DUI/DWI in North Carolina

The most common way to determine if someone is driving under the influence or driving while impaired is to check their BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In North Carolina, it is illegal for anyone over the age of 21 to drive with over 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Commercial drivers and any driver with previous DUI or DWI charges can legally drive with up to 0.04% BAC.

 

Any driver under the legal drinking age of 21 is not permitted to have any alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle. 

 

Driving while impaired or driving under the influence is a serious charge. Without a prior criminal record, for a first offense, you could be facing:

 

  • Possible jail time
  • Community Service
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Court costs and fines
  • Increased car insurance premiums
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle to check your BAC.

In North Carolina, your license may be suspended for refusal to take a chemical test or failing a chemical test. If you fail a chemical test your license will be suspended:

  • One year for first offense
  • Four years for the 2nd offense and eligible for a hearing after 2 years
  • Permanent the 3rd offense and eligible for a hearing after 3 years

Your drivers license will automatically be revoked for a minimum of 30 days in the event a chemical test is refused. During that time you will be given an option to schedule a hearing. If you schedule a hearing and are found guilty, your license will be suspended for one year.

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Penalties for a DUI/DWI depends on your level. Levels can be confusing. A judge uses your DUI/DWI situation along with several other factors such as your prior driving record, prescription medication or your BAC to determine your level for appropriate sentencing. A competent criminal lawyer can help make the difference between a Level 3 and Level 5 DUI.

Level 5 (the lowest level)

If you are placed on probation, substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

48 hours to 60 days in jail

Fines up to $200

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after 10 days

Level 4

If you are placed on probation, substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

48 hours to 60 days in jail

Fines up to $500

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after 10 days

Level 3

If you are on probation, substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

72 hours days to 6 months in jail (a judge may reduce or suspend sentencing)

Fines up to $1,000

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after 10 days.

Level 2

If you are on probation, substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

7 days to 12 months in jail

Fines up to $2,000

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after 10 days.

Level 1

If you are on probation, substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

30 days to 24 months in jail (a judge may reduce or suspend sentencing)

Fines up to $4,000

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after

Level 1 Aggravated (the highest level)

Substance abuse assessment is required. You will be responsible for these costs.

12 months to 30 months in jail. (a judge may reduce or suspend sentencing)

Fines up to $10,000

License immediately suspended for 30 days with possibility of limited driving after 10 days

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