State Laws

North Carolina DUI Laws


New DUI Laws
The driving under the influence laws for the state of North Carolina have recently changed. Amendments have been included where other rules used to apply and where no rules previously existed. A new law increased the requirement for ignition interlock devices to ensure that an individual not only has an alcohol-detecting device in his or her personal motor vehicle but also all in those that are registered in his or her name.

Open container laws were also increased to disallow individuals in a motor vehicle from having any kind of open container of alcohol in a public area. A new law now states that those who have had previous convictions of a driving while intoxicated offense and have had a driver's license reinstated will be arrested if having a blood alcohol content level above 0.04 percent. This percent diminishes to 0.00 percent if an individual has had a second driving while intoxicated conviction and a driver's license reinstatement.

The final new driving under the influence law for North Carolina includes requiring an ignition interlock device installed in an individual's vehicle before his or her driver's license may be reinstated after being arrested for a blood alcohol content that exceeds 0.16 percent.

Aggravated Circumstances
Punishments for driving under the influence offenses can vary and depend on the number of previous offenses as well as any aggravating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances often include having a minor in the motor vehicle upon arrest, driving over the speed limit, having a blood alcohol content level that is double the legal limit of 0.08 percent, causing another individual injury, and cause another individual death.

An offense that may otherwise include losing a driver's license and a fine can be increased to incarceration, community service, and other punishments if circumstances allow. In some cases an individual may lose access to his or her motor vehicle and it may be impounded. North Carolina law states that if an individual who is not a North Carolina citizen is arrested for driving under the influence, he or she can lose his or her vehicle if the driver's license has been revoked for similar circumstances.

DUI Punishments
Punishments for driving under the influence can include imprisonment, driver's license suspension, ignition interlocking device installation, community service, fines, motor vehicle seizure, and mandatory alcohol abuse treatment. Upon drunk driving suspicion, an individual will be asked to submit to a chemical test. By law when an individual acquires a driver's license he or she gives implied consent to submit to requested testing. If he or she refuses to take a blood alcohol content, breath test, or urine test, he or she will automatically have his or her driver's license suspended, despite innocence.

Upon charging a judge will take into account the test refusal and will assume that the individual is guilty of the offense. How an individual is charged depends on his or her impairment while driving or his or her blood alcohol content level. Both of these charges fall under the driving under the influence category but come with slightly different punishments.

See also:
North Carolina Felony
North Carolina Gun Laws
North Carolina Divorce
North Carolina Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
North Carolina Expungement External link (opens in new window)