Many who live in North Carolina already know that this state has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country. Authorities have little tolerance for offenders, and if you are unfortunate enough to be charged with DWI, you can expect your life to become complicated very quickly. Even a first-offense conviction can result in harsh criminal and administrative penalties, but you may not realize how such a conviction may affect your life in the long run.
After observing your speech, your balance, your eyes and other factors, police will determine whether they should arrest you for driving while impaired. They may also base their decision on the results of field sobriety tests, and officers will probably ask you to submit to a breath test to measure the concentration of alcohol in your blood. Based on these factors, if a court finds you guilty, you may face a heavy fine, license suspension and perhaps even jail time. Unfortunately, these may be only the beginning of the price you will pay.
Many who are convicted of DWI struggle to get out from under the feelings of shame, guilt and humiliation. Often, the consequences of a DWI conviction seem to snowball. For example, if you lose your driving privileges, you may have to rely on friends, family or co-workers for your transportation. It may be difficult to get to your appointments, community service and other obligations related to your sentence. Your job may be at risk if transportation is an issue for months or years. Other hardships you may face include:
- Fines, court costs, jail fees, bail and other expenses may have a negative impact on your family’s finances.
- You will likely pay higher insurance premiums.
- The court may order you to install an ignition interlock at your own expense.
- The court may order you to undergo an alcohol assessment or enter a treatment program, which can be emotionally distressing.
- You face the potential for jail time if you violate the terms of your probation.
- Your DWI conviction may cost you your job or make you ineligible for certain types of employment or professional licensing.
As you can see, any of these consequences may leave you struggling for the foreseeable future. From the moment of your arrest, the clock is ticking. You have a limited amount of time to avoid losing your driver’s license and work to minimize the negative consequences a conviction may leave you to deal with.