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Do I Need a Lawyer for a DWI Charge in North Carolina?

If you’ve been charged with a DWI in the state of North Carolina, you’re probably anxious to learn the next steps. You have the right to represent yourself in court but the truth is, the penalties for a DWI charge are pretty harsh. To put it simply, yes, you should always speak to a lawyer when charged with a DWI. Let’s go over the reasons why you’ll need an attorney for a DWI charge and how we can help you make the process go smoothly. police car

Should I Speak to an Attorney?

It’s always worth speaking to a lawyer to help you understand your charges and the penalties you are facing. Your attorney can help find possible defenses whereby you may not be found guilty, and/or lessen your penalties. Meaning, even if you are found guilty, your lawyer can present mitigatory factors to get you the lowest sentencing level possible. 

A DWI conviction, even your first one will result in the suspension of your drivers’ license. Your attorney will present the documentation required to obtain a liberal limited driving privilege, and guide you through that process. 

How Much Will it Cost? 

Attorneys’ pricing varies from practice to practice and by region, and you can usually find one that will offer you a free consultation or one that involves only a small fee. Paying for your attorney may result in a not guilty verdict or a lesser charge conviction and should give you peace of mind. If you aren’t certain that you’ll be able to afford an attorney for your DWI, many practices offer payment plans where you are able to pay it off over time. Speak to your attorney about pricing and payment options during the consultation.

What Happens? 

As we mentioned earlier, consequences for your DWI will be different depending on if it’s your first offense, where you live, and who you hire as your attorney. Hiring an attorney that is experienced in DWIs in your state is your best bet at getting lower-level penalties for your charge. But even with a top-notch attorney, you could still face harsh consequences. In North Carolina, DWI misdemeanor charges range from Level V to Level I, with Level I being the harshest. A Level I DWI can be punishable with a fine of up to $4000 and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of 2 years. For those with 3 prior DWI convictions in the past 7 years, a new one results in a more severe felony. 

If you’ve been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, speak to our team of experienced lawyers at Kelly & West. We are here to help you through this tough process.

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