Wilmington DUI Attorneys

Aggressive Defense to DUI Charges in North Carolina

DUI charges need to be handled as quickly as possible, as the sentencing and severity of a possible conviction will depend significantly upon the evidence of the offense. Our Wilmington DUI attorneys at Whitley Coleman are hands-on advocates who will thoroughly examine the relevant evidence in your case to hopefully build a mitigating case in your favor. In many situations, quality representation can make the difference between thousands in fines to hundreds. 


Don’t risk your future driving privileges with a past mistake. Let us influence the court’s decision in your favor. Give us a call at (910) 218-9973 to get started in a free consultation.


Whitley Coleman, PLLC Whitley Coleman, PLLC
Choosing Whitley Coleman was a great choice because they informed me of everything I needed to know and it was a one time fee. I didn't have to do anything after that. They took care of everything for me.

Call Whitley Coleman to Handle Your DUI Charge Today

If you are facing your first or subsequent DUI charge in Wilmington, contact Whitley Coleman immediately. The quicker you get started on your DUI defense, the quicker your case may be resolved. After all, DUIs rely heavily upon the evidence of the incident, so it is important to take quick legal action. It is also important to act quickly to protect your future driving privileges. At Whitley Coleman, we can pursue a number of defense options to get you back on the road.

Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options with Jessica and John today. Give us a call at (910) 218-9973 or find us online.

Elements of a DUI Charge

It is illegal in North Carolina to operate a vehicle on any highway or public place while the driver is under the influence of an impairing substance, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (.04% for commercial drivers), or with any metabolized Schedule I drug in their system. Note that the law defines being “under the influence" as their faculties being appreciably impaired due to the ingestion of a substance.

Note that operating a vehicle does not have to mean driving; a person can be charged with DUI (also called DWI) merely for being in actual physical control over the vehicle, whether the vehicle is in motion or not. 

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

To determine the penalties for a DUI conviction, the prosecutor and defendant will go to a sentencing hearing to examine any aggravating and mitigating evidence. Aggravating factors will lead to stricter penalties, while mitigating factors might warrant less severe punishments. 

Gross aggravating factors could refer to whether the incident caused serious injury, if the motorist drove while revoked for a previous DWI, or if they drove with a minor passenger during the offense. A prior DWI within the last 7 years also counts as a gross aggravating factor.

Aggravating factors could be if the driver had a BAC of .15% or more or if they committed reckless driving, caused a collision, eluded the police, drove while speeding 30 mph or more over the limit, or passed a stopped school bus. 2 prior traffic violations and 3 demerit points also counts as aggravating factors.

Lastly, mitigating factors could be evidence of a lower BAC (.09% or less), that the impairing drug was a medical prescription, or that the motorist drove relatively safely. A defendant can also decide to do a mental health screening, 60 days of sobriety monitoring, or other treatment prior to sentencing to create additional mitigating factors.

5 Sentencing Levels for DUI

The judge will examine all the above factors and then assign the sentencing level for the DUI that will lay out the defendant’s jail term, fines, and other penalties:

  • Aggravated level one (3 or more gross aggravating factors) – up to $10,000 in fines and 12-36 months in jail; if probation is granted, at least 120 days in jail, alcohol and drug monitoring during probation, and completion of drug and alcohol assessment and treatment program
  • Level one (2 gross aggravating factors or involvement of a minor passenger) – up to $4,000 in fines and 30 days to 24 months in jail; if probation is granted, at least 10 days in jail, sobriety monitoring, and completion of substance abuse assessment and treatment
  • Level two (1 gross aggravating factor) – up to $2,000 in fines and 7 days to 12 months in jail; jail term avoidable by submitting to at least 90 days of monitored sobriety, completion of a drug and alcohol assessment, treatment or rehabilitation; 240 hours of community services for drivers with a prior DWI within the last 5 years
  • Level three (more aggravating factors than mitigating factors) – up to $1,000 in fines and 72 hours to 6 months in jail
  • Level four (aggravating and mitigating factors balanced) – up to $500 in fines and 48 hours to 120 days in jail
  • Level five (more mitigating factors than aggravating factors) – up to $200 in fines and 24 hours to 60 days in jail

In most cases, the minimum jail time can be avoided with community service. Keep in mind that all DWI convictions also carry a mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment or rehabilitative course. The judge can count this treatment towards the required jail time.

Individuals will also face a period of license suspension and required ignition interlock device (IID) use depending on their criminal history:

  • 1st offense – 1 year of license revocation, 1 year of IID use with the possibility of a restricted license
  • 2nd offense –  4 years of license revocation, 3 years of IID use
  • 3rd offense – permanent license revocation, 7 years of IID use

Additionally, those who refuse to submit to a blood or breath test under North Carolina’s implied consent laws could also face a 12-month license revocation.


Arrested for drunk driving? Contact the Wilmington DUI lawyers at Whitley Coleman online or at (910) 218-9973 to discuss your potential defense strategies today.


Call Whitley Coleman to Handle Your DUI Charge Today

If you are facing your first or subsequent DUI charge in Wilmington, contact Whitley Coleman immediately. The quicker you get started on your DUI defense, the quicker your case may be resolved. After all, DUIs rely heavily upon the evidence of the incident, so it is important to take quick legal action. It is also important to act quickly to protect your future driving privileges. At Whitley Coleman, we can pursue a number of defense options to get you back on the road.

Contact Whitley Coleman online or at (910) 218-9973 to discuss your potential defense strategies today. First consultations are free!

Put Our Expertise to Work for You!

Schedule a Free Consultation to Get Started Today
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
We're Here to Guide You!
Defense Attorneys
Dedicated to Your Case
Schedule Your Complimentary Case
Evaluation with Our Team Today
Whitley Coleman, PLLC Whitley Coleman, PLLC