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North Carolina DUI- Will it be my second or third DUI charge?

Recently on our DUI forum we had a driver ask, “I was arrested for my first North Carolina DUI in Pittsboro, NC. I have had 2 other DUI charges from Maine, one outside the 10 year mark, the other around 6-7 years ago. I didn't give permission to be tested and I cannot even recall seeing police much less having them speak to me. I have numerous health issues and there is no way that my blood level was as high as they said, those levels are toxic. I cannot afford a lawyer and I am so scared.”

Considerations after a North Carolina DUI

The first consideration for this driver is whether or not they will be charged with a first, second or third North Carolina DUI charge. The first thing to review is the look back laws for the state of North Carolina. The driver is correct that because only two of their arrests are within the 7 year look back period it is likely this North Carolina DUI could be considered a second drunk driving arrest, rather than a third.

Look back laws for each state

  • 5 years: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Florida (2nd offense), Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island
  • 6 years: Ohio (but this one is tricky)
  • 7 years: Arizona, Colorado (3rd offense), North Dakota, Washington, North Carolina
  • 10 years: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida (3rd offense), Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (as of 2010)
  • 12 Years: Iowa, Nebraska
  • 15 years: District of Columbia
  • Lifetime: Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Vermont

Penalties for Second North Carolina DUI

Unfortunately, jail time and penalties and fines are assessed in North Carolina DUI cases based on a scale ranging from 1 to 5. With level 1 being considered the most serious and 5 the least. The jail time and fines will be based on factors which are assessed by the judge, including prior DWI's, whether or not your license was revoked for DWI, the breathalyzer reading, whether you obtained a substance abuse assessment prior to court, if a child under 16 was in the car, and your driving record.  It is time to talk to a North Carolina Lawyer familiar with the North Carolina DUI laws and have them review your North Carolina DUI case.

North Carolina DUI forced blood withdraw

Our driver also asked about the legality of a forced blood withdrawal. This driver did not remember them taking his blood which may mean he was not conscience for the withdrawal. Without more details it’s hard to comment on his specific question, but according to a recent blog published by Shea Denning for the UNC School of Government, currently the “North Carolina’s courts have acknowledged the constitutionality of a compelled blood draw performed by a medical professional in a medical setting, see State v. Fletcher, 202 N.C. App. 107 (2010) and State v. Davis, 142 N.C. App. 81 (2001), no North Carolina appellate court opinion has addressed the extent of the force that may be utilized in association with the compulsion.”
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