Driving While Impaired Giving Your Case the Attention it Deserves

Raleigh DWI Lawyer Serving North Carolina

Litigating cases in Alamance, Durham, Granville, Franklin, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren Counties”

A DWI arrest can be a frightening and embarrassing experience. It is often the first encounter people have with the criminal justice system. This causes confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty. 

At Scheuring Law, PLLC, we understand your stress. We are here to give you the dedicated legal and personal support you need to get through this challenging time in your life. Our firm has experience representing all kinds of people of all ages, occupations, and income levels facing DWI charges. We have more than a decade of experience advocating on behalf of clients both through negotiation with prosecutors as well as before judges in court. We can put that valuable experience to work for you.

Charged with a DWI? Contact Scheuring Law, PLLC online or at (919) 944-8100 to schedule a free consultation.

Why you should hire Scheuring Law, PLLC:

  • Dedicated solo lawyer with over a decade of experience. 
  • Former ethics and compliance counsel for one of the largest traffic firms in the state.
  • Direct access to your lawyer with phone calls returned within 24 hours.
  • Over 50 5-star reviews on Avvo.

Client Experiences with Scheuring Law, PLLC

  • Grant is so professional and such a people person that it’s easy to talk to him! He is always a call away willing to help me in any question I have.

    “Not only did he help me with a traffic violation but is also helping me through a very personal process! He is kind and always there to help me.”

    Former Client
  • After talking with you, I felt much calmer and assured we were in good hands.

    “After talking with you, I felt much calmer and assured we were in good hands.”

    Former Client
  • Grant was the only one who picked up the phone and is one of the most professional attorneys I have worked with.

    “He is very knowledgeable and organized. Would highly recommend.”

    Former Client

DWI in North Carolina

Driving While Impaired in North Carolina is defined as:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measuring .08 percent or higher;
  • Driving while your mental and physical faculties are appreciably impaired;
  • Driving with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in your system.

Remember, just because you have been charged with a DWI does not mean that you will be convicted.  As an accused in our criminal justice system, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  It is the state’s burden to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.  In preparing your defense, we will explore all viable options you have to fight your charge.  Some of the different issues we will explore include whether the state can prove you were driving, whether the officer had a valid reason to pull you over, whether there was probable cause that you were impaired, whether the field sobriety tests were administered properly, among other things. 

DWI is one of the most complicated areas of law to practice.  It requires a mastery of DMV regulations, caselaw, as well as scientific principles and technology.  You will need an experienced lawyer who is fully-versed in all aspects of DWI, who can fully investigate all these aspects, and who can build effective defenses based on the details of your situation. 

Ready to Discuss Your Case with Our Experienced Attorney? Contact Us Today.

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Sentencing:

In North Carolina, there are six (6) different sentencing levels for a DWI—the least serious being a level 5 and the most serious being an Aggravated Level 1.  Please see our resources section for a quick reference guide to DWI sentencing. 

What level you will be for sentencing depends on what factors are present for your case.  There are three (3) types of factors that the judge will consider in determining your level for sentencing: mitigating factors, aggravating factors, and grossly aggravating factors. 

Mitigating factors are things about your case that make it less serious.  Aggravating factors are things about your case that make it more serious.  Grossly aggravating factors are very serious things about your case that require mandatory jail time. 

However, even if your case carries mandatory jail time, you can often reduce or in some cases completely offset your jail time with in-patient treatment or a verified period of sobriety using the continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet (SCRAM).  For further information about these providers, please see our resource section. 

