we hope we never get to sentencing, it is important to prepare. Getting a substance abuse assessment and complying with any recommended treatment is an important mitigating factor. So much so, that failing to get an assessment before sentencing doesn't look good to the judge. Additionally, the assessment is one of the few mitigating factors you can control after you are charged. Everything else, like having a statutorily safe driving record, safe and lawful driving other than being impaired, and low levels of impairment, are usually set in stone after you are charged.
Contact an Attorney!DWI's are serious charges. A conviction in North Carolina will revoke your license for at least a year and cause your insurance rates to skyrocket. That's on top of hundreds of dollars in fines and fees. Laws surrounding DWI's are also complex. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help minimize any punishments and insure you get the best outcome possible.