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DWI Sentences in North Carolina
When a person is found guilty or pleads guilty of Driving While Impaired (“DWI”) in North Carolina, the sentence that the Judge imposes will depend on Sentencing Level.
In North Carolina, there are six different sentencing levels for a DWI conviction: Level 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and A1. Level A1 is the most serious and carries up to a maximum of 36 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Given the complexity and potential for long-term consequences, it makes sense to retain an experienced attorney to determine which sentencing level to expect. Each criminal charge, just like each person charged, is different.
As part of a DWI sentence, the Judge may impose certain requirements and/or conditions. We have provided a brief summary of the typical requirements of a DWI sentence below.
Download a Free Copy of the NC DWI Quick Reference Guide
Active Jail Time: A Judge may order you to complete active jail time as part of your DWI sentence. This is more common in higher sentencing levels such as Level 2, 1, and A1.
DWI Probation: A Judge may suspend an active jail term and impose a term of probation instead. A probationary sentence for a DWI conviction may be imposed for up to 5 years and may be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised probation includes reporting to a Probation Officer.
The probationary term remains conditional on completion of all requirements. Requirements of DWI probation can include the following:
- Assessment and Treatment: For any suspended sentence, an alcohol assessment (at an approved, licensed facility), and any treatment that may be recommended as a result of the assessment, is required to be completed pursuant to NCGS § 20-179. It is also a requirement of NCDMV for the restoration of a driver’s license pursuant to NCGS § 20-17.6. Approved assessment providers in North Carolina can be found by visiting: findtreatment.samhsa.gov
- Community Service: In Mecklenburg County, community service hours are to be completed through the Community Service Work Program, UNLESS specifically ordered by the Judge to be completed at a Non-Profit Organization. There is a fee associated with Community Service. It may be waived, in the discretion of the Judge, in the event CS is completed at a “501(c)(3)” non-for-profit organization.
- Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM): A Judge may order, as part of a DWI sentence, that the defendant abstain from any alcohol consumption as verified by CAM. In order to locate an approved provider for CAM in North Carolina, please visit here.
Probation Violations: It is important to note that failure to comply with all the conditions of a probationary term can result in a probation violation and jail time. If you are found in willfl violation of probation, the suspended jail sentence may be activated.
What to Expect with DWI Charges in NC
Court Costs and Fines: Court costs and fines will vary depending on the DWI sentencing level and must be paid to the Clerk of Court in the County where the conviction occurred. Many judicial districts in North Carolina require payment in full of all court costs, fines, and penalties associated with DWI charges.
NC DMV Penalties: The NCDMV will suspend a driver’s license after conviction of DWI in NC for a minimum of one year (depending on the facts and circumstances of your case). You may want to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether you meet eligibility requirements for a limited driving privilege during that period of suspension.
In addition to the sentence imposed by the criminal court, the DMV can also impose separate fines and conditions for a DWI conviction, including but not limited to:
- Completing your suspension or revocation time period
- Paying your fines and other court costs
- Completing your jail sentence or community service
- Completing your substance abuse assessment, ADETS (Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School) education course, and possible treatment or rehabilitation program
- Paying the $130 fee for DWI license reinstatement
- Pay the $50 service fee and the $65 restoration fee
For more information, you can visit the DMV website.Questions about your DWI Sentence? Talk to our DUI and DWI Lawyers
Because of the possible serious, long-term consequences to a “drunk driving” conviction, it makes sense to lawyer up as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA help people with a wide range of different legal matters in both North Carolina and South Carolina, including DWIs, misdemeanors, felonies, traffic violations, and expungements.
Attorney Bill Powers practices law only in North Carolina. Attorney Chris Beddow is the only attorney at the firm licensed in both South Carolina and North Carolina. As such, Mr. Beddow is solely responsible for legal content on the Powers Law Firm PA website and for legal representation for all legal matters in South Carolina.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, we would be happy to speak with you about your case. For criminal cases, we offer completely free and confidential consultations.
Call NOW: 877-462-3841 for NC DWI Charges
For SC DUI Charges email Chris Beddow directly at: Chris@CarolinaAttorneys.com