In North Carolina, a person can be convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher or if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A DWI is a drunk driving conviction is above the state legal alcohol limit, rendering the driver legally impaired.
Legal limit in North Carolina:
- Standard, non-commercial drivers: .08% BAC
- Commercial drivers: .04% BAC
- Drivers under 21: 0.0% BAC (zero tolerance)
Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
|North Carolina DUI & DWI Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
|Driver’s License Suspension
||60 days to 1 year
||1 to 4 years
||1 year to permanent
Chemical Test Refusal
North Carolina is an “implied consent” state, which means that anyone with a North Carolina driver’s license has agreed to take a breath, blood, or urine test if arrested or stopped for a DWI. If you do not comply with the chemical test, the state can suspend a person’s driving privileges. If a driver refuses a chemical test multiple times, the punishment can be increased. All driver’s license suspension for chemical test refusal is in addition to any punishment for the DUI conviction.
1st offense: License suspended for 1 year
2nd offense: No statutory provision
3rd offense: No statutory provision
After your first DWI conviction, the driver will be required to have a ignition interlock system installed into their car for one year. This will increase to three years after a second conviction and seven years after a third conviction. The convicted driver will be responsible cost of installation and lease of the ignition interlock device.
In North Carolina a DWI conviction will stay on your record for up to 7 years and can be counted against you if you are convicted for another DWI during that period.
North Carolina is a “Zero Tolerance” state when it comes to minors drinking and driving. A DWI conviction of any degree for a person under the age of 21 will result in having their license revoked for up to 1 year.
DWI with a Child Passenger
If you are caught driving while impaired with a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle, it is considered an aggravated DWI.
More on NC DWI Laws:
North Carolina Department of Transportation: Booze It & Lose It brochure: http://www.ncdot.gov/programs/ghsp/download/boozeitloseitbrochure.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Drunk Driving Fact Sheets: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/impaired_driving/drunk_driving_in_nc.pdf