Driving While Impaired in North Carolina

a person being charged with driving while impairedNorth 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.

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