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Drunk driving?or “driving while impaired” (DWI) in North Carolina?is a serious offense that not only can drain your bank account, take away your freedom, and crush your reputation?it also can seriously injure and even kill.

North Carolina DWI Defined

North Carolina’s Safe Roads Act of 1983 did away with all of the state’s previous drug- and alcohol-related driving laws and put everything under a single offense?driving while impaired, or DWI.

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the most common way NC determines whether you’re legally impaired.

  • 21 or Older: 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers (CDL): 0.04%
  • Younger than 21: Any alcohol concentration
  • Prior DWI: 0.04% *

The state also looks at whether your physical or mental fitness is provably impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

* If you have a prior DWI conviction and license reinstatement, you can’t drive with a BAC of 0.04% or higher; however, this can depend on your driving record and whether you were charged and convicted after July, 1, 2001.

Additional Drug and Alcohol Crimes

In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, NC DWI laws prohibit:

  • Having an open container in the vehicle if the driver is or has been consuming alcohol.
  • Having an open or closed container in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Helping someone younger than 21 years old obtain alcohol. This includes buying or giving them alcohol, or lending an ID so they can buy alcohol.

Understand Your DWI Penalties

NC DWI penalties are serious business. Based on your age, the offense number, and your license type, you face penalties like:

  • Fines, including court costs and lawyer fees.
  • License suspension or revocation.
  • Jail time. For some offenses, the jail time is mandatory rather than possible.
  • Community service.
  • Higher car insurance rates.

Depending on your situation, you might also enroll in an alcohol safety school or substance abuse assessment program.

NC DWI Penalties: Younger Than 21

If you’re younger than 21 years old and caught doing any of the following, you’ll lose your license for a 30-day pretrial period, and then 1 year thereafter:

  • Operating a motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.
  • Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol.
  • Helping someone else purchase alcohol.
  • Using a fraudulent driver’s license or ID, or other falsified document to purchase alcohol.
  • Using someone else’s driver’s license or ID to purchase alcohol.

Your judge will inform you of additional penalties, such as fines, court costs, and possible community service.

For more information about Raleigh DWI insurance, give ACF Insurance a call at 919-878-7786.
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