North Carolina DUI

When faced with a North Carolina DUI/DWI arrest and/or conviction, there are a number of issues to consider: Will you have to serve jail time? If so, for how long? Or is probation a possibility? What will you owe in fines? Will your license be suspended, and for how long? Will you have to go to a DUI/DWI school or do community service? Here are the basic laws regarding North Carolina DUI/DWI fines and sentencing.

 

North Carolina DUI/DWI Glossary of Terms

DUI/DWI Insurance Consequences:

What Happens When You Get Stopped for Drunk Driving?

How Does a Drunk Driving Conviction Affect Your Record?

First North Carolina DUI/DWI Offense:

North Carolina Criminal Status: Misdemeanor.

Jail: There are five sentencing levels for DWI's, ranging from Level 1, the most serious, to Level 5, the least serious. The sentencing level is determined by the judge based on "factors" such as prior DWI's, whether or not your license was revoked for DWI, the breathalyzer reading, whether you obtained a substance abuse assessment prior to court, if a child under 16 was in the car, and your driving record. Jail time is:

  • Level 5: 24 hours to 60 days
  • Level 4: 48 hours to 120 days
  • Level 3: 72 hours to 6 months
  • Level 2: 7 days to 1 year •
  • Level 1: 30 days to 2 years

North Carolina DUI/DWI Fines/Costs: There are five sentencing levels for DWI's, ranging from Level 1, the most serious, to level 5, the least serious. The sentencing level is determined by the judge based on "factors" such as prior DWI's, whether or not your license was revoked for DWI, the breathalyzer reading, whether you obtained a substance abuse assessment prior to court, and your driving record. Fines for the levels are:

  • Level 5 – not more than $200
  • Level 4 – not more than $500
  • Level 3 – not more than $1,000
  • Level 2 – not more than $2,000
  • Level 1 – not more than $4,000

There are no mandatory minimums.

North Carolina License Suspension: Generally, 6 months to one year at the court’s discretion.

Violation of Zero Tolerance Law: Class 2 misdemeanor and one year license suspension. Treated as a “traditional” DUI for all other purposes under North Carolina’s “level” punishment system and DUI school requirements.

North Carolina Conditional License: Limited driving privileges may be granted after 10 days of the 30-day pre-trial revocation if drivers do not have a prior conviction for an offense involving "impaired driving" and they agree to participate in a substance abuse training or treatment program.

After conviction, limited driving privileges may be issued at the discretion of the court if an offender is not punished at either Level 1 or 2, did not refuse the implied consent test and has agreed to participate in substance abuse training or treatment. Under separate provisions, if an offender refused the implied consent test and has not had a previous test refusal or DWI conviction within 7 years, a limited driving privilege license may be issued after a 6 month revocation period.

Note: After an offender’s license has been restored, a restriction is placed on the license prohibiting driving with a BAC level at or above .04 for a 1st restoration and with any alcohol in the system for a 2nd or subsequent restoration. These restrictions are in effect for 3 years unless the offender’s license was permanently revoked but could be restored. The restriction appears on the back of the driver’s license and is in the driver’s license record. A violation of the restriction is an implied consent offense. A violation of the restriction will result in at least a 1-year revocation.

Vehicle Impound: Yes. Up to 10 days and offender must pay impound fees.

North Carolina DUI/DWI School: North Carolina requires attendance at alcohol safety school and/or substance abuse treatment for all DUI convictions. Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) is the level you are assigned to if you have never had a DWI or drinking and driving offense, had a Breathalyzer reading of .14 or less, did not refuse the Breathalyzer, and the you initial assessment does not find an alcohol or drug abuse problem. ADETS is a 10-hour program with a cost of approximately $75.00. Check with the Department of Transportation for a list of approved DUI//DWI schools.

North Carolina Probation: Probation is possible depending on the judge and individual circumstances.

North Carolina Community Service: Community service may be used in lieu of incarceration for Level 3, 4, or 5. It is used at the discretion of the court for Level 1 or 2. Depending upon the level of conviction, community service of between 24 – 72 hours may be imposed and must be completed within a specific time period.

Second North Carolina DUI/DWI Offense Plus:

North Carolina Criminal Status: Misdemeanor.

