If you have been charged with Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence, you are probably curious what the differences are between the two types of crimes. Under North Carolina law, the formal charge for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is referred to as a DWI. DUI is another term that is used for the same type of offense, but DUI is not the formal name of a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Various states may use either DWI or DUI to describe the same driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs charge. The proper name of the formal charge, DWI or DUI, will depend on the state where the crime occurs. In North Carolina, a person driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs will be formally charged with a DWI under state law.

Elements of a DWI

The elements of a DWI under North Carolina law are listed in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.1. A person may be charged with a DWI in North Carolina if he/she drives a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance or after having consumed alcohol has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or has any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in his/her blood or urine.

DWI Sentencing

Under North Carolina law, sentencing for a DWI is structured on five levels. The lower level of punishment, the more severe the punishment will be. In order to sentence an individual on a higher level for a DWI offense, a Judge must find specific aggravating factors. The Judge may also find mitigating factors that could justify a higher sentence level that would result in a less severe sentence for a DWI conviction.

If you are facing a DWI charge, contact the attorneys at Mulligan Attorneys, to seek legal counsel today. We will provide you with understanding of the process of a DWI charge, trial and sentencing. At Mulligan Attorneys,, we will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected in the aftermath of a DWI charge.