What Is a Felony DWI in North Carolina?

Aggravating factors that can make a drunk driving charge a felony.

By , Attorney

In North Carolina, you can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, with any amount of certain controlled substances in your system, or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol. Most DWI convictions are misdemeanor criminal offenses. However, certain aggravating factors can make a DWI a felony, a much more serious crime.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DWI charges in North Carolina.

Fourth DWI Conviction Is a Felony

For most first, second, and third DWIs in North Carolina, an offender will be facing misdemeanor charges. But when an offender has three or more prior DWI convictions within the past ten years, the current offense is considered "habitual impaired driving" and can be charged as a class F felony. A conviction for a fourth offense carries at least 12 months (and up to 24 months) in jail and permanent license revocation.

Felony Charges for DWIs Involving Injuries and Deaths

DWI offenders who cause serious injuries to or the death of another person can be charged with a felony offense. Generally, DWIs involving serious injuries are class F felonies. DWIs that result in the death of someone are generally class D felonies.

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