If a North Carolina court convicts you of driving while intoxicated, you could face a range of penalties depending on the specific circumstances of your arrest.
First, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend your license:
You will lose it for a year on a first offense and four years on a second offense. Any further DWI violation would result in a permanent loss of your license.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, you automatically lose your license for a year, regardless of whether the court finds you guilty of the DWI offense or not.
Criminal courts consider five levels of sentencing
Level one is the most severe punishment. The judge could send you to jail for between one month and two years and order you to pay a fine of up to $4,000.
Level five is the least serious but could still result in between one full day and two months in jail and a fine of up to $200.
On top of that, you will face increased insurance premiums once you can drive again and may find it harder to get jobs where driving is involved or where an employer does not want anyone with a criminal record.
It is always worth fighting a DWI
In some cases, you can seek to overturn the charge entirely. In others, your best option is not to fight the charge outright but to try to lower the punishment level. Getting legal help to examine all options gives you the best chance to minimize the effect a DWI arrest has on your life.