In the state of North Carolina, like all other U.S. states, it is illegal to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Drivers may also be charged with any level of BAC if the state can prove they were not safely able to operate their vehicle.
The state of North Carolina has taken a severe stand against repeat DUI offenders. Under North Carolina DUI laws (N.C.G.S. § 20-138.5), “a person commits the offense of habitual impaired driving if he drives while impaired as defined in G.S. 20-138.1 and has been convicted of 3 or more offenses involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a) within 10 years of the date of this offense.”
DUI Penalties for a North Carolina DUI Habitual Offender
Drivers convicted of this charge will be charged with a Class F felony and will face:
- Not less than 12 months in prison (which cannot be suspended by the judge)
- Permanent revocation of your North Carolina driver’s license
- Impoundment of your vehicle
- Mandatory attendance in a substance abuse program
Other DUI penalties for North Carolina habitual offenders
North Carolina acknowledges that repeat offenders are a serious problem despite penalties of jail time, high fines and license suspensions. Habitual offenders often disregard the dangers they impose to other drivers. The state recognizes that although harsh penalties may be good, it ignores the underlying issues of alcohol addiction and the further actions which are needed which should also include retribution, rehabilitation and incapacitation.
North Carolina has gradually begun investigating additional strategies to reduce drunk driving by habitual offenders by requiring some offenders to wear a SCRAM Device. SCRAM or Secured Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring allows the state to monitor the driver continuously and detect if the driver has consumed alcohol and report all information back to law enforcement, the court or the driver’s probation officer. Monitoring occurs 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Hiring a DUI lawyer
Whether you are a first-time DUI offender or you have been arrested for multiple drunk driving arrests you can face severe DUI fines and penalties in the state of North Carolina. Some drivers assume it is best to plead guilty to DUI and put the incident behind them as quickly as possible, not realizing that a DUI charge can disrupt your employment and your ability to drive. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to expunge a drunk driving conviction from your driving record. Drunk driving charges can also result in higher insurance premiums if you are forced to purchase high risk car insurance to reinstate your North Carolina driver’s license.
Can you fight a DUI without legal assistance? Sure, but most drivers do not have the time or legal expertise to navigate complicated state DUI laws. Most DUI lawyers in North Carolina will offer a free consultation to review your drunk driving case and let you know the penalties you are facing and whether or not the state has sufficient evidence to win their drunk driving case against you.
Drivers with multiple DUI arrests, such as a habitual offender, should definitely seek legal assistance.