When the police pull you over for rolling through that stop sign, their investigation may turn from that of a minor infraction to a more serious charge. If the authorities believe you are driving intoxicated, you may face DWI charges. 

There are factors that may play a role in the degree of the charges you face. Discover some of these aggravating elements that may enhance the state’s case, so you understand more fully the implications. 

Prior DWI convictions 

North Carolina law does not go easy on drivers who get behind the wheel intoxicated, especially when it keeps happening. One factor that increases the severity of charges is whether or not you have gotten a DWI before. Even if the conviction came from another state, it impacts all subsequent charges. The more convictions on your record, the stiffer the penalties. If a judge finds you guilty of DWI I or II due to your history, you may face mandatory jail time. 

Level of intoxication 

The police will want to take a breath test at the scene to measure the level of alcohol in your blood. The results of this test have implications as to how hefty the charges levied against you are. A BAC of .08 is the legal threshold at which the police may charge you with a DWI. As the BAC climbs, so do the charges. A breath test result of .16 enhances the level of DWI you may face. 

Driver’s license status 

Driving in any state without a valid license is a crime. When doing so under the influence of alcohol, the state considers it an aggravating factor. This increases the charges and may find you facing a DWI III or IV rather than the least severe V. 

Not all of these factors may wind up counting against you. A breath test, for instance, is not always accurate. Other factors may aid in your defense against DWI charges.