Introduction Drunk driving―or “driving while impaired" (DWI) in North Carolina―is a serious offense that not only can drain your bank account, take away your freedom, and crush your reputation―it also can seriously injure and even kill. North Carolina DWI Defined North Carolina's Safe Roads Act of 1983 did away with all of the state's previous drug- and alcohol-related driving laws and put everything under a single offense―driving while impaired, or DWI.
Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the most common way NC determines whether you're legally impaired. 21 years old or Older: 0.08% Commercial drivers (CDL): 0.04% Younger than 21: Any alcohol concentration Prior DWI: 0.04% * The state also looks at whether your physical or mental fitness is provably impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. * If you have a prior DWI conviction and license reinstatement, you can't drive with a BAC of 0.
04% or higher; however, this can depend on your driving record and whether you were charged and convicted after July, 1, 2001. Additional Drug and Alcohol Crimes In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, NC DWI laws prohibit: Having an open container in the vehicle if the driver is or has been consuming alcohol. Having an open or closed container in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle.
Helping someone younger than 21 years old obtain alcohol. This includes buying or giving them alcohol, or lending an ID so they can buy alcohol. Understand Your DWI Penalties NC DWI penalties are serious business. Based on your age, the offense number, and your license type, you face penalties like: Fines, including court costs and lawyer fees. License suspension or revocation. Jail time. For some offenses, the jail time is mandatory rather than possible.
Community service. Higher car insurance rates. Depending on your situation, you might also enroll in an alcohol safety school or substance abuse assessment program. You will also face penalties from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. These are known as Administrative penalties and are in addition to any criminal or court penalties you may face. Administrative DWI Penalties: With Administrative penalties you may have your driver's license suspended when you are charged with a DWI, not convicted.
This includes failing a chemical test or refusing a chemical test. If you fail a chemical test you will have your license suspended: 1st offense: 1 year. 2nd offense: 4 years (eligible for a hearing after 2 years). 3rd offense: Permanent (eligible for a hearing after 3 years). If you refuse a chemical test you will have your driver's license revocation for a minimum of 30 days while you are given the option of a hearing.
If you chose to accept a hearing you must contact the Division of Motor Vehicles at (919) 715-7000 to schedule a hearing. If you are found guilty you will your have your license suspended for 1 year. Criminal DWI Penalties: Younger than 21 years old If you're younger than 21 years old and caught doing any of the following, you'll lose your license for a pretrial period of 30 days, and then 1 year thereafter: Operating a motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.
Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol. Helping someone else purchase alcohol. Using a fraudulent driver's license or ID, or other falsified document to purchase alcohol. Using someone else's driver's license or ID to purchase alcohol. Your judge will inform you of additional penalties, such as fines, court costs, and possible community service. 21 years old and older NC DWI penalties are based on your “level," and your judge uses mitigating factors to determine your level.
Factors include your BAC, prescription medications, your current driving record, and other aspects of your DWI situation and overall driving history. North Carolina DWI Levels Level 5 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days. Up to a $200 fine. Between 24 hours and 60 days in jail. (Your judge might suspend your sentence to 24 hours of imprisonment or 24 hours of community service as part of probation.
) Substance abuse assessment, if you're placed on probation. Level 4 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days. Up to a $500 fine. Between 48 hours and 120 days in jail. (Your judge might suspend your sentence to 48 hours of imprisonment or 48 hours of community service as part of probation.) Substance abuse assessment, if you're placed on probation.
Level 3 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days. Up to a $1,000 fine. Between 72 hours and 6 months in jail. (Your judge might suspend your sentence to 72 hours of imprisonment or 72 hours of community service as part of probation.) Substance abuse assessment, if you're placed on probation. Level 2 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days.
Up to a $2,000 fine. Between 7 days and 12 months in jail. (Your judge might suspend your sentence to 90 days of abstaining from alcohol, which the court will monitor.) Substance abuse assessment, if you're placed on probation. Level 1 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days. Up to a $4,000 fine. Between 30 days and 24 months in jail.
