Prior DWI Convictions and Sentencing

The effects of prior DWI convictions on sentencing is discussed by Clarke Dummit.

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Interviewer: What if you do have a prior DWI conviction and this is your second one? What effects does that have on the sentencing for the second one?

Clark Dummit: It has a tremendous effect. Let me give you primary examples. If you have a prior DWI conviction in the last year, your license will still be revoked for that prior, and you will face two grossly aggravating factors, which a mandatory minimum of 30 days and very well more than that if your vehicle is subject to forfeiture. It is drastic.

Now, let’s say you made it past that one year and you got a prior DWI 2 years ago. If it was more than one year ago, you are back down to only one aggravating factor. However, the DMV has another set of rules. The judge is going to take your license away for one year. Under the statues, if you got 2 DWIs within a three-year window, DMV is going to keep your license for four years and not give it back. So, you are still facing a four-year suspension of your license. If you got a prior DWI, but it’s more than seven years ago, it is only an aggravating factor and not a mandatory jail time thing. It’s all laid out by statutes. There is always a different interpretation of a statute, which means it can be fought.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about something that is part of sentencing. What about treatment programs? How much does that come into play, and are those often ordered in the sentencing?

Clark Dummit: They are going to be ordered in all DWI cases. The question is, what is the level? That is the reason why we strongly recommend you get the pretrial alcohol assessment. The counselor will say, “We don’t think you have an alcohol problem. Just go to ADETS.” Now, there is a wide range from there.

Let’s just talk with jaded eyes, if we are lawyers. As a counselor of law, we are going to say, “You should do that.” But beyond that, the government has laid out some incentives. If you go do that, it can count as jail time. If you have two grossly aggravating factors and you are facing some mandatory active jail time, go get treatment. It helps with your sentence.

Interviewer: What happens to one’s insurance premiums if there is a DWI conviction ?

Clark Dummit: That is also regulated by law. Under North Carolina law, that is going to go up by 400%. That is when the DWI will cost you more than anything else. Fines for a first offense will be about $500 to $600. They go up the more the more offenses a person has. However, let’s talk insurance. For the next three years, if you don’t have insurance, you can’t drive. The insurance companies are going to increase your premiums 400%. It depends on the kind of insurance you have. I have seem numbers that state it costs an additional $4,000 and $6000 over that three-year window.

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