Third Offense DUI/DWI in North Carolina

As with most states the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in North Carolina is 0.08%. However drivers can still be charged with a third DWI (North Carolina refers to DUI offenses as DWIs) even with a lower BAC. This typically occurs if the individual is showing signs of an obvious impairment either through their speech, actions or driving ability. The administrative and criminal penalties include:

Criminal Penalties

in 1999, North Carolina implemented a complicated series of five levels to determine punishments for DWI/DUI offenses (with levels one and two most likely to apply to third DUI offenses). If the three DWIs occurred within seven years apart and there are no other aggravtaing factors, the offense may be punishable bt a fine of up to $4,00 and minimum jail sentence of 30 days (up to a maximum of two years). In 2011, "Laura's Law" was passed and an impaired driver arrested for third time and with three aggravating factors present will be categorized as Level 1A offender and subject to a jail sentence of 12 to 36 months. In addition, substance abuse treatment will be required. If the third occurred within seven years, it may be classified as a felony DWI and the driver will be categorized as a "Habitual DWI offender". The law mandates a minimum jail term of one year -- a term that cannot be suspended. To obtain parole, the offender must undergo substance abuse treatment. When a license is reinstated, the driver will be required to install (and pay for) an ignition interlock device.

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