Repeat DUI Offenders can Have it Worse, Says a Raleigh DUI Attorney

Nine years ago, 18-year-old Christopher John Palmeri was found to have been under the influence of alcohol when he crashed and killed a Wakefield High School student. He then pled guilty for manslaughter and was sentenced to five months in jail, five years on probation, and 300 hours in community service. After the sentence was handed down Palmeri swore to turn his life around.

Unfortunately, that was not the last of Palmeri’s misdeeds. Two years later, he was arrested after being accused of stealing three cases of Bud Light from a store. In 2013, Palmeri was also charged with violating his parole after testing positive for opiates and marijuana. Recently, Palmeri crashed his car and was arrested again for Palmeri driving while impaired (DWI), possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Penalties for DWI Based on Levels

In North Carolina, DWI penalties can be influenced by the individual’s age and the number of prior offenses. Those found guilty of DWI a second time could receive jail time depending on how much time has passed between the first charge and the second. Drivers also face penalties that severely limit their privilege to drive by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

For those 21 years old and older, DWI penalties in North Carolina are based on “levels”, which are determined by factors including a person’s blood alcohol content, prescription medications, their current driving record, and overall driving history. Level 5 penalties include immediate license suspension for 30 days and between 24 hours and 60 days in jail, while aggravated Level 1 penalties can lead to prison sentences that could last up to 3 years.

Other Penalties for DWI (or DUI) in North Carolina

A DWI lawyer will tell you that it’s always best to avoid driving when you’re drunk, especially if you are also under the influence of other drugs since North Carolina courts may impose stiffer penalties. Other than jail time and fines, individuals may also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device one their vehicles and be required to submit to a Substance Abuse Assessment. Furthermore, insurance providers normally charge significantly higher rates to DWI offenders or drop them altogether.

Chris Palmeri has had numerous chances to turn his life around, yet it seems he continues to face one charge after another. Repeat offenders need the services of a competent Raleigh DUI attorney. Kurtz & Blum, PLLC is a full-service law firm with many years of experience in DWI and related traffic law, feel free to give us a call if we may be able to help.


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