A sentencing hearing follows a DWI conviction in North Carolina. At the hearing, the judge (or, in some cases, jury) will hear a variety of facts about the defendant and about the circumstances surrounding the incident leading to arrest. The district attorney may present grossly aggravating and aggravating factors particular to your case that would result in the judge ordering a harsher punishment.
The prosecutor must prove these factors exist beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant’s lawyer can challenge them.
A dedicated Raleigh DWI defense lawyer from the Coolidge Law Firm will aggressively fight the prosecutor’s attempts to worsen your DWI sentence by challenging the factors he brings forward, as well as present any mitigating factors that may exist in your case.
If you were unrepresented or had poor representation during your District Court case, you have the right to appeal to Superior Court. This appeal essentially wipes out the previous finding of guilt and allows you to have a new trial before a jury in Superior Court. We can help you file this appeal and represent you in Superior Court. But, you only have 10 days from the day the judge sentences you to appeal. DO NOT WAIT. Call us immediately for a free consultation.
We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Holly Springs, Wendell, Knightdale and Fuquay-Varina.
North Carolina General Statutes § 20-179 lists the aggravating factors that can cause a judge to sentence you at a harsher sentencing level requiring more severe punishment. The aggravating factors are:
NOTE: Except for the factor in (5), the conduct constituting the aggravating factor must have occurred during the same incident as the impaired driving offense.
The state may also offer grossly aggravating factors as defined by statute. One grossly aggravating factor will result in a Level DWI judgment for a DWI conviction. Having three or more grossly aggravating factors proven beyond a reasonable doubt can allow the judge to sentence a DWI conviction as an Aggravated Level 1, which requires a minimum prison term of one year. The grossly aggravating factors are:
A DWI is at least a Level 1 offense if: a person in the vehicle was younger than 18, had a mental disability that causes the person to have the mental capacity of a person younger than 18, or had a physical disability that would have prevented the person from escaping the vehicle.
If you are concerned about the circumstances surrounding your impaired-driving charge or you have just been found guilty in District Court and want to know about your right to appeal to Superior Court, contact a skilled Raleigh DWI attorney at the Coolidge Law Firm. We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Holly Springs, Wendell, Knightdale and Fuquay-Varina.