A person charged with driving while impaired in the state of North Carolina must understand they are facing severe penalties. The state takes this crime very seriously and may impose multiple penalties for the same offense. This can include the suspension or revocation of the person’s driver’s license, fines, community service, higher motor vehicle insurance rates and/or jail time. In certain cases, jail time is now mandatory. What can a person expect when they go before the judge after being found guilty of this crime?
First and foremost, a person charged with driving while impaired may find their license is taken even before they see a judge. This suspension typically comes after a person fails a chemical test or refuses to take one. The license will be suspended for one year following the first offense, four years after the second offense and permanently after the third offense. A person may petition the court to have it reinstated after two or three years, depending on which offense it is. When the chemical test is refused, the license is automatically revoked for 30 days. The laws do differ somewhat for drivers under the age of 21, and an attorney can provide information on this.
The state recognizes five levels of DWI, which can be confusing to many. Level five offenses tend to be the least severe, with the driver’s license being suspended for 30 days and other consequences. An aggravated level one charge is the most serious and comes with this 30 day license suspension and jail time. A lawyer examines the charges and provides a defendant with the level of the offense and the accompanying charges. In addition, the attorney may work to have the charges reduced to a less serious level.
Other penalties, such as a substance abuse assessment, may …