How Much Does a DWI Cost in North Carolina?

Being convicted of a DWI in North Carolina can be expensive today and for years to come. From basic fines and fees to lost income and opportunities, it can be hard to put a dollar figure on the cost of a DWI in North Carolina. 


Getting an underage DWI will have different consequences and costs than a CDL DWI, for example. An experienced DWI lawyer can advise you on how to minimize the short and long term damage both financially and personally. Keep reading for a breakdown of typical costs you will encounter. 


DWI Fines in North Carolina


The first cost you’ll have to face after a DWI is a fine. North Carolina classifies intoxicated driving charges based on the severity of the offense. Level five, the lowest level, carries a maximum fine of $200. The most serious DUI offense is an aggravated level 1 DWI. In these extreme cases, you could be looking at fines of up to $10,000. A DWI lawyer can help you minimize the costs and possibly even prevent a conviction with the right defense.


DMV Penalties for DWI in North Carolina


In addition to fines, you may face administrative penalties for being charged with a DWI. In North Carolina, these DMV penalties most often take the form of having your license revoked. As a result of being arrested for DWI in North Carolina, you face a 30-day civil revocation of your driving privileges from the start. You may be eligible for a limited driving privilege during the civil revocation, which requires a processing fee. At the end of the civil revocation, assuming you're not facing further penalties, you will owe another fee for your physical license to be returned.


Having your license revoked can also increase your day-to-day expenses. Without a car, you may have to take public transportation or an Uber to work. If you have no access to public transportation, you may end up losing income if you’re not able to make it to work. You could even lose your job because of your DWI revocation, impacting your finances today and for the future.


Substance Abuse Treatment for DWI Convictions


Depending on the outcome of your case, you may be ordered to attend a substance abuse program. Various substance abuse programs in North Carolina educate and assess offenders in an effort to create safer drivers. The costs for substance abuse programs vary depending on the number of recommended treatment hours, but the cost can be quite high.


An experienced DWI lawyer will recommend that you complete a substance abuse assessment if you are looking to obtain a pretrial limited driving privilege.The cost of the assessment is approximately $110.00. After completing the DWI assessment, the assessing organization will recommend a program or class based on the results, and the subsequent substance abuse classes can cost form $150 – $3,200.


Increased Insurance Premiums Can Cost You for Years


A DWI conviction in North Carolina will cause you to be classified as “high-risk” by many insurance providers. This can result in your insurance costs increasing significantly, in most cases a 300% increase or even more from your current premium rate. In general, a DWI can continue to affect your insurance rates for several years beyond your conviction.


Typically, DWI convictions only affect your auto insurance rates in North Carolina for three years because insurance companies only look at your last three years of driving history when calculating your insurance rates. As long as you do not get any additional tickets, convictions or other citations for driving related charges, you should see a decline in insurance premium costs after the three years is up.



If you or someone you know is arrested for DWI in Charlotte or the surrounding area, count on the Law Offices of Jason H. Reece for experienced damage control. Contact us today and let us give you the representation you deserve.