Proudly Serving Our Clients For Over 35 Years

How serious of an issue is drunk driving in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report in the past few years highlighting how big of an issue drunk driving is throughout the United States. 

This government agency’s data shows that intoxicated drivers claim as many as 10,000 lives annually in this country. Countless other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians suffer debilitating injuries in these accidents that forever change their lives. These statistics motivate North Carolina law enforcement officers to seek out intoxicated motorists and charge them with driving while impaired (DWI).

What are North Carolina’s DWI statistics?

CDC’s data alcohol-impaired motorists were allegedly responsible for 3,848 car crash fatalities between 2009 and 2018. 

Other data pulled from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows that at least 1.3% of North Carolina motorists have admitted operating their vehicle after consuming too much alcohol in the 30-days leading up to their polling. This compares to 1.7% of motorists on a national scale. The CDC estimates that several million motorists actually drive while impaired.

What is North Carolina’s legal limit?

It’s unlawful for any motorist to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more here in North Carolina. That BAC percentage is half that amount for commercial drivers. There are also zero-tolerance laws in place that prohibit motorists younger than the legal drinking age from operating vehicles while intoxicated.

It’s important to note, however, that you can be charged with a DWI even when you’re below the 0.08% limit. That’s merely the “per se” limit that automatically qualifies as “drunk.”

What are the penalties for DWI in NC?

Any motorist convicted of a DWI may have their driver’s license suspended or revoked, have to serve jail time or probation and pay fines. There are enhanced penalties for motorists who damage property, those who kill or maim someone and repeat offenders. You may also have difficulty retaining or securing employment, remaining enrolled in school, and other personal aspects of your life with limited driving privileges and a conviction on your record. 

A conviction isn’t guaranteed if you’re facing DWI charges, but there’s a strong likelihood that’s what outcome you’re looking at if you don’t put up a strong defense in your case