North Carolina takes impaired driving seriously, so those arrested should expect to receive the stiffest penalties possible under the law.
If you are convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) at a Level 5, then you can expect the following.
Level 5 Penalties
Level 5 is typically for first-time offenders who have no aggravating factors. Under North Carolina law, you can expect to face:
- At least 24 hours in jail, but no more than 60 days in jail
- A fine of at least $200
The good news is that a judge can suspend your jail sentence and instead order only 24 hours in jail, 24 hours of community service, or not driving a vehicle for at least 30 days.
Those convicted of DWI will also have their license revoked for one year. However, a judge may grant limited driving privileges for travel to school and work.
Should You Accept Level 5 punishment?
Given the fact that you are facing maybe only one night in jail and a $200 fine, you might be tempted not to even fight the charges. However, there are collateral consequences to any conviction that you should be aware of, including the following:
- An employer can run a background check on you when you apply for a job. As a result, they might see the DWI conviction and hold it against you. If you hope to get a job that requires that you drive, then a DWI could prevent you from even getting hired. Some cities, like Durham and Charlotte, have banned employers from asking about convictions, but most cities and towns have not.
- A landlord might run a background check on you before agreeing to rent you an apartment. If so, the landlord will probably see the DWI, which they might hold against you.
- Criminal convictions might make it difficult for you to obtain professional licenses in the future.
- You will probably pay more in car insurance.
Because of these consequences, you should seriously consider hiring a North Carolina criminal defense attorney to review your case and determine whether you have defenses to the charge.
Speak with a North Carolina DWI Lawyer
North Carolina metes out stiff penalties for DWI, even for first-time offenders. Because so much is on the line, you should hire an experienced DWI lawyer to fight for your rights. At Tarlton & Polk, we have years of experience in criminal law, and are prepared to use our experience for you. To schedule your case review, please reach out to us today.