If you’re visiting or living in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and are charged with DUI, you need to know what comes next.
This blog post will outline the basics of DUI law in North Carolina and what you can expect if you’re convicted of driving under the influence.
Keep reading to learn more!
I was arrested for DUI. What should I do?
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, we think the first thing you should do is contact a qualified DUI attorney.
There are important and often time sensitive issues to address including what can happen to your driver’s license after an arrest for impaired driving and whether or not driving privileges are available under the impaired driving laws.
An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the often complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected. The potential consequences of a DUI conviction are serious.
If you’re facing a DUI charge, don’t try to go it alone – get help from a professional!
How do lawyers help?
A DUI lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action for your case.
It’s important to understand, that while impaired driving offenses may share certain similarities, each case is different.
For example, some allegations involve a blood test or blood alcohol content, while other matters may include evidence from a law enforcement officer that details allegations of impairment by marijuana or other controlled substances including prescription drugs.
Clearly, not every case involves alcohol abuse or amounts to aggravated DWI. Alcohol consumption is not even required.
If you choose to go to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court and work towards a favorable outcome.
No matter what your situation is, if you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Lawyers prepare a defense by:
- Investigating the facts of the case
- Analyzing the evidence against you
- Identifying any constitutional violations
- Interviewing witnesses
- Preparing for trial
If you’ve been charged with DUI, don’t wait to get help – contact a qualified lawyer today.
With their help, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you understand the best-case and worst-case scenarios.
What does DUI stand for?
DUI ordinarily stands for “driving under the influence,” and it is a crime in North Carolina to operate a vehicle while your mental or physical faculties are appreciably impaired.
Some people mistakenly believe the only way you can be convicted of impaired driving in North Carolina is to blow a .08 or higher on the “breathalyzer.”
Clearly, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher can be legal grounds for a conviction under the NC DWI laws. But, that is not the only legal basis for a conviction.
What does appreciable impairment mean?
Appreciable impairment means that your faculties are diminished to such an extent that you no longer have the normal use of some mental or physical faculties.
It does NOT mean simply being tired or having consumed some alcohol. NC DWI law requires more than mere consumption of alcohol to convict someone of driving while impaired.
There must be evidence that the alcohol actually appreciably impaired your faculties.
Is there a difference between DWI and DUI in North Carolina?
Not really. DWI and DUI tend to be interchangeable terms in North Carolina. They both refer to the crime of impaired driving.
Impaired Driving is defined by statute in North Carolina under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1.
For the record, you don’t have to be “drunk” to be convicted of DUI. As such, the term “drunk driving” is not entirely accurate.
While it is clearly illegal to be “drunk” while operating a vehicle in NC, the legal standard for a conviction is actually much lower than that.
The legal standard requires only appreciable impairment. It’s also important to understand, that you can be convicted with evidence of appreciable impairment OR a BAC of .08 or higher.
The NC criminal laws do not use the abbreviated terms DUI or DWI.
NCGS 20-138.1 and the related DWI laws in North Carolina do reference things like impaired driving and driving a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance.
Does DUI apply to more than just beer or wine or alcohol?
Yes. The DUI laws in North Carolina apply to any impairing substance.
This includes not just alcohol, but also illegal drugs, prescription medication, and over-the-counter medication.
It’s important to understand, that it doesn’t matter whether the impairing substance is legal or illegal.
If it appreciably impairs your faculties, then it can serve as the basis for a DUI charge.
If you are charged with impaired driving, it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the often complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
Don’t try to go it alone – get help from a professional!
A DUI lawyer will be familiar with the law and the local court system and can help explain your legal rights, options, and license suspension issues.
DUI charges are serious business – don’t wait to get help. Contact a qualified DUI lawyer today.
DUI First – Is that a thing in North Carolina?
People charged with motor vehicle offenses relating to DWI often have some common questions:
- What is the legal limit?
- What is the punishment for a first time offender?
- What happens if I refused a Field Sobriety Test?
- Will I lose my Driver’s License?
- What will happen to my auto insurance rates?
- Will a conviction be on my driving record?
If you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, the punishment will depend on several factors.
The Court often considers evidence of Aggravating Factors, Mitigating Factors, and Grossly Aggravating Factors. Those are all defined by statute in N.C.G.S. 20-179 – Sentencing in North Carolina for Impaired Driving.
North Carolina does consider things like prior DWI convictions and a clean driving record as part of sentencing for DUI convictions.
The motor vehicle laws do not specifically refer to things like DUI First or DWI Second. That may be a term of art used in other states regarding driving under the influence and sentencing if convicted.
What are the penalties for DUI in North Carolina?
The penalties for a first time DUI offense in North Carolina depend on several factors, including:
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest
- Whether you submitted to a chemical test or found to be a Willful Refusal
- Your prior driving record, especially relating to a conviction for prior DUI offenses
- Whether there were any aggravating factors involved in the incident including things like especially dangerous or reckless driving and gross impairment as reported by chemical testing
Can I got to jail for DUI in North Carolina?
If you are pulled over by law enforcement and suspected ofichever way a judge or jury finds that you committed the offense of impaired driving, you will be facing serious consequences.
