North Carolina has a much higher rate of drunk driving fatalities than the national average. In light of this data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state imposes serious penalties for drivers who operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Before facing a court date for DWI, understand the state’s possible legal consequences for this offense.

Level V DWI

First-time offenders usually receive a Level V DWI charge. The court will review positive factors in each case, known as mitigating factors, as well as negative (aggravating factors). For example, a lack of prior offenses is a mitigating factor, while a high level of impairment or reckless driving is an aggravating factor.

Level V DWI carries penalties of:

  • At least 24 hours and up to six days in jail
  • Fines up to $200
  • Suspended sentence possible with 24 hours of community service and a 30-day license suspension

Level IV DWI

This charge applies to those who have a previous DWI and a mix of aggravating and mitigating factors. Level IV DWI penalties include:

  • At least 48 hours and up to 12 days in jail
  • Fines up to $500
  • Suspended sentence possible with 48 hours of community service and a 60-day license suspension

Level III DWI

Serious mitigating factors result in a Level III DWI. For example, this charge usually occurs when a person already has a suspended license and receives a DWI. Penalties may include:

  • At least 72 hours and up to six months in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Suspended sentence possible with 72 hours of community service and a 90-day license suspension

Level II and I DWI

Level II DWI results from significant aggravating factors such as an accident that injured another person. This results in:

  • At least seven days and up to one year in jail
  • Fines up to $2,000

Level I DWI occurs when the person had minor children in the car. This results in:

  • At least 30 days and up to two years in jail
  • Fines up to $4,000