Driving under the influence is a dangerous act that everyone should avoid. The legal consequences of being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are harsh just about everywhere in America, but those in North Carolina know that the state’s DUI penalties can be especially harsh. Due to the complexities and seriousness of North Carolina’s drunken driving statutes, it’s imperative that every citizen of the Tar Heel State understand DUI law.
Penalties for North Carolina DUI
There are several repercussions that those arrested for DUI in North Carolina will face. Those arrested for their first NC DUI, assuming there were no aggravating factors, will spend at least one day in jail and may lose their license for up to a year. A person may also be given community service as part of their sentence, and this is often in combination with the aforementioned punishments.
As is the case in every other state in America, these consequences will increase if a person attains more than one DUI over a certain period of time. An individual who gets two DUI charges within a three year period, for instance, may face a license suspension of up to four years. The jail time they’ll face is four days, but obviously, in this case, the four year license suspension will have a much more detrimental effect.
Laws Specific to North Carolina
As mentioned earlier, DUI laws in North Carolina can be much more complex than in other states. Penalties for even a first DUI, for instance, can be greatly increased if there were “grossly aggravating factors” involved in the offense. These factors can include anything from getting a second DUI charge within seven years to seriously injuring another individual while drunk driving.
Those who have one grossly aggravating factor may face up to one year in jail due to their charge. This is known as a Level Two Punishment. For the unfortunate individuals who have two aggravating factors involved in their arrest, they will face a Level One Punishment. This punishment can include two years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Due to these serious consequences, it’s important to know how to defend against these charges.
Handling an NC Drunk Driving Charge
There are several ways in which a person can fight a drunk driving charge in North Carolina. Breathalyzers, for instance, are man-made machines that can sometimes malfunction. Hundreds of DUI convictions had to be reexamined in Pennsylvania, for instance, when it was discovered that a few devices weren’t properly calibrated. Additionally, these alcohol breath tests can return false positives if a person has had even a small amount of alcohol, or in some cases, it may even give a false positive if a person has diabetes.
The most vital thing a person should do after being arrested for drunk driving is to find a DUI attorney. These legal professionals will know which, if any, of the aforementioned instances may negate the state’s evidence against a person. Additionally, an attorney may be able to prevent a person’s license from being suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Since this DMV suspension is administrative in nature, it may be able to be overturned even after a conviction.
Those pulled over for drinking and driving will often have an uphill battle regardless of where they are, but just like every other group in the country, North Carolina residents have the right to defend themselves against the charges. It’s usually essential to secure an attorney after a DUI arrest since they know all of the applicable laws and technicalities that can result in a dismissal of charges. One thing, however, will always remain true after an NC drunk driving arrest: those who choose not to fight the charge will likely feel its repercussions for the rest of their lives.
Valerie Stout Cyrus is a professional blogger who often writes about legal issues that are of concern to the public. Due to the license suspension and jail time that is associated with NC DUI, this is not a matter that should be left up to chance. The North Carolina legal team of Powers McCartan, PLLC strongly defends their clients in any alcohol related arrest, regardless of the arrest circumstances.