North Carolina DWI/DUI penalties are complex. They are also very serious. Essentially, there are five levels of penalties, with the fifth level being the least severe and the first level being the most severe. At Woody White Law Firm PLLC in Wilmington, we are committed to getting you the least severe penalties or avoiding penalties completely, if possible.
How North Carolina Determines Penalty Levels
The level of your drunk driving penalties will depend on whether there were any aggravating factors present. Aggravating factors include prior convictions for DWI/DUI, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater, excessively reckless driving and driving with a revoked license. Some factors are considered grossly aggravating and will lead to a more serious level of drinking and driving penalties.
There are also mitigating factors that may counterbalance aggravating factors. Mitigating factors include a previously safe driving record and completion of a substance abuse assessment. A skilled defense attorney must be well-versed in mitigating factors and how to use them to minimize penalties. We always strategize for the lowest possible drunk driving penalties.
Drunk Driving Penalty Levels
The five penalty levels for drunk driving are:
- Level 5: Driver’s license suspension, $200 maximum fine and up to 60 days in jail
- Level 4: License suspension, $500 maximum fine and up to 120 days in jail
- Level 3: License suspension, $1,000 maximum fine and up to six months in jail
- Level 2: License suspension, $2,000 maximum fine and up to one year in jail
- Level 1: License suspension, $4,000 maximum fine and up to two years in jail
There is also an aggravated level one in which the fines increase to up to $10,000, and there is a possibility of spending up to three years behind bars.
Keep in mind that the penalties listed above are not the only penalties. You may also have to attend and pay for drug or alcohol abuse counseling. You may also have to pay for the installation and use of an ignition interlock device. There are also insurance costs that need to be taken into consideration. The bottom line is that DWI/DUI convictions are extremely expensive, and our lawyers will work hard to minimize them on your behalf.