5 Ways You Can Make a DWI Worse in Wilmington

Written by Thom Goolsby

DUI, DWI, Traffic

When you see the lights flashing and realize you are being pulled over for drunk driving in North Carolina, you may be overcome with feelings of dread and regret. You are probably aware of the severe penalties if you are convicted for Driving While Impaired (DWI), so being upset is understandable. Still, however frustrated you may be, it is important you refrain from certain actions during your encounter with the police. You are only placing your rights at risk, and you could seriously damage your case, potentially making a relatively straightforward DWI charge in Wilmington far worse than necessary.

At Goolsby Law Firm, we approach DWI cases from the fundamental legal concept that an arrest does not equal a conviction. You will have the opportunity to fight the charges, challenge the stop, the probable cause for the arrest and the breathalyzer result in order to pursue a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. These are the reasons why we dedicate extensive skills and effort to developing a solid defense strategy.

Instead of making your DWI worse, please contact our Wilmington office to schedule a no-cost consultation with an experienced and highly successful attorney. Call (910) 763–3339, send a text, or our online contact form. We’ll be in touch to discuss how we can help.

How People Make a DWI Worse

When dealing with a DWI, it is essential to remember that your lawyer’s ability to secure a favorable result on your behalf will be linked to your conduct during the encounter and not to exacerbate the situation. This is why you should keep the following points in mind.

1. Being Rude and Disrespectful:

You will get off on the wrong foot right away if you are impolite, disparaging or insulting toward the officer(s) who stop you. Police are human. They don’t appreciate being treated with disrespect. If they lose patience with your rude behavior, the officer(s) will probably respond in kind with an immediate arrest. You might even accumulate multiple charges for resisting, hindering or delaying. Instead, be polite and comply with all reasonable orders.

2. Revealing Too Much:

Being polite does NOT mean you should be conversational with the police during the stop. What may seem like harmless chit-chat may actually be the officer’s way of getting you to admit you have been drinking. You might be charged with DWI in Wilmington if you provide suspicious answers to such questions as:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • What have you been up to today?
  • How long have you been driving today?

You should decline to answer these and any related questions since your statements could incriminate you. Inform the police that you would like to exercise your right to remain silent.

3. Engaging in Aggravating Conduct:

Certain circumstances could automatically make a DWI worse, even for a first-time DWI offense. North Carolina’s drunk driving laws designate different levels for DWI cases, and the presence of aggravating factors will increase the severity of the charges. Examples include:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or higher;
  • Engaging in reckless driving while impaired;
  • Prior convictions for DWI;
  • Being involved in an accident while driving impaired; and,
  • Speeding more than 30 miles per hour over the posted limit.

4. Misunderstanding Your Rights:

If you refuse to blow or submit to chemical testing to assess your BAC, you trigger the state’s implied consent statute. This law requires all motorists to take a blood, breath, or urine test if properly requested by police, as a condition to holding a driver’s license. On its own, a refusal results in a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. If you’re ultimately convicted on DWI charges, this punishment is in addition to the penalties you face for violating DWI laws.

5. Attempting to Represent Yourself:

One of the worst things you can do in a DWI case is to try to go it alone in fighting the charges. Without a legal background, you do not have the essential knowledge and experience to mount a proper defense. In cases where it may be possible to negotiate a plea to resolve your case, you may not understand the full implications of the agreement and how it affects your life. Instead of putting your rights at risk, you should work with a qualified DWI defense attorney who will develop a solid strategy.

Penalties for a North Carolina DWI Conviction

By making your DWI worse, you also set yourself up for harsher punishments. The details will depend on your specific circumstances, the presence of aggravating factors and the presence of any mitigating factors that favor your position.

As an overview of North Carolina’s level system for penalizing impaired drivers:

  • A maximum fine and up to 60 days incarceration for a Level V, the least serious DWI charge;
  • For Levels IV through II, you could be sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 120 days to one year, along with a $500 to $2,000 fine; and,
  • A Level I DWI carries a potential fine up to $4,000 and maximum of two years incarceration.

Contact a DWI Defense Lawyer About All Your Options

While the Goolsby Law Firm is prepared to fight for your rights in any drunk driving case, you should remember how your own actions can impact the outcome. You are in a better position to obtain a positive result regarding a DWI in Wilmington when you avoid making things worse. For more information on how we can assist with your defense, like your eligibility for a DWI dismissal, a reduction or other favorable terms, please call (910) 763–3339 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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    212 Walnut St. Suite 100
    Wilmington, North Carolina 28401

    Like any quality criminal defense attorney, Thom Goolsby may be in court when you first call, but leave a voice mail or send a text. We’ll get with you as soon as possible, so we can go over what happened, evaluate the case, and explain what comes next.