North Carolina treats driving while impaired as a serious crime because it endangers everyone on the road. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of drunk driving fatalities in North Carolina is well above the national average for every age group.

Learn more about the penalties for this misdemeanor charge, which range in severity depending on the circumstances of your case.

Penalties for Level V DWI

This is the least serious DWI charge in North Carolina, reserved for first-time convictions with one or more mitigating (positive) factors and no aggravating (negative) factors. Examples of mitigating factors include a clean driving record, while mitigating factors could entail negligence, reckless driving or a very high level of impairment.

If you receive a Level V conviction, you could receive 24 hours to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $200. First-time offenders can qualify for a suspended sentence by completing a 30-day license revocation and 24 community service hours.

Penalties for Level IV DWI

If you face two DWI charges or have equal negative and positive factors in your case, you will likely receive Level IV penalties if convicted. This includes 48 hours to 12 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. You can receive a suspended sentence after a 60-day license revocation and 48 hours of community service.

Penalties for Level III DWI

If your case has serious mitigating factors, such as getting a DWI when driving on a revoked license, you could receive Level III DWI charges. Penalties include 72 hours to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. For a suspended sentence, you must complete a 90-day license revocation and 72 hours of community service.

Penalties for Level II and I DWI

A grossly aggravating factor, such as causing bodily harm to another person, results in a Level II DWI. This charge carries a minimum jail sentence of seven days and up to a year, with no chance for a suspended sentence. You will also pay fines of up to $2,000. If you were driving without a license or with children in the car, fines double and you will receive a 30-day to two-year jail sentence.