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Will a North Carolina DWI conviction cost someone their license?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Criminal Law

In North Carolina, driving while impaired (DWI) offense can carry a variety of different consequences for the person accused. The state has relatively complex laws that can lead to a variety of different types of DWI charges.

Depending on factors including someone’s prior record, the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream and whether they caused injury to others, there can be numerous different DWI charges possible. Each charge carries different penalties. A DWI charge can lead to jail time, financial consequences or probation. People also often lose their driving privileges. The suspension or revocation of a driver’s license is a standard penalty in most North Carolina DWI cases.

Some drivers lose their licenses permanently

The details of a DWI case determine what penalties a judge may impose after a conviction or guilty plea. In some cases, a judge has the discretion to limit the penalties they impose. Other times, the law insists on certain minimum consequences for a DWI infraction. The suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license is standard practice in DWI cases.

Even a minor first-time DWI in North Carolina can lead to the loss of someone’s driver’s license. A 30-day suspension is common in a Level V DWI case for someone without a prior DWI conviction. A Level IV DWI can lead to a 60-day license suspension, while a Level III offense can lead to 90 days without driving privileges.

Someone accused of repeat DWI offenses could face Level II or Level I charges. The license penalties in such cases depend on someone’s prior record. A second offense within three years of the first can lead to a four-year license revocation. A third DWI charge could cost someone their driver’s license permanently. Being unable to drive, even temporarily, can create personal and professional challenges.

The only sure way to avoid the licensing consequences of a DWI conviction is to defend against charges successfully. The loss of driving privileges is typically a mandatory penalty after a guilty plea or conviction for a DWI offense in North Carolina. Learning about how the state penalizes DWI offenses can be beneficial for those recently arrested on drunk driving allegations, as doing so can help them to make more informed choices about their rights and options.