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North Carolina DUI Laws

North Carolina DUI Laws

Quick Guide to North Carolina DUI Penalties 
North Carolina DUI laws for minimum penalties may seem like some of the relaxed penalties around the U.S., but NC laws for drinking and driving are complex and can quickly become subject to heavier penalties.  If you are suspected of violating NC DUI Laws, you are encouraged to contact a criminal attorney who specializes in DWIs.  
Specific North Carolina DUI Laws
The majority of laws concerning a DWI are located in Chapter 20-138.1 through 20-139.1 of the NC Statutes.  General North Carolina DUI laws under 20-138.1 state that a person cannot drive on a highway, street, or any public area of the state if they qualify under any of the conditions below: 
while operating the vehicle while impaired by a substance
while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more confirmed by a chemical analysis
with any amount of Schedule I controlled substance or any of its metabolites listed in 20-139.1(d) within blood or urine
Section (b1) of this same law states that anyone charged with violating NC DUI Laws can use a defense to claim the equipment was faulty during the test.  The state claims within section 20-139.1(b2) of North Carolina DUI laws that these pieces of equipment will fail and require specific kinds of maintenance to properly perform.  
For a complete list of NC DUI Laws, visit Chapter 20 of the statutes at the following link
Penalties for Violating NC DUI Laws
If you have been convicted of a DWI crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately.  North Carolina DUI laws allow judges to investigate aggravating and mitigating factors to either increase or decrease sentences.  Penalties and factor are listed below: 
First Offense
Minimum amount of jail: 24 hours for level 5 offender
Fines and penalties: $200 for level 5 offender 
License Suspension: 60 days to 1 year
IID: not required
Second Offense
Minimum amount of jail: at least 4 days
Fines and penalties: greatly varies depending on level of offender
License Suspension: 1 to 4 years if previous DWI was within 3 years
IID: required
Third Offense
Minimum amount of jail: 14 days to 2 years
Fines and penalties: greatly varies depending on level of offender
License Suspension: 1 year to permanently 
IID: required for 7 years if license is restored
Aggravating Factors
BAC of .15% or more
Reckless driving
Prior convictions
Speeding while trying to elude officers
Speed 30 mph over the limit
Passing a school bus 
Mitigating Factors
Slight impairment when test was not used
Safe driving record
BAC of .09% or less
Driving lawfully except for impairment
Impaired by prescription and legal dosage 
Voluntary submission to mental health facility
NC DUI Laws and Refusing a Chemical Test
According to North Carolina DUI laws, you license will be suspended for a year for your first offense if you refuse a chemical test.  However, if you refuse a chemical test, other penalties and fines may be reduced if the defense uses the refusal as means for a wet reckless .