A closer look at North Carolina’s drunk driving laws

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Most drivers already know that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. However, they may be less familiar with the different levels that make up North Carolina’s DWI laws. There are five different levels of DWI charges with varying legal consequences, so when facing allegations of drunk driving it is important to have a firm grasp of which level one is accused of committing.

Levels V – III

Level V is considered the least serious DWI offense, but still comes with up to $200 in fines and between 24 hours and 60 days in jail. Level IV involves as much as $500 in fines and between 48 hours and 120 days in jail. Finally, an individual who is charged with a Level III DWI offense may have to pay $1,000 in fines and spend anywhere from 72 hours to six months in jail. On top of these consequences, drivers can also lose their driving privileges for periods of:

  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days

Levels II – I

Levels II and I are more serious in nature, and therefore have harsher consequences. Level II offenses come with as much as $2,000 in fines and jail time that ranges between seven days and a year. A Level I offense can involve $4,000 in fines and a minimum of 30 days or maximum of two years jail time. These levels are generally for:

  • Repeat offenders
  • Those driving on revoked licenses
  • Impaired drivers with children in the vehicle
  • Impaired drivers who injured others in an accident

This is only a brief look at North Carolina’s drunk driving laws. Habitual offenders — defined as those with at least three convictions in the last seven years — face different legal consequences upon conviction. Since the consequences and defense strategies can vary so much between DWI charges, many defendants elect to work closely with knowledgeable attorneys who can guide them through the process.