(Your judge might give you 10 days under probation cases involving alcohol monitoring for 120 days.) Substance abuse assessment, if you're placed on probation. Aggravated Level 1 Immediate license suspension for 30 days, with the possibility of limited driving privileges after 10 days. Up to a $10,000 fine. Between 12 months and 36 months in jail. (Your judge might give you 120 days under probation cases involving alcohol monitoring for a minimum of 120 days.
) Monitored abstaining from alcohol for 4 months after prison release. Substance abuse assessment. Other DWI Penalties Substance Abuse Assessment The NC DMV and state court system work with the state's Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services to make sure DWI offenders receive substance abuse assessment and complete any required steps, such as education courses like the state's Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) or treatment programs.
Your judge, DWI attorney, and possibly the NC DMV will provide you with information specific to your situation, but you can get a head start with these facts: $100 fee for the DWI assessment. $160 fee for ADETS. Treatment program costs vary by provider, but they're all at least a few hundred dollars. Some DWI offenders can skip treatment programs and enroll only in ADETS after their assessment. Your judge and substance abuse assessment coordinator will determine if you're eligible, but requirements consist of first-time DWI convictions, submitting to the chemical test, and showing no criteria for being dependent on substances.
You can't have your license reinstated until you meet all the assessment, ADETS, and possible treatment program requirements. Visit the Division's Driving While Impaired Services online for more information, including a thorough FAQ section and a local provider locator. Ignition Interlock Device NC requires an ignition interlock device (IID) for any driver convicted of DWI: With a 0.15% BAC or higher.
A subsequent offense within 7 years. An IID has an installation as well as a monthly fee you will be required to pay. The state provides a list of approved IID providers. SR 22: Car Insurance and Proof of Financial Responsibility Unlike some states, North Carolina doesn't require DWI offenders to file an SR 22, which is a document that shows proof of financial responsibility (i.e. you're carrying the state's required minimum liability coverage).
However, most auto coverage providers charge higher rates to DWI offenders; this is understandable, as drivers convicted of driving while impaired are seen as a greater risk. So, when it's time to renew your car insurance policy, you might shop around and compare rates from several other providers to make sure you're getting the best price possible, given your driving history. Commercial Drivers and DWI Often, commercial drivers face tougher DWI penalties than drivers with regular driver licenses, even for first offenses.
Making those penalties even tougher is the fact that, for commercial drivers, their jobs are on the line. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handles all regulations and penalties associated with commercial vehicle drivers throughout the country. Visit the FMCSA's Disqualification of Drivers for specific information. When to Hire a DWI Attorney DWI violators will appear in front of a judge, so start comparing DWI attorneys as soon as possible after your DWI arrest.
An experienced DWI lawyer can help you get as close to the minimum penalties as possible, as well as help negotiate limited driving privileges and penalty alternatives like community service. As you search for a DWI lawyer, remember: North Carolina-based attorneys are more familiar with the state's laws. Look for lawyers who specialize in NC DWI laws and already have experience representing defendants charged with DWI.
An attorney's past cases can help you determine whether the lawyer is right for you or not. Ask for general information, and how the attorney thinks your case compares to others. Applying for Limited Driving Privileges Generally, the court and DMV issue limited driving privileges of their own discretion, which means you don't technically apply for a restricted license, but you can request restricted privileges.
Speak with your judge about limited driving privileges at your hearing. You might find you're immediately eligible, or you'll learn how long into your suspension or revocation you must get before the court will issue limited driving privileges. Reinstate Your NC Driver's License To reinstate your driver's license, you must complete all the requirements of your suspension or revocation, including but not limited to: Completing your suspension or revocation time period.