Here is a list of some of the most common factors for sentencing:

GROSSLY AGGRAVATING FACTORS:

  • PRIOR DWI CONVICTION WITHIN 7 YEARS
  • LICENSE REVOKED FOR DWI AT TIME OF OFFENSE
  • SERIOUS INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON CAUSED BY IMPAIRED DRIVING AT TIME OF OFFENSE
  • PASSENGER UNDER AGE OF 18 AT TIME OF OFFENSE

AGGRAVATING FACTORS:

  • GROSS IMPAIRMENT
  • BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT OF 0.15 OR MORE
  • ESPECIALLY RECKLESS/DANGEROUS DRIVING
  • NEGLIGENT DRIVING THAT LED TO AN ACCIDENT
  • DRVING WHILE LICENSE IS REVOKED (NOT IMPAIRED)
  • UNSAFE DRIVING HISTORY OR PRIOR DWI BUT OUTSIDE 7 YEARS
  • CONVICTION OF SPEEDING 30+MPH OVER SPEED LIMIT
  • PASSING STOPPED SCHOOL BUS
  • ANY OTHER FACTOR THAT AGGRAVATES THE OFFENSE

MITIGATING FACTORS:

  • SLIGHT IMPAIRMENT SOELY FROM ALCOHOL AND BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT DID NOT EXCEED 0.09
  • SAFE AND LAWFUL DRIVING, OTHER THAN IMPAIRMENT
  • SAFE DRIVING RECORD
  • OBTAIN SUBSTANCE ABUSE ASSESSMENT AND ENROLL IN TREATMENT 
  • COMPLETING 60 DAYS OF CONTINUOUS ABSTINENCE FROM ALCOHOL (SCRAM DEVICE) 
  • ANY OTHER FACTOR THAT MITIGATES THE OFFENSE

Here is a list of the different levels and their maximum punishments and fines:

(For DWI Offenses Committed On or After 12/01/2011)

AGGRAVATED LEVEL 1 (3+ GROSSLY AGGRAVATING FACTORS)

MINIMUM 120 DAYS – MAXIMUM 3 YEARS (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $10,000

LEVEL 1 (2 GROSSLY AGGRAVATING FACTORS)

MINIMUM 30 DAYS – MAXIMUM 2 YEARS (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $4,000

LEVEL 2 (1 GROSSLY AGGRAVATING FACTORS)

MINIMUM 7 DAYS – MAXIMUM 1 YEAR (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $2,000

LEVEL 3 (AGGRAVATING FACTORS OUTWEIGH MITIGATING FACTORS)

MINIMUM 72 HOURS (COMMUNITY SERVICE /JAIL) – MAXIMUM 6 MONTHS (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $1,000

LEVEL 4 (AGGRAVATING FACTORS COUNTERBALANCE MITIGATING FACTORS)

MINIMUM 48 HOURS (COMMUNITY SERVICE /JAIL) – MAXIMUM 120 DAYS (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $500

LEVEL 5 (MITIGATING FACTORS OUTWEIGH AGG. FACTORS)

MINIMUM 24 HOURS (COMMUNITY SERVICE /JAIL) – MAXIMUM 60 DAYS (JAIL) / FINE UP TO $200

Substance Abuse Assessment

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your defense for a DWI is to obtain a substance abuse assessment and to comply with recommended treatment.  This is true regardless of whether you are going to plead guilty or go to trial.  Please note, if you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, you must complete this requirement in order to get your license reinstated.  The assessment also expires, so make sure that when you obtain it, you enroll in treatment, otherwise, you will be required to pay for a whole new assessment and start the process all over again. 

Limited Driving Privilege:

A limited driving privilege is an order from a judge, allowing you to drive in a limited capacity during your revocation period.  Your driving privilege will be limited in terms of geographic scope (where you can drive in NC), time (when you can drive), and purpose (why you can drive). While driving with a limited driving privilege, you cannot have any alcohol in your system whatsoever and you must carry a copy of your limited driving privilege with you at all times. 

Failure to adhere to these restrictions could result in you being charged with Driving While License Revoked (Impaired). 

The standard hours of operation that you will be permitted to drive are Monday – Friday, 6AM to 8PM. This can include for work, school, or maintenance of the household (buying groceries, picking up your children from school, etc.), among other reasons.  If you need to drive outside those standard hours, you must provide us with a letter from your employer confirming the days and times that you work.  It is also advised that you carry a current copy of your work schedule to provide an officer if you were to be pulled over. 

