Second Offense DUI/DWI in North Carolina

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Penalties and Sentencing

If you have been accused of a DUI in North Carolina for the second time in 7 years, you can expect to be charged with a misdemeanor that carries serious penalties. North Carolina’s sentencing procedures for impaired drivers is complex (and explained below). There are five levels (with five being the least severe penalties) for each offense and each level has distinctive factors and standards. According to the State of North Carolina, repeat offenders are typically categorized in Levels 1 through 3, below:

  • Level V. Punishable by a fine up to $200 and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days. A judge can suspend the sentence but upon completion that the driver spend 24 hours in jail, perform 24 hours of community service or not operate a vehicle for 30 days.
  • Level IV. Punishable by a fine up to $500 and a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum of 120 days. A judge can suspend the sentence but upon completion that the driver spend 48 hours in jail, perform 48 hours of community service or not operate a vehicle for 60 days.
  • Level III. Punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours and a maximum of six months. A judge can suspend the sentence only upon completion that the driver spend at least 72 hours in jail, perform 72 hours of community service or not operate a vehicle for 90 days.
  • Level II. Punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and a minimum jail sentence of seven days and a maximum of one year. A judge CANNOT suspend the minimum sentence.
  • Level I. Punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of two years. A judge CANNOT suspend the minimum sentence.
  • Level IA - Punishable by a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months. Triggered if three aggravating factors are present during impaired driving arrest.

Impaired drivers must complete a substance abuse assessment and comply with any recommended treatment as a condition for having their drivers license restored at the end of the revocation period.

Administrative Penalties in North Carolina

You can expect your license to be suspended for at least one year in most second offense cases. However, if your first offense was less than 3 years ago, your license may be suspended for 4 years. Before you can get it reinstated, you need to show proof of an SR22 insurance policy for North Carolina. 

Once your driver's license is reinstated, you will have to pay to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. If the license is suspended for 1 year, the device must stay in your car for that long, while it must stay in the vehicle for 3 years if your license is suspended for 4 years. Most of the time, a second DUI in North Carolina also warrants a trip to an alcohol safety course, as well as anywhere from 24 to 72 hours of community service.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, reinstatement requires a substance abuse assessment. Then they must complete either an education or treatment program overseen by the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. All assessments must be conducted in person by a qualified or certified substance abuse professional.

Criminal Penalties for a Second DUI in North Carolina

There are 5 main sentencing levels (as shown above) when it comes to DUIs in North Carolina. Your level will be decided by a judge based on your driving record, your blood alcohol level, and whether there was a child in the car with you during your DUI stop, to name a few factors. The levels range from 1 to 5, with level 1 being the worst.

Jail time ranges from 7 days to 1 year, again depending on your assigned level. You may be offered probation or community service in order to reduce your jail time, but this is usually only when you have no aggravating factors in your DUI, and certainly not if your last offense was only 3 years ago.

Get Legal Help

If you have been accused of a second DUI in North Carolina, you should contact a lawyer if you are seeking to fight or modify DUI charges. On the other hand, you may find that accepting a plea bargain is for the best, especially if this is your second offense in less than 3 years.

by: , Attorney

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