Paying your fines and other court costs. Completing your jail sentence or community service. Completing your substance abuse assessment, ADETS education course, and possible treatment or rehabilitation program. Paying the $130 fee for DWI license reinstatement. Pay the $50 service fee and the $65 restoration fee.See Also: First Central State Bank Dewitt Iowa
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First DUI Convictions Will Show Up On Your Record The fact of the matter is that an offender’s first DUI conviction, even a misdemeanor DUI, not only shows up on their record, but it is also the reason many people lose out on the chance to rent or buy a home, miss job opportunities, or become ineligible for scholarships and other types of financial aid. The best chance of ensuring this does not happen to you is getting your charges dismissed or reduced.
Police may have honorable intentions in trying to keep drunk drivers off the road, but for first-time DUI offenders, they can sometimes be too harsh or even use scare tactics to get drivers to submit to breathalyzer testing or participate in field sobriety tests, which have led to many innocent drivers being stuck with DUI arrests on their record. This is why you need sound legal representation by your side, so you have the best chance of walking away clean.
Penalties for First DUI Offenses If you get picked up for a first DUI, it’s not unfair to assume that you will receive probation if you are convicted. While this does happen with most first-time DUI offenders, the court may assign other penalties as conditions of that probation, some of which include the following: Possible time in jail, depending on the laws of your state A driver’s license suspension Fees and fines Raised car insurance rates Community service Mandatory attendance in a drug/alcohol treatment program or DUI school Possible use of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle Even misdemeanor DUI offenses in most states will require that you serve a mandatory minimum jail sentence, even if it’s only for a few days.
While states may differ on jail sentences, they virtually all will suspend your driver’s license for a specific amount of time. Also, depending on your criminal and driving histories, it’s possible you might qualify for a hardship driver’s license or an occupational license, so you can drive yourself to school or work. Aggravating Factors for First DUIs In general, a first DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor, leading to community service, fines, a license suspension, and probation in many cases.
However, there are other factors that can affect the nature or level of your charge, leading to greater penalties and sentences. Several possible aggravating factors include the following: Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.15 percent Being involved in an accident Causing property damage Causing bodily injury Refusing a chemical test to determine BAC Having one or more children under 14 years of age in the vehicle Having a past DUI conviction within the previous 10 years Being on probation Being under 21 years of age Driving on a revoked or suspended license Excessive speeding Reckless driving As another example, if a driver has an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, they might still be charged with only a misdemeanor DUI, but the subsequent fine or jail sentence may be increased.
If there were children in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, however, a driver could see their charge elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony, even if the driver had no prior DUI convictions. The administrative element of DUI charges is also something first-time offenders need to consider, often seen through the loss of driving privileges due to a license suspension. For instance, most U.S. states will suspend a driver’s license automatically up to a year if they refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, and this suspension is separate from the one you would receive later for a DUI conviction.
Conditions for a Driver’s License Suspension To get your driver’s license back quickly after losing it to a DUI conviction, it’s likely you will need to deal with a criminal law judge and an administrative law judge. If you are caught driving out on the road while you have a driver’s license suspension, you will only find yourself facing new fines and charges. Additionally, some states may also require that drivers install and then pay for an IID while their case is pending or after their initial license suspension.
After a state-designated IID installer has installed it in your vehicle, the IID will run as high as $200 a month to maintain. Failing to fulfill this condition could result in your bond getting revoked, thus sending you back to jail. How First DUI Changes Car Insurance and Employment When a first-time DUI arrest, charge, or conviction goes on your record, the level of risk you present for potential employers and insurance companies increases significantly.
Because a DUI becomes part of your criminal history, employers can learn about it due to any runs on criminal backgrounds that they make. Some employers will choose not to employ you, because they see you as a liability and a safety risk or because there is a chance of their insurance rates potentially increasing. Because of the elevated risk you present as a DUI offender, you should also get ready for your car insurance rates to increase in the aftermath of your conviction.
The logic behind this is that because you have proven yourself to be a dangerous driver, the insurance company must do what it can to protect itself against the liability you present as a past DUI offender and as a potential future DUI offender. If you ended up in an accident because of a DUI, and the offense was raised to a felony charge, the insurance company might not cover the costs of the accident.