The penalties for DUI in North Carolina vary depending on the circumstances of each case.
If you’re convicted of DUI, you may face fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension.
You may also be required to obtain a substance abuse assessment, attend alcohol education classes or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, in appropriate circumstances.
What are Ignition Interlock Devices?
An ignition interlock device is a machine that’s installed on your car.
It requires you to blow into it before the car will start.
If the machine detects alcohol on your breath, it won’t allow the car to start.
In some cases, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car as a condition of having your driver’s license reinstated after a DUI conviction.
If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the often complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
DUI charges are serious business – don’t wait to get help. Contact a qualified DUI lawyer today.
Driver’s License Suspension: What you need to know after DUI
A DUI conviction in North Carolina will result in a mandatory driver’s license suspension.
The length of the suspension will depend on various factors, including whether you submitted to a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest.
In some cases, you may be eligible for a limited driving privilege, which would allow you to drive to work, school, and alcohol treatment.
If DUI in NC different for commercial drivers?
The penalties for DUI are different for commercial drivers. So is the legal standard for a conviction.
A first time DUI offense may result in a one-year disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle.
If you are convicted of DUI while operating a commercial vehicle, you will also be required to complete a substance abuse treatment program.
What should I do if I’m stopped for DUI in North Carolina?
If you are pulled over by law enforcement and suspected of impaired driving, the best thing to do is to remain calm and be polite.
You should not offer any information other than your name and driver’s license.
It is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and you should exercise that right.
You should not answer any questions about where you are coming from or where you are going.
You are not required to perform any field sobriety tests.
These are all voluntary and anything you do or say can be used against you in court.
We think the best thing to do is to politely decline to answer any questions or perform any tests and ask to speak to a lawyer.
If you are arrested for DUI, you should immediately contact a qualified DUI lawyer who can help explain the legal system and work hard to protect your legal rights.
What is Community Service after a DWI Conviction?
Community service is often a requirement after a DWI conviction. The length of time and type of community service will be determined by the court.
It is important to complete the community service as required in order to avoid any further penalties.
DWI convictions can have serious consequences that may impact your life for years to come.
What are Court Costs or “Costs of Court?”
Court costs are the fees charged by the court for various services related to your case.
It can be relatively complicated and may depend on the type of charge or charges you face.
For example the Justice Fee for the General Court is presently $147.50. The Courthouse Fee for Facilities is $10.00. Chapter 20 (Motor Vehicle Offenses) fee is $10.00.
See the current summary of Court Costs and Fees in North Carolina, effective February 2022.
Is drunk driving illegal in NC?
Yes, drunk driving is illegal in North Carolina. It is also a serious offense.
If you are caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, you can be charged with DWI. Some people refer to that as the legal limit.
It’s important to understand, .08 is not necessarily drunk and driving under the influence may include evidence of appreciable impairment.
The State need not produce evidence of blood alcohol content.
The penalties for DWI can be severe, including jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension. Each charge of driving under the influence is different and unique.
A DUI arrest and associated Civil Revocation may also be reflected on your NCDMV driver history and insurance record.
You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle if the State proves, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the BAC was .15 or higher.
That is deemed gross impairment in NC and can affect your driving privileges. Gross impairment under the NC DWI laws is different than sentencing for aggravated DWI (A1 – Laura’s Law).
An ignition interlock is a breathalyzer test that you must pass in order to start your car.
It is important to contact an experienced DWI attorney if you have been charged with driving under the influence in NC.
What are the Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test in North Carolina?
If you are pulled over by law enforcement and suspected of impaired driving or driving under the influence, you could be asked to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine.
Breath testing in North Carolina tests only for alcohol. Blood tests may look for all kinds of impairing substances, including things alcohol, marijuana, opioids, etc.
You have the right to refuse this test, but doing so often comes with consequences.
The penalties for refusing a chemical test in North Carolina are as follows:
- Automatic driver’s license suspension for one year
- Requirement of proof of installation of an Ignition Interlock Device as a condition of restoration (reinstatement)
- In addition to the loss of driving privileges, you may also be required to pay restoration fees to NCDMV.
Is Drunken Driving a Felony DUI in NC?
No, in NC, a DWI is not automatically a felony. However, there are certain aggravating factors that can elevate the charge to a felony.
For example, if someone is killed as a result of your drunken driving, you could be charged with Felony Death by Motor Vehicle.
There is also a type of Felony Assault in NC if the injury is due to impairment (DUI or DWI).
DUI DWI defense lawyers often refer to Habitual DWI as a type of felony DWI charge. Habitual DWI involves repeat offenders, specifically involving a number of convictions over a specified period of time.
If you have been charged with any type of DWI, it is important to contact an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible.
Danny Glover – OBX DUI Lawyer
If you’ve Googled DUI lawyers near me, we’d like to help.
It doesn’t matter if you live on the Outer Banks or were simply visiting on vacation, you deserve the attention of an experienced defense lawyer for your DWI charge.
Call Danny now to schedule your complimentary consultation.
You may also reach Danny by email: Danny@DannyGloverLawFirm.com