DUI in North Carolina

North Carolina's DUI laws are some of the most stringent in the entire United States, so it's important for you to know what to do in the case that you're convicted.

The DUI Law

North Carolina's DUI law is determined by the North Carolina General Statute. There are two types of charges for driving under the influence that are included in the law; the first is the "appreciable impairment" charge, and the second is the "per se" charge. If you are arrested for DUI, you will usually be confronted with both charges.

North Carolina DUI Penalties at a Glance

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction Up to $2,000
Up to 2 Years
1 Year
2nd Conviction Up to $2,000 Up to 2 Years 4 Years
3rd Conviction Up to $2,000 Up to 2 Years Permanent
4th Conviction Variable Min. 1 year to 3 Years

If you may have been convicted with a DUI charge, consult with a DUI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.

The Charges

For the appreciable impairment charge, your blood alcohol level at the time of arrest does not matter; instead, the prosecutor will focus on your driving pattern, appearance at time of arrest, how well you did on field sobriety tests, and what the chemical test results show. This charge is not as concrete; you may not have been under the influence, but you may have been driving poorly, and you may simply be bad at walking in a straight line. In that case, the prosecutor might be able to push the appreciable impairment charge. However, for the per se charge, the prosecutor needs to prove that your blood alcohol level at the time was 0.08% or higher, meaning that 0.08% or higher of your blood consisted of alcohol.

Amendments to the Law

In case you aren't aware of the recent updates to the North Carolina DUI law, here are some:

  • Nobody in a motor vehicle is allowed to have open containers of beer or wine.
  • Any DUI offenders are required to have an alcohol-sensing machine installed in their primary and secondary vehicles.
  • Anyone convicted of DUI in the past cannot have a blood alcohol level of higher than 0.04%.
  • After the second DUI, drivers cannot have any alcohol in their blood.

Your Rights and the Consequences

You are allowed to refuse the breathalyzer and chemical tests if you are convicted of driving under the influence, but that is not recommended because such evidence can be used against you in court if you are arrested. In that case, you may be required to take an independent breathalyzer or chemical test when in police custody.

If you are convicted for the first time, your driver's license will be revoked for one year and it will cost $50 to restore it. At minimum, the fine will be $100 and jail time is at least one day; at maximum, jail time can be from 14 days to 2 years and fine can be up to $2000.

If you may have been convicted with a DUI charge, consult with a DUI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.
Talk to a DUI Defense attorney
We've helped 115 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you