Most insurance policies do not cover damages that occurred during the commission of a felony, such as with felony DUI offenses. If you want the best chance of getting your first DUI charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge, such as wet reckless or reckless driving, don’t rely on the public defender—you need a solid, experienced DUI attorney on the case to get you out of the courtroom and back into your normal life.
First DUI Offense Penalties By State State of Violation Min. Jail Sentence Fines & Fees License Suspension IID Required Alabama No minimum $600-$2,100 90 days N Alaska 72-hour minimum $1,500 90-day minimum Y Arizona 24-hour minimum $250+ 90-360 days Y Arkansas Up to one year $150-$1,000 6 months Y California 4 days & up to 6 months $1,400-$2,600 1-10 months Only in some counties Colorado Up to 180 days (DWAI) – Up to 1 year (DUI) Up to $500 for DWAI, up to $1,000 for DUI DUI 9 months N Connecticut 2 days & up to 6 months $500-$1,000 1 year N Delaware 0-6 months $500-$1,500 1-2 years N D.
C. 0-90 days $300-$1,100 6 months N Florida 6-9 months $500-$2,000 180-365 days Y Georgia Up to 1 year $300-$1,000 1-year max N Hawaii No minimum $150-$1,000 90 days N Idaho Up to 6 months $1000 max 90-180 days N Illinois Up to 1 year $2,500 max 1-year minimum Y Indiana 60 days to 1 year $500-$5,000 2-year max N Iowa 48 hours to 1 year $625-$1,200 180 days If BAC is over .10 Kansas 48 hours+ $750-$1,000 30 days Y Kentucky No minimum $600-$2,100 90 days N Louisiana 2 days to 6 months $1,000 90 days Judged by individual case Maine 30 days $500 90 days N Maryland Up to 2 months (DWI), Up to 1 year (DUI) Up to $500 for DWI, up to $1,000 for DUI Minimum of 6 months for either violation N Massachusetts Up to 30 months $500-$5,000 1 year N Michigan Up to 93 days $100-$500 6 months max Judged by individual case Minnesota Up to 90 days $1,000 90 days max Y Mississippi Up to 48 hours $250-$1,000 90 days N Missouri Up to 6 months $500 max 30 days Judged by individual case Montana 2-180 days $300-$1,000 6 months Judged by individual case Nebraska 7-60 days $500 max 60 days max N Nevada 2-180 days $400-$1,000 90 days Judged by individual case New Hampshire No minimum $500-$1,200 6 months N New Jersey Up to 30 days $250-$500 3-12 months Judged by individual case New Mexico Up to 90 days $500 max 1-year max Y New York No minimum $500-$1,000 6 months Y North Carolina 1 day to 12 months depending upon level of offense $200 for level 5 offense 60-365 days N North Dakota No minimum $500-$750 91-180 days N Ohio 3-180 days $250-$1,000 Minimum 6 months, maximum 3 years N Oklahoma 5 days with a 1 year maximum $1,000 max 30 days N Oregon 48 hours or 80 hours of community service $1,000-$6,250 1 year Y Pennsylvania n/a $300 No minimum Yes if chemical test is refused Rhode Island Up to 1 year $100-$500 2-18 months N South Carolina 2-90 days $400-$1,000 6 months N South Dakota Up to 1 year $1,000 30-365 days N Tennessee 2 days with an 11-month maximum $350-$1,500 1 year Y Texas 3-180 days $2,000 max 90-365 days N Utah Minimum of 48 hours Minimum of $700 120 days N Vermont Up to 2 years $750 max 90 days N Virginia Minimum of 5 days Minimum of $250 1 year If BAC is .
15 or higher Washington 24-hour minimum with maximum of 1 year $865.50-$5,000 90-365 days Y West Virginia Up to 6 months $100-$1,000 15-45 days Judged by individual case Wisconsin n/a $150-$300 6-9 months N Wyoming Up to 6 months $750 max 90 days If BAC is .15 or higher