What Is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI in North Carolina?

Edwards Law, PLLC

DWI and DUI laws may vary from one state to the next. DWI in North Carolina is the legal term for driving while impaired. DWI is often thought to mean that you have been under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. Any impairment, such as driving under the influence of prescription drugs or illegal substances, may qualify you for a DWI. This blog will provide more information about North Carolina’s DWI laws.

What Is Considered a DWI in North Carolina?

North Carolina considers anyone driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) below 0.08 impaired. Your weight and the gender you were born with will determine your BAC. If a man of 200 lbs drinks three drinks in an hour, his BAC will be around 0.08. You can also drink liquor to reach 0.08 faster than beer.

DWI is automatically a North Carolina offense if you are under the influence of any other illegal substance. Driving while impaired by prescription drugs such as opiates can lead to a DWI, even if they have an active prescription. To determine impairment, the court considers all circumstances surrounding the driving and behavior of the person being charged with DWI. It does not only look at what is in their blood.

What are the DWI Levels in North Carolina?

North Carolina classes DWIs according to aggravating factors that affect the severity of the DWI charges:

Gross Aggravating Factors

Gross aggravating circumstances are the most serious factor that can impact your DWI sentence. You can be charged with seriously injuring someone else while driving impaired, or having children in your vehicle.

Aggravating Factors

Even though aggravating causes are less severe than those that are gross aggravating, they still have serious consequences. Reckless driving in impaired driving situations is an example of an aggravating factor.

Mitigating Factors

You might be driving while impaired if you have mitigation factors. You have taken steps to change your behavior, such as a substance abuse assessment or following treatment recommendations.

All of these factors are considered by judges and combined to determine your sentence.

DWI Levels

North Carolina has five DWI levels. They vary in terms of jail time and fines. You can find more information on them at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website, or contact Doug Edwards for detailed information.

What is the cost of a DWI in NC?

A DWI conviction can result in fines ranging from $200 to $4,000, depending on the severity and driving record. Additional court fees may be required if you have to appear in court.

Is a DWI a crime in NC?

In North Carolina, DWIs are considered a misdemeanor. The court may charge you with a felony if there are multiple DWIs or your circumstances are particularly severe.

What length of time does a DWI stay on record in NC?

A conviction for DWI will remain on your record for life and could hinder you from reaching your goals. If you intend to drink, get a designated driver, or use public transportation. If you have to take medication that could affect your ability to drive, you might consider having a friend or family member drive your car to your destination. Be sure to test your BAC before you take the wheel if you have had a drink.

Looking for help with a North Carolina DWI case? The experienced defense lawyers at Edwards Law could help you to dismiss, reduce, or drop your DWI charges depending on the facts of your case. To learn more, contact Doug Edwards Law.