Recent stories of cops being charged with DWIs in North Carolina show how penalties can go beyond what the law includes. Below, we’re going to tell you more about these cases, along with what the laws say.
Job Consequences for NC Police Officers Charged with DWIs
One police officer was arrested and charged with DWI after driving his personal vehicle over a highway center line around 1 a.m. on a recent Saturday in Banner Elk. The officer, who worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for the past 17 years, was removed on unpaid leave after the arrest.
In another incident, a South Carolina police officer was off-duty when the police stopped her vehicle and made the arrest. The officer, who worked for her department since 2002, was fired the day following her arrest.
What the DWI Laws in North Carolina Say
Most people know that if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.08 percent in North Carolina, you can be charged with driving while intoxicated, or DWI.
A police officer can arrest you under probable cause for DWI. Once you are pulled over, the police will test your BAC with a breathalyzer and possibly require you to take field sobriety tests to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol.
Commercial drivers are restricted to a BAC of 0.04 percent, and drivers under the age of 21 must adhere to a zero tolerance policy.
The Department of Motor Vehicles can revoke your driver’s license, and you could face fines, incarceration, and other penalties through the criminal justice system. Additional consequences include substance abuse assessment, education, and treatment; community service; and/or installation of an ignition interlock device to prohibit you from operating your vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol. You also may be required to pay higher insurance fees for operating a vehicle.
A judge may decide to give harsher penalties if your BAC is over 0.15 percent, if you were driving with a suspended license, if you were driving recklessly or speeding, if you had a child passenger, or if you have any prior criminal or driving records.
If you are convicted of DWI in North Carolina, your penalties fall along these guidelines:
Fine up to $200; Jail sentence of 24 hours to 60 days
Fine up to $500; Jail sentence of 48 hours to 120 days
Fine up to $1,000; Jail sentence of 72 hours to six months
Fine up to $2,000; Jail sentence of seven days to one year
Fine up to $4,000; Jail sentences of 30 days to two years
You could face felony charges for receiving three or more DWI convictions within the past seven years, or for causing serious injury or death while driving under the influence. A felony conviction will result in a minimum sentence of one year in prison.
A Skilled North Carolina DWI Attorney Can Help You Escape Lesser-Known Consequences, Too
As evidenced with the stories of the police officers above, the criminal consequences of a DWI are just the tip of the iceberg. The real costs run far deeper, and you have to fight back aggressively if you wish to combat them.
That means getting the help of an experienced NC defense attorney who is well versed in our state’s DWI laws. Want to see for yourself? Get in touch today for your free, no-obligation legal consultation.