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Had a few drinks on a night out? Here are some ways to avoid drunk driving charges

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Drunk Driving

After a night out, it may be tempting to pick up the keys and drive home. However, it is crucial to understand someone could face severe legal ramifications and consequences to their personal life and career for driving while under the influence (DWI).

North Carolina is harsh when it comes to penalizing drunk drivers. The punishments grow more intense depending on the severity of the offense.

What are the penalties?

Getting behind the wheel after even just a few beers may increase the possibility of a drunk driving charge. North Carolina has five levels of punishments:

  • Level V: Up to two months in jail and $200 in fines
  • Level IV: Maximum of four months jail sentence and $500 in fines
  • Level III: Up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine
  • Level II: A maximum of one year in jail and $2,000 in fines
  • Level I: Up to two years jail time and a fine of $4,000

Furthermore, drivers may also need to complete community service. They could also be prohibited from driving for up to three months, depending on the severity of their offense.

Meanwhile, even refusing to take a chemical test if police pull you over can result in a license suspension of up to one year. So, what if you need to get home but wish to avoid a DWI charge?

Consider these options to protect yourself

If you have had a few drinks but need to get somewhere and do not want to risk a DWI charge, these are some actions you can consider:

  • Call a cab or ride-sharing service
  • Phone a friend to pick you up
  • Wait it out – but not in your vehicle

Furthermore, it helps to plan ahead before heading out. Selecting a designated driver among your group or taking a cab instead of driving to a venue can prevent avoidable risks.

Drunk driving is a serious crime in North Carolina. However, there are ways in which you can avoid it and in turn, protect yourself from serious legal problems.