DWI Charges With A Minor Passenger In The Vehicle

   When charged with DWI in NC, if you are convicted, your sentence will be determined by weighing a balance of Grossly Aggravating, Aggravating, and Mitigating factors. Grossly Aggravating factors are much worse than Aggravating factors, and one Grossly Aggravating factor, if proven, will propel your sentence immediately to at least a Level 2, with 7 days in jail as a mandatory minimum. One Grossly Aggravating factor with DWI that is a little different/worse in NC is having a minor passenger, under age 18, in the vehicle at the commission of the offense. This same factor also applies to individuals with the mental capacity of a person below age 18, or a person physically unable to exit the vehicle unaided. 

   Usually one Grossly Aggravating Factor, as mentioned before, propels you to Level 2 for sentencing. As you may know, the lower the DWI level number, the higher the punishment. But with a Grossly Aggravating factor of a minor in the vehicle, your sentence level catapults instantly to a Level 1. This means that if you're convicted, and this particular Grossly Aggravating factor is proven, you must serve 30 days minimum active jail time, and pay fines of up to $4000. You are actually exposed as a level one to up to 2 years in prison. Not to mention, you will not be eligible for limited driving privileges. 

  This just goes to show how serious DWI in NC can get, even on the first offense. You could actually be facing years in prison, with a completely clean record otherwise. If you've been charged with DWI in Asheville, NC or surrounding Western NC Areas, call an Asheville DWI Lawyer now!