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Driving While Impaired in North Carolina is a serious traffic offense. The charge alone carries immediate impacts on your North Carolina driving privileges but with a knowledgeable DWI attorney, the affects can be minimized. Book Consult Right Now!

Driving While Impaired or DWIs can be related to the alcohol or drugs (prescription, illegal and in some cases over the counter).  The Assistant District Attorney has to prove the existence of your impairment through proving your physical and mental fitness are appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both; or by proving that your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or higher at the time you were operating the vehicle.

DWI sentencing is structured in a way where the only facts considered are your driving record and the details surrounding your case.

Consequences of DWI

A DWI conviction could consist of community service, fines, probation, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance premiums, continuous alcohol monitoring device or CAM (the installation of the ignition interlock device on each vehicle owned by you).

For each DWI offense, penalties can range from the least severe (level 5) to the most severe (A1 and/or Habitual DWI).  Your DWI level is based on aggravating, gross aggravating, and mitigating factors. 































Aggravating Factors

  • Gross Impairment of the defendant’s faculties while driving or an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more within a relevant time after alleged driving;

  • Especially reckless or dangerous driving;

  • Negligent driving that led to a reportable accident;

  • Driving by the accused while his license was revoked;

  • Two or more prior convictions of a motor vehicle offense not involving impaired driving for which at least three points are assigned under G.S. 20-16 or for which the convicted person’s license is subject to revocation, if the convictions occurred within five years of the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced, or one or more prior convictions of an offense involving impaired driving that occurred more than seven years before the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced.

  • Conviction under G.S. 20-141.5 of speeding to elude;

  • Conviction under G.S. 20-141 of speeding by at least 30 miles per hour over the legal limit; and

  • Passing a stopped school bus in violation of G.S. 20-217. 9. Any other factor that aggravates the seriousness of the offense.







There are different actions that you can take to mitigate or improve the outcome of your sentencing and/or receive a limited driving privilege.

Mitigating factors are:

  1. Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to the defendant;

  2. Slight impairment of the defendant’s faculties, resulting solely from alcohol, with no chemical analysis having been available to the defendant;

  3. Driving at the time of the offense that was safe and lawful except for the impairment of the defendant’s faculties;

  4. A safe driving record, with the defendant’s having no conviction for any motor vehicle offense for which at least four points are assigned under G.S. 20-16 or for which the person’s license is subject to revocation within five years of the date of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced;

  5. Impairment of the defendant’s faculties caused primarily by a lawfully prescribed drug for an existing medical condition, and the amount of the drug taken was within the prescribed dosage;

  6. The defendant’s voluntary submission to a mental health facility for assessment after he was charged with the impaired driving offense for which he is being sentenced, and, if recommended by the facility, his voluntary participation in the recommended treatment.

    1. Completion of a substance abuse assessment, compliance with its recommendations, and simultaneously maintaining 60 days of continuous abstinence from alcohol consumption, as proven by an approved continuous alcohol monitoring system

  7. Any other factor that mitigates the seriousness of the offense

“Drugged” Driving

Many states have legalized marijuana or decriminalized its possession. Unlike alcohol, there is not a specific “level” of the substance in your blood that measures up to “impairment”. The State of North Carolina would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your mental and physical faculties or motor skills were affected at the time of driving. 

Since there is not a per se or “exact” amount to say that a person is impaired, officers use your driving and the encounter to determine the possibility of impairment.  In some cases, officers will state that they are Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) and they are certified to perform tests to determine impairment by something other than alcohol.

Some substances are believed to impair your ability to function at such a great level and have a high dependency level, that just the presence of them in your system is impairment under the law. These substances are any schedule I (prescription and/or illegal) under NCGS § 90-90.

Attorney Peebles has worked with experts to develop aggressive “drugged” driving defenses for clients. In court, Attorney Peebles questions and challenges blood results, the validity of the “stop” and the officers account of the events, along with any other legal issue that may arise from the facts of the case during trial or negotiations.

Protecting Your Rights

Attorney Peebles is dedicated to fighting for your rights when you are charged with a DWI. She has had numerous amounts of DWI trials challenging the states ability to prove her client’s impairment. She has worked with board certified specialists to analyze medical records and blood alcohol chemical analysis reports.

Attorney Peebles begins with finding a way the case can be legally beaten. If that is not an option, Attorney Peebles works alongside you to mitigate and reduce your punishment as much as possible. If there is any impact in your eligibility to drive, Attorney Peebles fights for your limited driving privilege.

Our firm stands confident that we can serve your needs for DWI defense.

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DWI Levels


12 months

36 months

Up to $10,000 fine


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30 days

24 months

Up to $4,000 fine

*CAM minimizes jail time to 10 days if you agree to do 120 days of continuous monitoring



Justice Scale

7 days

12 months

Up to $2,000 fine



Book of Laws

72 hours

6 months

Up to $1,000 fine

*Active term of 72 hours or 72 hours community service

More Aggravating Factors than Mitigating


Reviewing the Laws
Mitigating Balances Aggravating

48 hours

120 days

Up to $500 fine

*Active term of 48 hours or 48 hours community service


Judge's Table
Mitigating Outweighs the Aggravating

24 hours

60 days

Up to $200 fine

*Active term of 24 hours or 24 hours community service


Grossly Aggravating Factors (GAF)

  • A prior conviction for an offense involving impaired driving if:

    • The conviction date was within 7 years; or

    • The conviction occurs after the present DWI, but sentencing is prior to or contemporaneously with the present sentencing

  • Driving at the time your license was revoked due to a DWI

  • Serious injury to another person caused by your impaired driving

  • Driving by the defendant while

    • (i) a child under the age of 18 years,

    • (ii) a person with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 years, or

    • (iii) a person with a physical disability preventing unaided exit from the vehicle was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.


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