Five Things You Need to Know About North Carolina DWI Laws

North Carolina has some of the strictest impaired driving laws in the country. Being convicted for driving while impaired (DWI) in North Carolina can have serious consequences. A North Carolina DWI conviction can result in jail time, fines, court costs, and a loss of driving privileges. Additionally, North Carolina car insurance companies often penalize drivers convicted of DWI by raising premium prices, often by a very significant amount. Some employers will not hire employees who do not have a clean driving record.

Indeed, a DWI conviction can result in negative consequences for years after the conviction. If you have been charged with a DWI, speaking with a skilled North Carolina DWI attorney is essential. Contact our skilled DWI defense lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. In the meantime, here are five things that individuals facing a DWI conviction in North Carolina need to know.

1.- Those Arrested for a DWI Usually Go to Jail

When law enforcement officials determine that a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, they will usually arrest the individual. Law enforcement officials will take the offender to jail. Following the arrest, a judicial official will set the terms of the individual’s release. Depending on a number of factors including prior criminal history, the judicial official may require that the individual post a monetary bond or remain incarcerated until the bail bond is paid.

2.- Portable Breath Tests in North Carolina

When a law enforcement officer suspects that someone is driving while intoxicated, he or she will usually ask the person to breathe into a portable breath test (PBT). The test is often referred to as an alcohol screening test, or most often referred to as a “breathalyzer”. Drivers have a right to refuse the PBT for DWI’s. The fact of the driver’s refusal is admissible in court. If the driver refuses to submit to the post-arrest breath test, the driver’s license will be subject to a one-year revocation for the refusal.

The one-year revocation for the refusal is separate and apart from any revocation that may occur as a result of a conviction of DWI. Even if the defendant is found not guilty of the DWI, the one-year driver’s license revocation for the refusal will still stand. If a driver refuses to take a breath or blood alcohol test at the police station, law enforcement must secure a search warrant to obtain a blood sample. Additionally, police officers must secure a search warrant before drawing blood to test the blood when the driver is unconscious. If police officers have arrested you for a DWI and you are unsure as to whether or not to agree to DWI tests, contact our skilled DWI defense attorneys as soon as possible.

3.- DWI Consequences Depend on the Severity of the DWI

The consequences for a North Carolina DWI conviction depend on multiple factors in the case. North Carolina criminal law recognizes six levels of DWI in terms of penalties. Level V is the least sever type of DWI, punishable by up to a $200 fine and up to 60 days imprisonment at the judge’s discretion. An Aggravated Level One DWI is the most sever type of DWI, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and up to 36 months imprisonment.

Judges will require a substance abuse assessment and treatment for all DWI convictions. Repeat DWI convictions require harsher sentencing per North Carolina law. If you are facing a DWI conviction, the lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can help you understand your charges and argue for dismissal or a reduction in the severity of your charges.

4.- Defendants Convicted of a DWI Face License Suspension

Facing jail time is often the most worrisome aspect of a DWI conviction. Nonetheless, the loss of the ability to drive can cause significant hardship. Individuals without access to reliable transportation may have issues getting to and from work should a conviction result in a suspension of a person’s driver’s license. Asking friends and family for rides or paying taxis or ride-share drivers can become burdensome and a financial drain. First-time DWI offenses come with a suspension of a year. Those convicted of a third DWI face permanent suspension of their licenses.

5.- Hire Skilled DWI Defense Lawyers

If you are facing a DWI in North Carolina, hiring a skilled DWI defense lawyer is essential. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our attorneys have the necessary experience to fight for your rights. We fight vigorously on behalf of our clients. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.