Don't Represent Yourself in a North Carolina DWI
The legal and social consequences may be direBy Super Lawyers staff | Last updated on January 19, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- Why Hire a DWI Attorney, and How Much Will They Cost?
- Clearing Your Record After Driving Under the Influence
Why Hire a DWI Attorney, and How Much Will They Cost?The court may lessen sentences if certain conditions are met. These mitigating factors can be a huge boon to your case. “A substantial portion of my job is not just analyzing DWI cases and explaining the system to people, but working hard on the mitigating factors,” Powers says. Another part: “There’s no negotiating whether [aggravating] factors are in place, but the state does have to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.” As far as legal fees are concerned, DWI lawyers generally go by flat rate—meaning one price, as opposed to an hourly cost that is totaled at the end. “I try to charge predicated on how much work I think there’s going to be in the case,” Powers says. “I don’t think it’s fair to charge $10,000 on a DWI case when I know it’s not going to go to a jury trial. Having said that, they’re not cheap because there’s a ton of front-end work and they’re time-consuming. And the consequences of DWI are horrific.”
Clearing Your Record After Driving Under the InfluenceA DWI offense is so severe, in fact, that Powers has fought against them with the governor’s DWI taskforce for years. “Every week I get a call going, ‘Can I get this off my record? It’s killing me with work. No one wants to hire me,’” he says. “The long-term consequences to DWI, it’s not just a matter of insurance rates or court costs or fines; it is a social stigma that is on your permanent record.” By statute, the state must fill out more paperwork for dismissing a DWI case than criminal cases such as murder, Powers adds. And there’s no hope for a defendant negotiating their charge down. “If you go in to plea bargain and say, ‘I want a reckless driving instead of DWI,’ by statute, our legislature removed reckless driving as a lesser included offense,” Powers says. “So you have very, very little to lose and everything to gain by fighting the case as much as possible. I’m a collaborative law kind of guy, but there’s no negotiating. I had a case this morning where a guy was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, which is a serious drug. I call them up and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to get him in some treatment. Can we negotiate out maybe a deferred disposition or even a misdemeanor plea?’ Those are allowed. We negotiate those all the time. But not any DWIs.” For more information about this area, see our overview of DUI/DWI law and criminal law, or reach out to a criminal defense law firm for legal counsel.
What do I do next?Enter your location below to get connected with a qualified attorney today.
Popular attorney searches: Criminal defense Drug & alcohol violations
Additional DUI/DWI articles
Attorney directory searches
Find top lawyers with confidence
The Super Lawyers patented selection process is peer influenced and research driven, selecting the top 5% of attorneys to the Super Lawyers lists each year. We know lawyers and make it easy to connect with them.Find a lawyer near you