Whether you were stopped for driving while impaired (DWI) for the first time ever, you are charged with repeat drunk driving, or you caused a car accident while allegedly under the influence — you have rights that must be protected. A Statesville DWI lawyer can defend them when they are accused of a DWI.
The Law Office of Michael D. Cleaves, PLLC, brings a 20-year track record of success in defending clients’ rights in Statesville and throughout Iredell, Davie, and Alexander counties. Attorney Michael D. Cleaves defends against DWI, also referred to as DUI (driving under the influence), and all related charges in North Carolina.
As your lawyer, Michael D. Cleaves will begin by listening carefully to your account of your DWI arrest, field sobriety test, breath testing, and any dubious police procedure that could discredit law enforcement.
He is well aware of the many ways that a drunk driving stop can go wrong — due to bad weather, hazardous roads, a motor vehicle malfunction, pre-existing medical condition, or any factor that could cause police to confuse erratic driving with drunk driving.
Furthermore, the evidence in drunk driving cases should not be taken at face value. Do not assume that because you blew over the legal limit, you are guilty. That is not the case. Breath test machines are not perfect.
If they are not properly calibrated, poorly maintained, or used incorrectly, they can produce inaccurate results. Michael D. Cleaves knows what to look for to find weaknesses in the evidence or case against you.
A DWI charge in Statesville, NC follows the same rules for the whole state of North Carolina. In most cases, the charges will be based on either a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the presence of drugs in a driver’s system.
It’s important to recognize that North Carolina is an implied consent state, which means that simply by driving on North Carolina roads, you are consenting to have your blood alcohol level tested. Failure to consent to this can result in significant penalties, including a potential suspension of your license.
The following categories of drivers are at risk of being charged with a DWI in North Carolina:
When you are charged with a DWI, your vehicle may be impounded. You will also have a minimum 30-day suspension of your driving privileges. Your Statesville DWI lawyer may petition to reinstate your driving privileges after 10 days, though, and you will have to pay for your vehicle to be released from impound.
The penalties for a DWI in Statesville are the same as in all of North Carolina, and they follow a sentencing schedule that has six different levels. These are designated as Levels 1 through 5, along with an Aggravated Level 1. Aggravated Level 1 carries the most severe penalties, and Level 5 has the least severe.
Where a particular DWI’s sentencing will fall on the schedule will be determined by the court, weighing the mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors that are involved in the charges.
If there is a single grossly aggravating factor involved, the result will be a minimum Level 2 sentence. If there are two involved, it will be a minimum Level 1 sentence, and if there are three or more involved, it will result in an Aggravated Level 1 sentence. Some potentially grossly aggravating factors include:
When considering mitigating and aggravating factors, if mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors, it will result in a Level 5 sentence, while aggravating factors outweighing mitigating factors will result in a Level 3 sentence. If the two sides are balanced, or there are no mitigating or aggravating factors, then a conviction will result in a Level 4 sentence.
Part of what a Statesville DWI lawyer can do, if a conviction is likely, is make the case for the mitigating factors that are involved and against the prosecution’s aggravating factors, which can reduce a possible sentence.
Our accomplished criminal law firm recognizes how important your driver’s license is to you in today’s highly mobile society. We skillfully negotiate with prosecutors to increase the chances that your charges could be reduced or dismissed.
If a trial is needed, you can depend on Michael D. Cleaves to use every fact that supports your side of the story. His investigative prowess, thorough case preparation, and persuasive presentations before judge and jury are matters of public record.