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Getting a DWI, or DUI as it’s sometimes called, in North Carolina is a pretty serious deal. You could very well lose your license, and the fines and fees can be pretty high. Add on the increased insurance premiums and the costs of a DWI class, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars out of your pocket. Without an experienced DWI lawyer, you could even spend some considerable time in jail. While a first offense DUI can be expensive and restrict or revoke your driving privileges, repeat DUI charges can compound the fines and the amount of time you may have to spend in jail.

While you certainly could represent yourself, the seriousness of a DWI makes it nearly impossible to minimize the costs and keep your license without having a DUI attorney to represent you. If you are a repeat offender or there are other aggravating factors such as speeding or underage alcohol possession, you could be in for a life-changing situation. Sentencing procedures are complex and include five levels (five being the least severe) for each offense. Here are the minimum penalties for a DWI conviction in North Carolina:

First offense. Minimum jail time is 24 hours, but if three or more aggravating factors are present, you could be looking at a minimum of 1 year in jail. The least you would pay would be $200, but, again, aggravating factors can make that go up considerably. You will lose your license for at least 60 days, but you could end up losing it for a year.

Second offense. Minimum jail time is four days, but aggravating factors could result in a one-year term. The fines and penalties will be determined based on what level you are charged with and could be significantly more than a first offense. You will lose your license for at least a year, but you could lose it for up to 4 years if your first offense was within the last three years.

Third offense. Just like first and second offenses, aggravating factors could put you in jail for a minimum of 1 year, but even without those factors, you will be looking at 14-30 days or up to 2 years. Just like a second offense, the fines and penalties will be based on the level. You will lose your license for at least a year, but you could have your license permanently revoked if your second offense was within the last five years.

Hopefully, that’s enough to convince almost anyone that going into court for a DWI without a DWI attorney is risky business. If you’re lucky enough to be in Charlotte, NC, you have the Jason Reece Law Firm ready to help you if you get a DWI by using their years of experience and know-how.