Driving while impaired is a misdemeanor crime in North Carolina. The court divides DWI charges into five levels based on the factors involved in the crime. Mitigating factors are positive, such as a good driving record. Aggravating factors are negative, such as DWI with a minor in the vehicle.

Read on to learn about the five penalty levels for a North Carolina DWI charge.

Level V penalties

For those without previous DWI charges, Level V penalties include between 24 hours and 60 days in jail and fines up to $200. You may receive a suspended sentence if you agree to a 30-day license suspension and 24 hours of community service. To qualify for Level V, your case must be free of aggravating factors such as negligence, reckless driving or gross impairment.

Level IV penalties

This category includes second-time DWI offenders and those with both mitigating and aggravating factors. For this charge, you can receive 48 hours to 120 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. A suspended sentence may be available if you complete a 60-day license suspension and 48 hours of community service.

Level III penalties

Drivers who have several aggravating factors and few mitigating factors will receive a Level III DWI charge. This conviction will result in 72 hours to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. In some cases, you can receive a suspended sentence in exchange for a 90-day license suspension and 72 hours of community service.

Level II penalties

Drivers with multiple DWI convictions and severe aggravating factors may receive Level II penalties if convicted. This crime is not eligible for a suspended sentence and carries penalties of seven days to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

Level I penalties

If you receive a DUI charge for a crash in which you injured another person, involved minor children or did not have a driver’s license, the judge can impose the most severe penalties. In North Carolina, Level I DWI offenses result in 30 days to two years in jail and fines of up to $4,000.

Some drivers qualify for reduced penalties. This may apply if you agree to a drug and alcohol treatment program.