Let’s be perfectly clear about this: Drunk or drugged driving is a bad idea. That being said, people still make mistakes all the time. When a mistake results in an arrest and a conviction, it’s time to turn your attention to sentencing.
North Carolina is notoriously tough on drunk and drugged drivers, and there’s a complex system of punishments involving six different potential levels of severity for those who are caught. Even within those levels, there’s a wide range of potential penalties you may face.
It is possible to get some leniency in your DUI sentence, however. Here are some of the things the judge will consider:
- A blood alcohol content that doesn’t rise above 0.09 at any point after the traffic stop
- The unavailability of chemical evidence against you (meaning that your conviction was based on your admission that you’d been drinking and/or the arresting officer’s observations)
- The fact that you did not cause an accident while impaired
- The fact that you have no serious prior traffic offenses within the last five years
- Your impairment was due to a prescribed medication that was in your name and taken at the appropriate dosage
- The fact that you entered into voluntary treatment for a mental health problem following your arrest
- The fact that you went through a substance abuse treatment, complied with all the recommendations and maintained your sobriety for at least 60 days (with a monitoring program)
Judges are also free to take in to consideration other mitigating factors that seem significant, which means that discussing your situation in detail with your attorney can be critically important to your drunk or drugged driving defense.