Penalties Vary for Drunk Driving in North Carolina

Seeing the flashing lights of a police vehicle behind you may make your heart skip a beat, but the anxiety might really set in if you know that you’ve had a couple of drinks. If you’re stopped and the officer has probable cause to arrest you, you’ll be taken to jail. This is the time for you to think about what you’re going to do about your defense strategy. 

North Carolina has five levels of drunk driving charges. Level 1 Aggravated is the most serious and Level 5 is the least serious. There’s also the possibility of a felony charge, depending on the circumstances. The penalties you’re facing depend on what exact charge you’re facing. 

  • Felony charge: minimum of one year in a state prison
  • Level I: 30 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
  • Level II: 7 days to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000
  • Level III: 72 hours to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Level IV: 48 hours to 120 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
  • Level V: 24 hours to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $200

Some of the factors that determine what you face include any prior convictions, injuries or fatalities caused while you were driving drunk, driving on a suspended license, speeding or having a child under 18 years old in the vehicle. 

You have to consider the penalties that you’re facing when you’re trying to determine what type of drunk driving defense strategy to use. Your attorney can help you learn about your options and set a plan to work toward your goals for the case.

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