There are essentially two (2) kinds of limited driving privileges for DWI’s: a pre-trial limited driving privilege and a post-trial limited driving privilege. 

Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege:

When you are arrested for DWI and have provided a blood alcohol content sample of .08 or higher, the state will commonly issue you a 30-day civil revocation.  If you are otherwise eligible, you can petition the court for a pre-trial limited driving privilege after serving out a ten (10) day waiting period for your 30-day civil revocation.  This privilege is only good for the remaining twenty (20) days of your 30-day civil revocation. 

To petition the court for a pre-trial limited driving privilege, you must provide us with the following documentation:

  1. Copy of Substance Abuse Assessment (see our resources section for a list of providers in your area);
  2. DL-123 form (proof of auto-insurance);
  3. Current Driving Record;
  4. Letter from employer confirming work days and hours;
  5. $100 money order or certified check for filing fee. 

Assuming you were issued a 30-day civil revocation, on the 30th day of your revocation, you will need to go to the clerk of court’s office in the county where you were charged, pay the clerk an additional $100 for your civil revocation fee, and sign an acknowledgment.  Your license will then be returned to you.  Out of an abundance of caution, you should call the DMV’s automated system (919-715-7000) to verify that your license is active before you drive.  If the status of your license is “suspended,” you cannot drive. 

Post Trial Limited Driving Privilege:

Having a conviction for a DWI will result in a mandatory suspension of your NC driving privilege. However, if you’re eligible, we can petition the court for a limited driving privilege, so you can drive during your revocation period.  For most first-time offenders sentenced as a level 3, 4, or 5, your revocation period will likely be one (1) year. 

Please note, one of the many requirements for a limited driving privilege is that you must be sentenced as a level 3, 4, or 5.  If you are sentenced as a level 2 or lower, you are not eligible for a limited driving privilege or any kind and cannot drive during your revocation period.  The only exception to this would be if you were to have a DMV hearing for a conditional reinstatement.  This is only possible after a waiting period without driving. 

To petition the court for a post-trial limited driving privilege, you must provide us with the following documentation:

  1. Copy of Substance Abuse Assessment (see our resources section for a list of providers in your area);
  2. DL-123 form (proof of auto-insurance);
  3. Current Driving Record;
  4. Letter from employer confirming work days and hours;
  5. $100 money order or certified check for filing fee. 

Following your revocation period, you must pay a reinstatement fee to the DMV to get your license back.  Please see our FAQ and resources page for further instructions. 

Driving While License Revoked (Impaired):

If you unlawfully drive during your revocation period, you could be charged with Driving While License Revoked (Impaired), a class 1 misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of 120 days in jail.  Not only could you be placed on supervised probation or go to jail, but a conviction for Driving While License Revoked (Impaired) will further suspend your license so you’ll have to wait even longer to get it back.  By statute, it also carries a 195% increase in insurance over a three (3) year period.  It might even result in a probation violation of your suspended sentence for your DWI charge, if applicable. 

Insurance Increase:

The statutes and regulations provide that a DWI carries 12 NC driver’s license points and 12 NC insurance points—a 340% increase in insurance rates over a three (3) year period.  For a full evaluation of your insurance rates, you must speak with an adjustor for your policy. 

  1. Grant has Over a decade of legal experience
  2. receive dedicated support throughout your entire case from grant, Not assistants or paralegals
  3. High Quality Representation and access to a lawyer who cares about your case
  4. A former Ethics and Compliance Council for a former large North Carolina Firm
Grant S. Scheuring Attorney at Law

Grant is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Elon University School of Law. He is an attorney that cares about his clients and understands that everyone wants to be heard and respected. Grant focuses his practice on litigating misdemeanors, lower level felonies, DWI’s, and traffic offenses. When calling his firm, you will always speak with an attorney and someone that can help. Call now for a free consultation.

BAR ADMISSION:

North Carolina (2011)

Grant S. Scheuring
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