If you have a prior DWI, you are facing a higher level of punishment.  It will not be brought in to your case to make a determination of guilt.  So if you are able to beat your DWI charge, you don’t have to worry about the prior DWI.  If you are convicted or plead guilty, then the prior DWI will have an effect on your case.  When the DWI occurred will have an effect on what you could be facing.  There is no time limit on how far North Carolina will look back to find a DWI.  Since people are very mobile in today’s society, the district attorneys will often do a nationwide search.  If a person has an out of state license, they will certainly run a nationwide search.

There are two levels of prior DWIs.  If the DWI conviction was in the past 7 years, then that will count as a gross aggravator.  If the DWI conviction was outside of the past 7 years, then it counts as an ordinary aggravator.  Either one of these can effect your punishment, but the gross aggravator is much more serious.  When you have a gross aggravator, your punishment level automatically rises to a Level 2.  This is a high level of punishment.

Having a prior DWI, or multiple prior DWIs, will raise the stakes in your case.  You should be prepared to either go to trial or prepare mitigators to reduce the penally that you could be facing.  If you do not do either of these, you could be facing time in jail.  A lawyer can help you prepare your case, looking for potential legal issues that could be raised.  He or she can help you get ready for trial or for plea.  They are there to protect your rights, and make the State prove its case.  If you have a prior DWI, and are facing a current impaired driving charge, don’t hesitate to give us a call.