Summer is right around the corner and as the days get longer, the weather gets warmer, and the drinks get colder. This can be an enjoyable event – unless you get behind the wheel of a car. Whether you’re on a family vacation, enjoying a beer out on the beach, or even just relaxing at home with a glass of wine, it’s crucial to remember North Carolina’s drinking and driving laws.
We’ve laid out the important facts and reminders about Driving While Impaired (DWI) laws that can help keep you and your family safe this summer!
Know Your Limits
It is against the law in North Carolina to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher in your body and/or consume enough of any impairing substance that your mental and physical faculties are noticeably affected.
Alcohol and marijuana are two of the most commonly used substances that can impair judgment, but prescription medications can be a factor as well.
In addition to affecting your mental awareness, these substances can cause you to have slurred or mumbled speech, be unsteady on your feet, drop your license or pass over your registration while looking for it. These are the mannerisms that law enforcement officers look for when you’re pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving.
What Many of Us Don’t Know
Having a minor in a car with you AND being impaired brings an entirely different set of circumstances to the table. In North Carolina, if you are charged with and convicted of DWI while you have someone under 18 in your car, your punishment increases dramatically. (N.C.G.S. 20-179).
Even if you’ve never been convicted of DWI before, if your first conviction involves having a minor in your car, you automatically receive Level 1 punishment.
Level 1 punishment requires that you serve a mandatory minimum 30 days in jail. In addition:
- Your license will be revoked for one year.
- You will not have the benefit of any limited driving privilege.
- When your license is returned, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device in your car for one year.
- Your court costs, fines and fees will easily exceed $3,000.00.
We hope that this information assists you in avoiding disaster this summer. North Carolina does not take DWI offenses lightly, particularly when minors are in the car of an impaired adult. We encourage you to play it safe for both you and your family.
Every day, we represent people who have been accused of DWI. If you have questions about DWI, or any other legal matters, we can help. Contact our office for a consultation so we can better understand your individual circumstances and offer legal assistance.
Stay safe and enjoy your summer!