Raleigh DWI Law Firm Matheson Law Office Reports on Recent Changes to DWI Sentencing in North Carolina

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A little heard of addition to the North Carolina DWI Statute now allows some Defendants to avoid some or all of a mandatory jail sentence for high level DWI Sentences

Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

Raleigh Criminal Attorney M. Moseley Matheson

For some individuals, facing the reality of going to jail is their greatest fear. The option to avoid some or all of a jail sentence by participating with the Continuous Alcohol Monitoring program may be a viable, albeit expensive, option.

The General Assembly of North Carolina has made many changes to North Carolina DUI Law over the past few years. Some of the changes have been widely reported, while others are less known. In 2012, when the Government enacted 'Laura's Law' which added a new, higher sentencing level for DWI Convictions and increase punishment in some circumstances, other changes were being made in the background. As seen on the General Assembly's website, House Bill 494 the Legislation made additions to several different North Carolina Criminal Law, including the North Carolina DWI Sentencing Statute 20-179.

Under current NC DUI Sentencing Guidelines, a Defendant convicted of a Level 2, Level 1, or Aggravated Level 1 is required to serve a minimum mandatory jail sentence. And while most would assume that only repeat offenders would face the harsh reality of a jail sentence, the reality is first-time offenders can face these jail sentences depending on certain circumstances surrounding the Defendant's case. Fortunately, with the changes which apply to any DWI charge on or after December 1, 2012 made by House Bill 494 a Defendant now may have an option to avoid some or all of the the jail time associated with a Level 2 or Level 1 sentence.

House Bill 494 allows a Judge to order the Defendant wear a 'Continuous Alcohol Monitoring' bracelet in lieu of some or all an active jail sentence. In the case of a Level 1 Sentence, which requires a minimum mandatory 30 day jail sentence, a Judge may require the Defendant to wear a 'CAM' bracelet for not less then 120 days, and reduce the active sentence to as few as 10 days. For a Level 2 Sentence, which carries with it a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 7 days, the Judge may permit the Defendant to avoid any active time in exchange for the Defendant wearing the CAM bracelet for a minimum 90 days. If facing this level of sentencing, a Defendant should discuss this option with their Raleigh DUI Attorney or any other DUI Attorney in North Carolina.

Unfortunately, under these circumstances, the cost of wearing these monitoring devices is the Defendant's to bear. The cost of these CAM bracelets is not cheap. In fact, the Defendant face an estimated $75.00 set up fee and $12/day cost for this opportunity.

"It is not well known to the North Carolina public that of the four 'Grossly Aggravating Factors' which require a Defendant be sentenced to a Level 2, Level 1 or Aggravated Level 1, two of the four do not require the Defendant have previously been charged with Driving While Impaired in North Carolina or anywhere else. So, a first-time offender, with a .08 blood/alcohol concentration, could potentially face a mandatory jail sentence, depending on the facts of their case." Raleigh DWI Attorney M. Moseley Matheson reports. "For some individuals, facing the reality of going to jail is their greatest fear. The option to avoid some or all of a jail sentence by participating with the Continuous Alcohol Monitoring program may be a viable, albeit expensive, option."

Under North Carolina DWI Law, there are four 'Grossly Aggravating Factors' which can move a Defendant up to the top part of sentencing, including: 1. Prior DWI Conviction in the last 7 years, 2. License revoked at time of DWI as a result of a prior DWI, 3. Having a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the DWI who is under the age of 18, and 4. Accident at the time of the DWI, which caused 'serious injury.' These four factors can mean the difference between a Defendant being sentenced to jail or not and are not to be taken lightly.

"I have had several clients who have faced circumstances such as these, where they were first time offenders and yet were facing a jail sentence." Criminal Attorney Raleigh M. Moseley Matheson shares. "It is so important that you contact a Defense Attorney as soon as possible after receiving a DWI Charge or any other North Carolina criminal charges. The sooner you have retained an attorney to represent your best interests, the sooner they can begin working to defend your rights."

Many people are unaware of the intricacies of North Carolina DWI Laws and therefore seek out help from the many North Carolina DWI Lawyers in their area. Attorney Matheson has served hundreds of clients as their Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer, including many Raleigh DWI Charges. If you are in need of a Wake County DWI Attorney, contact the Matheson Law Office for a free consultation at 919-335-5291.

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