Jail: There are five sentencing levels for DWI's, ranging from Level 1, the most serious, to level 5, the least serious. The sentencing level is determined by the judge based on "factors" such as prior DWI's, whether or not your license was revoked for DWI, the breathalyzer reading, whether you obtained a substance abuse assessment prior to court, if a child under 16 was in the car and your driving record. Jail time is:

  • Level 5: 24 hours to 60 days
  • Level 4: 48 hours to 120 days
  • Level 3: 72 hours to 6 months
  • Level 2: 7 days to 1 year
  • Level 1: 30 days to 2 years

North Carolina DUI/DWI Fines/Costs: There are five sentencing levels for DWI's, ranging from Level 1, the most serious, to level 5, the least serious. The sentencing level is determined by the judge based on "factors" such as prior DWI's, whether or not your license was revoked for DWI, the breathalyzer reading, whether you obtained a substance abuse assessment prior to court, and your driving record. Fines for the levels are:

  • Level 5 – not more than $200
  • Level 4 – not more than $500
  • Level 3 – not more than $1,000
  • Level 2 – not more than $2,000
  • Level 1 – not more than $4,000

There are no mandatory minimums.

North Carolina License Suspension: Generally, 6 months to one year at the court’s discretion. The post-conviction mandatory minimum revocation period is 1 year for most 2nd and subsequent offenses that do not fall into the following: 2nd offense within 3 years = 2 years.

Violation of Zero Tolerance Law: Class 2 misdemeanor and one year license suspension. Treated as a “traditional” DUI for all other purposes under North Carolina’s “level” punishment system and DUI school requirements.

North Carolina Conditional License: Limited driving privileges may be granted after 10 days of the 30-day pre-trial revocation if drivers do not have a prior conviction for an offense involving "impaired driving" and they agree to participate in a substance abuse training or treatment program.

After conviction, limited driving privileges may be issued at the discretion of the court if an offender is not punished at either Level 1 or 2, did not refuse the implied consent test and has agreed to participate in substance abuse training or treatment. Under separate provisions, if an offender refused the implied consent test and has not had a previous test refusal or DWI conviction within 7 years, a limited driving privilege license may be issued after a 6 month revocation period.

Note: After an offender’s license has been restored, a restriction is placed on the license prohibiting driving with a BAC level at or above .04 for a 1st restoration and with any alcohol in the system for a 2nd or subsequent restoration. These restrictions are in effect for 3 years unless the offender’s license was permanently revoked but could be restored. The restriction appears on the back of the driver’s license and is in the driver’s license record. A violation of the restriction is an implied consent offense. A violation of the restriction will result in at least a 1-year revocation.

Vehicle Impound: Yes. Up to 10 days and offender must pay impound fees.

North Carolina requires attendance at alcohol safety school and/or substance abuse treatment for all DUI convictions. Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS) is the level you are assigned to if you have never had a DWI or drinking and driving offense, had a Breathalyzer reading of .14 or less, did not refuse the Breathalyzer, and the you initial assessment does not find an alcohol or drug abuse problem. ADETS is a 10-hour program with a cost of approximately $75.00. Check with the Department of Transportation for a list of approved DUI//DWI schools.

North Carolina Probation: Probation is possible depending on the judge and individual circumstances.

North Carolina Community Service: Community service may be used in lieu of incarceration for Level 3, 4, or 5. It is used at the discretion of the court for Level 1 or 2. Depending upon the level of conviction, community service of between 24 – 72 hours may be imposed and must be completed within a specific time period.

Other:

Commercial Vehicle: 0.04 BAC level, one year license revocation. A notation is placed on a commercial license after a DUI conviction for two years stating that the driver violated the state DUI law.

Under Age: 21

North Carolina Open Container Laws: Yes, driver and passenger. Class C misdemeanor for 1st offense, class 2 misdemeanor for 2nd offense. Fines up to $1,000.

How long does a DUI/DWI stay on your record? A DUI/DWI in North Carolina stays on your driving record for 7 years.

Driver Responsibility Tax: N/A.

Ignition interlock device program: Mandatory for 2nd or subsequent offenders or for any offender convicted at a BAC level of .16 or above upon license reinstatement for 1 year if the revocation period was for 1 year, 3 years if the revocation period was for 4 years, and 7 years if the license was permanently revoked but was able to be restored. May be required for any offender eligible for restricted driving privileges.

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