When it comes to traffic violations, driving while impaired (DWI) is a very serious offense in North Carolina. A momentary indiscretion can result in months spent in jail and fines costing thousands of dollars.
While you should always conduct yourself responsibly, you should also know what you are up against should you receive a DWI charge. Here are a few of the possible penalties.
Level I and II
As the most serious offenses, level I and II offenders typically have a history of drunk driving or are subject to extenuating circumstances, such as having a minor in the vehicle with them at the time of the arrest. A level I conviction incurs a mandatory minimum jail term of 30 days and a fine of up to $4,000. As for level II offenders, they will receive a mandatory minimum term of seven days and a fine of up to $2,000.
When it comes to jail time, level III offenses entail a minimum of 72 hours and a maximum of six months, while fines have a maximum limit of $1,000. If the driver serves the minimum jail term, completes an additional 72 hours of community service, and agrees to give up driving privileges for 90 days, the judge can decide to suspend their full sentence.
Like level III, level IV offenders can have their sentences suspended under certain conditions. Minimum jail sentences are 48 hours, with a maximum of 120 days, while fines range up to $500. Serving the minimum sentence, performing 48 hours of community service, and giving up driving privileges for 60 days can result in a suspended sentence.
While the least serious of all offenses, level V still carries some relatively stiff penalties. Maximum fines are $200, while the minimum jail term is 24 hours, with a maximum of 60 days. The conditions for suspension are serving the minimum jail term, submitting to 24 hours of community service, and not driving for 30 days.
Your age and profession can also play a role in the penalties you face. For example, commercial drivers and those under the age of 21 face zero-tolerance policies if convicted, including the mandatory revocation of their driving privileges.