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The most serious level of misdemeanor DWI is Aggravated Level One, which I generally refer to as Level A1. A defendant sentenced at Level A1 may be fined up to ,000 and must be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that includes a minimum term of not less than 12 months and a maximum term of not more than 36 months. The defendant will serve the maximum term of imprisonment imposed, less four months.


Typically, defendants sentenced at this level are repeat offenders, though it is possible to reach Level A1 if one drives while impaired with a person under 18 in the vehicle, with a license that is civilly revoked for an earlier DWI charge that did not result in conviction, and, in the process, causes serious injury to another. Because Level A1 is a relatively new level of punishment—it applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011—many litigants, judges, and defendants have questions about the legal requirements for such sentences and how the sentences are administered. The defendant must have been accepted by the facility for admission or commitment as an inpatient and must bear the expense of any treatment unless the judge orders the State to absorb the costs. How much of an active Level A1 sentence will a well-behaved defendant actually serve?

The term of imprisonment may be suspended only if a condition of special probation is imposed to require the defendant to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 120 days. May the judge credit against a Level A1 sentence the time a defendant spent in inpatient treatment? The judge also may order that special probation (in other words, a split sentence) imposed pursuant to a suspended Level A1 sentence be served at a facility operated or licensed by the State for the treatment of alcoholism or substance abuse.



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