North Carolina takes driving while you are under the influence very seriously. If you are suspected of driving under the influence you will be tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol. A BAC or blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above will be grounds for a DUI charge. If you are a commercial driver or a driver under the age of 21, the BACs will be even lower. There are different levels of punishment, depending upon the aggravating factors and understanding this can show you how important it is that you make the choice not to drive when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some of these aggravating factors include a BAC of .15 or above, reckless driving/accident, driving under a revoked license, prior DWI convictions, speeding, eluding officers, and more.
First DWI Offense
A first DWI conviction will result in a license suspension of 60 days, although this can be increased to a year, depending upon the factors associated with your arrest. While there is no mandatory jail time for a first offense, you can be sentenced to jail if you have any of the aggravating factors. As far as fines, you will be responsible for fines of $200 to $500, as well as other fees that are associated with your sentencing and court fees, including the installation of an ignition interlock device, cost of drug/alcohol treatment and counseling, and reinstatement fees that are mandated by the courts.
Second DWI Offense
A one year license suspension is most common for second DWI offenses, but if it is within three years of the first, you may face up to a four year license suspension. For reinstatement, you will have to show proof of SR22 insurance coverage, which will cost you additionally over the cost of regular car insurance. Even after reinstatement, you will have to get an ignition interlock device installed on all cars that you own before you can get your license back. Jail time can range from seven days to one year, depending upon the aggravating factors. You may be able to get your sentence reduced to community service if you have no aggravating factors in your arrest. Fines will range from $200 to $400, depending upon the level of your charges, but this will not include the costs of court fees, reinstatement fees, and any fees that are associated with carrying out your sentence.
Third DWI Offense
If you are convicted of a third DWI within ten years of the first, you will be facing a felony charge. License suspension will be for a period of up to four years, but if your other DWIs were within the last five years, you can lose your license permanently. Jail time can be for a period of two years and this time can significantly increase if you are convicted of DWI with any of the aggravating factors. A minimum jail sentence for a third DWI is fourteen days. Fines will be all of the costs that are associated with your sentencing and reinstatement costs, including court fees, drug/alcohol treatment fees, and more.
Fourth DWI Offense
A fourth DWI offense will mean that you lose your license permanently and you can spend up to a minimum of one year in jail. Substance abuse/treatment will be mandated, as well as the installation of an ignition interlock device if your driving privileges are restored. Court fees and other sentencing fees and reinstatement fees will be your responsibility as well.
Choosing to drive while under the influence will result in a loss of your freedoms and a big impact upon your finances. By getting a lawyer and getting the legal help that you need, you can get the guidance you need to make it through the process.