Raleigh DWI Attorney M. Moseley Matheson Discusses Recent Changes to North Carolina DWI Law

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For those facing Felony Death by Motor Vehicle, recent changes to the North Carolina Statute could mean twice as much potential jail time.

Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

Raleigh Criminal Attorney M. Moseley Matheson

These changes, though intended to help reduce the number of Drunk Drivers on North Carolina roads, have the potential to severely punish an otherwise safe and lawful driver save for one mistake.

It is well understood that Driving While Intoxicated North Carolina or anywhere else in this country carries risks. There are risks to the Driver, to passengers, and to the community at large. Additionally, if caught, the Driver can face serious consequences from the Courts depending on their case. As was recently reported on WRAL news, North Carolina recently changed the law used in cases of Felony Death by Motor Vehicle, with the intent to give the Courts a longer prison sentence for which the Defendant could be sentenced.

As a DWI Lawyer Raleigh, attorney Matheson has represented many, many clients who are facing a North Carolina DWI Charge. Understanding the ins and outs of the North Carolina DWI Laws is necessary for him to continue to succeed as a Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer. These recent changes are important to understand when dealing with the tragic events surrounding the death of an individual as a result of drunk driving.

Prior to December 1, a Defendant convicted of Felony Death by Motor Vehicle in North Carolina could face, in most cases was sentenced to 3-4 years. This was due to the fact that that charge was a Class E Felony. Since most people facing this charge do not have prior convictions, they are sentenced within the North Carolina Sentencing guidelines to no more then 3-4 years.

As of December 1, 2012, North Carolina has changed the Class level of Felony Death by Motor Vehicle from a Class E to a Class D. A class D allows the Judge to sentence, even a first-time offender, up to 7 years in prison if convicted of Felony Death by Motor Vehicle.

There is no question that the death of an individual as a result of the negligence of another is a serious matter and should carry with it serious consequences. To the Raleigh Criminal Lawyers who represent individuals facing these serious charges, it is important to prepared their clients for what these new changes will mean if convicted.

"I have previously represented those who were unfortunately the cause of a passengers death as a result of poor driving" Raleigh DUI Lawyer M. Moseley Matheson states "the impact of these individuals actions is substantial and felt by the whole community. It is important to remember that, though there has been a tragic loss of life, there is a distinction between these individuals who poor choices resulted in anothers death, and those who act with malice and intent."

This is not the only change to North Carolina DUI Laws recently. Beginning December 1, 2012 North Carolina added a new, more serious sentencing level referred to as 'Aggravated Level 1' to the Sentencing range a DWI Conviction can potentially carry. Aggravated Level 1, along with Levels 1 and 2 all carry with them a mandatory jail sentence. Under North Carolina General Statute 20-179, a person can reach one of these top three sentencing levels, if they have one or more of what are known as 'Grossly Aggravating Factors' which include: prior DWI in the last 7 years, causing serious bodily injury or death as a result of this DWI, having a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 18, or Driving While License Revoked at the time of this DWI and the revocation was a result of a prior DWI.

"As you can see, two of the four 'Grossly Aggravating Factors' does not require a prior DWI in order to face a mandatory jail sentence. What concerns me the most is the Grossly Aggravating Factor of having a passenger under the age of 18. Regardless of the facts of the case, the Blood/Alcohol Level or any other things that might mitigate the circumstances, if a Defendant is convicted with evidence of a passenger even 17 years old, they will automatically face a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days. These changes, though intended to help reduce the number of Drunk Drivers on North Carolina roads have the potential to severely punish an otherwise safe and lawful driver save for one mistake," Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer M. Moseley Matheson stated.

If you are facing a DWI Charge in Wake County, contact the Matheson Law Office for a free consultation at 919-335-5291. The Matheson Law Office has handled hundreds of cases and are prepared to help walk you through the process of the North Carolina Judicial System.

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