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St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and many North Carolinians will be out celebrating the holiday. Unfortunately, in the past many people have been known to celebrate a bit too hard.

In 2016, North Carolina law officers made a whopping 790 DWI arrests during the four-day St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Of those, 718 arrests were related to alcohol use, with the rest being drug related. The top county for arrests was Cumberland County with a total of 89. In the Triangle region, the top county was Wake County with 34 arrests. You can count on police making more patrols and stops this year since the numbers have been so high in the past.

Since this is historically such a big weekend for DWI arrests in our state, we want to show you ways that you can avoid driving drunk and still enjoy the holiday.

Ways to Avoid a DWI Arrest This St. Patrick’s Day

Here is a helpful checklist to aid you in avoiding a DWI arrest this St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Charge your phone before you go out, and download the Uber app.
  • Designate a driver and make sure he or she doesn’t drink.
  • Eat plenty of food to help the alcohol metabolize.
  • If you have no DD, call a friend to pick you up or use public transportation to get home.
  • If possible, stay where you are and don’t leave the party until you’ve sobered up.
  • Take keys away from anyone else who tries to drive drunk.

Follow these tips to have an enjoyable St. Patrick’s Day without worrying about getting arrested.

What if you do get arrested, though?

Penalties for DWI in North Carolina

If you are convicted for DWI in North Carolina, these are the penalties you can expect.

For a first offense, you will be required to pay a fine of up to $200 and stay in jail for at least 24 hours and up to 60 days. You will also lose your driver’s license for 30 days and be required to perform 24 hours of community service.

For a second offense, you will need to pay a fine of up to $500. You will have to stay in jail for at least 48 hours and may be required to stay for up to 120 days. You will also lose your driver’s license for 60 days and be required to perform 48 hours of community service.

For a third offense, you will pay a fine of up to $1,000. You will be required to serve a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours, but it could extend to six months. Additionally, you will lose your driver’s license for 90 days and be required to perform 72 hours of community service.

North Carolina DUI Substance Abuse Programs

Further sentencing and harsher penalties apply for more than three offenses. These punishments include higher fines, longer jail sentences, and no suspensions by the judge. If there are enough arrests, a felony charge will apply along with required treatment in a substance abuse program.

As you can see, the penalties for DWI can be serious. The loss of your driving freedom can have a huge impact on your daily life. It’s important to get help from an experienced North Carolina DWI attorney as soon as your charges are filed. We will work to get your charges reduced or dropped, and we will protect your reputation and your freedoms. Call today for a free consultation.

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