Everyone makes mistakes, but some of us end up making mistakes that can have far worse ramifications on our personal lives. Getting behind the wheel of an automobile after drinking is certainly one such decision. It’s a choice that can haunt us and bring about some very serious consequences.
If you’ve consumed alcohol and gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle, there’s a good chance you could end up with a DUI. A DUI in North Carolina is a charge that is taken quite seriously.
If you’ve found yourself in the position of taking this charge, you need to take your next steps very seriously. It’s important to understand the ins and outs of what might happen to you after being charged. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
DUI Laws in North Carolina
First and foremost, let’s take a moment to understand what the DUI laws look like in the state of North Carolina. The law within the state lays out that no citizen may control a motor vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance.
This would be defined as either a) having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or more, or b) having any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance in their blood or urine.
Either of these guidelines and measurements can be used to charge you with a DUI, though the use of the blood alcohol concentration level is far more common.
North Carolina, as compared to other states around the country, takes their DUI charges the most seriously. They are very, very tough on DUI offenders. Most who face this charge will be sentenced based on the state’s sliding scale, which includes different levels of misdemeanor charges and punishments.
The punishments for a first-time DUI offender will be far less harsh than for a repeat offender. A repeat offender will be hit quite hard with punishments by the state.
Administrative Punishment for DUI
There are a number of penalties that will be administered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation following a DUI charge. These charges are different from the criminal charges that the state government will bring down on an individual.
The main penalty a DUI offender will face from the Department of Transportation? License revocation. Any driver in the state of North Carolina who breaks the above law will have their license revoked for at least thirty days.
Within that time, they will not be legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle.
The revocation might be extended after the individual has their date in court. If found guilty, most drivers will have their license revoked anywhere from six months to a year time.
In some situations, a driver might be granted a restricted license that would allow them to drive to and from work, but nowhere else and only during certain hours of the day.
In order to get their license reinstated at the end of this period of time, a person must complete a drug and alcohol assessment and take a course that is certified by the state.
Criminal Punishment for DUI
As we mentioned before, when it comes to criminal punishment for DUI, there are different levels of penalties that one might face. It all depends on the level of offense one’s DUI is placed at.
Generally, these levels are based on how impaired a driver was and the extent of damage to which their impairment caused.
There are minimum jail times put in place by North Carolina state law when it comes to DWI offenses. Even for the least serious of offenses, a person might expect to spend at least 24 hours behind bars.
It is possible for the court to suspend these sentences and allow a driver not to spend time in jail, but this will vary case by case.
In the most severe cases, a person could technically be sentenced to up to two years in jail, though this is unlikely. Still, time behind bars is certainly a possibility if you are charged. Bail amounts for DUI charges vary by case and you’ll need to speak to a professional to determine what your best course of action might be if you do face jail time.
In addition to time behind bars, criminal punishment also often takes the form of punitive fees. These are fees that the person in question might have to pay to the state as punishment for the crime.
Again, the extent of these fees will be based on the severity of the crime and where it is placed on the scale. First-time offenders with lower overall BAC levels might only have to pay a few hundred dollars, while more severe cases may be looking at numbers as high as a few thousand.
If you’ve hired an attorney for your case, they may be able to mitigate some of the severity of these charges, especially for a first-time DUI charge.
If this is a repeat charge, all of the above punishments will only be more severe. Time behind bars will be all but guaranteed.
Charged With a DUI in North Carolina
If you’re facing a DUI in North Carolina, you may be worried about your future and what punishment you might face. The first step in facing these charges is getting familiar with how the state typically handles these cases. The above information can help to give you a sense of what to expect.
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