Facing a first-time DWI charge is a stressful experience. One of your biggest concerns is probably the potential loss of your driver’s license. Unfortunately, there’s bad news if you’ve recently been arrested for a first-time DWI in North Carolina.
Upon conviction, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for at least one year by law.
Don’t assume that everything will be alright simply because you’ve never had a DWI before. It’s better to take the time to understand the laws and likely penalties and then call an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
License Suspension After a First-Time DWI
North Carolina courts take driving while intoxicated seriously. You might be tempted to think that a first-time offense is viewed more leniently. However, that’s rarely the case in NC. North Carolina DWI first-offense DWI convictions end with a year-long license suspension — and penalties only get steeper with subsequent violations.
When you’re initially arrested for DWI in North Carolina, it’s common for your license to be automatically suspended for 30 days. You might be expecting to have your license reinstated at your court hearing if you’re currently in this period. Unfortunately, this is an unlikely outcome, even if you’ve never been charged with DWI.
Other Driving-Related Penalties After a First Offense DWI
When your first DWI case goes to court, you’ll be delivered a final verdict. If you’re found guilty of driving while intoxicated, you face various penalties. First, your driver’s license suspension can be extended up to a year.
There is some good news: you may be able to apply for a limited-use driving privilege. This type of license makes it legal for you to drive in certain situations, such as to and from work.
Depending on case-specific factors, a court may also rule that you must install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. These devices require you to pass a breathalyzer test to start your car’s ignition. The cost of an ignition interlock device is usually your financial responsibility.
Don’t Wait to Contact a North Carolina DWI Defense Attorney
A first-offense DWI can have a major impact on your present and future quality of life. In addition to the costly and inconvenient driving-related penalties, you’ll likely also face penalties like jail times, probation, fines, and community service.
Don’t leave the outcome of your first DWI arrest to chance. The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced North Carolina DWI defense attorney as soon as you can.
An experienced lawyer can work to have your charges thrown out entirely. If that’s not possible, they can still leverage their legal experience to help significantly reduce the legal penalties you face.