New Year’s Eve gives many people a reason to celebrate. For some, that means getting together with friends and family to ring in the new year – and enjoying some adult beverages while doing it.
If you have plans to celebrate, then it’s a good idea to plan how to do so safely. Namely, how to get where you’re going without getting behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina is an offense that’s taken very seriously, so it’s important to do what you can to avoid being in a position to get one. That means you need to plan ahead.
Here are some tips to help you party responsibly this New Year’s Eve and what penalties can be faced if you get charged with a DWI.
How to Avoid a North Carolina DWI
You can have all the fun you want this New Year’s Eve and not have to worry about getting anywhere – if you simply make a few plans ahead of time. A few suggestions that can help to keep you from driving after drinking include:
Planning a Ride Ahead of Time
If you have a friend or family member that is planning to be sober and who could give you a ride on New Year’s, take advantage of it! If that’s not a possibility, then consider arranging for a rideshare with Uber or Lyft.
Some cities have Sober Ride programs you can look into beforehand. Arranging a safe ride ahead of time is a great option, but if all else fails, public transportation may just be the ticket to a safe and DWI-free new year.
Stay Where You Are
If you’re going to a party at a friend’s house, then see if you can simply stay the night. If that’s not an option or the party is at a public venue, see about getting a hotel room nearby that you can simply walk to when you’re ready to hit the hay.
Have the Party
If you can’t do any of the above, consider being the host of the New Year’s Eve party yourself. This means you don’t have to worry about going anywhere and you can offer your place up for friends and family to stay for the night, ensuring everyone stays safe.
DWIs in North Carolina
If you fail to plan appropriately and end up driving after drinking, you can get a DWI in North Carolina. DWIs are divided into five misdemeanor levels.
Level V is the least serious and can send you to jail for up to 60 days, also taking away your ability to drive for 30 days. From there, the penalties only increase, leading to a Level I misdemeanor DWI, which can result in up to two years in jail and fines of up to $4,000. You may also be required to complete a substance abuse assessment and any recommended treatment that results from it, as well as a period of revocation of your driver’s license determined by the court.
There is also a felony DWI charge that is reserved for those who have had three previous DWI convictions in a seven-year period. You can be sent to prison for one year and complete substance abuse treatment. Your car can also be seized and your license revoked.