If you get charged with a DWI, it might fall into one of five different levels based on the specifics of the case and your driving history. The level your case falls into determines the fines you might need to pay, if or how long the state suspends your license for and potential jail time.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that Level V is the least serious class to fall into. In contrast, Level I is the most serious. In most cases, the state reserves Level I and II classifications for impaired drivers who had children in the car, repeat offenders and people with revoked licenses.
Convicted offenders might need to pay up to $4,000 in fines and could spend as much as two years in jail. The minimum sentence is 30 days and DPS highlights that judges do not have the authority to suspend the minimum sentence for this class.
The fines for this category falls to up to $2,000. The minimum jail sentence here is seven days, but you could spend a year behind bars if convicted. The DPS once again stresses that judges cannot suspend the minimum sentence.
The fine declines by 50% again to up to $1,000. If convicted, you could spend six months in jail or a minimum of 72 hours. This time, the judge might suspend the sentence but drivers may need to spend 48 hours in jail, not operate a vehicle for 60 days or complete 48 hours of community service.
This level comes with a $500 fine. You could also end up spending 120 days behind bars or a minimum of 48 hours if convicted. Judges might suspend the sentence, but drivers may also need to either not operate a vehicle for 60 days, spend 48 hours behind bars or complete 48 hours of community service.
The least-serious category carries a $200 fine and a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours that a judge might suspend. However, after completion, you might need to perform 24 hours of community service, spend 24 hours in jail or not operate a vehicle for 30 days.
It is important to remember that even when the allegations fall into a less-serious class, it might come back to haunt you. Keep in mind that there are several professions that require a clean record.