Penalties for DWI in North Carolina


Regardless of how they classify the offense, all states make drunk driving illegal to keep roads safe. Drunk driving is called a DWI, or driving while intoxicated In North Carolina. A driver in Shelby, North Carolina, may face several stiff penalties if they get a DWI.

Overview of DWI

North Carolina’s DWI laws prohibit operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances. A driver can get charged with DWI with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 and .04 for repeat offenders. They can also get charged with DWI for being impaired on a Schedule I substance regardless of the amount.

Drivers who refuse a breath test after arrest get up to a one-year license suspension under implied consent laws. An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver, so a criminal defense strategy could focus on the lack of this element.

Penalties for DWI

Penalties for DWI are divided into Levels 1-5, with Level 1 being the most serious offense. Most first offenses count as misdemeanors, unless aggravating factors, such as speeding or a BAC of .15 or more. Penalties for Level 1 include 30 days to two years of jail and/or a $4,000 fine, and a one-year license suspension.

Level 2 penalties include a minimum of seven days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, and a one to four-year license suspension. Sometimes, community service can be issued instead of jail time in Levels 3-5, but mandatory alcohol assessment is required at all levels.

North Carolina has some of the toughest DWI penalties, but mistakes are often made. There are several valid defenses to DWI charges that can be raised.