Is A First-Time DWI in North Carolina That Bad?

Many minor and some not-so-minor crimes usually result in lighter consequences for first-time offenders. A first offense DWI in North Carolina carries less severe consequences than, say, a third DWI conviction, but those consequences are anything but light. The state has always been tough on drunk drivers, and for those of us who typically don't drink and drive, a welcome approach.

But. We all make mistakes and can find ourselves in a situation where we don't know what to do or what the consequences are. Even one drink at a party could be enough to tip the scales out of your favor, so it's important to know that a first offense DWI conviction in North Carolina is serious business. 

This North Carolina DWI guide will hopefully make you think twice before risking even one drink and then driving. If it doesn't, our DWI attorneys know exactly what to do and can tell you what kind of consequences you're facing.   

Tough Penalties for First Offense DWI Convictions in North Carolina

North Carolina assesses the punishment for DWI convictions on a sliding scale. As a first-time DWI offender, you may be charged at a relatively low level or up to an aggravated level. It all depends on the circumstances and other factors, but your charges will fall under one of six levels with increasingly more severe penalties:  

  1. Level Five DWI – 1 to 60 days in jail and fines up to $200

  2. Level Four DWI – 2 to 120 days in jail and fines up to $500

  3. Level Three DWI – Three days to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000

  4. Level Two DWI – One week to one year in jail and fines up to $2,000

  5. Level One DWI – One month to two years in jail and fines up to $4,000

  6. Aggravated Level One DWI- One to three years in jail and fines up to $10,000

Jail time and empty pockets are bad enough, but you will also lose your license and have to attend substance abuse treatment. Add in the likely probation and higher car insurance rates, and it should be obvious investing in a DWI attorney is a smart bet. 

Experienced Charlotte DWI Attorneys Make the Difference 

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Mecklenburg County, for the first time or the third, an experienced Charlotte DWI lawyer makes all the difference. The consequences of a conviction for a first offense DWI in North Carolina could affect your personal and financial wellbeing for years. Rely on our decades of experience, in-depth knowledge, and dedication to get you the fair treatment you deserve. Get in touch with us today and let us show you how we do it.