What are the penalties for driving while intoxicated?

| Oct 15, 2020 | criminal defense

In North Carolina, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is taken very seriously. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, there are a wide range of penalties you may face if convicted.

Misdemeanor DWI offenses are broken down into five separate levels. This guide explains the different levels, as well as special circumstances that can increase the penalties you face.

Level I through V DWI offenses

Level I and II DWI offenses are considered the most serious. These charges are given to people who have multiple offenses on their record, drivers who injure someone while driving drunk, people driving with revoked licenses, as well as others. With Level I, you will be faced with a minimum jail term of 30 days, and a fine of up to $4,000. With a Level II offense, the minimum jail term is seven days, while the maximum fine is $2,000.

Level III through V misdemeanor offenses are less serious, but still carry strict penalties. Level III DWI is punishable by a minimum 72 hours jail term and fine of up to $1,000. With Level IV, minimum jail sentences are 48 hours, with a possible maximum of 6 months. And Level V offenses entail a minimum of 48 hours in jail, with a maximum 120-day term, as well as a $500 fine. Jail terms for Level III through V DWI offenses can be suspended if you perform community service or give up your driving privileges for a certain period of time.

Felony DWI offenses

If you have three or more DWI offenses on record over a seven-year period, you will be charged with felony DWI. Felony convictions entail a minimum one-year jail term that must be served. You may also be required to undergo substance abuse treatment, depending on the outcome of your substance abuse screening.