Drunk driving is a serious crime, but the penalties associated with DWI in North Carolina can have a significant impact on your life. Even if it is your first DWI and it is a misdemeanor, you would be wise to take these charges seriously and seek a beneficial outcome to your case. A conviction is never your only option.
In order to more effectively fight back against the charges you are currently facing, it can be useful to fully understand the nature of the charges and the potential penalties they can bring. There is much at stake, and you may want to begin to build a defense plan as soon as possible after an arrest.
Levels of misdemeanor DWI
North Carolina takes a strong stand against drunk driving. There are five levels of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charges, and the penalties for these different levels are as follows:
- Level 1: This is the most serious of the misdemeanor DWI charges. The potential penalties for this level include jail time between 30 days and two years and you could pay fines of as much as $4,000. You would have to serve at least the minimum sentence for a Level 1 DWI.
- Level 2: Jail time at this level could be from seven days up to one year and you may pay fines up to $2,000. You can’t avoid serving at least seven days in jail for a conviction at this level.
- Level 3: You could spend time in jail ranging from 72 hours up to six months and pay fines up to $1,000. You may not have to spend time in jail under certain conditions.
- Level 4: You could potentially spend anywhere from 48 hours to a maximum of 120 days in jail and pay fines of as much as $500. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may suspend your jail sentence.
- Level 5: Your potential jail sentence can range from 24 hours to a maximum of 60 days and your fines could go up to $200. It is possible for a judge to suspend the jail time.
You may face Level 1 or Level 2 charges if you drive on a revoked license, drive impaired with a child in the car, are a repeat offender or hurt another person in an accident.
With a strong defense strategy, you can confront these charges and fight for the most beneficial outcome. It is possible to avoid a conviction or get the charges reduced, challenge the case against you and mitigate some of the penalties you are facing when charged with misdemeanor DWI.