DUI & DWI Penalties in NC

If you are charged with a DWI (driving while impaired) in North Carolina, you can expect to face some significant penalties that can drain your bank account, ruin your reputation, and restrict your freedom. These charges are very severe offenses because when someone drives under the influence, they can seriously injure or even kill one or more other people.

Here, The Rodzik Law Group's drunk driving attorney in Shallotte NC defines how the state views these charges and the penalties that come with them.

Understanding DWI in North Carolina

In North Carolina, there is no difference between a DUI and a DWI. When the state's Safe Roads Act was passed in 1983, it revised the state’s previous drug- and alcohol-related driving laws so all charges would be filed under a single offense – driving while impaired.

The most common way North Carolina determines whether a driver is legally impaired is through their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The following are the state's BAC limits:

  • Drivers 21 or older: 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers (CDL): 0.04%
  • Drivers younger than 21: Any alcohol concentration
  • Drivers with prior DWIs: 0.04%

North Carolina's DWI laws also prohibit:

  • Open container(s) in the vehicle if the driver is or has been consuming alcohol
  • Open or closed container(s) in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle
  • Assisting someone younger than 21 years old obtain alcohol (this includes buying or giving them alcohol, or lending them an ID so they can buy alcohol)

DWI Penalties in North Carolina

DWI penalties in North Carolina are serious and in some cases, they can be determined by the driver's age, license type, and the number of offenses they have been charged with in the past. Penalties typically include:

  • Costly fines (i.e., court costs, lawyer fees, etc.)
  • Suspension or revocation of one's driver's license
  • Community service
  • Increased car insurance rates
  • Enrollment in an alcohol safety school or substance abuse assessment program
  • Time in jail

For those under 21 years old who are charged with a DWI, they will automatically lose their license for a 30-day pretrial period, and then one year thereafter. Those 21 and over will face penalties that are based on their "level." In North Carolina, drivers charged with DWIs fall under one of six different levels, which include:

Level 5

  • Immediate suspension of the driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $200
  • Between 24 hours and 60 days in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Substance abuse assessment, if placed on probation

Level 4

  • Immediate suspension of the driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $500
  • Between 48 hours and 120 days in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Substance abuse assessment, if placed on probation

Level 3

  • Immediate suspension of driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Between 72 hours and 6 months in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Substance abuse assessment, if placed on probation

Level 2

  • Immediate suspension of driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Between 7 days and 12 months in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Substance abuse assessment, if placed on probation

Level 1

  • Immediate suspension of driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Between 30 days and 24 months in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Substance abuse assessment, if placed on probation

Aggravated Level 1

  • Immediate suspension of driver's license for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Between 12 months and 36 months in jail (sentence could be reduced with community service)
  • Monitored alcohol abstinence for 4 months after prison release
  • Mandatory substance abuse assessment

In addition, if a driver is charged with another DWI while their license is already suspended or revoked, then the state can not only seize the car, but it can also sell it.

Contact Our Drunk Driving Attorney in Shallotte NC for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was involved in an accident that was caused by someone charged with a DWI, then you may be entitled to certain damages. Contact The Rodzik Law Group's drunk driving attorney in Shallotte NC as soon after the accident as possible. Call us today at 910-762-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation. As always, you don't pay unless we win your case.