When our clients are charged with DWI, one of their most common concerns is “what kind of punishment could I be facing?” This can vary quite a bit, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case. Which sentence you will receive will be based on how many aggravators and mitigators are in your case. To learn more about this, see our “Aggravating and Mitigating Factors” page. To learn more about the different penalty levels, read on.
This is the highest level of DWI charge that you could face. You could face a $10,000 fine, and spend a minimum of 12 months imprisonment, and a maximum of 36 months imprisonment. There can be no parole, but you may be released 4 months before the end of the sentence, and be placed on post release supervision. This term of imprisonment may be suspended if a term of special probation is imposed, and you are given 120 days of active sentence. If you are given special probation, then you must be required to abstain from alcohol for at least 120 days up to the length of the time of special probation, as verified by continuous alcohol monitoring. You would also be required to complete an alcohol abuse assessment, and submit to whatever treatment or education is required.
If you are sentenced under Level 1, you could face a fine of $4,000 and be sentenced to an active sentence of not less than 30 days and not more than 24 months. If given special probation, a judge could give you 30 days in jail. But a judge can give you 10 days in jail, if he or she requires you to abstain from alcohol for a minimum of 120 days. This must be confirmed by the use of a continuous alcohol monitoring device. If you have been monitored by an approved device prior to conviction, up to 60 days of this monitoring may be credited against the amount of time you are supposed to be continuously monitored. If you are placed on probation, the judge shall require you to have a substance abuse assessment and to get the education or treatment that the assessment provider recommends.
At Level 2, you could face a fine of up to $2,000, and see time from 7 days to 12 months. The term of imprisonment may be suspended if you receive special probation. A condition of special probation is that you serve 7 days in jail, or have your blood alcohol content checked by a continuous blood alcohol monitor for at least 90 consecutive days. If you were on continuous alcohol monitoring before your conviction, up to 60 days of that time could be credited to your 90 day requirement.
The fine at level 3 is up to $1,000 and you face a minimum sentence of 72 hours, and a maximum of not more than 6 months. The judge may suspend this term of imprisonment, and give special probation instead. For special probation, you must do one of the following: 72 hours of jail time, 72 hours of community service, or any combination of these totaling 72 hours. For special probation, you would also be required to undergo substance abuse assessment, and to comply with the treatment or education recommendations of the substance abuse assessment.
If you are sentenced to Level 4, you can be fined up to $500, and you could face 48 hours up to 120 days in jail. This may be suspended if you are given special probation. As a condition of special probation, you must spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail, do 48 hours of community service, or 48 hours of any combination of these two.
If you are sentenced to Level 5, you can be fined up to $250, and you could face a minimum of 24 hours in jail, up to a maximum of not more than 60 days. If you are given special probation, you could serve a minimum of 24 hours of jail, 24 hours of community service, or any combination of these two.
As you can see, there are a huge number of potential sentences that you could receive. A skilled DWI attorney will consider whether it would be best to try your case or plead it out. If a plea is chosen as the option, he or she will determine how to get you sentenced at the lowest possible level based on the facts and circumstances of your case. If you choose to try your case, you may be convicted, and it is important to understand what level of punishment you could receive.
We would be glad to help you with your DWI charge. Please give us a call if you have any questions. Robert Reeves is an experienced attorney who is ready to help you through your case.