With the summer winding down and the fall soon upon us, you might be tempted to think that we’re entering a relatively calm period of the year, meaning there’s little to do or get very excited about. This couldn’t be anything further from the truth, however, as Labor Day weekend is less than two weeks away, most colleges and universities are now back in session and, of course, the football season is almost here.
In fact, it’s important to note that many people will celebrate the long holiday weekend, the start of classes and the start of the Panthers season with alcohol. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this, it’s important for people to remember to monitor their consumption if they plan to get behind the wheel.
That’s because North Carolina has fairly strict laws governing driving while impaired, such that a person arrested and convicted for even a first-offense DWI — meaning their blood alcohol content was .08 or over — can face the following:
- A minimum punishment consisting of a fine of up to $200, 24 hours imprisonment, 24 hours or community service or some combination thereof
- A maximum punishment consisting of a fine of up to $4,000, and imprisonment of at least 30 days and no more than 24 months
- Mandatory license revocation for one year
- A BAC threshold of .04 as opposed to .08 for three years following restoration of the license
Furthermore, if a person’s BAC at the time of the DWI arrest was .15 or higher, they face additional consequences, including the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device at their own expense for one year.
Outside of the consequences called for by state law, it’s important to understand that a DWI conviction will go on a permanent criminal record, affecting everything from employment opportunities to educational options.
What all of this really serves to underscore is that those who have made the mistake of driving after consuming one drink too many should give very serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible given all that is at stake.